Review – Duratrax Onyx 230 Charger

 Great charger !
Words and photos: Sylvain Lafrance
 

 

Introduction

No matter what kind of R/C car you own, you need to charge your battery packs. Duratrax released a new line of budget chargers, the Onyx. With five chargers to choose from, the Onyx 230 was the right choice for me. It has all the specs I’m looking for in a charger. It is AC/DC, charges up to 7A, 10 memories and it can charge Lipo packs.

 

onyx_230_1 

 

Specs

  • AC input: 110V AC 60Hz
  • DC input: 11-15V DC, built-in lead with alligator clips
  • Battery types: 1-8 NiCd or NiMH cells (1.2-9.6V) 1-3 LiPo, Li-Ion, or LiFe cells (3.7-11.1V)
  • Battery capacity range: 50-9900mAh
  • Fast charge current: 0.1-7.0A linear, adjustable (AC 50W, DC 70W, 2C limit for lithiums)
  • Fast charge termination: peak detection for NiCd/MH, cc/cv for lithiums
  • Fast charge safety timer: off-300 minutes
  • NiCd/MH peak sensitivity: 3-20mV adjustable
  • NiCd/MH trickle charge curent: auto mode (1/20 fast charge setting), or manual set 0-250mA
  • Controls: 4 pushbuttons
  • Battery memories: 10
  • Display type: 2×8 reversed LCD with backlight
  • Setup tones: on / off
  • Audible melodies: 5
  • Output connection: banana jacks (includes standard adapter)*
  • Protective devices: solid-state reverse polarity and current overload
  • Case size: 6.0 x 5.28 x 1.69″ (153 x 134 x 43 mm)
  • Weight: 23.5 oz. (666 g)

 

Testing

To test the Onyx 230, I first charged few 1600 NiMh receiver packs that I use for my nitro vehicles. Navigation trough the menu is really easy and intuitive. I programmed the Onyx 230 according to my packs specifications. Few clicks on the panel and the charger was ready. The LCD display with backlite is easy to read. Few minutes later, the first pack was fully charged and slightly warm. Sign that the peak detection has stopped the charger when the pack was perfectly charged.

onyx_230_2Here what comes with the Ony 230. Instructions manual, AC cord and a Tamiya style connector

I pushed the test a little bit further by charging an old 2400 NiCd pack that was lying on my work table and collecting dust for many months now without being charged for a very long time. I was a skeptic with this pack.  I slow charged it at 1.0A, almost two hours later, the charger beeped. The pack was warm but not excessively warm. I installed the pack in my Wheely King for a test run, the pack lasted more than 9 minutes, sign that the Onyx 230 has charged this old pack with perfection… Once again.

 

onyx_230_3

For the last test, I charged a receiver Lipo pack; I programmed the charger according to the instruction manual. It is always safe to read manual when it is time to charge Lipo packs. Like with others packs charged for this review, the charger fully charged the Lipo receiver pack. The Duratrax Onyx 230 charger works as well with NiMh, NiCd as it does with Lipo.

 

onyx_230_4AC/DC cords, the cooling fan is located at the right.

 

 

 onyx_230_5

 

onyx_230_6Clear LCD display with backlite.

 

 

What I liked

  • AC/DC
  • Can charge Lipo/Life batteries
  • Small size
  • Internal fan
  • 5 years warranty

 

What could be improved

  • Can’t find a thing

 

 

 

Conclusionstar_5

The Duratrax Onyx 230 is a perfect charger for any R/C enthusiasts of any level. It worked flawlessly with all the packs I have charged and never gave any false peak detection. It can charge all type of batteries on the market up to 7.0A (5.0A on AC). Its small size let you bring it everywhere. This is an excellent budget charger that will suite all your needs, no matter if you are a nitro or an electric racer. It really worth the 80$us asked for.

 

For more information, visit www.duratrax.com

 

 

 Updates:

I had issues with the charger, it was impossible to fully charge any packs with even after multiple tries. I contacted Duratrax to explain to the problem. I sent the charger to their service depot. After two weeks I received a brand new charger free of charge, under warranty. Duratrax provided me GREAT service and support.

 

 




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4 Responses

  1. jim says:

    What do you know about the Duratrax ICE? thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Jim,

      I have only heard good comments about the ICE. It charges up to 4 cell LiPo packs. It charges, cycles and discharges any pack and it is backed by a 5 years warranty. All this for 90$us. However, the charge is only DC, You’ll need a 12v power source such as a power supply.

      I don’t know your needs but there are others “budget” charges that offer the same features as the Ice but with an integrated power supply and the capability to charge up to 6 cell LiPo.

      Hope this helps

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks,
    The other ? i have is that i mainly charge NIMH packs and figured in the future i may use LIPO packs, so i’m torn between the ICE and the Duratrax 230 model. I do like the bigger lcd on the ICE but like the power supply and backlight on the 230. I guess i just need someone to toss the coin for me… i’m driving myself nuts! thanks again

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