Yet another review of popular Imax B6 hobby charger clone!

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Yet another review of popular Imax B6 hobby charger clone!

Another week and new charger for review, this time Imax B6 clone from Tmart:

Much smaller in real life than expected
Much smaller in real life than expected.

It can charge all kinds of lithium batteries, both size and chemistry wise as well as lead car batteries up to 2-20V. You can charge up to 15 cells in case of NiMh/NiCd batteries and up tp 6 cells in case of lithium batteries.

Weight is sligtly below 400 grams and this thing is surprisingly small for such capable and versatile charger! It doesnt feel heavy either, yet feels solid in hand and has good heat dissipation.

Finally, after one year in the process, this review is finished!

Not kidding, it took totally 3 attempts of getting this charger shipped to me due to lousy customs work and my laziness to go to the central customs office at the order end of the city and pick it up(and pay some VAT ofcourse!) :D!

Tmart went above and beyond to get it delivered to my door so I could finally do this review, so big thanks to Tmart for such helpful attitude!

 

Anyway, lets start with review, first some package pictures with whats included and then some disassembly pictures and THEN some more pictures but this time when in use-charging and discharging batteries and short guide how to use it.

 

Charger came in nice and small cardboard box without any dents or damage to it from the outside, mine is slightly beaten up because its been traveling with me for couple of weeks prior to taking pictures:

Boxed
Small charger in small box.

Inside the box there’s charger in soft synthetic bag, manual and underneath the cardboard inlay few accessory cables:

Charger in soft synthetic bag and printed manual
Charger in soft synthetic bag and printed manual.

Included cables inside the box
Included cables inside the box.
Notice that this charger never comes with power adapter, you have to buy it separately
Notice that this charger never comes with power adapter, you have to buy it separately.

 

Charger itself, as already mentioned, is rather small, much smaller than what I expected looking at pictures online, yet the size doesnt mean that its not capable of some heavy lifting, it feels solid and doesn’t heat up considerably during use:

Much smaller in real life than expected, but rather versatile and capable
Much smaller in real life than expected, but rather versatile and capable. Only four buttons to program this charger makes charging and discharging with it pretty easy even without reading included manual!

Left side of charger, power port
Left side of charger, power port, accepts 11-18 volts, not less and not more, temperature sensor is inside the charger under the circuit board glued to the bottom plate of charger.

Right side of charger, black/red are output ports for charging/discharging batteries. White rectangular ports are for charging multiple batteries at once, for that you will need to either buy or make your own charging craddles for different batteries
Right side of charger, black/red are output ports for charging/discharging batteries. White rectangular ports are for charging multiple batteries at once, for that you will need to either buy or make your own charging craddles for different batteries.

Bottom of charger, venting holes for additional heat sinking(this charger doesnt have fan for cooling), black rubber feet to keep it securely onto various surfaces and sticker with warning label
Bottom of charger, venting holes for additional heat sinking(this charger doesnt have fan for cooling), black rubber feet to keep it securely onto various surfaces and sticker with warning label.

 

Taking it apart is rather easy, first you have to remove 4 small screws on each side and remove small side panels:

Remove four screws and side panel comes off easily
Remove four screws and side panel comes off easily.

 

Now, removing the top part of housing is slightly bit more tricky, but if you start from the right point, it will come off rather easily:

When both of side panels are off, slightly pull the bottom of top plate to separate it from bottom plate, then do the same at the top. Its better to start with bottom so the buttons dont block the top panel from moving freely when taking it off.
When both of side panels are off, slightly pull the bottom of top plate to separate it from bottom plate, then do the same at the top, otherwise buttons might get in the way.

 

Charging board with LCD at the top, top housing in the middle and side panels with screws at the bottom, thats about it.
Charging board with LCD at the top, top housing in the middle and side panels with screws at the bottom, thats about it.

As you see, its pretty easy to take it apart, however the main board/circuit board was not removed from bottom panel because some sort of plate/ sensor(?) is soldered to positive power out-plug and glued to bottom panel.

Some more pictures of insides, circuit board itself from top/bottom, left/right and, erm, up/down?

Reflections on the screen come from protective film on top of it, I didnt remove it during review.
Reflections on the screen come from protective film on top of it, I didnt remove it during review.

Upper part of circuit board
Base plate at the bottom, circuit board in the middle and LCD assembly at the top.

Left side, charging port, temperature sensor
Left side, charging port.
All charge/discharge ports on the right side
All charge/discharge ports on the right side.

 

Overall build quality seems to be great, especially for the price, the only thing that was slightly off with this charger was with some small parts not aligned perfectly during soldering process, right between LCD assembly and charge ports:

Nothing special, I don't think it should affect chargers behavior
Nothing special, I don’t think it should affect chargers behavior.
 

 

Okay, thats it regarding build, lets see how easy it is to use this charger to both charge an discharge batteries!

I didn’t spend a second to read manual and went straight away to charge my Turnigy AA batteries, but first I had to make my own wires to connect battery to charger since this one doesn’t come with proper wires for individual cell charging:

Charging Turnigy AA 2200mAh NiMh LSD battery at 1C charge rate.
Charging Turnigy AA 2200mAh NiMh LSD battery at 1C charge rate which equals 2,2A. On the left universal power adapter that works perfectly with this charger.

LCD up close, now during DIScharge:

Maximum discharge rate is 1A, some might find it lacking, especially when discharging high capacity lithium batteries or when testing batteries under high loads to see how well they perform in demanding applications
Maximum discharge rate is 1A, some might find it lacking, especially when discharging high capacity lithium batteries or when testing batteries under high loads to see how well they perform in demanding applications. Charging current can be set up to 5A, which in my opinion should be enough for average Joe using standard Ni/Li batteries.

LCD has two lines, upper one displays battery chemistry(user selectable, charger will NOT auto-select battery chemistry), charge/discharge rate and either charge voltage or battery voltage during discharge. Lower line shows mode, elapsed time and capacity. Its also backlit with bright blue LED’s and stays on as long as charger is plugged into electricity.

Once charge or discharge is done there will be distinct audible beeper sound for couple of seconds, you cant turn it off just like you can turn off button beeps.

As I mentioned – manual was never touched, I simply connected battery to my improvised power cords, selected desired program type with two middle buttons(arrows in bronze) and then either altered values with Enter and arrow buttons or selected desired program by long pressing Enter key, after that distinct beeper sound played and after short battery check charger began to either charge or discharge, depending on which program user selected.

In case you want to either go back in menu or stop running program simply press Stop button and thats it, charger stops and will wait for user input.

You can also set up security features such as temperature sensor and charging timer to avoid over charge or over heating of batteries.

However I never leave any of my chargers unattended due to risks that high powered devices and batteries pose to both humans and property!

 

Verdict:

Geared towards pro and RC users it boasts range of features that many regular chargers lack and that are welcome addition to anyone who wants to know how their batteries perform, yet simplicity of user interface makes it welcome for non-pro users. Common sense and some basic safety measures should be inherited before operating this or any other charger!

Lack of charging cradles is probably only considerable downside of this device.

 
If you’re interested in this charger, you can buy one at reduced price using this coupon th8M8AX8 at Tmart. They have it both in Honk Kong and USA warehouse, coupon will save you 5.31$ and charger will cost 19.99/22.06$ respectively, depending on which warehouse option will you chose.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:28
vēer
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Yeah, thanks, forgot to mention that its a clone, Ive seen others forget to mention that too :D!

Also, coupon code th8M8AX8 from Tmart added ;)!

FlashPilot
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Thanks for posting a great review. I almost bought one of these a few years back until I read a few technical detailed comparative reviews against other chargers. Without the proper test equipment, you’d never know just how poorly your B6 is misbehaving. The problem with the B6 clones is in their lack of quality components, which caused varying accuracy errors. Many guys had to resort to removing all the resistors and several other components then replacing them with higher quality versions to improve the accuracy and consistency of the charger… basically stripping, replacing and re-flowing a large part of the board to try and salvage what was left. Maybe its a roll of the dice because there are dozens of these cheap clones floating around out there… but you wont know what you’ve got until you can repeatedly test it properly with calibrated test equipment while using a good thorough test procedure. IMO, for the most part, its probably not not worth the box it was shipped in… and definitely a potentially dangerous device for recharging lithium cells. Its also to bad that it only charges one cell at a time unless you can build and wire a custom cradle for it.

With so many other decent budget hobby chargers out there, Id say to avoid this one. Im sure that many others can chime in with better budget solutions that perform to spec.

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Just a little update – not sure if its my lack of experience with this charger or some issue with my Pana 3400 protected or charger being crap, but it never showed anything near claimed 3400mAh capacity.

Either way, will buy proper lithium analyzing charger and will keep this one as car battery charger if anything :D!