Test/Review of Charger Xtar SP1

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HKJ
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Test/Review of Charger Xtar SP1
Charger Xtar SP1

DSC_4680
DSC_4681 DSC_4682

Xtar makes many good chargers, this one is a single channel charger with 3 currents, 3 voltages and able to handle batteries up to 26650 size. This makes it useable for most LiIon batteries on the market, except the smaller ones.
It does also have a usb output, making it possible to charge a phone or other usb equipment from it.

DSC_4675 DSC_4677 DSC_4678

The charger comes in a cardboard box with lots of specifications and batteries sizes listed on it.

DSC_4679

In the box is the charger, a power supply, a car adapter, a warranty card and a manual.

DSC_4683

The charger has a switch that can select between 3 voltages, the marked voltages are supposed to be battery nominal voltages. It is very important to select the correct voltage, before starting a charge (See table below).
The actual selection is also shown on the 3 blue leds on top of the charger, before it starts charging and if the switch is moved during charging.

DSC_4686

On top of the charger is 4 leds and a button:
3 blue to show selected current and voltage.
1 red/green led.
The button is used to select charge current.

Without a battery in the charger the led for the selected voltage will flash. With a battery in the charger the led for the voltage will flash 3 times, if the voltage is changed.
While charging the led for the selected current will be steadily lit.
The button will step between the 3 current each time it is pressed. Without a battery in the charger the led for the current will be stable lit for a short time, before returning to the flashing voltage display. When charging the next led will just turn on.

It is easy to use, just be aware that the current selection button always is active.
I am not that happy with the markings, they are difficult to read, but when you know the charger they are easy to guess.

The red/green led is red while charging, green at other times, except when using usb output there it is used to signal charge state.

DSC_4684

The charger has a 12 volt input and a usb output.

DSC_4685

The label with a hidden code to prevent fake chargers is also present.

DSC_4688 DSC_4689

The charger can handle 33 mm to 72 mm long batteries both flat and button top. The slider works fine.


supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizes DSC_4690 DSC_4691 DSC_4692 DSC_4693 DSC_4694 DSC_4695 DSC_4696

The charger can easily handle 70 mm long batteries including flat top cells.
The charge current is to high for 10440 batteries, except for IMR types.



Measurements
  • When turned on the selected voltage will flash a couple of times.
  • Below 2 volt the charger will charge with 1.5 to 2 mA, this is independent of selected charge voltage.
  • Between 2 and 2.9 volt the charger charges with about 60 mA, this is independent of selected charge voltage.
  • Above 2.9 volt regular charge current is applied (See curves below).
  • LiFePO4 (3.2V setting) will restart charging when voltage drops to 3.3 volt.
  • LiCoO2 (3.6V & 3.8V setting) will restart charging when voltage drops to 3.9 volt.
  • The charger will restart charging when power is cycled or battery reinserted.
  • When charger is disconnected from power, with a battery in, it will draw up to 9mA from the battery (This is a bit high).
  • When charger is connected to power and the main charge is finished, it will charge with 0.3mA for 3.6V & 3.8V setting and 0.7mA for 3.2V setting.


3.6V setting LiCoO2, i.e. 4.2 volt charging voltage

Xtar%20SP1%200.5A%20(PA18650-31)

The 0.5A charge is a very good CC/CV charge with a termination current about 65mA.

Xtar%20SP1%200.5A%20(AW16340-IMR)

Even my old 16340 cell is handed perfect.

Xtar%20SP1%200.5A%20(AW18350-IMR)

Xtar%20SP1%200.5A%20(KP14500-08)

Other small cells .

Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(PA18650-31)

The 1A charge is also a very good CC/CV charge with a termination current about 70mA.


Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(BE18650-26)
Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(PA18650-34)

Charge time varies with cell capacity (As usual).

Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(AW16340-IMR)

Using 1A on this old cell also works fine.

Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(AW18350-IMR)

Same with this cell.

Xtar%20SP1%202A%20(PA18650-31)


The 2A charge follows the 0.5A and 1A curves in being a very good CC/CV charge, the termination current is about 95mA. The voltage curve is slight more rounded, due to resistance in the charger and the temperature is higher, due to the higher current.

Xtar%20SP1%201A%2012V%20(PA18650-31)

Using an external 12 volt supply show that the charger need about 500mA on 12 volt to deliver 1A to the battery.

Temperature1A1

M1: 34,4°C, M2: 38,7°C, M3: 37,1°C, M4: 25,8°C, HS1: 44,8°C

Temperature1A2

M1: 33,6°C, M2: 42,1°C, HS1: 43,7°C

Temperature2A1

M1: 44,7°C, M2: 46,4°C, M3: 42,9°C, M4: 29,3°C, HS1: 62,0°C

Temperature2A2

M1: 52,8°C, M2: 46,3°C, HS1: 61,2°C

At 2A the charger get rather warm. This could have been better, but is probably very difficult do improve without a fan or a larger box.
Some of the heat in the battery is probably the battery heating due to the 2A charge current.



3.8V setting LiCoO2, i.e. 4.35 volt charging voltage

There is only a few of these batteries on the market. The higher voltage is an advantage in many single cell flashlights.

Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(LG18650-30)

The charger does a perfect CC/CV charge curve. The 4.35 volt is slightly low on my copy of the charger (It is within allowable tolerances), but this also means the voltage is within tolerances to charge a 4.30 volt cell.
Before using the charger for a 4.30 volt cell I will strongly advice to check the charge voltage with a DMM: Connect a DMM parallel to the battery and check that the voltage stays below 4.35 volt all the time while charging



3.2V setting LiFePO4, i.e. 3.6 volt charging voltage

These batteries has lower capacity and lower voltage than LiCoO2 batteries, but the chemistry is safer and the batteries can often deliver large currents.
This setting is also used for LiIon batteries marked 3 volt (See my article about rechargeable CR123 batteries).

Xtar%20SP1%200.5A%20(14500-LiFePO4)

Nice CC/CV charge curve.

Xtar%20SP1%201A%20(18650-LiFePO4)

This battery started at a lower voltage and the charger uses a low current to increase the voltage. At 2.9 volt regular charge current will be used.

poweron

The charger needs about 4 seconds to start up.

currentselection

Current selection will increase current slowly and drop current fast.

voltagechange

Voltage change will stop charging and the slowly turn up the current again to the selected level.





Measurements on usb power
  • The usb output cannot be activated when 12V is supplied to the charger.
  • Usb output does not turn on or off automatically, but requires a button press for both.
  • With usb output activated the charge will draw up to 35mA from the battery.
  • It will draw up to 9mA from the battery when off, i.e. do not leave it with a battery in for weeks.
  • At 3.5 volt the usb led will change from green to red, if the voltage raises again it will stay red.
  • At 3.17 volt the usb led will start flashing red, if the voltage raises again it will continue flashing.
  • When the usb output is turned off due to low battery it cannot be turned on again, before the battery has been replaced.
  • Output is coded as Apple 1A.


XTAR%20SP1%20load%20sweep

The usb output is rated at 1A, but can deliver much more. I would have preferred a overload cutout.
The output is limited to about 11W, but that is more than twice the rated current.

Xtar%20SP1%20out%205ohm%20(PA18650-31)

Output at 1A looks very nice and with good efficiency.

Xtar%20SP1%20out%2010ohm%20(BE18650-26)
Xtar%20SP1%20out%2010ohm%20(PA18650-31)
Xtar%20SP1%20out%2010ohm%20(PA18650-34)

At 0.5A the efficiency is even higher.

Xtar%20SP1%20out%2010ohm%20(LG18650-30)

I did also try with a 4.35 volt cell.

5ohm

The usb output has very low noise, even at maximum load (9mV rms).

10ohm

Reducing the load will also reduce the noise, at 0.5A it is down to 7mV rms.


Testing with 2500 volt and 5000 volt between mains and low volt side on power supply, did not show any safety problems.



Conclusion

This charger is a very good charger, it always uses a good CC/CV charging and can handle most LiIon battery sizes and types.
The usb output does also works fine, except the missing over load protection and like all chargers with usb output you must remove the battery when not using the usb output (Within a few days).

Could I wish for more in this charger? The answer is yes, I would have liked a 0.25A setting and maybe even a 0.1A setting. I would also have preferred that the voltage switch was on top of the charger where it is more visible (The led indication does help).



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 - 14:20
zeremefico
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Bold in your letters, must be a very good charger!

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Stittville Ed
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Thank you for another great review.
Looks like a very good charger.

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Thanks for the review!

Mountain Electronics : batteries, Noctigon, and much more! What's new? 

HKJ
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zeremefico wrote:
Bold in your letters, must be a very good charger!

There could be a few improvements, but nothing would make it charge better.

For a single cell universal charger this is the best I have seen.

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

RaceR86
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Thanks for another great review..

Fingers crossed they will make a 4 bay version of this.

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HBomb
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Nice review again HKJ! When does the low voltage stop kick in for the USB out? I’m curious if it would be usable as a USB out supply with an LiFePO4 cell.

HKJ
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RaceR86 wrote:
Fingers crossed they will make a 4 bay version of this.

I do not really believe that a 4 bay version of this is that interesting. The VP2 would be more interesting as a 4 bay charger.

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

garrybunk
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Wow!  I have one on the way right now; glad to hear it's top notch!

-Garry

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HKJ
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HBomb wrote:
Nice review again HKJ! When does the low voltage stop kick in for the USB out? I'm curious if it would be usable as a USB out supply with an LiFePO4 cell.

At about 3 volt, you can see it on the usb output curves. At high load the voltage is slightly above 3 volt.

The specifications says 3 volt +/-0.3 volt

I.e. you cannot be sure it will work on LiFePO4.

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

RaceR86
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HKJ wrote:

RaceR86 wrote:
Fingers crossed they will make a 4 bay version of this.

I do not really believe that a 4 bay version of this is that interesting. The VP2 would be more interesting as a 4 bay charger.

A good 4 bay charger that could do 4x 26650@ 2A, very interesting IMO.

A good 4 bay charger that could do 4x 18650 4,35V cells, very interesting IMO.

At the moment, I have to use two chargers in order to charge 3x 26650 cells (I also have to use two chargers that will terminate at same voltage).

At the moment, I have not bothered with 4,35V cells, mostly because I want a charger that can charge several of them. Buying a bunch of SP1 chargers is not something I would consider.

Looking forward to your "dreamcharger review".. That might get me into 4,35V cells.

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Thanks, I see that on the curves now. If the sample was the minus .3V then that would work well since you would get most of your capacity by 2.7 V. Even 3.0 V would be decent, I may have to check it out. Smile

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Great review, as always, HKJ!

I wish it was tiny bit cheaper tho :D!

__philippe
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vēer wrote:
Great review, as always, HKJ! I wish it was tiny bit cheaper tho :D!

Cheaper ? You are jesting, I trust !… Wink

How cheap can you get ?…this cheap, perchance :

http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-sp1-charger.html

Cheers,

__philippe

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Thanks for the review. Great charger!

I would also like the charger to be able to charge at 250mA or lower. I am waiting for the MC0 to become for sale somewhere, but nicer would be a charger like this one, that also accepts 18650.

__philippe
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djozz wrote:

Thanks for the review. Great charger!

I would also like the charger to be able to charge at 250mA or lower. I am waiting for the MC0 to become for sale somewhere, but nicer would be a charger like this one, that also accepts 18650.

Must be your lucky day... Smile

http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-mc0-mini-li-ion-battery-charger.html

Cheers,

__philippe

Customary disclaimer: I have no connection with nkon.nl whatsoever, besides being a satisfied, return customer.

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__philippe wrote:
Must be your lucky day... Smile http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-mc0-mini-li-ion-battery-charger.html Cheers, __philippe

Yeah thanks, I have seen it there, but they're out of stock Sad

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Thanks for the review.

What is the standard charging setting, after plugging it in.

The low end voltage for 4.35V batteries makes me a bit sad, are you sure that it is only a matter of production differences or have they adjusted the voltage a bit low to be on the save side?

Do you plan to review the new sample of the LGD1 which is in your picture…?

vēer
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__philippe wrote:
vēer wrote:
Great review, as always, HKJ! I wish it was tiny bit cheaper tho :D!

Cheaper ? You are jesting, I trust !… Wink

How cheap can you get ?…this cheap, perchance :

http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-sp1-charger.html

Cheers,

__philippe


For that money I would like to have dual slot capability ;)!
__philippe
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Money be damned… Smile
treat yourself to the ultimate, nay, to the Rolls-Royce of 2-channel Li-ion chargers.

…Ladies and Gentlemen, a roll of drums, please….introducing the only game in town:

(…frantic applause…)…the Xtar VP2 !

You know where to get one, don’t you ?..;-)

Cheers,

__philippe

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Nice review, thanks! Hope a VP2 is on deck, it’d be interesting to see how it handles 4.35V cells.

HKJ
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Werner wrote:
What is the standard charging setting, after plugging it in.

The voltage is controlled with a 3 position switch and will start at the last selected value.

The current will start at 0.5A

Werner wrote:
The low end voltage for 4.35V batteries makes me a bit sad, are you sure that it is only a matter of production differences or have they adjusted the voltage a bit low to be on the save side?

I do not know, but would expect it to be production tolerances.

Werner wrote:
Do you plan to review the new sample of the LGD1 which is in your picture...?

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/LG%2018650%20D1%203000mAh%20%2...

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

MountainKing
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That seems awesome but then you put this comment above…

“Before using the charger for a 4.30 volt cell I will strongly advice to check the charge voltage with a DMM: Connect a DMM parallel to the battery and check that the voltage stays below 4.35 volt all the time while charging”

Any risks?

Never ever forget and forgive. Niwal**er new kid on the block trying to act tough.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
Do not support this brand.

DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11324?page=2#comment-254983

HKJ
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MountainKing wrote:
That seems awesome but then you put this comment above... "Before using the charger for a 4.30 volt cell I will strongly advice to check the charge voltage with a DMM: Connect a DMM parallel to the battery and check that the voltage stays below 4.35 volt all the time while charging" Any risks?

The charger is rated for 4.35 volt cell that can be charged with up to 4.40 volt.

If you wish to charge 4.30 volt cells, than can be charged with up to 4.35 volt, it is a good idea to check that the charger is below 4.35 volt.

If you overcharge a LiIon battery slightly you will reduce its lifetime significantly, but as long as you uses good cells there is not any risk.

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

__philippe
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Discounted Xtar MC0 back in stock again…for how long ? Smile

http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-mc0-mini-li-ion-battery-charger.html

Cheers,

__philippe

MountainKing
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The charger might be good, fit my needs but two things.
1) MAP 455h0135. (455h013 seems to be a great forum nick!)
2) A bit pricey Smile

Never ever forget and forgive. Niwal**er new kid on the block trying to act tough.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
Do not support this brand.

DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11324?page=2#comment-254983

djozz
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__philippe wrote:
Discounted Xtar MC0 back in stock again...for how long ? Smile http://eu.nkon.nl/xtar-mc0-mini-li-ion-battery-charger.html Cheers, __philippe

That was quick Smile thanks, just ordered one.

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@hkj
I already have seen the review of the LGcell, but I asked if you will also test the one in your picture which is a newer version. I wonder if they have changed something internally too or just the shrink wrap…
New:

Old:

HKJ
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Werner wrote:
@hkj I already have seen the review of the LGcell, but I asked if you will also test the one in your picture which is a newer version. I wonder if they have changed something internally too or just the shrink wrap... New: !{width:77%}http://www.lygte-info.dk/pic/Xtar/ChargerXtarSP1/DSC_4695.jpg! Old: !{width:77%}http://lygte-info.dk/pic/Batteries2012/LG%2018650%20D1%203000mAh%20(Pink)/DSC_0517.jpg!

The battery I tested with is more than a year old and I will not test it.

It also looks like they have the same type number LGABD11865

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

ojdash
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Am I correct in assuming this will not work with Eneloop or Nimh batteries?

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ojdash wrote:
Am I correct in assuming this will not work with Eneloop or Nimh batteries?

You are correct. This is a Li-ion charger.

If you want the ability to charge NiMH as well you might be interested in the XP1

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