Team Checkpoint is one of those names that you'll hear about in any winning circle. Their motors propel some of the fastest pros, and they recently expanded their electric product line with their new TC-1030 Pro Charger. This is no basic function, entry-level charger. It comes loaded with many features that are designed with nothing but the racer in mind. With its anodized red case and bright backlit display, The TC-1030 steps into the combo-charger arena with a confident look and a heavy racing heritage behind it. Is it all show, or can it go?

Words: James Revilla
Issue 142 (September 2007)

The TC-1030 is loaded with many features that will appeal to serious racers and weekend warriors. Just check out this list:

• Ni-Cd, Ni-MH, Li-Po, Li-Ion compatible
• Charge range 0.1-10.0 amps (2C for Li-Po)
• Discharge range 0.1-30.0 amps w/pulse option
• Linear, reflex, impulse, CC/CV charge modes
• 1-10 cycle mode with adjustable delay
• 8x21 backlit LCD display
• 10 charging mode memory w/naming function
• Alligator clip or Deans Ultra Plug output
• Dual automatic cooling fans
• Red-anodized aluminum casing/heatsink
• Optional temperature cutoff (with temp. sensor, #TCPP9101)

Out of the box, the TC-1030 doesn't feel like a cheap charger; its weight and sleek aluminum casing tells you right away that it means business. On the test bench, I went through the various functions of the TC-1030. The charge/discharge modes give you many parameters to adjust to your liking. Practically every parameter of a charge or discharge cycle can be adjusted: amps, peak sensitivity, individual cell cut-off voltage, cutoff temperature (when used with the optional clip-on temperature sensor), cycle "cool down" delay, maximum capacity cut-off, and a function called "top-off" which waits until your pack peaks, then starts the charge cycle a second time to literally "top off" the pack for that extra starting line punch. You get five different charge modes (linear, reflex, impulse, 3- or 4-stepped); the last one is interesting in that you can set different charge current values for 4 steps of the charge cycle, i.e., 2A from 0-500mAh, 5A from 500mAh to 1200mAh, etc. Both the charge current and mAh settings are user selectable.

The built-in motor functions set the TC-1030 apart from many other comparable chargers. Along with the standard break-in function (like charging, all parameters are adjustable), there are two other features: motor break-in (once or 4x at different parameters), and the motor test. The motor test changes voltage on the fly during the testing time period to check amp draw.

Next, for some real world testing, I brought the TC-1030 to the RC DriftClub Round 4 event as my main charger, supporting two cars and three classes. I ran both Ni-MH and Li-Po packs all day long. Using the TC-1030 was quick and easy, due to the jog-dial control wheel. Earlier in the office I set up each of the 10 memories, so at the track it was just a matter of selecting "Ni-MH 4300mAh" or "Li-Po 4900 Brick" to charge the battery I needed to refill, pushing the button for two seconds, then letting the TC-1030 do its thing. At the end of a charge or discharge cycle, the TC-1030 gave me the option of seeing the charge/discharge curve in its "graph mode." Here I got to see how the particular pack took a charge; likewise, I got to see the discharge curve of a pack with the same function—showing me which packs were good for competition and which packs were on the way to the "practice only" category.

The only thing missing from this package is a power supply (it's DC only), but that's trivial, considering that you'd have to pay a lot more cash for a separate charger, discharger, and motor checker. The sheer number of battery and motor functions makes you wonder how they crammed all of it into a small package, but they did it and those functions all work well. At first it may seem complicated to use, but once you get used to the jog wheel controls, you'll be charging, discharging, or checking motors with ease. Packed with features to satisfy even the most die-hard racer, Team Checkpoint's TC-1030 is worthy of any serious driver who wants nothing but a high-performance, multi-function charger.

Celebrity Equivalent; Rating 10.0
• Has what racers need, and no extra fluff
• Includes clips and a pre-wired Dean's plug
• Is there something you can't adjust?
• Function usage takes time to learn
• Temperature sensor is an option
MANUFACTURER: Team Checkpoint