Test/Review of Charger Xtar MC1Plus

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HKJ
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Test/Review of Charger Xtar MC1Plus
Charger Xtar MC1Plus

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DSC_0171 DSC_0172

Xtar has updated their smallest 18650 charger, now it supports two charge currents. This has made it faster to charge 18650/26650 cells and maintained the support for smaller cells.

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I got the charger in a small cardboard box with the specifications printed on it.

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The box contains the charger, a bag to keep the charger in, a usb cable, a instruction manual and a warranty card.

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The charger must be supplied from a usb power supply with 1A current. The connector is a micro usb, making it compatible with smart phone chargers.

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There is not much user interface on the charger, only a red/green led. It is red while charging and green at all other times.

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The charger can handle both button top and flat top batteries.
The slider moves smoothly and can hand cells from 30mm to 71 mm long.
The charger will select 0.5A and 1A charge current depending on battery length, the change point is marked on the charger.
xx500 batteries will usual be charged with 0.5A, but the change point is close when charging a protected xx500 cell.

supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizes DSC_0181 DSC_0182 DSC_0183 DSC_0184 DSC_0185 DSC_0186

The charger can easily handle 70 mm long batteries, including flat top cells. (See my small LiIon comparison for length of different brands).
The current is to high for 10440 batteries.


Measurements
  • When not powered it will discharge a battery with 0.05mA.
  • Below 2.9 volt the charger wil charge with 150 to 180mA (Higher current at lower voltage) for long batteries.
  • Below 2.9 volt the charger wil charge with 75 to 90mA (Higher current at lower voltage) for short batteries.
  • Above 2.9 volt is use regular charge current.
  • When battery is full it will charge with less than 0.01mA.
  • If battery drops below 4.10 volt the charger will resume charging.
  • Will not restart charging if a cell is reinserted or power cycled.
  • Changed between 0.5A and 1A at about 54mm


MC1Plus%20(PA18650-31)

The charger uses a CC/CV curve, but current is limited by input voltage and starts dropping at 125 minutes. The charge terminates when the current has dropped to about 65mA. This is a good charge curve.

MC1Plus%20(SA18650-26)

A 2600mAh cell is slightly faster to charge, but because the voltage is higher (i.e. current starts to drop earlier) the speed advantage is not that much faster.

MC1Plus%20(BE18650-26)

My older 2600mAh is slower to charge due to the higher internal resistance.

MC1Plus%20(PA18650-34)

And, of course, a 3400mAh is slower to charge.

MC1Plus%20(KP14500-08)

This cell was supposed to be charged at 0.5A, but the 1.5mm thick sensor I stuck between the battery and the charger changed the charging to 1A.
The charging is fine, but current was a bit to high for this cell, due to the sensor. I do not believe this will give problems with protected batteries, except if the trigger point moves a little bit . Protected 14500 is not that long and if a protected 18650 is long enough to trigger 1A, it is acceptable.

MC1Plus%20(AW18350-IMR)

With a 18350 cell there is space for my sensor and I got a 0.5A trace, the termination current is down to 35mA (Good).

MC1Plus%200.5ohm%20(PA18650-31)

Simulating a weak usb charger did not give the MC1 any problems, charging took longer but was done fine enough.

MC1Plus%20falling%20(PA18650-31)

A bit more test with dropping voltage. The charger will try to charge with 1A when possible, if the voltage drops to much the current will be reduced and when the voltage is to low to charge it will stop. There is no intelligence to reduce the current if a weak usb charger is used.

MC1Plus%205.2V%20(PA18650-31)

Using a slightly higher voltage made it possible for the charger to maintan full current a bit longer, this improved the charge speed with about 15 minutes.

Temp2043

M1: 34,2°C, M2: 38,4°C, M3: 40,0°C, HS1: 47,0°C
Electronic generate heads when handling power, here the heat is generated at the front of the battery, but the battery is keept within limits.

Temp2045

M1: 35,4°C, HS1: 45,8°C

Charge1A

Charge0.5A

The charger is a simple charger and does not need any time to initialize when power is turned on, it simply starts charging with the selected current. There is no pwm in the charge current.



Conclusion

For a simple and light weight charger, this is a good charger, but it must be used with a usb power supply that can supply 1A.



Notes

The charger was supplied by XTAR for a review.

I have replaced most of my test batteries, this means lower internal resistance and higher capacity.

For information about usb power supplies see my list

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 - 14:21
CRX
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Just got one of these last week, thanks.

Ormbett
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Great Review, thanks! Still waiting for a cheap charger in this form factor that can take both NiMh and LiIon (as well as brew me a nice cup of coffee) Wink

will34
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Thanks for the review, I’ve been waiting for this.

HKJ, would you recommend this charger to use with a portable 20W solar panel ?

The output often drops below 5V temporarily when there isn’t enough sunlight or being shaded, does it resume charging after this happens? At full sun it can provide 5V up to 1.5A.

HKJ
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will34 wrote:
HKJ, would you recommend this charger to use with a "portable 20W solar panel":http://www.amazon.com/X-DRAGON-Efficency-Technology-Smartphones-Foldable... ? The output often drops below 5V temporarily when there isn't enough sunlight or being shaded, does it resume charging after this happens? At full sun it can provide 5V up to 1.5A.

I have no experience with soler panels, but I would expect this charger to work well with them.

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

ferongr
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Does this has two parallel charging circuits like the MC1 and the issue where the LED may turn green prematurely?

HKJ
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ferongr wrote:
Does this has two parallel charging circuits like the MC1 and the issue where the LED may turn green prematurely?

I did not see any, but the step in the charger curve shows that it probably has two charger circuits.

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

Werner
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Which is the best USB charger?

I am currently looking for a usbcharger with about 1A charge current.
The CH1 and UM10 reviews make me think that this might be the best bet.
Mc1p, CH1 and UM10 are all about 10$, have I overseen any of this type.
I also have red the VC2 review, if it would have 1A for each channel I would have ordered it.

I want to use it to experiment with solarcharging.

HKJ
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Werner wrote:
Which is the best USB charger? I want to use it to experiment with solarcharging.

Due to the large input voltage range I believe the Klarus is good for use with solar panels, but check the charge voltage that it keeps below 4.25 volt while charging!

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

MRsDNF
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Thanks to HKJ I have purchased ten of these chargers. Love your honesty and accuracy in your reviews.

 

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Thanks HKJ.
Your reviews are so important.
I’ll be getting few of these for gifting.

will34
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Today I took my X-Dragon “20 Watts” solar panel and the MC1 Plus to test.

The MC1 Plus works perfectly even if the voltage drops to 4.7V, it keeps drawing close to 1A current and automatically restarts the charge at full current after being shut off and on several times. This means that if the panel is being partly shaded for a brief moment, the charger will simply restart when voltage raises to the 4.7-5.0V range.

Top is MC1 plus, below is an iPhone 6. I’m not sure why my phone doesn’t draw 1A, I think my panel is damaged somehow because it fails to deliver 1A each port, and it used to work fine. Sun was pretty strong and the panel was placed at the right angle, it simply doesn’t keep up with more than 1.5A total draw.

Hope this helps.

HKJ
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Simple LiIon charges will usual work very well with solar panels (Much better than NiMH). The problems is when the charger has a computer, especially if the computer needs some settings before it will charge.

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

Manx
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Quote:
Still waiting for a cheap charger in this form factor that can take both NiMh and LiIon

me too!!

Thanks for the review, you’re a boss! Big Smile

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gadabout
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will34 wrote:
Top is MC1 plus, below is an iPhone 6. I’m not sure why my phone doesn’t draw 1A, I think my panel is damaged somehow because it fails to deliver 1A each port, and it used to work fine. Sun was pretty strong and the panel was placed at the right angle, it simply doesn't keep up with more than 1.5A total draw.

Thanks to HKJ for the review.  It looks like this little charger would be a good match for portable solar panels.  The dual current feature is nice and an improvement over the ML-102s I've always been reluctant to put my 16340/14500s into.

 

Apologies for taking the thread a little off topic but I'm curious since I've recently ordered one of these XDragon panels.  I was hoping it would be of good quality based on the reviews I could find.

I've also read that all of the folding panels will eventually fail because of the constant flexing of the internal connecting wires.  At supposedly 2.4A rated output and with you now getting only 1.5A perhaps one of the panels is no longer connected properly.

Have you thought of loading both ports and then trying to shade just one panel at a time to see if the current drops?  It might be a useful test.

(Also, what was the charge % of your phone at the time?  The current will taper as the phone approaches full charge.)

hank
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> When not powered it will discharge a battery with 0.05mA. …
> Will not restart charging if a cell is reinserted or power cycled.

Sounds like using it from a solar panel would work for a day — but it shouldn’t be left connected overnight as it would start draining in the dark, and not resume charging at dawn.

Not a terrible limitation. Promising.