Every so often we get "All-in-one"-type chargers that claim to do everything: charge, discharge, cycle, power comm lathes, and so on for all types of batteries. For this scope we'll be taking a look at MRC's new Super Brain 989 Competition Elite. This multi-function unit claims to do all of the above, for practically anything you may need to charge. The feature list is long, so before testing let's take a look at what the 989 offers.

Words: Derek Buono
Issue 133 (December 2006)

• Charge/discharge 1-25 NiCd / NiMh cells, 1-8 LiPo cells, 1-4 Lead-acid or Gel cells
• 0.1-10amp charge/discharge rates
• Adjustable peak sensitivity / cutoff voltage per cell
• 24 battery profile memory storage
• Auto-cycle mode with adjustable cycle # and delay
• Adjustable trickle charge cutoff / temperature cutoff
• Motor break-in / power supply mode 1-30v/10a max
• AC/DC operation
• LCD digital display and audible confirmation beeps

The 989 is MRC's flagship charger in the "Super Brain" series and comes as two separate enclosures. The charger (5.5" square x 3" tall) connects to the power supply (about 6.5" x 3.25" x 2.5") through banana plugs but can be used in the field with the included 12v alligator clip attachments. On the output side, the charger has plugs that accept the temperature probe, battery plug with Tamiya-style connector, or battery plug with alligator clips. Both the charger and power supply have automatic temperature-controlled cooling fans, and the 989's "power supply" mode can be used to run other devices such as a comm lathe. Both units have a good heft to them--nothing feels cheap or hacked together.

With all the features listed, there are basically four modes to choose from: charge, discharge, cycle, and power supply mode. Five soft-touch buttons on the face of the unit provide user input, and a large LCD screen provides visual feedback. The instruction manual was a little sparse, but after a few seconds of pushing the buttons on the charger, it was apparent that I wouldn't really need instructions. The LCD screen walks you through any of the numerous functions, using easy to read static text prompts. There's even a battery icon on the upper right corner that shows battery capacity--great for checking the status of your charge/discharge at a glance.
Within seconds I was cycling a NiMH pack (to test both charge and discharge features) and the 989 did everything automatically. During the 10A discharge portion, I noticed that the 989's case got up to about 109-degrees, but the built-in fan was doing its job, pushing hot air out of the vents on top of the charger case. I also charged up a LiPo pack with ease, as basically all I had to do was tell the 989 what type of battery it was, and the 989 did the rest. After the charging tests, I switched to power supply mode and tried running a comm. lathe off the 989's outputs. Output voltage can be adjusted on the fly, and you can also set the 989 to turn the voltage off at a user-selected time limit (great for motor break-in). The LCD screen showed output voltage and amperage in real-time, and was accurate (as confirmed by a separate voltmeter).

All in all, the MRC Super Brain 989 meets all expectations. It is really easy to use, and the informative LCD display leaves no questions when you're working with your batteries. I like how you can use it to power comm. lathes and tire truers straight from the 989. The quick-view battery icon is another plus. If you're looking to upgrade to a reliable, feature-packed combo-unit, the 989 from MRC is hard to pass on.

Celebrity Equivalent; Rating 9.0
• Excellent all-in-one battery unit
• Informative LCD is confusion-free
• AC Power supply stays home when
not needed
• Doesn't look "high-tech" enough
• No profile naming
• A little bulky when transporting both units








Banners are for your personal interest, so use them and  you will also support this website 

 Les banniθres sont pour votre usage personnel, utilisez-les et vous supportez ce site par la mκme occasion