The iSDT Q8 is the successor of the famous Q6. At the same price, the Q8 improves in both charge current as well as power, so it’s a much better than the Q6 on paper, but is it an overall better charger? Let’s find out.
Where to Buy?
- GetFPV – https://oscarliang.com/product-3ut2
- Banggood – https://oscarliang.com/product-n2rb
- RDQ – https://oscarliang.com/product-39co
- Amazon – https://amzn.to/2NCHbFY
There is also the MAX Edition which has 1000W power and 30A output current. In my opinion it’s an overkill and not practical, not to mention it’s hard to find a matching power supply for it. The 500W Q8 is more than enough for most people, and it’s much cheaper too.
The Q8 charger comes with a screen protector, manual booklet and some stickers. There’s no cable provided.
Specs and Features
At 20A output, you can charge up to 13 typical FPV drone batteries (4S 1500mAh) at the same time in under an hour. This is more than enough for most people. The rest of the specs are just as impressive.
- Charging Power: DC 500W
- Charging Current: 0.1A-20.0A
- Discharging Power: 15W
- Discharging Current: 0.1A-1.5A
- Input Voltage: DC 10-34V
- Output Voltage: DC 1-34V
- Support Battery:
- LiFe, Lion, LiPo 1-8S
- Pb: 1-12S
- NiMH: 1-16S
- Balance current: 1.5A/Cell Max
- Size: 80X80X34mm
Differences Between iSDT Q6 and Q8
I used to recommend the Q6 because it was reliable and simply the best value LiPo charger. iSDT has discontinued the Q6 now, and replaced with the overall better Q8.
The Q6 and Q8 are priced the same, however the Q8 is way more powerful in terms of specs.
|Max Charging Current||20A||14A|
|Support Cell Count||1S – 8S||1S – 6S|
|Input Voltage||10V – 34V||7V – 32V|
Closer Look at the iSDT Q8 Charger
It’s using “touch buttons”, which is way more durable than physical buttons and cheaper to make. But I personally find touch buttons are slower to use and less precise than physical ones. Anyway you will get used to them after a while, and it’s not a deal breaker at all. I do however miss the roller wheel button in the Q6 though :)
On the right, there’s the input XT60 connector, and micro USB port for firmware updates.
On the left, there’s the output XT60 connector, and balance connector.
Nothing to see on the bottom, just some non-slip feet.
The iSDT Q8 is a simple charger, it only charges and discharges batteries, there’s no other fancy “accessibility” features like the ToolkitRC M7 we recently reviewed.
Simply plug in a battery to the output, enter the charge settings, and you are good to go!
Once the charging started, you get to see the input and output voltage, as well as the temperature of the charger.
The fan only starts blowing when the charger gets warm, and the fan speed increases with temperature to minimize noise.
It also shows the internal resistance of the cells, which is useful for determining the health of the battery.
When you are not charging, hold down the enter button for 3 seconds takes you to the system settings.
In system settings you can adjust the following:
- Lowest Input Voltage
- Max Input Power
- Completion Tone
- Touch Slide
- Keep Trickle
- Self Test
- System Info
Here’s the manual that comes in the box explaining how to use the Q8, but honestly it’s not that difficult at all if you have experience with any smart chargers.
After confirming with a multimeter (calibrated), the voltage readings in the XT60 and balance connectors seem to be highly accurate, probably the most accurate in all the chargers I’ve tested this year, I didn’t need to calibrate it :) To give you an idea here are some measurements:
|Input XT60||Output XT60||Balance|
|Multimeter||15.14||15.02||3.70, 3.79, 3.78, 3.73|
|Q8||15.2||15.0||3.73, 3.78, 3.79, 3.70|
And it does not over charge batteries either, when you set it to stop at 4.20V/cell, the end voltage of the battery does not exceed that.
Other Positive Aspects
I have been using the iSDT Q8 Lipo charger for a while now and I really like it.
I occasionally use the Q8 indoor, but really, mostly outdoor for field charging just like I did with the Q6, because it’s compact and light weight.
One thing that people don’t talk about when reviewing chargers, is the balance current.
If you have a charger with low balance current, it will take forever to finish the last 2-3 percent when charging a battery with out of balance cells. The higher “balance current” is, the faster it will finish balancing the voltages between cells. This is especially important when you are charging a lot of packs simultaneously, and if the cells are out of balance. The Q8’s 1.5A per cell is an outstanding number, cheaper charger can usually do around 0.4-0.5A / cell.
The color LCD screen is very bright and readable even under the sun, viewing angle is great also. It also offers “dark mode” in the system menu which is great for low light environment and it doesn’t hurt your eyes.
To update firmware, it no longer requires that weird 3.5mm audio jack with serial adapter. there is now a micro USB port you can just plug straight into your computer.
The Q8 is Great, But Not Perfect
Overall I am very happy with the Q8, there are a couple of things to be aware of though.
I wish they used the same scroll wheel button from the Q6, the touch buttons of the Q8 are more durable for sure, but also slightly harder and slower to sue.
It’s a single channel charger, meaning you have to use a parallel charging board if you were to get the most out of this charger. If you don’t like parallel charging due to safety concern, you can only charge on battery at a time, or probably prefer a multi-channel charger like the ToolkitRC M4Q.
Getting a Power Supply
You cannot power the Q8 directly from AC, you can only power it from a battery, or use a dedicated power supply (PSU) which should be purchased separately. This is what I use: http://bit.ly/2PCTCNV. This is by no mean the best PSU, but it’s good value and no DIY needed, see my review here.
You can also get the slightly more expensive ToolkitRC P200, it’s only 200W (100W AC), but it’s versatile and plug and play. The cheapest / most powerful option would be using a server PSU, but that requires some DIY and know how.
- Jun 2020 – article created
- Apr 2021 – added my experience with M7 regarding the difference in balance current per cell