Worth a Closer Look: Spektrum S1200 G2 AC Smart Charger

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As seen in the August 2021 issue of Model Aviation.
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SOURCES:

Horizon Hobby

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www.horizonhobby.com

those who are new

THOSE WHO ARE NEW to electric flight might have some trepidation the first few times that they charge a LiPo battery. Outside of the hobby, we are familiar and comfortable with the simplicity of charging our rechargeable devices. That process requires that you simply plug the rechargeable product into an appropriate charger and the magic happens.

Charging LiPo batteries for hobby use can be slightly more involved. Battery and balance connectors must match the charger and some basic programming must be done to select the cell count and C rating of the charge. After the charging sequence is demystified, it is simple, but even veteran pilots who fly electric-powered aircraft can make mistakes.

Spektrum Smart technology has taken a step forward with its second generation of Smart products. The S1200 charger offers the charging simplicity found in other devices outside of our hobby. The AC-powered Spektrum S1200 Smart charger provides 200 watts with a maximum charge rate of 15 amps. The charger also includes an IC3 and IC5 battery connector, so no adapters are necessary.

Generation 2 Smart batteries no longer have a balance plug because balancing is done through the Smart plug. This simplifies things, but it also means that Smart G2 batteries should only be charged using a Spektrum Smart charger because other chargers won’t be able to balance the cells during the charging process.

The S1200 includes a balance connector so that you can charge the G1 batteries or other manufacturers’ batteries with the charger.

When using a Spektrum G2 LiPo battery and a Spektrum G2 charger or a Spektrum G1 charger with updated software, plug in the battery and the charger will read the battery data from the chip located in the battery. In a few seconds, the charging process begins, with no additional input required.

That noted, the charger is equipped with menu buttons, allowing the charge parameters to be adjusted, if desired. The charger can also program a delay before the auto discharge begins—up to 1.5 amps—for safe storage voltage. The default setting is 72 hours. Having a battery that will discharge itself to a storage voltage is a huge selling point because storing our batteries fully charged for more than a few days can impact the batteries’ internal resistance and longevity.

The S1200 has a power switch on the back that is a welcome addition for those who prefer to leave the charger plugged in while not in use.

The charger also has a port to allow for updates using a Windows PC. A Smart Charger USB Updater Cable/Link (SPMXCA100) must be purchased separately to allow for updates. The cable can also be used to update G1 Smart chargers. The Spektrum S1200 Smart charger is available for $139.99, and the update cable is $11.99. A video discussing this charger and the Spektrum G2 Smart technology can be found on AMA’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/modelaircraft.

If you are new to electric flight or are interested in having more data about your batteries and simplifying the charge process, the line of Spektrum G2 Smart chargers is worth your consideration.

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