Re-review: Soshine SC-F3 Ni-MH LiFePO4 Charger

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Chloe
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Re-review: Soshine SC-F3 Ni-MH LiFePO4 Charger

Soshine SC-F3

Overall Rating:  ★★★★

 

Summary:

Battery Types:

LiFePO4 14500, 10440 (3.6V, 500mA)

Ni-MH AA, AAA (1.4V, 800mA)

Price Paid:6.18 USD (with BLF code)
From:FastTech
Date Ordered:9 March 2013

 

Pros:

  • Cheap, lightweight and compact USB charger
  • 5 segment LED display shows charging progress
  • CE and RoHS mark on box
  • Comes with USB lead and adapter

Cons:

  • Instructions could be clearer
  • Long delay before seeing capacity status
  • USB lead requires adapter which can be lost

Features / Value:  ★★★☆☆

Charger is said to be quick-charging and intelligent, and can charge both LiFePO4 (10440 and 14500) and Ni-MH (AA and AAA). The box states charging current for AA and AAA Ni-MH is 800mA. For LiFePO4 cells charging current is 500mA.

Unfortunately I am unable to test the LiFePO4 charging. I bought this to charge the odd Ni-MH cell whilst travelling. With this in mind, one may not have instruments to test cell capacity, so one must rely on the charger.

In operation there is a delay of thirty seconds before the charger reports how full the cell is. This may not be an issue for some users, but if you have many cells to test or charge it is not convenient.

Additionally, I tried to recharge a cell that it had just previously charged to full, and it charged for eleven minutes (four LEDs lit, fifth flashing) before stopping. I repeated this with the same result. Cell was warm after this charging but not alarmingly so.

Overall it is a good little charger. Some small improvements would make it a lot better value.

Design / Build Quality: ★★★★

White case is modern and aesthetically pleasing. Plastic housing feels a little cheap but robust. Charger is compact and lightweight, weighing only 1 oz.

AA and AAA batteries are easy to insert and remove. Uses a common mini USB socket for power (unlike some compact chargers that have a USB cable built-in, this charger requires a separate lead).

Strangely, the lead included is USB to female mini DC and not USB to mini USB. There is also an adapter to use this lead with the charger.

The first charger I received had no logo or writing on the casing. The second has the Soshine logo and brief product description on the front, which makes it look more complete.

Operation

User interface is pretty straightforward and explained on the box, however, some explanation is needed for the animated sequence as this can be confused for charging progress.

A red LED lights when power is connected with no cell inserted. On inserting a cell, the LED array lights green in animated fashion for thirty seconds as the charger provides a lower ~300mA charge. After this period the current will rise. If there is a problem it will stop charging at this point. A single LED flashes green/red if there is a fault.

During charge the LEDs light according to progress/capacity. When a cell is fully charged all five LEDs stay lit.

The back of the box provides a guide to charging time:

TypeCharging currentCharging time (hrs.)
Ni-MHAA 2500 mA3.5
AAA 900 mA2
LiFePO414500 700 mA

1.5

10440 400 mA1

 

Compatibility

I tested the charger with fairly new 3rd generation Sanyo Eneloops, and some older Philips non-low self discharge. Both varieties charge well. I also tested with cells that are known to be faulty; the Soshine charger also refuses to charge these.

I tried powering the charger with 1A mains USB adapter, and from the USB port on my netbook with no problems.

What you get (charger, box, USB lead and adapter):

The LEDs explained:

The charger:

An AAA cell inserted:

Positive terminal:

Negative terminal (slides and has a small spring inside):

Mini USB power socket:

Empty charger with power:

Whilst charging a cell, green LEDs animate showing progress:

Two screws on the back hold the case together:

Inside the charger:

PCB solder side:

Demonstration video:

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:28
kreisler
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Thanks for the review!

Please buy i4 and be done with it!!

Time to move on!!!

 

Wink

*FMI* i got 4 i/o sh
MRsDNF
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Thanks for the review Chloe. It sounds like this charger has been a bit off a let down. Have you been in touch with Fasttech. If so what was the response like?

 

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.

 

OscarM
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kreisler wrote:

Thanks for the review!

Please buy i4 and be done with it!!

Time to move on!!!

 

Wink

but i4 can’t charge LiFePO4 batteries…

i saw this charger and thought that it might be an option if i wanted to try lipo 14500 some day. too bad you dont like it though :~

Chloe
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MRsDNF wrote:
Thanks for the review Chloe. It sounds like this charger has been a bit off a let down. Have you been in touch with Fasttech. If so what was the response like?

It may be my charger is faulty, although it appears to be working. Sad I opened a support ticket last night.

ryansoh3
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Nice review! Sorry you had bad luck with the charger. It does look elegant though. Smile

BLF ≠ B-grade Flashlight Forum

 

Helios-
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Nice review Chloe. That charger is pretty alluring. Its a shame it has problems. Hopefully its just a lemon & fasttech exchanges it.
Kinda disappointing that the leds don’t show charge progress.


Counterfeit 18650s, 2,<a href=“http://

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Sweet an Apple iCharger! lol

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Chloe
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As the charger is clearly faulty, FastTech will be sending me a replacement, so I’ll update the review when it arrives (it’s only fair).

vēer
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Chloe, nice charger!

For a while there has been around a Soshine Coolook branded battery tester that looked exactly the same, so its kind of interesting to see that they Soshine have used this form factor to make universal LED charger.

And then theres also their SC-S7 charger, which, oddly, has the same funcitons+LCD, but costs 2-3x as much.

Kreisler – i4 is not what people thought at first it would be, its neither the most accurate nor the most safe and reliable ;)!

Chloe
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The replacement charger came yesterday. I tested it extensively today. You can see it also has the Soshine logo:

I made a video that illustrates the fault clearly:

DMM is set to measure charging current.
Two seconds in I switch on power to mains 1A USB supply.
LEDs on charger show it is charging, DMM shows ~300mA
After ~40 seconds of charging the current rises to ~800mA then charging stops.

I have repeated tests with Philips Ni-MH, and laptop USB power too. Just to make sure it isn’t a problem with new eneloops only, or the power supply.

I took both apart to compare PCB and they appear exactly the same. It seems to be a programming issue. If it is meant to charge Ni-MH at 800mA, why does it always stop soon after?

I have reported this to FastTech.

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Chloe, wow, are you really a woman?
I don’t know any gal who knows so much about electronics as you do! Truly amazing

Thanks for the review!!!!

Chloe
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Yes I am! I don’t know that much, enough to make small repairs and modifications I guess. I used to tinker with things a lot more than I do now.

You may be surprised to know, there are many women who work in electronics assembly, or higher up as R&D level engineers. Like IT and sciences, it is a difficult field to get into as a woman, but I don’t think gender should stop anyone pursuing their interests!

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Hi Chloe, you’re right, it’s just that I’m not around the that type of women Wink
Great to see some more electronic skilled gals! Keep up the good work

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Chloe wrote:
After ~40 seconds of charging the current rises to ~800mA then charging stops.

It might be because the charger uses voltage (not -DV) to stop charging and you have to much resistance in your wires and DMM.

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

Chloe
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HKJ wrote:
It might be because the charger uses voltage (not -DV) to stop charging and you have to much resistance in your wires and DMM.

Thanks, HKJ. It happens without the DMM etc. connected too so it’s not that. I almost expect the Li-ion charging to be fine but I don’t have any cells to test.

FastTech said they have notified Soshine about it, so I will send these chargers back to them.

Chloe
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I began packaging the chargers and thought I’d test the replacement charger one last time. A good thing I did!

This time I left the charger plugged in for a few minutes just to observe, and it appears to work! Not only that, but the display does show charging progress, as I hoped it would! Party

To be fair it isn’t explained anywhere that it takes almost a minute after inserting a cell to begin proper charging. HKJ was right too, about my DMM having too much resistance. This is why the charger started flashing red after a minute, in the video I posted. It also does this with a cell it decides it cannot charge (I have some older Philips Ni-MH that my Angeleyes charger also won’t charge).

So, I am going to rewrite the review in due course.

MRsDNF
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Thanks for your honesty Chloe. Good luck with the new review.

 

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.

 

Chloe
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Thank you! I hope the new review is helpful. I also made a short video of it in operation:

P.S. It’s interesting that I can use this cheap DMM can measure the current, with bell wire, but the more expensive Uni-T DMM has too much resistance.

Woody
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“This Video is Private” message appears. Now I really am interested. Big Smile

Chloe
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Woody wrote:
“This Video is Private” message appears. Now I really am interested. Big Smile

Oops! I changed it to public so you can hopefully see it now. Thanks, Woody!

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Glad you got the charger sorted. That nosey bear wasn’t the cause of the problem, was it?

Chloe
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I think he might have had something to do with it, very distracting!! Big Smile

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Haha.. Love the bear! I never though it was possible to make a measurement video funny, and cute.. But Chloe did it! Big Smile
And then I saw the knife video. Love
Chloe is officially one awesome badass women.. With some nice nails too ^^

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