With such an incredible number of charger choices out there, many RC’ers often go with a brand they know when looking to make a purchase. For example, a Traxxas Slash owner may be inclined to stick with Traxxas when looking to upgrade to a LiPo charger. Trust me, this scenario isn’t all that hypothetical, but is it the right move? The real question: Is the Traxxas charger any good? And more to the point, does Traxxas–best known as a vehicle manufacturer–know how to make a good charger? Well, the best way to find out is to put one to the test. The EZ-Peak Plus is clearly Traxxas’ flagship charger and I have been using it for months. Check out why I think Traxxas’ top charger should, indeed, be at the top of many people’s list.
- Price: $119.99
- Model: 2933
- Input: AC/DC
- Charge Rate: 0.1 to 6.0A
- Discharge Rate: 0.1 to 2.0A
- Max Cells (NiMH/NiCd): 1 to 15
- Max cells (LiPo/LiFe/LiIon): 1 to 6
- Dimensions: 125x112x60.9mm
The EZ-Peak Plus is a do-it-all charger. It can juice up LiPo, NiMH, LiIon, Pb, LiFe and NiCd. It’s also AC/DC which means it can run off house (AC) or be connected to a 12V battery (DC). The power supply is built-in, so there is no bulky external unit needed when plugging it into an outlet. The charge rate is from 0.1 to 6 amps and the EZ-Peak Plus can also discharge at a rate of 0.1 to 2 amps. As all LiPo chargers should be, the EZ-Peak Plus is a balance charger, so it can properly treat multi-cell LiPo packs.
The EZ-Peak Plus is a programable charger with a backlit LCD screen. The charger is noticeably compact–especially considering the power supply is internal. All programming and functions are controlled via four push buttons. The case is plastic, and the charger features a built-in cooling fan.
Traxxas includes three connector leads: Traxxas High Current Connector, standard receiver pack plug and a Molex (AKA Tamiya plug). Since these connectors plug into the charger using banana plugs, you could make or buy a lead for any battery connector. In addition to the charger leads, a balance board is included with JST/XH balancer plugs. The EZ-Peak Plus also features a temp sensor port, but a temp sensor is not included.
Traxxas offers to optional balance/charge boards that allow the user to easily charge two LiPo packs at once. Because the EZ-Peak Plus can charge up to 6S, you can charge two 2S or two 3S packs simultaneously. Accordingly, Traxxas has a 2S (2917) and a 3S board (2918).
PERFORMANCE & FINAL ASSESSMENT
The first criteria I assess when reviewing a piece of equipment like a charger is, one, if it’s easy to use and, two, if it functions properly and without any malfunctions. I found the EZ-Peak Plus to live up to its name. It passed the “Can I figure it out without the instructions” test, so it is, indeed, easy or “EZ” to use. And, after charging many packs, I can report the EZ-Peak Plus functioned exactly as expected.
Digging a little deeper, one of the EZ-Peak Plus’ best features is its compact size. It’s small, but doesn’t feel cheap at all. The quality is good and noticeably so. The screen is great (got to love backlit displays) and the navigation and general use is well thought out.
Is this the top pick charger for the hardcore electric racer? No, and it’s not really meant to be. That said, there’s no reason why casual club racers couldn’t use this charger. But, if you’re looking to charge your 5000+mAh race packs at 2S or more, this isn’t the charger for you. It’s maximum 6 amp charging rate is the only real downside. For some, 6 amps max will be a deal breaker, but for most, it is a nonissue. Bigger, more expensive chargers can charge at higher rates, but they are, well, bigger and more expensive. Plus, almost all LiPo battery companies recommend a 1C charge rate. When I go racing, I leave the EZ-Peak Plus at home because I almost always charge my packs at a 2C rate (10 to 11 amps or so depending on the pack). I do this to make sure I’m ready with time to spare before the next round. Back home, the compact EZ-Peak Plus is my current go-to charger.
Traxxas’ list price is $119.99, but you can find the EZ-Peak Plus charger for around 100 bucks. It is simply a great charger for that price range. It’s a solid first LiPo charger that the average user won’t immediately outgrow. In fact, as long as you’re not looking to charge at a high rates, you’ll get some serious longterm use of of the EZ-Peak Plus. My final assessment is because of its affordable price point, quality construction and ease of use, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this charger anyone looking for their first LiPo charger or for an additional charger.