Test/Review of Charger LiitoKala Engineer Lii-500

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Test/Review of Charger LiitoKala Engineer Lii-500
Charger LiitoKala Engineer Lii-500

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LiitoKala continues to improve each time they make new charger models, this time it is a 4 channel charger with charge and discharge functions (All their Engineer models have discharge).

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It arrived in a nondescript cardboard box, that could directly be used for shipping.

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The box contained the charger, power adapter, car power adapter and a manual.
The supplied power adapter is a universal voltage (100-240VAC 50/60Hz) with 12V 2A output.

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The charger has a DC power input, for the mains adapter and the car adapter.
There is also a 1A usb output.

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The user interface is 6 buttons and a display. The four top buttons is used to select a specific slot, when none of them has been pressed MODE and CURRENT works on all slots simultaneously.
The two bottom buttons is used to select mode (Charge, fast discharger, normal discharge) and current (300, 500, 700, 1000mA). The current is charge current, discharge current will be either 250mA (300/500 selected) or 500mA (700/1000 selected).

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During power on the charger will turn all segments in the display on.
As can be seen the display will only show data for one channel at a time, but you get all the data at once.

DSC_0970DSC_0971

Here are two examples of the display during charge.

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The slots uses the classical slider construction and it works fine.

The slots can work from 32 mm to 71.3mm. This means that it will handle just about all protected 18650 and 26650 cells.

supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizesDSC_0843DSC_0844DSC_0849

DSC_0845DSC_0846DSC_0847DSC_0848DSC_0861
DSC_0850DSC_0851

The charger can handle 71.3 mm long batteries including flat top cells.



Measurements
  • Power consumption when idle is 0.94 watt, it drops to 0.69 watt when the display is off.
  • When not powered the charger will drain LiIon batteries with 2mA
  • When not powered the charger will drain NiMH batteries with 0.4mA
  • Below 0.3 volt charger will not recognize any batteries, but still charge with 3mA.
  • Below 1.6 volt batteries are assumed to be NiMH.
  • Above 2.2 volt batteries are assumed to be LiIon.
  • Charger will not restart if battery voltage drops.
  • Charge will restart charging after power loss, or battery insertion.
  • Voltmeter do not update when charging is finished.
  • Voltmeter has a minimum reading around 0.6 volt
  • Voltmeter is within 0.02 volt.
  • Display light will turn off after 30 seconds.


Charge LiIon

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

This is a good CC/CV charge curve with a termination just below 100mA.
Display shows 2945mAh in 3:33 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

Display shows 2914mAh in 3:31 hours

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Display shows 2925mAh in 3:27 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(PA18650-31)%20%234

The other 3 channels looks the same.
Display shows 2942mAh in 3:42 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(SA18650-26)%20%231

This battery takes about the same time to charge at 1A, because the CV phase is a bit longer.
Display shows 2554mAh in 3:29 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(PA18650-34)%20%231

Display shows 3194mAh in 3:44 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(BE18650-26)%20%231

This cell is a bit older and has a very long CV phase, making it slower to charge.
Display shows 2202mAh in 4:12 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20300mA%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

The charging curve is also good at 300mA, but I would have liked a lower termination current.
Display shows 2848mAh in 9:58 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20700mA%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Display shows 2950mAh in 4:48 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20500mA%20(KP14500-08)%20%231

Display shows 779mAh in 1:55 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20500mA%20(AW18350-IMR)%20%231

Display shows 658mAh in 1:34 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(4xPA18650-31)

With 4 cells in the charger and full charge current it get a bit warm.
Display shows 2975mAh, 2975mAh, 3015mAh, 2910mAh in 3:35, 3:23, 3:23, 3:15 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%2012V%20(4xPA18650-31)

The charger needs about 1.8A from the power supply, the supplied 2A supply fits very nicely.

Temp2359

M1: 43,1°C, M2: 46,0°C, M3: 46,5°C, M4: 44,4°C, M5: 51,5°C, M6: 50,4°C, M7: 39,2°C, HS1: 57,1°C

PoweronLiIon

The charger is slow to start, because it waits for user input. There is no pwm in the charger current at any setting.



Charge NiMH

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(eneloop)%20%231

The termination look like a voltage termination and without filling the cell completely.
Generally it looks like the capacity display is a bit high for NiMH cells.
Display shows 1941mAh in 1:56 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(eneloop)%20%232

Display shows 1981mAh in 1:59 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(eneloop)%20%233

Display shows 1975mAh in 1:58 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(eneloop)%20%234

Display shows 2007mAh in 2:00 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(eneloopPro)%20%231

Display shows 2574mAh in 2:34 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(powerex)%20%231

Display shows 2783mAh in 2:47 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20300mA%20(eneloop)%20%231

The advantage with voltage termination is that it also works at low charge currents.
Display shows 1951mAh in 6:36 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20700mA%20(eneloop)%20%231

Display shows 2008mAh in 2:53 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20500mA%20(eneloopAAA)%20%231

Display shows 714mAh in 1:25 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20full%20(eneloop)%20%231

Voltage termination is fairly fast at detecting a full cell.
Display shows 58mAh in 0:03 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20300mA%20full%20(eneloop)%20%231

At low charge current the termination is a slow.
Display shows 103mAh in 0:20 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20(4xeneloop)

Four cells in a compact charger warms the cells up.
Display shows 2056mAh, 2081mAh, 2090mAh, 2103mAh

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%2012V%20(4xeneloop)

For charging NiMH the charger only need 1A.

Temp2374

M1: 44,5°C, M2: 45,7°C, M3: 45,3°C, M4: 43,1°C, M5: 50,0°C, M6: 47,9°C, HS1: 61,1°C

PoweronNiMH



Fast test LiIon (Discharge & charge)

This test measures the charged capacity. It might be a fast test, but it takes about 10 hours!
The possible discharge currents are 500mA and 250mA, they are selected depending on charge current:
1000mA and 700mA charge current will select 500mA discharge current.
500mA and 300mA charge current will select 250mA discharge current.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

The charger discharges the cell to a bit below 2.9 volt and then charges it while measuring capacity. For LiIon this works fairly well.
Display shows 3058mAh in 3:40 hours, remember that the time shown is only the charge time, not the total time.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

Display shows 3040mAh in 3:36 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%233

Display shows 3038mAh in 3:39 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%234

Display shows 3046mAh in 3:41 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20300mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

With 300mA selected as charge current the discharge current is 250mA.
Display shows 2974mAh in 10:22 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20500mA%20fast%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Display shows 3006mAh in 6:33 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(4xPA18650-31)

Discharging 4 batteries at the same time will heat the charger.
Display shows 3052mAh, 3082mAh, 3130mAh, 3078mAh

Temp2366

M1: 46,9°C, M2: 49,2°C, M3: 49,1°C, M4: 47,4°C, M5: 51,9°C, M6: 50,7°C, M7: 47,2°C, HS1: 60,4°C
Lot of heat while discharging, but within discharge ratings for LiIon batteries, a cool down period before charging would have been nice.
To avoid the high temperature use the lower discharge current.

DischargeLiIon1A

Discharge is with constant current, but it is done with a switching regulator without smoothing it. The frequency is about 60kHz. This is better than the pulsing current on many analyzing chargers.

DischargeLiIon0.3A

Same with the low current discharge.



Fast test NiMH (Discharge & charge)

This test measures the charged capacity. It might be a fast test, but it takes about 6 hours!
The possible discharge currents are 500mA and 250mA, they are selected depending on charge current:
1000mA and 700mA charge current will select 500mA discharge current.
500mA and 300mA charge current will select 250mA discharge current.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(eneloop)%20%231

The battery is discharged to about 1.0 volt
Display shows 2041mAh in 2:02 hours, remember that the time shown is only the charge time, not the total time.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(eneloop)%20%232

Display shows 2035mAh in 2:02 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(eneloop)%20%233

Display shows 2037mAh in 2:02 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(eneloop)%20%234

Display shows 2052mAh in 2:03 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20300mA%20fast%20test%20(eneloop)%20%231

With 300mA selected as charge current the discharge current is 250mA.
Display shows 1962mAh in 6:38 hours

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20fast%20test%20(4xeneloop)

The temperature do increase while discharging NiMH, but the power is only about 1/3 of LiIon and the heat is much less.
Display shows 2045mAh, 2108mAh, 2094mAh, 2141mAh

Temp2381

M1: 37,2°C, M2: 38,1°C, M3: 38,6°C, M4: 37,6°C, M5: 36,4°C, M6: 38,2°C, HS1: 47,0°C

DischargeNiMH1A

Discharge is with constant current, but it is done with a switching regulator without smoothing it. The frequency is about 60kHz.



Nor test (Charge, discharge & charge)

I am not going to include many curves here, because it is a combination of the above.
When doing a normal test the discharge capacity is measured. Remember the discharge current is not the selected current, but either 250mA or 500mA.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20nor%20test%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Display shows 2955mAh in 6:10 hours, time shown is the discharge time not the total time.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%201000mA%20nor%20test%20(eneloop)%20%231

This time the capacity of the NiMH cell is lower, my guess is the charger will add some percent in the charge and fast tests, because the manufacturer knows it will terminate early.
Display shows 1796mAh in 3:11 hours



Internal resistance

The charger will always show the internal resistance of batteries.

ResistanceLiIon

The above chart is for a LiIon cell. First line in same cell 5 times in the same slot.
The +XmOhm are supposed to show X in the result column, this does not really work.

ResistanceNiMH

NiMH does not look better.
The display shows higher values with higher resistance, but there is no relation to ohms.



USB output
  • When not powered the charger will drain LiIon batteries with 2mA (No USB symbol on display)
  • When display is on the charger will drain LiIon batteries with 26mA (Total for all loaded batteries)
  • When display is off, but usb output is on the charger will drain LiIon batteries with 13mA (Total for all loaded batteries)
  • MODE button will turn display on
  • Usb output is coded as Apple 1A
  • When power is connected, usb output is forced off.
  • When the load drops below 70mA the output will turn off in 20 seconds.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20(PA18650-31)%20%231%20load%20sweep

The usb output can deliver about 1.2A before it starts to drop, at 1,6A it turns off. This looks reasonable.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20(4xPA18650-31)%20load%20sweep

With for batteries in the charger the output voltage is stable up to 1.4A and still maintains the 1.6A turn off.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20out%2010ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

With one 18350 3100mAh cell there is 0.5A power for a bit above 2 hours. The Turn off voltage is a bit high with about 3.3 volt.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20out%205ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

With a 1A load the runtime is down to 40 minutes, this is not very good.

LiitoKala%20Lii-500%20out%205ohm%20(4xPA18650-31)

With 4 cells in the charger the output is much better, here it can maintain output for 5 hours.
Current and voltage shown are only for one cell, this makes the efficiency invalid.

10ohm

There is 11mV rms and 160mVpp noise. This is very good values.

5ohm

There is 15mV rms and 160mVpp noise. Even with a 1A load the noise is low (At least with a fresh battery).


Testing the EU mains transformer with 2500 volt and 5000 volt between mains and low volt side, did not show any safety problems.



Conclusion

I like the user interface, put a couple of batteries in and select mode/current with the respective buttons. As long as the number keys are not touched the selection is for all slots (Showing all slot numbers would have been nice).
The charger is very good at charging LiIon, but stops a bit early on NiMH.
The fast test works fine on LiIon, but with NiMH it shows too much capacity (the full test looks more correct).
As usual I am not impressed with the resistance function.
The usb output has very low noise, but need multiple cells to work well with 1A load.

The final result must be that it is a good charger with a useful analyze function.



Notes

Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger
Read more about how I test USB power supplies/charger

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

zelee
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Thanks for the review HKJ.
But between this charger and opus which one is more recommended?
I want to replace my old I4 charger

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I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.

HKJ
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zelee wrote:
Thanks for the review HKJ. But between this charger and opus which one is more recommended? I want to replace my old I4 charger

Depends a bit on what you want, the Opus can do a lot more than this charger and works better at NiMH.

But if mainly want to work with LiIon this charger is very easy to use and can do what is required. For small LiIon cells it is significantly superior to Opus (No 3A pulses).

It can also be used for NiMH, but Opus chargers are very good at exactly filling NiMH cells, i.e. if you mainly uses NiMH I would recommend a Opus charger.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

zelee
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Thanks for your suggestion HKJ,i charged Li Ion battery more often than NiMH.
I’ll give a try with this charger

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.

tempo
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Thank god, i have the Opus already!! Tongue Out

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Aaah. Finally what we all waited for Big Smile

So, I guess I need another charger…

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L4M4 wrote:
Aaah. Finally what we all waited for Big Smile

yes , here it is… thanks HKJ! seems that it’s a good contender for mainly liion, and preferable to the old 260, but the resistence stuff have not been improved, nevermind i guess we all knew it in advance.

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Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
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Does the display scroll between occupied slots? With no LEDs or dedicated indicators per slot, I’d imagine it’d be quite inconvenient since you’d have to push the button of every slot to see the status of the operation.

Also, I assume all slots are independent, i.e. you can do different operations on each one, and charge at different currents (e.g. charge one lost at 1000, charge one slot at 300, quick test one slot and full test the last one).

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ferongr wrote:
Does the display scroll between occupied slots? With no LEDs or dedicated indicators per slot, I'd imagine it'd be quite inconvenient since you'd have to push the button of every slot to see the status of the operation.

I did not notice any scrolling

ferongr wrote:
Also, I assume all slots are independent, i.e. you can do different operations on each one, and charge at different currents (e.g. charge one lost at 1000, charge one slot at 300, quick test one slot and full test the last one).

Yes.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

Rolz
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HKJ Thanks for this compreshensive review.

 

piasca
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Another great work. I really like your technical review but I think you should do better conclusions, maybe positives end negatives or more elaborate.
In this case its a good conclusion but in other reviews it could be improved.

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Thanks, HKJ, for this detailed review of yours, as always :D!

Seeing how people complain that their Opus’es break down and start to act weird Ive been thinking whether this could be better in the long run.

Wait and see…

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HKJ, thanks for the review. I have the Nitecore Digicharger D2 which I am very happy with. But it doesn’t analyze the battery capacity so I am looking for a new charger and the 500 might be it. Do you also do a price comparison to see which charger is the best value for the features?

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I think you misunderstood HKJ ‘s work, it does the analytics stuff, but you have to draw your conclusions… the numbers are all there, but you have to see what’s suits more your needs and your habits, what you charge most, 10440, or 26650, or NiMh, or 4.35V li-ion etc… and see what’s best for you.

Rufusbduck wrote:
Getting discouraged is normal but doesn't finish the job.
HKJ
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Windsurf wrote:
Do you also do a price comparison to see which charger is the best value for the features?

One big problem with that is that price varies with country and with time.

TheBo wrote:
I think you misunderstood HKJ 's work, it does the analytics stuff, but you have to draw your conclusions... the numbers are all there, but you have to see what's suits more your needs and your habits, what you charge most, 10440, or 26650, or NiMh, or 4.35V li-ion etc... and see what's best for you.

That is an important factor. In my opinion there is no best charger, it is best charger for an application.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

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I’ve been waiting for this since I first heard that you were going to be testing it.

Than you, HKJ,
-Chuck

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chuckhov wrote:
I've been waiting for this since I first heard that you were going to be testing it.

It did take nearly four weeks to test, it has a lot of functionality.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

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I’m going to get one… I just wanted to hear what you had to say about it first.

I see that Gearbest has them now – I was hesitant to order one from AliExpress because they don’t take PayPal.

I really appreciate all that you do for us, HKJ… Thanks Again!
-Chuck

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chuckhov wrote:
see that Gearbest has them now

If you check the frontpage on my website you can save a little bit.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

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does it have  a feature to charge/discharge a battery to ideal state for storage ?

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Yes, I did save about $3!

Thanks!
-Chuck

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Thanks for the review!! I’ve been waiting for this.

HKJ: I have a “Hobby style” 13.8V 25A power supply in which I have all my 12V devices connected. So far they have been working great but I don’t a way to prove that it will not give me any trouble on the long run.

Do you think feeding 13.8V into the Lii-500 is safe?

I always tend to stay away from the generic 12V adapters because once I had one overheat and melt the plastic casing.

Thanks

This is the power supply: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__17423__HobbyKing_350w_25A_Pow...

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will34 wrote:
Thanks for the review!! I've been waiting for this. HKJ: I have a "Hobby style" 13.8V 25A power supply in which I have all my 12V devices connected. So far they have been working great but I don't a way to prove that it will not give me any trouble on the long run. Do you think feeding 13.8V into the Lii-500 is safe? I always tend to stay away from the generic 12V adapters because once I had one overheat and melt the plastic casing. Thanks This is the power supply: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__17423__HobbyKing_350w_25A_Pow... i such a case i connect few power diodes in series  to drop its voltage (most diodes are .7v ) .

 

 1N5404 is rated for 3A and vf is 1.2 volts so you can use this to drop to 12.6 volts ..

HKJ
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will34 wrote:
HKJ: I have a "Hobby style" 13.8V 25A power supply in which I have all my 12V devices connected. So far they have been working great but I don't a way to prove that it will not give me any trouble on the long run. Do you think feeding 13.8V into the Lii-500 is safe?

Anything that has 12V input and includes or has an auto adapter as extras, can be used with that power supply without any worries.

 

will34 wrote:
I always tend to stay away from the generic 12V adapters because once I had one overheat and melt the plastic casing.

With age all modern adapters/power supplies will do that or the internal fuse may blow first. If the adapter is hot it will happen faster.

My website with reviews of many chargers and batteries (More than 1000): http://lygte-info.dk/

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Nice to see that this charger gets HKJ’s seal of approval for lithium use. Smile
I have been using it for some time now. The only problem I’ve had with it was that the mode button went in and stopped working soon after purchase. Had to open up the charger and align the “long” shaft behind the button on top of the microswitch again.

Lord_Niksidor
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Awesome review thanks

poster
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i want add that i figured a way to SET ALL BANKS TO THE SAME SETTING AT ONCE

if you have all cells in the charger
UNPLUG the power and plug it back in THEN within a second SET 1 bank to the feature and current you want the rest will be set to the same setting IF ITS DONE WITHIN A SECOND OR SO

now that the Lii-500 has the seal of approval i can point you to a low price for the Lii-500 (from Ali E. no paypal)
i just noticed a new low price NOW $23.05 SHIPPED or LE$$ on their app
or here for $22.99 or 2 for $20.92

realista
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what to prefer… this or the opus c3100 ?
for this i don’t see support for 4,35v and 3,6v ( max voltage) batteries…. so i think opus is preferable

Jubeldum
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I can’t wait until mine arrives so I can test all of my laptop pulls.

Windsurf
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Jubeldum wrote:
I can’t wait until mine arrives so I can test all of my laptop pulls.

I have a variety of batteries including some 18650 pulls that I would like to know what their real capacity is. But my old Nitecore D2 is working fine for charging and knowing what the capacity of my batteries is doesn’t really make a difference in how they function. So I am thinking instead of buying a new charger I may just take the money and buy some new batteries instead.

poster
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i had 50 or so pulls before i even bought any charger and i started with empty DIY power banks for $1-$4 and i was happy
then i bought a D4 and not so happy it was slow like the DIY power banks
i recently bought some Lii-500 and i am very happy at the same time i started to buy 18650 the best ones Sanyo NCR18650BF but i still use my old pulls as with the Lii-500 i can spot the good ones and most are and i am happy

BTW between the old GOOD pulls (say the ~2200mAh ones) and the new Sayno 3400mAh i get 2x the run time with my small leds so there is something to say about getting new cells

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