Test/review of Zanflare C4

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Agro
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OK, it seems I found the reason for varying measurements.
Temperature swings. When I’m not home heating doesn’t work and temperature goes down by a couple of degrees. I didn’t expect this would be a problem as the cells being measured would be very warm after I return despite quite low ambient temps.
But I took the charger to my fiancee, she measured the 18650B 3 times within 30 mAh. Above 3500 mAh. So I can disregard all the measurements I did so far, but it doesn’t mean there’s a problem with the charger.

The resistance variability is not temperature dependent though…

Agro
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A followup…now I get good consistency, but unrealistically high results. 18650GA doing nearly 3700 mAh?

Agro
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I got independent confirmation: my C4 measures at least 10% too high compared to Lii-500. That’s after taking into account different termination voltages.

Does anyone know if I can still ask Gearbest for refund / replace long after I actually received the charger?

Also, I can’t help but wonder how many faulty C4s are there in the wild….was it a problematic batch or a single charger?

LichtAn
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Anyone got an idea how to modify the charger to get 21700 cells in it? I really love the charger, but it’s just 0.1-0.2mm too short for these cells.

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I wanted to add here that another BLFer got a C4 which measures too high:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60748

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ferongr wrote:
For 500mA discharge current it shouldn’t matter, the connection resistance generates negligible amounts of voltage drop at this current. 100mAh discrepancies on the discharge test are a fault and not a design issue. While 4 contacts are ideal for IR measurement, this should have no bearing on the issue the previous poster encounters, that is, completely inconsistent capacity measurements and IR readings. My own C4 operates to spec and Henrik’s review shows that IR measurement is consistent between reinsertions.

I have tested my C4 with different brand new cells so far (protected Imalent 18650, protected Acebeam 18650, unprotected Samsung 30Qs, 35Es). Everytime I get significantly higher values on slot #2 than on the other three slots. I also have unrealistic higher capacity values. (Note: The green one left is a Sony VTC5A with only 2.600mAh nominal capacity)

I would be interested if the charger is just measuring wrong or if it really pushes more capacity into the cells which I guess is not possible. But I’d like to be sure. Wink However, I’m going to contact Gearbest to find out what they think about it. To my mind, the analyzation feature of the C4 is crap if I always get wrong values. Even if Gearbest accepted an RMA I’d probably receive just another inaccurate charger in return.

See more here:
http://budgetlightforum.com/comment/1328292#comment-1328292

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Sorry for double-posting but I thought it might be interesting to know, what Gearbest replied in terms of those high deviations/wrong numbers when doing a NOR test with the Zanflare C4.

I wrote an honest review about the Zanflare C4 on Gearbest’s website. After that, their customer service team contacted me in order to solve the issues I have with my device. I explained in detail about the high deviations concerning the capacity measurement incl. the fact that charging slot #2 always indicates much more than the other slots.

So…eventually, this is what Gearbest calls “problem solution”. Thank you very much! Facepalm

———————————————————————-
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for your patiencer.

This charger comes with a volume detection function. Voltage accuracy deviation 2%; Current accuracy deviation 5%; Time accuracy deviation 1%. The capacity is tested by charging voltage, current, and time calculations. Due to the fact that it is not a special compartment, the current market can only achieve a 10% accuracy deviation.

The use of interference Including factors: such as the ambient temperature, humidity, battery type, if the battery installed contacts are good or not and so on. For example, if use different brands of the sub-capacity tester to test, there will be some deviations.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best Regards
*****
Gearbest Customer Service
http://www.gearbest.com/

HKJ
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FlashTom wrote:
This charger comes with a volume detection function. Voltage accuracy deviation 2%; Current accuracy deviation 5%; Time accuracy deviation 1%. The capacity is tested by charging voltage, current, and time calculations. Due to the fact that it is not a special compartment, the current market can only achieve a 10% accuracy deviation.

That sounds very reasonable, with one exception: LiIon charge voltage must be within 1%, I would expect the voltmeter to have same precision.

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

Lux-Perpetua
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HKJ wrote:
FlashTom wrote:
This charger comes with a volume detection function. Voltage accuracy deviation 2%; Current accuracy deviation 5%; Time accuracy deviation 1%. The capacity is tested by charging voltage, current, and time calculations. Due to the fact that it is not a special compartment, the current market can only achieve a 10% accuracy deviation.

That sounds very reasonable, with one exception: LiIon charge voltage must be within 1%, I would expect the voltmeter to have same precision.

So, it’s reasonable to always have 6-10% more capacity indicated than actually is in the battery? And it’s reasonable that the same slot always indicates another 75-125mAh of more capacity compared to the other ones? I know I’m right in the beginning of my learning curve but I feel it hard to believe that this kind of accuracy is useful for measuring cell capacities nor can this charger be used to find adequate pairs of cells to use them in serial connection (e.g. 4s in the new Haikelite MT07S).

Do you still think the Zanflare C4 is a “good” charger?

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If you can get a IMAXb6 hobby charger. Unless you have equipment like hkj there’s always going to be some error. But 300 and 400 more mah on 30q just isn’t acceptable it’s like all your parts in that zanflare are at the worst of their tolerances all combined. With a cheap 30 to 50 dollar charger it will be off by up to 10% between my opus and my IMAX there’s never more then 100mah difference Max. Usually closer. The voltage meter on my opus is low by. .07 so it discharges to 2.73 and charges to 4.13 and I’m fine with this. I’d rather charge my batteries to 4.13 helps with cycle life and only a tiny amount of capacity missing.

Don’t expect much help from gearbest. Their customer service is either great or it’s horrible. More of the latter. The rep on here can help usually. But they’ve told you it’s within spec. I’d use my skyrc charger instead it should give you more accurate discharge values.

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[/quote]

That sounds very reasonable, with one exception: LiIon charge voltage must be within 1%, I would expect the voltmeter to have same precision.[/quote]

I have 2 Joinrun S4 chargers. One ends at 4.1V and the other 4.15V . Is this acceptable or should they be closer to 4.2V?

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FlashTom wrote:
So, it’s reasonable to always have 6-10% more capacity indicated than actually is in the battery? And it’s reasonable that the same slot always indicates another 75-125mAh of more capacity compared to the other ones? I know I’m right in the beginning of my learning curve but I feel it hard to believe that this kind of accuracy is useful for measuring cell capacities nor can this charger be used to find adequate pairs of cells to use them in serial connection (e.g. 4s in the new Haikelite MT07S).

Do you still think the Zanflare C4 is a “good” charger?

Standard chargers are not precision equipment and 125mAh is not that big a difference (Less than 5%)

As I said above, I do not like the 2% tolerance on voltage, but except for that I do not see any reason why it is not a good charger.

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

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pennzy wrote:
I have 2 Joinrun S4 chargers. One ends at 4.1V and the other 4.15V . Is this acceptable or should they be closer to 4.2V?

You probably measure after the charger has terminated, this makes it impossible to say if it is within tolerances, but it might very well be.

Try checking these two articles:

https://lygte-info.dk/info/BatteryCharge4.2V%20UK.html
https://lygte-info.dk/info/batteryChargeTerminationTest%20UK.html

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Doesn’t sound reasonable to me. The figures don’t add up.

If you take their figures as accurate and assume absolute worst case to create an overestimate of capacity, the following should happen, unless I am misunderstanding something.

1) Voltage is out by 2%, but that doesn’t really matter, since it will be out by the same amount at low and high, where there is very little capacity anyway, so if it terminates charge at 4.2 + 2% that is 4.284V, but it will have started charging at a 2% higher voltage as well, so the extra charge pumped in to reach that extra 0.084V was already present when it started charging at too high a cutoff, so nothing like 2% difference there.

2) Current accuracy 5%, ok, so you lose up to 5% accuracy there, no getting around that.

3) Time accuracy 1% so that simply adds 1% to the error, assuming the deviation is in the same direction, ie counting the time too fast, and recording the current too high.

SO 6% is the final figure, since the voltage measurement should affect the start and finish to a similar degree, negating the effect.

6% added to 3000mAh is only 3180, your least inaccurate 30Q holding bay is recording a 22% deviation from 3000. Not acceptable at all.

Beam me up!

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Zulumoose wrote:
Doesn’t sound reasonable to me. The figures don’t add up.

If you take their figures as accurate and assume absolute worst case to create an overestimate of capacity, the following should happen, unless I am misunderstanding something.

1) Voltage is out by 2%, but that doesn’t really matter, since it will be out by the same amount at low and high, where there is very little capacity anyway, so if it terminates charge at 4.2 + 2% that is 4.284V, but it will have started charging at a 2% higher voltage as well, so the extra charge pumped in to reach that extra 0.084V was already present when it started charging at too high a cutoff, so nothing like 2% difference there.

2) Current accuracy 5%, ok, so you lose up to 5% accuracy there, no getting around that.

3) Time accuracy 1% so that simply adds 1% to the error, assuming the deviation is in the same direction, ie counting the time too fast, and recording the current too high.

SO 6% is the final figure, since the voltage measurement should affect the start and finish to a similar degree, negating the effect.

6% added to 3000mAh is only 3180, your least inaccurate 30Q holding bay is recording a 22% deviation from 3000. Not acceptable at all.

If you refer to my picture with one green VTC5A in bay 1 and those purple ones in bay 2-4…well, these are Samsung 35E (nominal capacity 3.500mAh). But still, there are high deviations. So far, I still don’t get it, that bay/slot 2 always measures even more capacity, regardless what cells I put in.

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Those 35 e are about 300 off with the high capacity cells you don’t get the full 3500 is pretty misleading. Around 3300 to 3400 is more what they test at

Just like with my 30qs most test around 2900. I think I’ve had a couple reach around 3000 discharging to 2.73 but it’s usually 2800 2900

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Zulumoose wrote:
1) Voltage is out by 2%, but that doesn’t really matter, since it will be out by the same amount at low and high, where there is very little capacity anyway, so if it terminates charge at 4.2 + 2% that is 4.284V, but it will have started charging at a 2% higher voltage as well, so the extra charge pumped in to reach that extra 0.084V was already present when it started charging at too high a cutoff, so nothing like 2% difference there.

A voltage different at top and bottom end do not give the same capacity difference and a 2% voltage difference may give more or less capacity difference.

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

Zulumoose
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HKJ wrote:
Zulumoose wrote:
1) Voltage is out by 2%, but that doesn’t really matter, since it will be out by the same amount at low and high, where there is very little capacity anyway, so if it terminates charge at 4.2 + 2% that is 4.284V, but it will have started charging at a 2% higher voltage as well, so the extra charge pumped in to reach that extra 0.084V was already present when it started charging at too high a cutoff, so nothing like 2% difference there.

A voltage different at top and bottom end do not give the same capacity difference and a 2% voltage difference may give more or less capacity difference.

Isn’t the difference negligible though?
How much more discharge would you get from a cell charged to 4.284V compared to 4.2V, and how does that compare to how much less discharge you would get if you stopped the discharge at a voltage 2% higher than spec? It is the difference between those two values that would have to be 2% of total cell capacity in order for the 2% error in voltage to give you an actual 2% error in capacity testing.

I would expect a cell at 4.284V would drop to 4.2V in just seconds on a discharge test, and behave similarly at the bottom end of the range, making both values very low and the difference between them even lower.

Beam me up!

HKJ
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Zulumoose wrote:
HKJ wrote:
Zulumoose wrote:
1) Voltage is out by 2%, but that doesn’t really matter, since it will be out by the same amount at low and high, where there is very little capacity anyway, so if it terminates charge at 4.2 + 2% that is 4.284V, but it will have started charging at a 2% higher voltage as well, so the extra charge pumped in to reach that extra 0.084V was already present when it started charging at too high a cutoff, so nothing like 2% difference there.

A voltage different at top and bottom end do not give the same capacity difference and a 2% voltage difference may give more or less capacity difference.

Isn’t the difference negligible though?
How much more discharge would you get from a cell charged to 4.284V compared to 4.2V, and how does that compare to how much less discharge you would get if you stopped the discharge at a voltage 2% higher than spec? It is the difference between those two values that would have to be 2% of total cell capacity in order for the 2% error in voltage to give you an actual 2% error in capacity testing.

I would expect a cell at 4.284V would drop to 4.2V in just seconds on a discharge test, and behave similarly at the bottom end of the range, making both values very low and the difference between them even lower.

I posted a link about it in #44

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I purchased the C4 because I have a bunch of different 18650 and 26650 cells from various sources and am curious how they are holding up.
I received it today and kind of wish I read all the comments here before I bought it…

If I choose Fast test, it discharges the cell and measures the amount of electricity it takes to fully charge it.
If I choose Normal test it fully charges it then discharges it and measures the amount of electricity needed to fully charge it.

  1. If I understand this correctly, the first charge on the normal test is a waste of energy because it is not measured. Should I just mostly deplete a battery with normal use then only utilize the Fast test to periodically check the capacity?
  1. Measuring the amount of energy released while it is being discharged is a more accurate measurement of the capacity of the battery and how much light my flashlight can produce with it. Do other budget friendly chargers operate this way?
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You have not read the review properly:
*
NOR test of LiIon*

It is possible to select 300 or 500mA discharge and charge current.

The charge will first charge the battery, then discharge while measuring capacity and finally charge again.
It discharges to about 2.8V with constant current, i.e. no pwm.

IMO [Fast Charge] is not worth much.
NOR test is useful, and reasonably accurate.
For internal resistance it is better than the Opus, and MUCH better than the Lii-500, which is useless for IR.
That not only makes it a decent charger but a ‘best buy’ in that price category.
Perfect? No. But, a really good charger for the price.

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Was gonna ax about this, but just saw this thread, lucky me. Big Smile

My almighty Miboxer seems to generally agree with my Opus as far as capacity, but yep, my Zanflare seems to be about 10% high.

I got a few NexTorch light kits with 2000mAH cells. My Opus clocked in at about 2000mAH, more or less, but tossing them into the C4, they all clocked in at over 2200mAH. Yeah, that can’t be right…

Figure it’d get outvoted 2 to 1 just on empirical evidence, but if others are also saying the Zanf is consistently 10% over, well, that can’t be good. Is it a multiplicative factor, eg, 1.1×, or is it a constant offset, eg, 200mAH? I really don’t feel like “dialling in” the charger for all cases, so…

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flydiver wrote:

The charge will first charge the battery, then discharge while measuring capacity and finally charge again.

At the end of the NOR test, is the number displayed for the discharge only? Is there a way to stop it and see the discharge capacity without charging it fully?

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Lightbringer wrote:
Is it a multiplicative factor, eg, 1.1×, or is it a constant offset, eg, 200mAH? I really don’t feel like “dialling in” the charger for all cases, so…

Mine was always wrong about true capacities, see post #46. I doubt it’s a constant offset as those Dolidadas were about 5.050mAh instead of 4.600mAh and the Samsung 35Es were about 3.700mAh instead of 3.500mAh. So, I would guess it’s a percentage you need to add. However, worst of all is that my C4 measured inconsistent as slot 2 was even more off than slot 1, 3 and 4. Gearbest claims this is just normal and within certain thresholds of tolerances. Well, I don’t agree with them as I need to be sure about consistent capacities before using multiple batteries in series.

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Calaveras wrote:
At the end of the NOR test, is the number displayed for the discharge only?

Correct.

Calaveras wrote:
Is there a way to stop it and see the discharge capacity without charging it fully?

Stop it? No unless you pull out the cells or unplug the device. But you can read the measured capacity on the display as soon as the discharge process has finished and the cells are being charged again.

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As stated, you can’t stop it. you can hover tediously and catch it at the right moment. Why would you want to? You get the DC info.

You can do straight discharges in the Opus. It has more ‘abilities’ that either the C4 or the Lii-500.
****

I wonder if these chargers get made in ‘batches’ with some getting differently sourced components? That might shed some light on different experiences people have. A VERY popular hobby charger (IMAX B6) is also the most counterfeited of all the hobby chargers. The real one is pretty decent. Some of the fake ones seem to be OK. Some have pretty lousy accuracy. You have to be careful of what you buy, or get lucky.

I have an Opus, 2x Zanflare, 2x Lii-500, and 2 hobby chargers (not IMAX). IMO they are all close enough and good enough to do the job satisfactorily. I use whatever is handy or sometimes pick one for a particular job. I probably use the Lii-500 least now.

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 Got my new Zanflare C4 today and tested the IR on a set of six Samsung 30Qs that I purchased from Obtronics in May 18. The results are listed in the table below. 

Internal Resistance Measurements (mΩ)

Cell Slot One Slot Two Slot Three

Slot Four

Difference1

Std Dev2

1 32 12 14 34 22 10
2 54 20 50 36 34 13
3 20 26 56 20 36 15
4 34 50 32

32

18 10
5 30 20 22 18 12 6
6 20 76 18 38 58 22

 1. The Difference is the Delta between the highest and lowest values for each cell. 

2. The Standard Deviation is a statistical representation of the differences in the values for each cell.

While these IR values are more consistent and reasonable than those obtained with my LiitoKala Lii-500, they are not on par with those seen by HKJ above.  Oh well. 

 

Update: I added Standard Deviation to the above table and try to compare it somewhat to HKJs data. Here are HKJ's IR measurements for the Zanflare C4 as listed in his review above.

 

Now here is a table of values just looking at the "Battery" measurements. HKJ please forgive me if I've screwed this up somehow.

HKJ's "Battery"

Internal Resistance Measurements (mΩ)

Cell Slot One Slot Two Slot Three

Slot Four

Difference1

Std Dev2

1 24 22 24 28 6 2
2 26 22 22 20 6 2
3 26 22 32 22 10 4
4 26 20 28

20

8 4
5 20 26 24 22 6 2

 1. The Difference is the Delta between the highest and lowest values for each cell. 

2. The Standard Deviation is a statistical representation of the differences in the values for each cell.

 

By looking at the Standard Deviations in both tables, one see that HJK got much better results with his Zanflare C4 IR measurements than I did with mine. For some reason, I felt as if I had to try to quantify this. 

 

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Just got my C4 a couple days ago . My button top 30Qs were all over the place and mostly higher than one would expect from new cells from Liionwholesale. I’m giving up on IR readings from budget chargers. Also , seems like too short of a CV stage as all came off the charger around 4.16 volts. The Miboxer charges them to 4.20 but takes longer to finish.

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Me, I’d actually prefer 4.16V over 4.20V.

Especially if readings are <coff!> “suspect”, a few mV wouldn’t be all that contentious.

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Good to hear that . I have got to stop buying chargers. I am getting more than I need.

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