Review: Sysmax/NiteCore i2 Charger

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HKJ
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Review: Sysmax/NiteCore i2 Charger

Charger Sysmax/NiteCore i2

DSC_0781 DSC_0782



Sysmax made a good 4 channel multi chemistry charger with the i4, now they are trying to repeat it with a two channel charger.

DSC_0778 DSC_0779 DSC_0780

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

DSC_0710

The box contains the charger, a power cord (I bought mine in UK and got a UK power cord), a car power adapter a warranty card and a instruction manual. It looks like the car adapter is optional.

DSC_0787

The charger has a standard connection for the power cord and is universal voltage (100-240V 50/60Hz). It does also support 12 volt power. In my tests I have only uses 230 VAC.

DSC_0783

The charger has 3 yellow leds for each battery, they will show the actual charge state when charging:
None: no battery detected
1 flashing, 1 steady + 1 flashing, 2 steady + 1 flashing: Charging, number of leds is a rough guide to actual charge level.
3 steady: Battery is full.
3 flashing: Fail.

DSC_0717

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

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The minus connection is a slider, making it possible to charge different size batteries without using a spacer. The slider is working very smooth. It will handle batteries from 30mm to 70.1mm.
I had no problem with any of the supported battery sizes, they were easy to put into the charger and did always make connection.


supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizes DSC_0722 DSC_0784 DSC_0785

DSC_0724 DSC_0786 DSC_0725 DSC_0726 DSC_0723

The charger can handle 70 mm long batteries including flat top cells.



Measurements
When power is turned on the charge will charge with 0.5A, if the voltage is below 2 volt it will assume NiMH batteries.
When the charge current goes below the termination current the charging is stopped and it will charge with < 350 uA.
The charger will not restart, if the battery voltage drops.
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 1.2 mA from the battery.
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.


NiteCore%20i2%20(PA18650-34)

The charger uses CC/CV charging profile with a termination current around 50mA. My copy of the charger does terminate at a slightly high voltage for LiIon, but it is well with allowable tolerances.
With 0.5A charge current it is not exactly fast to charge 3400mAh batteries, it takes 8 hour on this charger.

NiteCore%20i2%20%28PA18650-34%29%20%232

The second channel looks exactly like the first.

NiteCore%20i2%20(2xPA18650-34)

Using both channels at the same time, does not change anything.

NiteCore%20i2%20(AW16340-IMR)

My old IMR cell also charges fine.

NiteCore%20i2%20(eneloop)
NiteCore%20i2%20(eneloop%20XX)

NiMH batteries uses another charge algorithm, it looks like it is a constant voltage termination and not the recommended -dv/dt.

NiteCore%20i2%20(eneloop)%20%232

The second channel does again look like the first.

NiteCore%20i2%20(2xeneloop)

And using two channels at the same time, does not change the charge time.

NiteCore%20i2%20(PA18650-34+eneloop)
NiteCore%20i2%20(eneloop+PA18650-34)

Charging one eneloop and one LiIon at the same time is no problem.

ChargeLiIon

The charging for LiIon is pulsing, there is a short pause each 2 second, probably used to check the voltage.

ChargeNiMH

The charging for NiMH is also pulsing, there is a short pause each 2 second, probably used to check the voltage.




Conclusion

With the 0.5A charge current and dual chemistry support the charger is suitable for a large range of battery sizes and types. The tray works very good with any size battery. The actual charge algorithms are not perfect, but do work.

For most purposes I will say this charger is better than the i4, the lower charge current makes it much better for the 14500 and 16340 batteries, the trays works better and it does not reduce the current when it is filled with batteries.

This charger is a good multi chemistry charger.



Notes

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
MarioSS
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from looking around it seems that the intellicore i2 and i4 are one of the best all around chargers thanks to your effort in those great reviews!
I am in the market for a charger than can charge my batteries safely and it seems ill get the i2 instead of the i4.
Thank you HKJ for your great reviews!

HKJ
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MarioSS wrote:
from looking around it seems that the intellicore i2 and i4 are one of the best all around chargers thanks to your effort in those great reviews! I am in the market for a charger than can charge my batteries safely and it seems ill get the i2 instead of the i4. Thank you HKJ for your great reviews!

 

My favourite LiIon charger is the Xtar SP2, but for a universal charger the i2 is better, because it also handles NiMH. The i4 can also be used, it is faster, but you have to think about what slots you uses for what batteries, to get the most optimal charging and compared to i2 it has a few mechanical problems (Maybe they are fixed in newer i4).

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

MarioSS
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HKJ wrote:

MarioSS wrote:
from looking around it seems that the intellicore i2 and i4 are one of the best all around chargers thanks to your effort in those great reviews! I am in the market for a charger than can charge my batteries safely and it seems ill get the i2 instead of the i4. Thank you HKJ for your great reviews!

 

My favourite LiIon charger is the Xtar SP2, but for a universal charger the i2 is better, because it also handles NiMH. The i4 can also be used, it is faster, but you have to think about what slots you uses for what batteries, to get the most optimal charging and compared to i2 it has a few mechanical problems.

Yeah i liked the review on the SP2 but i think its price is kinda high for my liking. The think made me feel like getting the i2 is your last comment regarding charging 14500 batteries. At the moment i only have Trustfire Flames 14500 900mAh and some intl-outdoor NCR18650B 3400mAh on the way, and planning to get a decent 26650 battery and flashlight down the road.

Edit: I went ahead and ordered the i4 i thought i might need the extra 2 slots one day. I hope it wont be any harm to any of my batteries

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As always, thx for the very detailed and informative review!
HKJ
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A comparison photo between then i2 and i4:

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

apt323
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Thanks for the information on this charger.

Is $19 shipped from the US a good price for this?

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People got i4 for 19$ from DD when they had group buy offer, I personally wouldnt get i2 if its not under 15$

flashlight man
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Thanks for the review, just picked one of these up!

sb56637
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Thanks very much! Frontpage’d and Sticky’d.

Budget Light Forum ...where Frugal meets with Flashlight!

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Thanks for the review, H Big Smile
Even for 19, this is a really good charger, IMO. But… unless you have new NiMh’s, I don’t recommend charging semi-old batts because they probably wouldn’t reach 1,5V!

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I’m gonna buy one of these I do believe.

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Pok wrote:
$18.95

http://www.intl-outdoor.com/nitecore-sysmax-intellicharge-i2-universal-d...

Or for a $1.04 more, amazon.com will deliver much faster.

flash.light
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You placed it under the HKJ's review of the i2 charger...

Richie086 wrote:
Hi folks, I recently acquired this wonderful charger to compliment my Pila and 4Seven's charger. I can't tell you how happy I am with it. After dealing with Hurricane Sandy and a blizzard back to back here on Long Island, my flashlights were getting quite a workout in spite of having an emergency generator. The problem I was running into was using my Trustfire TR-J12 with 3 X Trustfire 26650 5000mAh batteries. I was only able to charge 2 of them at a time using my Pila and the 4Sevens charger. So I felt I needed to get my hands on yet another charger for my 26650 batteries. Now that I've just received my Skyray 9 XT6 that only likes to run on 3X26650's, I have my charging needs pretty much covered. The upside to the Nitecore i4 is that it's the only charger of the 3 that I own that actually charges any of my 26650's (Trustfire flames 5000mAh, King Kong ICR26650E, and 4Sevens 4000mAh) to full charge of 4.2v. The 4Sevens charger will charge their 26650's to full power, but not the Trustfire or King Kongs. The i4 also does NOT get hot or even warm at all when charging, which is pretty amazing too. The downside to the i4 is that it has a much lower charge current, so it takes alot longer to charge and it will only charge 2 26650's at a time. I can honestly recommend purchasing this charger for most all your charging needs. My purchase was made on Amazon.com for $26.99 with free shipping.

 

 

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flash.light wrote:

You placed it under the HKJ’s review of the i2

Thanks for pointing that out to me, I didn’t realize at the time I posted. I just deleted it.

Richie

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for $16 from HIDC (+shipping I think)

flash.light
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Richie086 wrote:
flash.light wrote:

You placed it under the HKJ’s review of the i2

Thanks for pointing that out to me, I didn’t realize at the time I posted. I just deleted it.

Aw man, that was a nice write-up… you coulda just moved it over to that other review from HKJ

I you didn’t keep a copy, then just copy from my quoted post above and repost over there…. then we can delete these Smile

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Thanks for the detailed and informative review!

I wonder if there’s an updated i4 (version 3?) in the works or already planned for release. I still think 4 independent bays is much more practical, especially if you own a 3xAA or larger flashlight. With that aside, the i2 seems almost perfect. I can’t remember if the i4 v2 was flawed or we were just being a little picky.

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19.10$ on DX.com

 

thanks for the review, great job as always!!

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
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I have seen some reports about Ni-Mh batts getting too hot with this charger… any idea?

Also, does this i2 has stainless steel guides in the springs as the i4 V2??

Enjoy BLF

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Thank you for this review, HKJ. Picked one up and have been using for the last several weeks with 18650’s (protected and laptop pulls) as well as Eneloops and so far have been satisfied (except for the 500ma output and time with the Li-Ions but I knew this going in)

HKJ wrote:
This charger is a good multi chemistry charger.

My new Eneloop AA’s definitely get warm-very warm to the touch, but far from what I would call hot, let alone “too hot”. Not sure what the I4 has, but there are no steel guides “in” the spring, and certainly nothing like Jetbeam’s new “PRO” charger metal guide rails.

Hope this helps.

fran82 wrote:
I have seen some reports about Ni-Mh batts getting too hot with this charger… any idea?

Also, does this i2 has stainless steel guides in the springs as the i4 V2??

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Thanks flash.light.

I have a i2 coming from manafont. It should arrive next week. Hope mine will be not defective.

Pity it has not the metal guides…. :Sp

Enjoy BLF

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fran82 wrote:
Thanks flash.light. I have a i2 coming from manafont. It should arrive next week. Hope mine will be not defective. Pity it has not the metal guides.... :Sp

How many chargers do you own fran? Or do you want and like more? Wink

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
rpm
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All the material fails to list 10440 as supported by this charger. But I don’t understand why they wouldn’t work. Isn’t 10440 just the same voltage as 14500? And AAA NiMH fit in the charger. So I don’t understand why this charger can’t handle 10440 batteries. Has anyone tried this?

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rpm wrote:
All the material fails to list 10440 as supported by this charger. But I don’t understand why they wouldn’t work. Isn’t 10440 just the same voltage as 14500? And AAA NiMH fit in the charger. So I don’t understand why this charger can’t handle 10440 batteries. Has anyone tried this?

Is the charging rate too high?

 

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rpm wrote:
I don't understand why they wouldn't work.

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
rpm
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MRsDNF wrote:
rpm wrote:
All the material fails to list 10440 as supported by this charger. But I don’t understand why they wouldn’t work. Isn’t 10440 just the same voltage as 14500? And AAA NiMH fit in the charger. So I don’t understand why this charger can’t handle 10440 batteries. Has anyone tried this?

Is the charging rate too high?

Maybe I’m just misunderstanding. But is a 10440 not just a lower-capacity 14500? The charging rate of the i2 is 0.5A, which I imagine is fine.

And the i4 charges would charge two 10440s at 0.750A if you only put two in. There must be something I’m missing or Nitecore’s documentation is incorrect for the i2.

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rpm wrote:
Is the charging rate too high? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding. But is a 10440 not just a lower-capacity 14500? The charging rate of the i2 is 0.5A, which I imagine is fine. And the i4 charges would charge two 10440s at 0.750A if you only put two in. There must be something I'm missing or Nitecore's documentation is incorrect for the i2.

It is generally recommended to charge smaller LiIon with a current slightly below 1C.

10440 has a capacity below 350mAh, this makes a 500mA charge current way to high, except for IMR cells.

You can charge them with 500mA, but expect reduced lifetime and higher explosion risk

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

rpm
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HKJ wrote:

It is generally recommended to charge smaller LiIon with a current slightly below 1C.

10440 has a capacity below 350mAh, this makes a 500mA charge current way to high, except for IMR cells.

You can charge them with 500mA, but expect reduced lifetime and higher explosion risk

Thanks, HKJ, this is starting to make sense. So the i4 charger can charge at 350mA and 750mA is my understanding. So in the case of 10440s, it would select the 350mA charging even if only two cells are inserted? I guess that makes sense and thank you for the explanation!

MRsDNF
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rpm wrote:
HKJ wrote:

It is generally recommended to charge smaller LiIon with a current slightly below 1C.

10440 has a capacity below 350mAh, this makes a 500mA charge current way to high, except for IMR cells.

You can charge them with 500mA, but expect reduced lifetime and higher explosion risk

Thanks, HKJ, this is starting to make sense. So the i4 charger can charge at 350mA and 750mA is my understanding. So in the case of 10440s, it would select the 350mA charging even if only two cells are inserted? I guess that makes sense and thank you for the explanation!

rpm. With my limited knowledge 1C is the capacity of the batteries in mA. If a 10440 is rated at 350 mA then to charge them at 500mA would be exceeding the 1C recommendation. What is the minimum charging rate off this charger?

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

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