Smart 6 Balance Charger Review

July 13, 2011 22:34 | By | Add a Comment

(Note: This review was written by me a couple months ago and was posted on and before)

The Smart6 charger is a 6-cell charger with up to 80W charging and 5W discharge rating, at a max of 7A for charging and 1.5A for discharging respectively. The biggest eyecatcher is of course the graphical display, showing the charge curve just like the much more expensive models by graupner, robbe or schulze. Is that charger a winner? Does chinese quality control get things right with this one? Will it blend?


I won’t bore you with the basic specs, aside from mentioning that a 80W balance charger for 50 bucks is not too bad, and one with a nice graphical display on top is even better. The case is solid metal just like the Turnigy Accucel6, it looks and feels like a much more expensive device.
The Software is solid. There’s a comprehensive set of options to change if you want to, while basic operation is still very simple. It works just like any other 4-button charger, with the addition of a proper settings menu that is both easy to use and self-describing. You won’t need much of a manual for this one. The larger screen is put to good use here, and as an added bonus you can have the charger display individual cell voltages even before starting the charge operation. With most other chargers of this type you need to start to charge to be able to bring up the cell voltage display. It’s little details like this one that make this charger stand out from the crowd.

The graphical display looks nice, but frankly it is not really necessary. But hey, it adds to the coolness factor.
Charge performance is good, and the integrated balancer (rated at 300mA balance current) is excellent: Cells were within 0.002V after balancing, even with the charge speed set to “fast”. I was surprised by this accuracy. Balance current doesn’t match the 750mA of the Pulsar balancer, or the 1000mA of the balancer by Orbit, but it’s definitely better than the 150-200mA you get from other cheap balancers.

Something you won’t find on every charger is the internal resistance measurement. You can find this under “Settings” (for whatever strange reason) and it does exactly what it says on the tin: You connect a battery to the balancer and main port, press OK and the charger will do a short discharge burst of 1000mA, calculating the internal resistance of each cell. The resolution is 1 milliohms, enough to spot cells that are out of whack, though not enough to “match” cells.

A note about the fan: It never even starts up while charging small to mid-size batteries, and is only blowing while discharging. That’s excellent and a welcome change from some of the very noisy chargers Turnigy has been producing lately.

There’s some points for criticism though: While the case is very solid and sturdy, the buttons are completely flat and without any tactile feedback. You need to press them quite hard and if you disable the key buzzer (like I did, because it’s really uncomfortably loud) then it’s hard to judge when you pressed hard enough for it to register.

After opening the unit I found that the fan cable was being squashed between the PCB edge and the case. Why they didn’t route the fan connection to the top side is beyond me.
What’s worse, the connector for the keys is bent sideways! It is wedged between the piezo buzzer and the top of the case. Not good at all. What’s even more puzzling is that there’s obviously spots on the PCB for regular push-type microswitches. Why did they not use those instead of the hard to press foil-type keyboard?
It should be noted that the wedged connector probably doesn’t mean too much for the long term because the case and the PCB is fastened so solidly, it’s never gonna rub the cable apart. Still, I’d feel so much better if they had used a proper connector for the flat cable coming from the keyboard.

Despite the issues mentioned, this charger is still recommendable. The software is easy to use, you can charge up to 7A max (80W), discharge performance is a little mediocre but then again this is not the device you’ll use to quickly discharge a 5000mA battery pack. This is an excellent charger for the enthusiast park flyer who wants a little more than the Accucel6, both in power and in coolness. It’s the same size too, so it’s not like it takes up more space in your backpack.



If you’re deciding on whether to buy some other 4-button charger or this one, I can really recommend you go for the Smart 6. It’s the best $50 charger AND the best 80W charger you can buy at the moment, and the only annoying thing are the buttons and the keybuzzer – which you can turn off, or cover with something to make it less loud. Maybe next time we can have some nice solid mechanical push-buttons?


Update 19th of July 2011

While our replacement unit was built in exactly the same way with the same defects, Youtube viewer “larryoakley” recently contacted us and sent us this picture of his Smart6 charger! As you can see, not only did Hobbyking add a proper connector for the fan as well as a 90-degree connector for the keys,  they even plugged the annoyingly loud buzzer with a blob of hot glue! Now that is what I call a solid response. Good work, Hobbyking!

The revised PCB has all our complaints fixed: Proper connectors for fan and keyboard, and the buzzer is not painfully loud anymore. Image by LarryOakley on Youtube.




  • 80 Watts
  • Easy to use
  • Accurate balancer
  • Internal resistance measurement
  • Manufacturer listens to complaints and actually updates their product!



  • Keys hard to press
  • Loud buzzer (fixed in the latest revision)
  • Some questionable PCB layout and design decisions (fixed in the latest revision)






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