Test / Review: Xtar SP2 charger

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HKJ
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Test / Review: Xtar SP2 charger

Charger Xtar SP2

DSC_2558 DSC_2559



Xtar has for some time made good chargers, this is their latest model. This model has selectable charge current, making it fast and safe to handle many different LiIon battery sizes.

DSC_2550 DSC_2551

It comes in a cardboard box that list the battery sizes that it is designed for.

DSC_2556

The box contains the charger, a universal voltage (100-240V 50/60Hz) mains power supply, a car power adapter and a instruction manual.

DSC_2563

The plus connection is slightly raised, this means that the charger can be used with flat top batteries.

DSC_2611

The minus connection is a slider, making it possible to charge different size batteries without using a spacer. This slider is using a metal rail and works very smooth.

DSC_2566

The connections for the power adapter is clearly marked.

DSC_2608

The charger has one button that is used to select charge current. It always starts at 0.5A, a short press will move to 1A, next press to 2A, a third press will start over at 0.5A. This button can be used with or without a battery in the charge and will always affect both channels.
There is also a led for each charge channel. These leds are red when charging and green at other times, including fault conditions.

supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizes DSC_2567 DSC_2568 DSC_2569 DSC_2570

The charger can handle 70 mm long batteries including flat top cells. In addition to the batteries specified on the box the charger can also be used for shorter batteries, if a spacer is used.



Measurements

Below 1.3 volt the charger charges with 0.7mA, this is enough to reset a protection (led is green).
Between 1.3 and 2.8 volt the charger charges with 60 to 75 mA in 0.5A range (0.1A in 1A and 0.2A in 2A range) (led is red).
Above 2.8 volt the charger is applying regular charge current (See curve below).
Especially at the 0.5A current setting the termination voltage is slightly high (nearly 4.23 volt on #2 channel), this is within allowable limits.
When the charge current goes below the termination current the charging is stopped and it will charges with < 250 uA.
The charger will restart charging when the cell drops to 3.9 volt.
The charge will always restart charging when a battery is put into it or after a power loss.
When charger is disconnected from power, but with a battery in, it will draw up to 3.7 mA from the battery (The two channels does not draw the same amount of current).
Two batteries in the charger will not change the charge current, i.e. the channels are truly independent.
Because each channel is independent, the different voltages and currents vary between the channels with a small amount.

Xtar%20SP2%200.5A%20(IO18650-3100)
Xtar%20SP2%201A%20(IO18650-3100)
Xtar%20SP2%202A%20(IO18650-3100)

The charger uses CC/CV charging and the termination current changes with charge current. In the above curves the termination current is 100mA for 0.5A charge current, 130mA for 1A charge current and 180mA for 2A charge current. This is good values, but lower values would have been slightly better (i.e. 5% to 10% of charge current).
Due to some resistance in the charger (About 0.08 ohm, calculated from the charge curve), the CV (constant voltage) part of the curve is not completely flat and the termination voltage changes slightly with charge current.

Xtar%20SP2%200.5A%20(IO18650-3100)%20%232
Xtar%20SP2%201A%20(IO18650-3100)%20%232
Xtar%20SP2%202A%20(IO18650-3100)%20%232

The second channel looks very much like the first channel.

Xtar%20SP2%202A%20(2xIO18650-3100)

First channel, but also charging on second channel. The curve looks about the same as above.

Xtar%20SP2%202A%20(AW18650-2200)

This charge curve is with an old battery and due to the high charge current the charger goes into CV charge nearly immediately.

Xtar%20SP2%202A%20(TF26650-5000)

A test with a larger battery.

ChargeStart

The charger is supposed to use soft startup and a check shows this to be correct.

ChargeChange

Changing current while charging will trigger the same soft startup again. Here I press the button at 1s and 5s.



Conclusion

The charger uses CC/CV charging and soft charges nearly empty batteries, this is a very good. The possibility to select different charge current, makes the charger suitable for a wide range of battery sizes and still have a fast charge speed.
The two charge/error indicator lights could be better, I would have like a flashing error indication, instead of just a green, that does also mean "battery charged and ready".

I like this charger, it will charge most common LiIon battery sizes and not use too many hours for it. It is the best Xtar charger I have tested until now.


Notes

The charger was supplied by XTAR for a review.

Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger

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

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:19
kreisler
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Thanks for the great review!!

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
Shadowww
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Those are some nice testing results, definitively a good charger.
Are you planning to update test with 26650 batteries later, or you only test chargers with 18650’s?

jacktheclipper
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We appreciate all of your hard work , sir .

What I do

 

HKJ
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Shadowww wrote:
Those are some nice testing results, definitively a good charger. Are you planning to update test with 26650 batteries later, or you only test chargers with 18650's?

There is not much reason to test with other battery sizes, the only difference will be the charge time.

But because you asked, I will check with a single 26650 anyway.

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

Ledsmoke
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About the charger: YES!
A true CC/CV charger with selectable charge current AND soft start. That is just the ticket. Now I just have to find the normal price and wait till it goes on sale somewhere.

~ Ledsmoke ~

Dutch humor:

[quote=djozz]

 I do not think that the BLF-community ben

NightCrawl
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Great review (as usual) of a good charger (as expected).

A little too pricey for 18650-only guys like me but otherwise a great piece of electronics.

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Thanks for yet another awesome review HKJ! 

 

Don wrote:

"But as I said long ago, you are more likely to be killed by a dead fish dropped by a seagull in the Sahara Desert than by a lithium ion

raccoon city
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Sweet review, HKJ!

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I do not need another charger.
I do not need another charger.

That’s sounds like I need another charger. LOL!

Great review.

HKJ
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Shadowww wrote:
Those are some nice testing results, definitively a good charger. Are you planning to update test with 26650 batteries later, or you only test chargers with 18650's?

I have added a 2A charge curve for a 26650 battery.

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

edc
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Damn it – just bought a new charger but this looks better!

 

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums

Shadowww
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HKJ wrote:
I have added a 2A charge curve for a 26650 battery.
Just over 3 hours to charge a 4600mAh cell.. impressive. Thanks Smile
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Wow, best budget charger, IMO Shocked Price?

EDIT: forgot to say “Thanks for the review, maestro Crown

Shadowww
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SashiX wrote:
Wow, best budget charger, IMO Shocked Price?

EDIT: forgot to say “Thanks for the review, maestro Crown


sbflashlights has it for $35, various eBay sellers have it for $45-$50
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Woody
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Looks like a real WP2 ll, but not a SP2. Some nice prices on that site, but shipping is extra (and usually high).

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good review,Thanks!

SashiX
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Shadowww wrote:
SashiX wrote:
Wow, best budget charger, IMO Shocked Price?

EDIT: forgot to say “Thanks for the review, maestro Crown


sbflashlights has it for $35, various eBay sellers have it for $45-$50

Wow Shocked So no quite budget I’d say Shocked Could worth those 35 bucks, but I will be in when the price drops to ~$25. Thanks for heads up, Shadow Wink

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Hm, “powerwholesale” is be offering the SP2 for about $20, and their info pages they say free shipping within a 2 kilograms (the SP2 is around half a kilogram), and explain you can’t choose a shipping method if that free shipping applies — which is how their website cart behaves. Apparently they want you to create an order then send PayPal for it, it’s kind of an arcane set of FAQs and explanations. Curious. What the heck, worth trying.

——-EDITAVOID “powerwholesale” — They won’t even look at your order until you send payment for it.
After you pay, despite their claim that to 2 kilograms will ship free, they email saying pay more, much more, for shipping.

Glad I didn’t give them a credit card number!

They’re at best very confusing with contradictory info on various pages about shipping.

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Great review but I have a question. You have listed a 18370 battery as a supported battery size. Did you mean 18350? I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure there is no 18370 battery. None that I can find anyway.

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SashiX wrote:
[ Wow Shocked So no quite budget I’d say Shocked Could worth those 35 bucks, but I will be in when the price drops to ~$25. Thanks for heads up, Shadow Wink

I don’t think, that the price will drop so extremly. In Germany you pay about 35€ for it.
In the first days XTAR made good products for an excellent price like the WP2. The next products are also good and the prices increase a little bit for example WP2 II ot the Xtar 2600mAh.
Now they product excellent products and want the price for it, which the market pay like for the XTAR 3100mAh (one pair of the 2600mAh is cheaper as one 3100mAh). But take a look at the advantages of the charger: 0,5A, 1A, 2A. Good charging results, you can charge most batteries.
I do not know a charger, which could do the same (I ignore the RC modell chargers). The XTAR SP2 isn’t a budget chargrr, but maybe one of the best avialable chargers at the moment.

Formerly the Pila IBC was one of the best chargers and it was more expensive as the Xtar SP2.

Light up the darkness.

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@Buwuve: Yup, you’d probably pay the same here in Spain. That’s why I buy most things from China :bigsmile:

@hank: now that’s a really good price, mate Smile AFAIK, PWS doesn’t offer free shipping (unless specified), but I wouldn’t mind to pay 5 bucks more for shipping Silly BTW, here is the link. Thanks again Wink

- Yellowhorse: don’t know if that size exists, but don’t worry, SP2 will charge it w/o any prob Wink It will charge any li-ion cell. Only those small ones, i.e.10440 or 16350, should been charged @0.5A (IMHO) only and with caution.

@HKJ: is that me, or this charger doesn’t have any noise? Shocked (compare them to WP2 or I4 and see the diff)

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SashiX – No doubt it will charge a 18370 lithium battery if it existed. I was just trying to clarify/correct the chart that was posted. I know HKJ wouldn’t want any mistakes/typo’s to remain.
Appears to be a real upgrade to previous chargers made by Xtar. I like the adjustable amperage settings and the fact it will do 26650’s without having to tinker with it. Also nice to have another charger with CC/CV AND termination at the end of the charge cycle. If I wasn’t already overloaded with very good chargers, I would buy this one.

HKJ
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Yellowhorse wrote:
SashiX - No doubt it will charge a 18370 lithium battery if it existed. I was just trying to clarify/correct the chart that was posted. I know HKJ wouldn't want any mistakes/typo's to remain.

 

You are correct and I have fixed it (Thanks).

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

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Smile
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Cells discharged below 2.8V are considered not safe. Should not the charger provide at least an indication of the fact? Perhaps the charger should not charge them?

HKJ
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Vieplis wrote:
Cells discharged below 2.8V are considered not safe. Should not the charger provide at least an indication of the fact? Perhaps the charger should not charge them?

This depends on the cell, the current Panasonic 2900/3100/3400 can be discharged down to 2.5 volt.

I believe that Panasonic specify that you must soft charge below 2.8 volt.

One of the problems with LiIon safety is that the limits are depend on the actual cell used, this is no problem in a full battery pack with the charger build in, but it a problem when using a loose battery. It would be more safe if it did not charge below a low limit, but then there would be problems with tripped protections and depending on limit, some types of cells.

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

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HKJ, this charger will actually try to charge a dead unprotected Li-ion?

For example, we have a salvaged battery at 0.8V, this charger will not refuse to charge, but instead it will try a soft charge? 

And will it stop if the 0.8V battery is not chargeable? A timer perhaps - 10min charge does not bring up V -> terminate charge?

All in all, it still sounds dangerous for a normal user IMO. Maybe this charger should be for someone who knows what they're doing. 

HKJ
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Pulsar13 wrote:

HKJ, this charger will actually try to charge a dead unprotected Li-ion?

For example, we have a salvaged battery at 0.8V, this charger will not refuse to charge, but instead it will try a soft charge? 

And will it stop if the 0.8V battery is not chargeable? A timer perhaps - 10min charge does not bring up V -> terminate charge?

All in all, it still sounds dangerous for a normal user IMO. Maybe this charger should be for someone who knows what they're doing.

At low voltage it will use a very low current, that does not really charge the battery, but will reset protection, you can also see that the light stays green instead of showing red for charge.

The charger is not more dangerous than many other chargers on the market, many chargers supplies some current at low voltage, often more than this charger.

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

Vieplis
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That low voltage may rise quickly, even with very low current.
Perhaps the 4.23V also should not be dismissed so easily, some people cry “Terrible!” at seeing 4.23V.

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