Test/Review of Charger ML-102 V8.0 2015

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HKJ
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Test/Review of Charger ML-102 V8.0 2015
Charger ML-102 V8.0 2015

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This charger is a very small 18650 charger, it need an external USB power source to charge, and can also work as a USB charger / power bank. It only charges one battery at a time. The charger has been on the market a long time with frequent updates. First time I looked at it, it was good, second time it was bad, what is the score this time?

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I got the charger in a envelope without any accessories.

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The charger has a micro usb connector for power input.

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And a usb connector for usb output power.

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When usb output is loaded a blue led is on, it will be glowing weakly when usb output is unloaded.
This led is hidden inside the charger.
Normal charging has the usual red/green led on top of the charger.

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The battery slot is fixed length with a tight spring at the minus end.

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Only unprotected 18650 will fit. It might be possible to charge smaller sizes with the use of spacers, but the battery and spaces must be very close to 65 mm length together.

supportedBatteryTypes

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The charger can only handle 65 mm long batteries, this means unprotected batteries.



Inside the charger

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The charger is easy to open, only four screws must be removed and it can be pulled apart.

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The top side of the board, notice the LED below the minus pole. It is the blue led for usb output.

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The bottom side of the board.



Measurements
  • When not connected to power it will drain about 0.4mA from battery.
  • Without a battery in the charger it will flash fast red/green when powered.
  • Below 1.5 volt the charger will flash red/green and not charge.
  • Between 1.5V and 2.2 volt the charger will show red light and charge with 0.10 to 0.14A
  • Above 2.2V the charger will use full current.
  • When charge is finished the charger will discharge with 0.4mA.
  • Charger will restart if voltage drops below 4.1V
  • Charger will restart charging after power loss or battery insertion.


ML102%20V8%202015%20(PA18650-31)

The charger uses a good CC/CV charge curve with a termination current a bit above 100mA.
With the charger current at about 1350mA the charger will be optimal for many 18650 cells, except the old Panasonic 2900mAh and 3100mA, where the current is a bit too high and will reduce the rated lifetime of the cells (I do not see this as a big problem).

ML102%20V8%202015%20(SA18650-26)

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No problems with 2600mAh and 3400mAh.

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Simulating a weak charger made the ML102 charge the battery with reduced current, i.e. longer charge time.

Temp2132

M1: 34,1°C, M2: 37,0°C, HS1: 39,0°C
The charger is fairly cool when charging.

Poweron

The charger is a dumb charger, i.e. no microprocessor that needs to initialize or anything, when power is applied it will start charging immediately. This type of charger works perfectly with a solar panel.



Measurements on USB power
  • Usb output is coded as usb charger (DCP).
  • Usb output can be used while charging, this will reduce charge current.
  • Inside the charger is a blue led, it will turn on when usb output is loaded (When output is unloaded it will have a weak glow).
  • Usb output will be turned off when battery is down to 2.8 volt.
  • When nothing is connected to usb output it will drain about 0.4mA from battery.


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The usb output can deliver 1.6A with a new battery before the overload protection reduces the output off.

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It works very fine at 0.5A load, except the last few minutes before the battery is empty.

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Same with 1A load.

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With 1.2A load the charger has problems when the battery runs down, this means significantly shorter runtime.

10ohm

With 0.5A load the noise is fairly low at 24mV rms and 200mVpp.

4ohm

The nose is nearly the same with 1.2A load at 30mV rms and 200mVpp.



Conclusion

The over charge problem from version 7.1 is fixed in this one, this means that it again is a good charger, but only for unprotected 18650 cells. The power bank function can also be useful, but I would have liked a better handling when the battery is running low.



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/

Cula
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Thank you HKJ for another fine test/review. Had bad luck and got version 7 of this charger last year and after your test I never used it again. I'll buy this one, thanks.

Rolz
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Thanks HKJ for this review. I always read through your reviews as I find them very interesting.

piasca
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Was looking at the MC1 Plus but this one with the power bank function looks more useful. Can I say this one is better value than the MC1 Plus?

MRsDNF
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The MC1 will take a lot longer battery than the Miller. 71mm according to HKJ.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

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Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.

 

will34
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Thanks for the review! I have several ML-102 v8.0 on the way. I plan to test them with compact solar panels, since this is a “dumb charger” it should continue to charge even after a voltage drop. Unlike the MC1 plus when there is a quick voltage drop but power is not cut it reduces the charging current to about 0.6A, and it has to be reconnected to restart the charge at 1A.

This one can charge a NCR-B under 200 minutes, close to Xtar SP1 performance which is one of the fastest single bay charger, if it can deal with the V-drop of the solar panels and can auto restart, it will be perfect for outdoor use.

piasca
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Just bought one of this just to get started in the 18650. Just new to the led lights and the review sold it.

Thanks HKJ:

Serifus
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Would you be able to test what input voltages this charger can operate at?

HKJ
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Serifus wrote:
Would you be able to test what input voltages this charger can operate at?

No, the only way to test is to increase voltage until the chip (charger) dies and then assume the charger can work to a voltage a bit less than that.

Generally this is a datasheet value. I.e. if the datasheet for the charge chip says 10 volt, it will probably work with that and it can be tested.

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

hank
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Quote:
I plan to test them with compact solar panels, …. if it can deal with the V-drop of the solar panels and can auto restart, it will be perfect for outdoor use.

Details when you have them please.

Serifus
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That is what i’m hoping for as well. Ideally l’de like to cut out the losses from having a boost/buck converter in between the the charger and the solar panel, I have some 6V panels in parallel running directly into the ml 102, or what ever might be a better option.

will34
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hank wrote:
Quote:
I plan to test them with compact solar panels, …. if it can deal with the V-drop of the solar panels and can auto restart, it will be perfect for outdoor use.

Details when you have them please.

I didn’t had my ML102 V8 at the time but the MC1 Plus works perfectly with solar chargers. More info in post #11 here: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/39718

hank
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Miller 102 v9.0 is being advertised now: http://www.gearbest.com/chargers/pp_232581.html

Mr. Miller ought to post a change list somewhere.

Halo...
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Fabulous… Flat Stare We have a good one tested by HKJ and they can’t leave it alone. They are a real pain in the 4$$. Imho.