As a reader of RC Car Action, you probably have no problem charging batteries. You have a NiMH charger and a LiPo charger, or one charger that can do both. You make sure to plug in the balance connector on your LiPos, and choose the right mode for safe charging. Now imagine if you didn’t have to do those things. Instead, you have one charger that charges whatever you plug into it, correctly, without setting anything. That would definitely be easier, and worry-free. Even more so for someone who isn’t the RC pro that you are; imagine how bewildering battery tech must be for someone just joining the hobby, or a mom or dad charging different battery types for youngsters who shouldn’t be doing it themselves. That’s where Traxxas comes in, with their new iD charging technology. When used with Traxxas iD batteries, the EZ-Peak Plus 4-Amp iD Charger detects the battery specs and selects the correct charge rate and battery chemistry settings automatically. All you have to do is hit “Start.” And if you’re charging a Traxxas iD LiPo battery, there’s no balancing plug to connect; the balance leads are built into the High Current Connector. It doesn’t get much easier than that. I tried the iD system for myself, and here’s what I discovered.
NOT JUST PLUG & PLAY
While the EZ-Peak Plus iD’s primary trick is its no-brainer charging, it’s not just a one-mode charger. Once an iD LiPo pack is connected, the charger defaults to balance charging mode. Or, you can choose Fastcharge or Storage-charge modes. Fast mode saves time by skipping cell balancing. As soon as one of the cells reaches peak capacity, the charge cycle is complete. is can save you a few minutes if you just can’t wait to get back into action. I prefer to balance my packs on every charge (and it’s the best thing for them), but the Fast mode is useful if you just can’t wait to get back into action. Storage mode is used for (you guessed it) storing packs, and will either charge or discharge the battery until it reaches 50% capacity. e charger figures out which way to go automatically. You don’t need to use storage mode all the time, it’s for occasions where you won’t use the battery for more than seven days. Seven long, boring RC-less days
Charging Non-iD packs
The automatic setup function of the iD charger does not work when you plug in a non-iD pack, but you can still charge any Traxxas NiMH or LiPo battery. All you have to do is enter “Advanced Mode” by holding the Start and Charge Rate buttons together. Then you use the Battery Type button and Charge Rate buttons to select the correct chemistry and amp settings, as you would with a “regular” charger. To balance-charge a non-iD LiPo, there are 2S and 3S balance ports in the face of the charger to interface with the balance plug.
Using the EZ-Peak Plus 4-Amp iD Charger
While charging, the EZ-Peak Plus iD lets you know how the charge cycle is progressing via its LEDs. The green charge status LED blinks to let you know juice is flowing, and the stack of red LEDs in the center of the charger light in sequence to show charge progress. When the four red LEDs go out and the green LED glows solid, the pack is full charged. All good, but I do wish there was an audible alert when the pack is fully charged. I’m a good boy and never leave batteries charging unattended, but I am busy wrenching on cars or tapping away on articles and a “beep” to let me know that it’s time to take a break and go drive would be nice. I used the iD charger with a bunch of Traxxas iD batteries as well as non-iD batteries, and I was quickly spoiled by the iD tech. Little 1200mAh NiMH pack for 1/16 E-Revo? Plug in, hit start. Big 8000mAh 3S LiPo for E-Maxx Brushless Edition? Plug in, hit start. 7-cell NiMH for Slash? Plug in, hit start. When I had to charge non-iD packs, pushing buttons to select the pack type and charge rate seemed primitive, like getting up to change the channel on a TV. “Give me a break,” you say, “it’s just two more clicks.” I hear you, but believe me, I got used to not pressing those buttons — or more precisely, I got used to not thinking about what to select with the buttons. And I definitely didn’t miss hassling with balance plugs or adapters. One plug is the way to go.
Since this article first appeared in RC Car Action, Traxxas has added a dual-charger to the EZ-Peak iD line. The EZ-Peak 8amp Dual iD charger works just like the “single battery” model: plug in your iD pack and hit start. It can charge NiMh and LiPo packs simultaneously, the charger programs itself. Not charging iD packs? You can program the settings yourself for each pack independently. For more on the EZ-Peak 8amp Dual iD Charger, visit the Traxxas site here.
The EZ-Peak Plus 4-Amp iD Charger and iD batteries really do make charging more convenient, and more importantly, the system makes charging safer. For Traxxas drivers just starting to collect cars and batteries, the iD “battery eco system” means there will never be any need to worry about selecting charger modes or choosing the right amp rate, and preparing LiPo packs for storage is a no-brainer. For those of us who already have Traxxas packs, the iD charger is easy to set up for whatever non-iD packs you’ve got, and when you start replacing your older packs with iD versions, you’ll enjoy the “just hit Start” convenience of the system. Highly recommended.
We named Traxxas’ iD charging tech our “Innovation of the Year.” So yeah, it’s good! (Click to enlarge)