SkyRC T6200 Touch Charger Review

July 6, 2013 1:55 | By | Add a Comment

Let’s get real for a moment here: The fact of the matter is that a simple four-button charger gets the job done, and there’s models ranging from a few bucks for 50W to the ThunderPower 1000W 14 charger. 4-button chargers are mostly very user friendly and easy to use, and there’s no real reason to go for anything else for simple LiPo field charging. So should you jump for this touchscreen-operated spaceship of a charger? Find out after the break.

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Pure functionality is not all there’s to life. The SkyRC T6200 offers 200 Watts, a color screen with touch control and, unlike the horrible IMAX RC charger with external connector box, a normal connector layout that doesn’t rely on proprietary connectors. Not a bad offering for $95.-

The SkyRC charger features a dedicated 5V USB output for charging phones, small rc toys etc. as well as a separate mini-USB data port and outputs for testing motors and servos.

The SkyRC charger features a dedicated 5V USB output for charging phones, small rc toys etc. as well as a separate mini-USB data port and outputs for testing motors and servos.

The design of the charger is quite simply beautiful. The connectors are laid out in a logical fashion, and the supplied balancer board covers every balancer connector standard out there. The whole thing is a wee bit on the big side, so it does take up quite a lot of room.

It does look a little bit like a car.

It does look a little bit like a car.

Technical data:
Max Charge: 200W / 12A
Max Discharge: 40W / 5A
Balance current: 200mA
Max cell count: 6S LiPo, 15 cells NiXX
Input voltage: 11V-18V

This charger comes with a few extras, like a motor tester and even a servo tester. An ideal combination for a field charger, were it not for one simple problem: The screen is a pain to read in sunlight.

Sunny day? Tough luck, you won't be reading much on this display then.

Sunny day? Tough luck, you won’t be reading much on this display then.

There’s simply no other way to put it: Having a color TFT screen on a device makes it suck outdoors. Sure, you can shield it with your hands and it is usable, but this is a far cry from the perfect legibility of a plain old monochrome LCD.

Usability is otherwise solid. The menu can be switched between English and Chinese, there’s several presets you can set for your favorite batteries, setting the charge parameters is quick and intuitive, and just about the only thing we found that’s wrong is the buttons labeled “Enter” – those actually go back one screen and CANCEL whatever you’re doing. On several screens you get an “Enter” and a “Next” button, with “Next” actually meaning OK or Enter, and “Enter” always being the back or cancel-button. Oh well, maybe there will be a firmware update.

The main menu. Battery type and charge mode are available right from the frontpage. Cell count and current settings are in separate pages.

The main menu. Battery type and charge mode are available right from the frontpage. Cell count and current settings are in separate pages.

Perhaps having the cell count and charge current changeable right from the front page would have been smarter than putting the battery type and charge mode operation selection there. Then again, most people are likely to use presets anyway.

The preset page. Up to 5 battery settings can be stored for quick recall.

The preset page. Up to 5 battery settings can be stored for quick recall.

Selecting charge current. Changing cell capacity smartly changes the charge current too, while changing the charge current leaves the other parameters alone. Nice!

Selecting charge current. Changing cell capacity smartly changes the charge current too, while changing the charge current leaves the other parameters alone. Nice!

Charging a battery. All relevant data, and buttons for balance and graph display let you check the details.

Charging a battery. All relevant data, and buttons for balance and graph display let you check the details.

The balancer display is very useful, also showing the battery resistance. Note that the resistance displayed is not very accurate.

The balancer display is very useful, also showing the battery resistance. Note that the resistance displayed is not very accurate.

The graph display is completely useless due to wrong scaling of the graph. It's always an almost straight line.

The graph display is completely useless due to wrong scaling of the graph. It’s always an almost straight line.

Settings menu. The other color choices are actually even uglier than the blue theme.

Settings menu. The other color choices are actually even uglier than the blue theme.

In general, the user interface is solid and aside from the odd goofup in the button labeling or the way the graph display is useless, there’s really no need to spend lots of time reading user manuals here.

Voltage and resistance readings are not always accurate. The resulting charge and balance level however is.

Voltage and resistance readings are not always accurate. The resulting charge and balance level however is.

A peculiar thing was that some batteries were measured to have a total resistance of 0 Milliohms, and the displayed cell voltage was sometimes shown as greater than 4.20V, even though the actual value was smaller. That said, the results are spot-on and cells were balanced down to 0.002V total difference across 3 and 4 cell packs. Charge time was slightly faster than expected, the SkyRc often finished several minutes faster than other balancing chargers.

Inside: Neat and tidy

Inside: Neat and tidy

Popping the case open reveals a very nicely laid out board with a large heatsink, solid construction and lots of small details like the power connector plug being secured with an additional solid bracket, as well as zip-ties managing the cable paths. The whole device is really rather nice looking both inside and outside.

 

Verdict

The T6200 is a very well designed balance charger with a pleasing shape, lots of nice little details and a solid touch-based user interface that’s  a joy to use. What we didn’t like was the fact that the color screen is hard to read outdoors, and some minor translation errors on buttons. The measured voltages and resistances are also not very accurate, even though the charger itself did a great job getting each LiPo cell to almost exactly 4.200V

The display could do with better contrast (Why does nobody use e-ink for devices like this or even RC transmitters?), and the software could use some polish. Aside from that, this is a really nice charger that gets the job done in style.

The best part however is the price: The SkyRC T6200 costs $95 at ehirobo.com, while the iCharger 106B-plus with 250W is about $80. Sure you can get a 200W charger on a budget, like the Turnigy A-6-10 for $40, or even the Turnigy Mega 400Wx2 which gives you two times the power for $120, but none of these are at the same level of quality or user friendlyness.

The T6200 is really most at home in your… home. It’s an excellent single-station charger, looks nice and doesn’t break the bank. If you’re in the market for a charger with a bit more power than your usual 50W entry-level device, and don’t need more than 6 cells, this is your charger. However if you are looking for a small field charger that’s easily readable in direct sunlight, or you fly LiPo batteries with 7 cells or more, look somewhere else.

 

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