The Pro-Peak Prodigy II charger is one of my favorite chargers on and about my hobby bench and field box—primary because of its rich set of features.
Not only does it deal effectively with several types of battery chemistries, it charges, discharges and cycles, too (where appropriate). I’ve been using it for about 2 years now, and haven’t had any issues with it.
The compact charger connects to a DC power source. There is no AC line in. It comes with banana plugs and slide on alligator clips to allow connections to your field box source or to grip a battery terminal or DC output post or screw. The two line LCD screen displays the menu selections such as battery type, charge, discharge or cycle. When the battery type and voltage is selected and sensed, in the case of lipos, the display shows the charging status, length of the charging session in minutes, mAh of input the battery has accepted, charge rate and battery voltage. I find the mAh of input particularly helpful. I use it as sort of a fuel gage for the battery. I log each flight and each battery use. Keeping track of the input allows me to not only monitor the battery health but also make sure the flight times I choose keep the battery from being drawn down too much—especially my lipos.
The Prodigy II handles my lipos, NiCds and NiMHs easily. I use the cycle feature with my NiCds to help manage the battery memory common with them. After a couple of flights I’ll either discharge them using an old trailer light harness or pop them on the Prodigy II. I can discharge only or cycle them to rev them back up. For me the best aspect of this charger is the multiple types of batteries and the fairly large cell counts it will handle. If you look around there are lots of lipo friendly charges out there. What I’ve noticed, however, is that many top out at 3 cells. With electric motors becoming more powerful and costing less and less, the need for big lips is also growing. I think saving a couple of bucks but limiting yourself to a 3 cell charge would ultimately prove to be a mistake.
My biggest complaint about the Prodigy II is that it will only charge one battery at a time. If you’re charging several batteries over a couple of days between outings, this is not an issue. If, however, you want to recharge at the field, you may want to consider adding an inexpensive peak charger for the appropriate battery types to your collection for multi-battery field use.
Here are a couple of other features listed in the instructions that I haven’t discussed:
Charge/discharge 1 to 14 cell NiCd and NiMH batteries
Charge/discharge 1 to 5 cell LiIo and Lipo batteries
Variable charge rate of 0.1 to 5.0 amps
Variable discharge rate from 0.1 to 1.0 amp
Cycle modes (charge-discharge and discharge-charge) for NiCd and NiMH batteries.
Reverse polarity protection on both input and output.
Low input voltage warning.
The Prodigy II comes with banana plugs to add to your favorite connector. The plugs connect to the charger. Tower Hobbies has a wide variety of connectors with banana plugs if you don’t want to make your own.