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Duratrax Onyx 235 Review

When you spend your hard earned cash on hobby products you want get your money’s worth. The products you purchase must be dependable, reliable and of overall high quality. Duratrax is a name synonymous with value-priced hobby products and its new lineup of Onyx chargers is designed to be the perfect chargers for anyone from beginner to weekend warrior racer. With a great price, impressive specifications and long list of features, the Onyx 235 just may be just as good as the competition-level counterparts. Let’s plug in and find out…

Specifications

  • Part No. DTXP4235
  • AC and DC operation
  • 1-10 Cell NiCd/NiMH
  • 1-4 Cell LiPo/Li-Ion/LiFe
  • 8A Maximum Charge Current
  • 10 battery memory
  • 5V/500mA USB Charging Jack
  • $89.98

FEATURES
The Onyx 235 can be used plugged into a standard AC wall socket (110-240V) or connected to DC (11-15V) power supply or car battery. As such, Duratrax includes a power cable to connect to a wall outlet and alligator gator clips. Thanks to its multi-chemistry compatibility, the Onyx 235 is able to charge almost any type of pack the typical RC enthusiast might come across. That includes 1-10 cell NiCd and NiMH packs as well as 1-4 cell LiPo, Li-Ion and LiFe packs. There is a handy charging jack on the front of the Onyx 235 that allows you to plug in and charge radio batteries such as receiver and transmitter packs too. Realizing that sometimes bashing or racing is made better with music, Duratrax even included a 5V/500mA USB charging jack enabling you to recharge many portable electronic devices such as iPods or cell phones. It has a 10 battery memory allowing you to quickly setup your charge parameters and then start them with a single button press. The Onyx 235 uses advanced charge algorithms for accurate charges regardless of battery type. Additionally, a built-in Micro USB port allows customers to upgrade the firmware on their Onyx 235 in order to keep up with any changes or enhancements from Duratrax.

PERFORMANCE
When I first “unboxed” the Onyx 235, I found a slew of cables. Duratrax provides charging leads for Deans, Traxxas and Tamiya style connectors, and they also provide AC and DC power leads as well as two types of balance boards (ElectriFly and FlightPower/Thunder Power). With all these cables, I didn’t have to solder up a thing and yet I was able to charge many different packs! The Onyx 235 does make use of standard banana plugs so if you did have a pack with an unusual connector you can easily make up your own charging cable. My goal with the Onyx 235 was to find out if it could help me take less stuff to the track when I race. I had been forced to bring my usual LiPo charger, DC power supply, radio charger, backup cell phone charger and an old Duratrax InelliPeak charger. It’s a good thing I’ve got a big SUV! Well, I’m happy to say the compact Onyx 235 replaces all of those items.

Since it can charge and balance up to 4s LiPo packs, I’m able to use the Onyx 235 to charge up my 1/8scale truggy batteries. I especially like the fact that the Onyx uses balance boards because often with units that have balance jacks right in the side of the charger, you don’t have enough length to safely place your LiPo into a charging bag. But, with the Onyx 235 I can easily get my packs into the charge bag for increased safety. My old charger was DC only so lugging the DC power supply was required for use. Since the Onyx runs on either household AC power or DC power I was able to leave that DC power supply home and simply plug into the AC power provided by my local track. Recently I switched to a radio that has a LiFe transmitter pack. I had been forced to bring along a dedicated charger just for that battery however since the Onyx 235 is compatible with LiFe and has a built-in radio battery jack I was able to use the Onyx and leave yet another item at home. After a few hours of qualifying, the battery in my iPhone was pretty low, but the Onyx 235 was right there to keep the music gong strong with its integrated USB jack enabling me to charge the iPhone and keep the tunes going strong. My old LiPo charger could not charge anything but LiPo packs; it couldn’t charge up the older NiCd or NiMH packs but the Onyx 235 sure can. It peak charged my 6-cell NiMH pack permitting me to lighten my load again.

FINAL ASSESSMENT
The Onyx 235 does the work of many chargers yet the price is very reasonable. Unlike some other chargers, it has the power needed to charge larger 4s LiPo packs at up to 8 amps and it’s got bonuses like USB charging and the ability to upgrade the firmware. All in all, the Onyx 235 is a stellar device to have on your bench. No matter where you are in the hobby spectrum from beginner to advanced, the Onyx 235 has the features you need at a price you can afford. It will save you space by cutting down on the items you need to charge the variety of batteries we use in this hobby and it will save you money because you never need to buy them in the first place. Best of all it comes with a 5-year limited warranty. How many electronic devices have a warranty that long? Duratrax stands behind the Onyx 235 and with its impressive feature set I can see why.

Hot
> Charges almost any RC pack
> Powerful 8 amp charge current
> Low cost and great warranty

Not
> Pack memory is numbers not names
> Limited to 5 amp charge current when on AC

 

Links
Duratrax

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12 Comments

  1. Well, for the price you pay you get a great little charger that you don’t have to lug around an extra power supply to use. 5amp max on AC isn’t that bad. I know as the batteries get higher in MAH we need more amps, I remember when the AC chargers wouldn’t go past 2-3A. So it’s nice to see things adjusting. I like the Duratrax chargers, they work great and are easy to operate so anyone getting into the hobby doesn’t need to read the manual over and over again to use it, like when setting the clock on the VCR to stop blinking….. oh my, just had a moment there! 😉

    Great review!

  2. I was genuinely surprised at what a great charger this is for so little money! Having owned a number of Duratrax electronics and vehicles, I think they have a real winner on their hands with the Onyx. Plus thanks to the amazing warranty this is not your typical disposable charger…make some room, this one will be with you for a long time.

    Thanks for reading Christopher.

  3. I’m getting this charger. it seems perfect for me. I only have one lipo and two stick packs so i need a charger that can do it all and still be one i can afford

    1. They look pretty good aulhotgh i think it would make more sense if flashing ment it was charging and solid ment it was full but other than that looks good

  4. I bought this charger on tower after checking out this review. it just got here and so far i love it

  5. I purchased the Oynx 245 series and also own the older ICE Charger. I am hoping the Oynx series is as dependable as the ICE Charger which I purchased back in 2002.

  6. Mine failed after about 1 years use, the ac/dc converter blew, and took out a 13 amp mains fuse along with it. So it would only charge using DC, ok, Fine, what I did do was to solder two wires to the DC input used by the ac/dv converter (originally a basic 5a 12v laptop adapter) and connect it to my bench power supply, it provides 5.1A at 0-31v, so I have it set to 5.1A 13V, works great 🙂

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