There are many different types of Radio Control cars out there and they are all powered slightly differently. Some of which are powered by a Nitro Engine and some by battery power. Therefore there is a large range of battery chargers out there to suit everyone budget. These range from £20 all the way to over £200.
We have picked out a few examples of chargers that are available. These are from Traxxas and SkyRC.
Your entry level of charger is like the simple plug in wall charger with a Tamiya connector. Like the one pictured below. You can pick up something like this for around £20 or less. These chargers are designed for smaller power packs that come with Tamiya kits. These chargers mainly charge batteries of NIMH (Nickel–metal hydride) and NiCD (Nickel Cadmium) batteries. These charger aren't usually classes as smart charger, in turn the charger just gives the battery a voltage until the user turns off the charger. The user can tell when the battery is charged by the warm to the touch.
The mid range chargers are usually have a peak detecting system within them. This means that the charger monitors the battery and turns off automatically when the battery is charged. This range of charger normally only charges a NiCD or HIMH battery as shown below, This charger is a Traxxas charger that usually comes with a Traxxas Kit to charge the reciever pack in the vehicle. Check out the article on batteries to learn more about the different typres of batteries.
The Mid to Intermediate level of chargers tend to be able to charge more different types of batteries, From NiCD to LiPo batteries. This chargers usually don't have a high input so they not suited to charge high capacity batteries. The one pictured below can charge to a maximum of 4.9amp output but it can charge many different types of batteries as mentioned before. This is suitable for LiPo receiver packs and smaller car packs. Please see battery article for more information
The intermidiate level of chargers usually do the same as the charger mentioned in the previous section by these chargers have an higher output which enables them to charger at a higher charge rate which makes them more suitable to charge high capacity batteries. The one featured below is a SkyRC charger. This is a 180watt charger and can output 16amps. This charger is normally used for high capacity packs like a 4cell 7200Mah pack for example. This charger is powered by 12v and 240v with help of a power supply. See photo.
The intermediate to high end chargers can range massively. These chargers usually have multiple channels which means they can charge multiple batteries at the same time this also mean they can charge different chemestry batteries at the same time. For example LiPo batteries and a HIMH battery. One on each channel. In this level these chargers have a limited output. For example the charger below is a duel channel charger which is also a SkyRC T200 and has a max output of 200watts. This is 100watt per channel. So its limited in terms of output voltage and ampage output. These chargers are usually 12v and 240v input as well, making them usuable at home or at the track.
The high end chargers are very big and powerful. These usually have multiple channels. Normally 4 channels which enables the charging of 4 batteries at one time. These are norally priced at over £150 and are suited for those drivers who have multiple batteries to charge many batteries at one time and quickly. The one featured below is SkyRC Quattro. This is also a 200watt system, but its smart in its operation this means it moves its max output per channel to where its needed the most.
Now we've got chargers out of the way. Lets look at all the differe charge leads and battery connectors. With most things there are many different connectors on the market.
So lets start with the Classic Tamiya connector. This is a old connector for low currents only
The next connector is the Traxxas TRX connector which is really only used on their own vehicles
The next connector is commonly used. This is called a Deans connector. These are used for high current areas. For example in 8th Electric RallyX Cars to connect their 4 cell LiPo batteries to the Speed Controllers
Another high current connector is the EC3. This connector is normally blue in colours and is commonly used on Team Losi Vehicles but they have been used on other brands. They also make a larger version of this called the EC5 connector. The EC3 connector is pictured below
Another connector also for high current use is the XT60. This connector is normally yellow in colour. These are used for many applications including model cars. They have been known to be used in DIY electrical systems in full size cars due to their tight reliable fit. There is also a larger size for higher power applications which are called the XT90. XT90 is pictured below
The next connector is a JST connector. This connector is used for small batteries with lower current rating like receiver packs.
Another receiver pack connector is the classic Futaba connector. This connecor is more common on receiver packs than the JST connector above
The final connector we are going to talk about is the 4mm and 5mm bullet connector. These are very common. The 4mm bullet is used for charge leads to push into the charger. you can see these sockets on the chargers above. These are also used on batteries themselves. Please see the batteries article for more information.
4mm connector pictured below
5mm connectors before assembly pictured below