Test/Review of Charger LiitoKala Engineer 300

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HKJ
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Test/Review of Charger LiitoKala Engineer 300
Charger LiitoKala Engineer 300

DSC_8457

DSC_8458 DSC_8459

LiitoKala started by making a analyzing LiIon charger (Engineer 260) that was fairly useful, but had a problem with long cell and the ohm reading. This is an updated version of the charger that can handle longer cells, works with both LiIon and NiMH and has a USB power bank function. How well did the update go?

DSC_8453

It arrived in a nondescript cardboard box.

DSC_8454

In the box is the charger, a power supply, car adapter and an instruction sheet.

DSC_8463

The charger has a 12 volt DC power input, for the mains adapter and the car adapter

DSC_8462

On the back of the charger is a usb output.

DSC_8461

The display has two sections one for each battery. The two buttons is also one for each battery.

Each time a battery is put into the charger it will measure the internal resistance of the battery. Then start flashing with 500.
A short press on the corresponding button will change between 500/1000mA charge current, a long press will select discharge. The charge current must still be selected. I.e. the charger can charge with 500 or 1000mA, but only discharge with 500mA.
When the button is not pressed for some seconds, that slot will start working.

During charge it is possible to toggle the display between mA, mAh, h (Charge time in minutes), mR (Internal resistance) with the button, voltage is always shown.

The display has background light, but it turns off rather fast.

DSC_8467 DSC_8466

When turned on the charger will show everything on the display for a short time, then change to "null" if the slots are empty.

DSC_8470 DSC_8471

Charging with 500mA, one LiIon and one NiMH, the battery symbols are animated. Selecting discharge will not immediately start discharge, but will first fill the battery. The animation on the battery symbol shows if the charger is charging or discharging.

DSC_8464 DSC_8465

The slots uses the common slider design with bumps on the plus and minus connections, this makes the charger work with both flat and button top batteries. The sliders works good and support from 30mm to 70.0mm. This will still give problem with the longest cells, especially some protected 26650 cells.


supportedBatteryTypes
supportedBatterySizes DSC_8477 DSC_8478 DSC_8479

DSC_8486 DSC_8485 DSC_8484 DSC_8483 DSC_8482 DSC_8481

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



Measurements
  • When not connected to power it will drain about 1.2mA from batteries.
  • Voltmeter is within 0.1V.
  • The voltmeter will freeze when charging is finished
  • The voltmeter will show up to 4.3 volt (Maybe more).
  • The charger will always charge with full current.
  • Above 2 volt the charger assumes LiIon.
  • Charger always starts with the 0.5A setting.
  • When charge is finished the charger will charge with 0.5mA.
  • Charger will not restart if voltage drops
  • Charger will restart charging after power loss, or battery insertion.


Charging LiIon

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

This is a good CC/CV charge curve with a termination around 100mA.
Display shows 2457mAh in 3:27

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

Slot two is the same.
Display shows 2664mAh in 3:18

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(BE18650-26)%20%231
LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(PA18650-34)%20%231

Other capacities does also work fine.
Display shows 2251mAh in 3:31 and 3035 in 4:06

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Charging at 0.5A works fine, but I would have liked a lower termination current. 0.1A is too high for many cells and they will not be filled completely.
Display shows 2720mAh in 5:52

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(AW18350-IMR)%20%231
LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(KP14500-08)%20%231

Both the smaller cells works fine at 0.5A.
Display shows 702mA in 1:40 for the 18350 and 775mAh in 1:50 for the 14500 cell.


LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(AW16340-IMR)%20%231

It can also charge my old 16340 cell, but the high termination current means very little capacity is filled into it.
Display shows 153mAh in 0:37

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(AW16340-IMR)%20%231

Reducing the charge current does not help much, because the termination current is unchanged.
Display shows 162mAh in 0:38

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(2xPA18650-31)

There is no problem charging two cells at the same time.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%2012V%20(2xPA18650-31)

The charger uses below 1A on the 12 volt input.

Temp1529

M1: 35,5°C, M2: 35,4°C, M3: 37,9°C, M4: 42,3°C, HS1: 46,1°C
The temperature is acceptable while charging LiIon.

Temp1531

M1: 34,7°C, M2: 35,2°C, M3: 38,6°C, M4: 35,8°C, HS1: 39,8°C

Startup0.5ALiIon

The charger is a bit slow to start, because it is giving the user time to change current (Current is locked while charging).

Startup1ALiIon

When I selected 1A current it extended the period I could change current in.



Discharging LiIon

The charger has a discharge function that is fixed at 0.5A discharge current.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20discharge%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Here I uses the default 0.5A charge current and the battery is charged with 0.5A, then discharge with 0.5A and finally charged again with 0.5A. There is no rest between charging and discharging.
Display shows 2811mAh in 5:37, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

Same as above, this time with 1A charge current.
Display shows 2917mAh in 5:50, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

The second channel works exactly the same way.
Display shows 2884mAh in 5:45, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(2xPA18650-31)

Using both channels at the same time generates some heat. This heat is probably the reason the discharge is restricted to 0.5A.
Display shows 2910mAh in 5:49 and 2993mAh in 5:59

Temp1540

M1: 43,3°C, M2: 44,1°C, M3: 63,3°C, HS1: 66,7°C

Temp1541

M1: 44,3°C, M2: 43,3°C, M3: 63,9°C, HS1: 70,9°C

DischargeLiIon

No pulsing, but a smooth discharge current (Nearly, see NiMH discharge).



Measuring resistance of LiIon

The charger measures the resistance of a battery each time it is put into the charger, this is usual a good function to see how worn the battery is.

RiLiIon

All measurements are done with the same LiIon cell, this is not obvious from the numbers. In the first row contact resistance can be used as excuse, but all the other measurements have fairly stable resistance.
This is not useable.

ResistanceLiIon

The measurement is made about 1 second after the battery is put into the charger.



Charging NiMH

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(eneloop)%20%231

A fairly constant charge current with a voltage termination and no top-off or trickle charging, i.e. the battery is not filled completely. This can also be seen on the temperature track, there is no final increase.
Display shows 1828mAh in 1:56.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(eneloop)%20%232

Second channel works the same way.
Display shows 1781mAh in 1:53.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(eneloop)%20%231

A lower charge current makes the it slower, but fills the battery to about the same level.
Display shows 1739mAh in 3:41.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(eneloopXX)%20%231

Not much capacity in my XX cells with this charger.
Display shows 1861mAh in 1:58.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(eneloopPro)%20%231

The pro cells has a slightly lower charge voltage and get charged nearly full.
Display shows 2434mAh in 2:35.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(powerex)%20%231

Same with the powerex
Display shows 2401mAh in 2:32.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20(eneloopAAA)%20%231

Display shows 597mAh in 1:16.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20full%20(eneloop)%20%231

With voltage termination a full cell is detected fairly fast.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(2xeneloop)

When charging NiMH the charger requires less than 0.5A current.
Display shows 1778mAh in 1:53 and 1825 in 1:56.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%2012V%20(2xeneloop)

The NiMH charging requires less current than LiIon charging, the charger only less than 0.5A on the 12 volt input.

Temp1560

M1: 37,4°C, M2: 38,6°C, M3: 37,6°C, HS1: 52,2°C

Startup0.5ANiMH

The charger always does a measurement of internal resistance in the cell, before starting charge.

Startup1ANiMH

Changing charge current will delay the charge start a bit.

Charge0.5ANiMH
Charge1ANiMH

The charger stops every 3 seconds to measure the voltage on the NiMH battery.



Discharging NiMH

The charger can also discharge NiMH batteries.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%200.5A%20discharge%20(eneloop)%20%231

This works the same way as LiIon, i.e. charge, discharge, charge. The discharge current is always 0.5A, but charge current can be selected.
Display shows 1912mAh in 3:49, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(eneloop)%20%231

Display shows 1938mAh in 3:52, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(eneloop)%20%232

Display shows 1914mAh in 3:49, this is the capacity and time for the discharge.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20discharge%20(2xeneloop)

Two eneloop do not generate much heat.
Display shows 1921mAh in 3:50 and 1968mAh in 3:56.

Temp1567

M1: 32,1°C, M2: 32,6°C, HS1: 42,9°C
Discharging NiMH is about 1/3 the power, compared to LiIon, there is no problem keeping the battery temperature down.

DischargeNiMH

Also with NiMH the discharge current is a nice constant current.

DischargeNiMHfastTimescale

But if I remove my filters and look at the current with a fast time scale, they are not really that stable. The charger uses some very fast pwm to control the discharge current.



Measuring resistance of NiMH

The charger measures the resistance of a battery each time it is put into the charger, this is usual a good function to see how worn the battery is.

RiNiMH

All measurements are done with the same NiMH cell, this is not obvious from the numbers. In the first row contact resistance can be used as excuse, but all the other measurements have fairly stable resistance.
This is not useable.

ResistanceNiMH

The measurement is made about 1 second after the battery is put into the charger.



Mixing LiIon and NiMH when charging

In these charts the temperature sensor is on the opposite battery.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(eneloop+PA18650-31)

In the first chart I measure on the eneloop while charging, it is charged as usual.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%201A%20(PA18650-31+eneloop)

The LiIon also looks as usual. The temperature drops when the NiMH is finished.


USB output
  • USB output is coded as Apple 1A
  • There is no indication of usb output active
  • USB output is draining the batteries with 1.2mA when unloaded.
  • USB output is disabled when the charger is powered.
  • USB output uses both batteries for power.
  • The usb output is disabled when the battery drops below 2.7 volt.



LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20%231%20load%20sweep

As usual I do a load sweep first, to see how the output works at different loads. The charger can deliver 1.1A and then the output starts dropping, there is no sign of any overload protection.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20%232%20load%20sweep

Using second battery slot works nearly equal.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20load%20sweep

With batteries in both slots it can only deliver slightly more current.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%205ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

First run is with 1A load, the usb output can maintain that for about 10 minutes and has a bad efficiency.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%205ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

Second slot is the same.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%205ohm%20(2xPA18650-31)

Using both slots do improve the output significantly, now it can maintain 1A load for 80 minutes.
The two batteries are discharged at the same rate.
Note: Efficiency calculations are wrong.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%2010ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%231

1A did not work very well, what about 0.5A. It is better, it can maintain the output for about two hours, but the efficiency is not that good.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%2010ohm%20(PA18650-31)%20%232

Second slot is the same.

LiitoKala%20Lii-300%20usb%2010ohm%20(2xPA18650-31)

Using two batteries improves it, now it can maintain output for more than 5 hours.
Note: Efficiency calculations are wrong.

5ohm

With 28mV rms and 186 mV peak-peak noise the output voltage is fairly good.

5ohmlow

But that is only valid for a short time, when it drops out of regulation the noise is hopeless.

5ohm%202x18560

Using two batteries the noise is 23mV rms and 140 mV peak-peak.

10ohm

With 0.5 load the noise goes down to 10mV rms and 79mVpp.

10ohm2x18650

Using two batteries with 0.5 load is about the same at to 10mV rms and 74mVpp.

With 1A load the rms noise increases to 11mV and the peak-peak to 800mV, again a good value.


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



Conclusion

The charger handles larger LiIon fine, but due to the high termination current it is not perfect for 16340 and 14500, but useable.
With NiMH it uses the common voltage termination and without a few hours top-off this means that the batteries will be slightly undercharged, this is usual not a problem.
The battery resistance measurement is not useable they way it works now.
The usb output can be used in an emergency, but is not very good.

It is a nice charger for maintaining batteries with the capacity measurement, for both LiIon and NiMH, but forget the resistance measurement and the usb output.



Notes

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

Read more about how I test USB power supplies and chargers

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

Edited by: sb56637 on 06/25/2015 - 14:21
Jaidmaster
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Thanks HKJ! I was really looking forward to this one – looks like yours has a termination voltage much better than mine. Smile

HKJ
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Jaidmaster wrote:
looks like yours has a termination voltage much better than mine. :)

The termination voltage is a bit high, but well within acceptable limits on mine.

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

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THANKS to have it published!
iNTERESTINGLY the major problems were not the termination voltage as I read everywere, but a lot more other issues.
That’s sad, I hoped it charged batteries better than 260 and improved things, instead it seems it’s worst than OPUS C3100 2.1

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Thanks for another great review. I ordered one from here http://www.ebay.com/itm/261701609964?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPage... .

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Fritz t. Cat wrote:
Thanks for another great review. I ordered one from here http://www.ebay.com/itm/261701609964?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPage... .

That’s the same seller I got mine from Fritz. Was a smooth transaction.

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So do I understand correctly that the mR rating is not very accurate? To me it looks like some times it gets it and others its confused and cant calulate the rclose to the correct value.

If they are going to fix this it sure would be nice to change from mR to iR and tobe able to acutually know that actual value and not the non intuitive 255 crazy number.

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TheBo wrote:
I hoped it charged batteries better than 260 and improved things, instead it seems it’s worst than OPUS C3100 2.1

I’m having a hard time about what charger to buy. I want what everybody else wants I guess, a charger that charges my cells nicely and can give me good readings when analyzing.
My only interest is charging 18350 and 18650 LiIon cells. Is the LiitoKala Engineer 300 worse than the Opus 3100 2.1?
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Thank you HKJ.  Excellent info.  What does the second row labled "Batt+cable" mean?

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ImA4Wheelr wrote:

Thank you HKJ.  Excellent info.  What does the second row labled "Batt+cable" mean?

When testing I fist do a test with only the battery, then I add a small adapter and uses a resistance box for the other measurements. The batt+cable is the battery, cable and connection resistance to the resistance box.

The value will be higher than the battery, how much is not really important. The importance part is the +xmOhm part, in these I move the cable around in the resistance box, the connection resistance will only change a few mOhm during this. I.e. the values is supposed to be very close to the +xmOhm above the battery+cable column. The result column shows the average of the 5 columns before it.

 

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

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Thank you again HKJ. 

Do you think the readings were so consistent with your resistance rig because the connection to the charger was tighter?

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ImA4Wheelr wrote:
Do you think the readings were so consistent with your resistance rig because the connection to the charger was tighter?

With the battery I take it out and put it in again 5 times to get 5 measurements.

With the rig I just unplug one connector and replug it, this gives very little resistance variation. The cables are silicon, this means they are very soft and will not move my adapter around.

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

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Mike C wrote:
TheBo wrote:
I hoped it charged batteries better than 260 and improved things, instead it seems it’s worst than OPUS C3100 2.1
I’m having a hard time about what charger to buy. I want what everybody else wants I guess, a charger that charges my cells nicely and can give me good readings when analyzing. My only interest is charging 18350 and 18650 LiIon cells. Is the LiitoKala Engineer 300 worse than the Opus 3100 2.1?

I do not like very much the pulse current of the Opus for daily charging, but with “big” batteries should not be an issue (don’t know if it is good for 18350)
ALso for the Lii300 I do not like the high termination current, which again should not be an issue with “big” batteries.

If I recall correctly maybe the Lii260 shoulkd be a better job in charging if you do not have long cells

Otherwise consider that the opus is more expensive, but it could charge up to 4 batteries, and up to 2Amps in some circumstances, also discharging (if I’m not wrong) could go up to 1A.
Also I was wondering if the HKJ sample of Lii300 does not overcharge batteries…

Anyway I think you should wait for a more competent opinion here.

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I guess it depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you.
I picked up the Lii-300 and used it for a few weeks testing cells. I now have it up for sale and jumped on the Gearbest Birthday sale for the Opus…

Mike C wrote:
TheBo wrote:
I hoped it charged batteries better than 260 and improved things, instead it seems it’s worst than OPUS C3100 2.1
I’m having a hard time about what charger to buy. I want what everybody else wants I guess, a charger that charges my cells nicely and can give me good readings when analyzing. My only interest is charging 18350 and 18650 LiIon cells. Is the LiitoKala Engineer 300 worse than the Opus 3100 2.1?
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Thank you HJK for your reply in Post 11.  Smile

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Thanks for the input everyone. Might go for the Opus for analyzing, and get something else for charging… I’m using an I4 for charging is it is now.

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HKJ wrote:

ImA4Wheelr wrote:
Do you think the readings were so consistent with your resistance rig because the connection to the charger was tighter?

With the battery I take it out and put it in again 5 times to get 5 measurements.

With the rig I just unplug one connector and replug it, this gives very little resistance variation. The cables are silicon, this means they are very soft and will not move my adapter around.

+1
I find it does give a usable referance (not absolute) but usable for my comparisons.

(“It’s good that most people can’t remember their previous lives. Otherwise
things would be a lot more complicated than they already are.”
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Is this “2015” model a new/revised version?
http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Liitokala-lii300-LCD-Charger-for-3-7V-18650-26650-18500-Cylindrical-Lithium-Batteries-such-as-1/217863_32252759436.html#

(I don’t think it is, I think they just mean the “300” is a revised version of the “260” but it’s hard to be sure what they mean)

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Mine just came, i put a battery charged by my 4.08V charger and it charged it up to 4.20V!
My first fully charging battery charger Smile
I might do a review on this charger, its disappointing that the internal resistance is not in milliohm, but i’m hoping its repeatable, at least on the same side for relative measurements over time.

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