Kong Power LiPo Balancer
Kong Power LiPo/LiFe Balancer review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Charging a LiPo or LiFe battery without balancing the pack can lead to damage to your pack, a drop in battery performance or worse. If you use a LiPo battery in your airsoft gun, you should have a charger that auto balances, but if you donâ€™t, a standalone balancer is a wise addition to your airsoft toolbox.
This item was sent to Airsoft Retreat directly from Kong Power in order to give it an unbiased and complete review. Kong Power is a Taiwan based company that specializes in LiPo batteries and accessories, all of which are very high quality. Having reviewed (and thoroughly enjoyed) their â€œMultichargerâ€, I was happy to give this item a try! At the time of this writing, I havenâ€™t been able to find this item at any airsoft retailers, but I did find it at a few RC shops for about $50.
This unit is a very compact, computer controlled balancer for LiPo/LiFe battery packs. As mentioned earlier, keeping your battery pack balanced is crucial for a safe and long battery life. As you use your battery in your AEG, it may not pull equal â€œjuiceâ€ from the each cell, draining one or more cells at a higher or lower rate than the others. This leads to an unbalanced pack. Now, if you use a charger that doesnâ€™t balance as it charges, you could overcharge or undercharge some of the cells, resulting in all matter of issues with performance. Thatâ€™s where this balancer comes in handy!
The KP Balancer came in a clear plastic package, surrounded with high density foam to keep it safe during transport. It included an instruction page as well as some Kong Power stickers. Overall, the packaging is kind of sparse, but it serves its purpose perfectly by keeping it safe and sound until it arrives in your hands!
Input: 2-6 LiPo/LiFe cell count pack
The externals of the balancer are comprised primarily of a high strength polymer, with the front being dominated by a large LCD screen. It has a matte black finish with blue and white accents on the front.
Starting at the front, you will find the screen and the three buttons used to choose your mode of operation. The different modes are as a battery meter, balancer, and discharger. You can also set your balance and discharge voltage limits using the mode button. The settings are 2.0v-3.9v (pre-set at 3.2V) for balancing, and 3.0v-4.2v (pre-set at 3.9V) for discharging.
From this point, click all pictures to enlarge
On one side, youâ€™ll find the input plugs for the battery to plug into. Like all balancers, this unit requires your battery pack to have a balance plug. This unit will balance packs comprised of 2-6 cells, which is far more than any airsoft replica will ever need to use. Most airsoft players either use a 7.4 or 11.1v pack, which are made of 2 and 3 cells, respectively.
The left side houses two receiver battery ports, something likely never to be used by airsofters. These ports are for the batteries in RC receivers.
Receiver battery ports
On the rear you will find a ventilated back plate for heat management during use, as well as a label showing that it is made in Taiwan.
Externally, this thing is a solid little piece of equipment. It has no flexing whatsoever in its construction, and should take the tumbles that most airsoft players inflict to their gear with ease.
For these demonstrations, I will be using an 11.1v 1900 mAh 22C Kong Power battery pack. This is my monster pack, offering 41.8A continuous and 83.6A burst output.
To use the unit, you first need to plug in your battery to the correct balance port on the side. The unit powers on automatically and runs off of the battery that is plugged into it. Once you plug the battery in, the unit will turn on and show you the individual battery cell voltages.
Plug the battery in
Individual cell voltages
Total pack voltage
Now, we can check the minimum balance voltage setting and the discharge minimum voltage by pushing the mode button on the left side of the face.
Minimum balance voltage
Minimum discharge voltage
In looking at the voltages, I can see that they are mostly balanced, only about .02V off of each other, but I will still do a quick balancing on them. You now push the balance button located on the right side of the face, and the unit will automatically start drawing from whatever cells are high in order to balance the cell voltages to the lowest cell, provided itâ€™s higher than the minimum voltage selected in the previous step. It will alternate draining from the various cells to balance it out until it is completely balanced, within .01V.
Balancing mode, the little light shows that itâ€™s discharging that cell to balance the pack out
In discharge mode, you can discharge all the cells to your selected voltage. Now, it wonâ€™t let you drain it more than is safe, so you donâ€™t need to worry about over-discharging your cells.
Discharging mode, showing that itâ€™s drawing from all the cells at the same time
Overall, itâ€™s really easy to use, and if youâ€™re not using a charger that balances on its own, a balancer is a necessity for safe use. This balancer is very user friendly and works very well for its intended purpose.
Simple to use
Very compact and lightweight
Works with all balance plug equipped LiPo/Fe batteries
Large LCD interface
Can be used as an â€œin fieldâ€ voltage tester
Slightly expensive ($50)
Not easily found in stores
Isnâ€™t needed if you have a balancing charger
Overall, I am quite pleased with the functions and design of this unit. I primarily use the Kong Power KP50W smart charger that automatically balances LiPo packs, so this item isnâ€™t terribly useful to me, but I do use it in the field as a voltage tester and to make sure my packs are balanced when Iâ€™m away from my primary charger. In that function, it works flawlessly!
Many thanks again to Kong Power and of course, AirsoftRetreat!
Where to buy:
US: Airsplat http://www.airsplat.com
UK: FireSupport LTD http://www.fire-support.co.uk/category.php?cat=28