Preliminary review: Solarforce SF-18 charger

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wiljen
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Preliminary review: Solarforce SF-18 charger

Got a brown envelope from solarforce-sales today containing amongst other things, a Deluxe charger:

http://solarforce-sales.com/product_detail.php?t=BC&s=24&id=85

 

First impression, cheap plastic housing, really cant tell much if any difference between it and any of the $5 models on DX. 

2nd thing - No instructions with it at all.  

 

Found on the web that green solid means no battery or fully charged.   Charging is a progression of red, orange, yellow and finally green.

 

Ok, now that I know what it should do, lets test it.   Plug in and put the multimeter across 1 set of pins to measure amperage - NOTHING!    Tried the other side NOTHING there either!

So, I must be stupid, I'll pop a battery in - nothing, light is still solid green and the cell measures 3.89 volts on the meter certainly not a fully charged cell.

so what is wrong?

the rubber feet on the back each conceal a phillips head screw.   When removed and the back removed the problem becomes immediately evident.  The metal bars that pass through the circuit board to form the positive terminals are not attached to the board.  Both show where they were torn loose either in transit or more likely based on the lack of damage to packaging or outside, it simply wasnt installed correctly to begin with.

5 minutes with a soldering iron and a few drops of solder and the connections are reattached as they should have been to begin with.

ok, lets try voltages and current again.  Open circuit shows 4.28 volts on channel 1 and 4.27 on channel 2.  Both show 502mA current.

Better.  

It is charging a pair of cells as I write this and seems to be working.   I think like any of the inexpensive chargers, it would be folly not to watch while charging and batteries should be removed immediately after charging.

 

It may work, but this is one case where I think the fake solarforce could easily out-do the real one.  Sorry solarforce this was not your best effort.

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:28
old4570
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Generic charger with Solarforce printed onto it ...  

 Always remember , the easiest thing in the world to do , is to expel hot air from your lungs and through some vocal chords ..
The resulting sound may , or may not be worth listening too ….

 

Foy
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I have that charger and I have to pull the batteries when it's orange because it consistently terminates a little high.

Foy

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brted
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Wow. Great job on opening it up and repairing it. There are not many people that would know what to do or want to do that with something they had just bought.

wiljen
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wasnt so much a wanted to repair it as a didnt want to wait another month and have to rely on customer service from Hong Kong to deal with it.   I certainly wouldnt buy one again knowing what I know now, but might as well try and salvage some use of it.   Brought it to work with me today and am measuring the charge rate to see if it is even worth keeping out of the junk pile.  It is slow and as Foy suggests, I don't trust the termination yet as I don't have enough data.

Budgeteer
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I wanted to buy one of those long ago but the exact aesthetics like the ones offered at dx made me reconsider. Must be from the same factory...

Still i always wondered if it's any good. Thanks for sharing. Smile

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

pounder
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I have one of these but it goes red to charge and green when done..so it must be an older model..I received it in a package with my masterpiece..so far no complaints at all..consistently stops at 4.2v and I made spacers to charge my 16340's and 14500's with it..

sb56637
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I'm pretty happy with my XTAR WP2 for almost the same price. And it's compatible with other Li-Ion sizes too.

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

Davx
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This is the charger

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/digital-li-ion-18650-battery-charger-6105

They simply print "solarforce" on it..

In the forum of DX you can find people with the same problem.

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Budgeteer
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I really don't get why solarforce would put their name on that piece of junk. I bet it has a QC sticker or two.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

maico
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Budgeteer wrote:

I really don't get why solarforce would put their name on that piece of junk. I bet it has a QC sticker or two.

They also put their name on my XM-L dropin that lasted all of 5 minutes before dying Sad

( 6V version running on primary 2 x 123a)

Good at CNC machining bad at everything else !