Anything I should know before I order an Xtar VC4? Can it charge a single cell?

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Lumenlover
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Anything I should know before I order an Xtar VC4? Can it charge a single cell?

I have been holding off ordering a charger partly out of laziness (2+ years) and partly out of not having any rechargeable cells.  Lately, I was thinking about doing an Amazon order and throwing the VC4 on. Maybe a couple of packs of Eneloops too. I only have two "good" flashlights, Thrunite TN4A HI and TC1 and a couple of Fenix single AA lights that would benefit from Eneloops and the TN4A would definitely benefit.  I don't need fancy settings, just something that won't blow up a cell if one of my family members tries to use it when I am home for the weekend.  And that is stable enough to leave alone when charging.  My list of wants is small:  Can do Nimh and Li-ion.  Fits all the size cells I use: AAA, AA and 18650.  I have an android tablet usb output 2A wall adaptor already.  It is for a Nook tablet.  I am wondering if the Xtar VC4 can charge a single cell, though?  Or does it have to have the cells in pairs?   Thanks!

MRsDNF
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HKJ’s review should answer most of your questions.

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/38774

 

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Lonelydad
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Very nice charger. It will handle from 1 to 4 cells, either NiMH or LiIon. I upgraded from my Nitecore i4 because I wanted the display and the increased charge current that the VC4 has. I also have a VP2 for my 14500 and 10440 cells since they should be charged with a lower current than the .5A of the VC4. Love them both.

To get the most out of your VC4, make sure you have a wall wart that will supply at least 2.1A, from a reputable manufacturer. I am using an Anker two port 24W and have no problems whatsoever.

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Lumenlover
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Frankly, I have read HKJ’s review before and again today. I don’t know enough and tend to get lost in all the graphs. Oh well.

Yes, I have a 5v 2.1A wall wart. It is for a Nook tablet. Sounds like the VP4 is what I am looking for. I will take a chance at the charger being DOA but that is a chance with any electronic device, especially these chargers. Good to hear I can charger any number of cells. I was afraid it would balk with one or three cells.

Thanks!

flydiver
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One of the best chargers I’ve had for easy and reliable use. The ‘fuel gauge’ function is more decoration than good for analyzing but it is better than red/green light. I got a 2.5A wall wart from an electronics surplus store for mine. Prior to that I did use the USB with a 2.5A power outlet.

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bobofire
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Lumenlover wrote:
Frankly, I have read HKJ's review before and again today. I don't know enough and tend to get lost in all the graphs. Oh well.
I can see how that happens but if you have the time there's a lot of helpful detail in those graphs.

Bottom line on HKJ's review:

"This type of charger is what I will call a family charger. Nearly anybody in the family can use it, just put the batteries into the charger and wait. Only caveat is that small batteries go into the two center slots or, for sets of four, in all four slots. Final conclusion must be that it is a good charger."

I agree with the summary. I've had mine for over a year and it's worked reliably and well. Charging 18350s to 18650s, and my various sized eneloops. I generally use the 2.1A USB transformer that came with my tablet.

Lumenlover
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Thanks for the help. It looks like the charger for me.

wizardyhnr
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I bought one but have not tried it a lot. looks decent design.

The tricky part is its 5V usb power supply. From many posts, it looks like output voltage from usb adapter is most critical. My 5.1/2.1A rated ipad charger can only do 0.8A for 1/4 channels. Its low voltage threshold seems pretty high, maybe 4.9V?, which requires ultra low resistance cable and usb adapter. E.g. the cable’s resistance has to be smaller than (5.1-4.9)/2.1=0.095 Ohm.

Ordered a XTAR genuine usb adapter that is said to be able to output 5.2V/2.1A. Hopes that will give full power. unless you can DIY low resistance cable, otherwise the only way is to find a usb adapter that outputs higher voltage to compensate voltage drop on cable.

——- update ——-
The genuine usb adapter did work as advised. Now I am satisfied with it. Since usb power@2.1A is really picky, XTAR really should include the usb adapter in the package. For users don’t have electrical background, I can image how frustrated it would be when they try to find the proper wall charger.

chops728
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I have lots of chargers —- the VC4 is a nice charger—works great—-If you have high capacity cells and need to charge more than 2 at a time—it tends to be slow @ .5 ma X4 cells ——- 4 VTC6 cells 3000mah === 6 hrs—— If this is an issue get the XP4 Panzer you can manually select charge rates and does a full 1 ma to all 4 slots—no fancy screen though —-I like the OPUS it does almost everything I need

Jinx
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I have one, my least favourite Xtar. I like the rocket far better, get 2 for 4 bay capability at proper charge levels.
I even prefer my old Xtar with just the led indication, the VC looks nice initially but it’s not really that useful and the picky USB power is just rubbish.

Lumenlover
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Jeansy wrote:
I have one, my least favourite Xtar. I like the rocket far better, get 2 for 4 bay capability at proper charge levels. I even prefer my old Xtar with just the led indication, the VC looks nice initially but it’s not really that useful and the picky USB power is just rubbish.

I don’t need fast charging. I have gotten almost 6 months of use out of my Thrunite TC12’s cell. I charged it in the light. Works great. I don’t need fancy charge levels or super fast charging. Just a simple charger that I can stick cells in and pull out a full cell a while later, without the charger overcharging the cells or blowing them up. Dumb chargers blow things up. Though, I really don’t need to change charging amps or voltage. I might use it eventually but not currently. I do agree the power supply is a sticking point. Can you suggest a charger that comes with the DC adapter needed and will work for someone (me!) who isn’t as well aquainted with all this fancy flashlight stuff? Thanks.

Maybe the Nitecore D4 but I am concerned about fakes. Where is a good place to shop online in the US that I won’t get a fake from?

DB Custom
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Richard at mtnelectronics.com (a long time member here)
Craig at illumn.com (also a long time member here)
imrbatteries.com in Houston also has good deals, with a 15% discount for BLF (BLF15)

I just got the XTAR Rocket and love it, I’m using the 2A capability on large cells.

While you might put NiMH cells on and leave them, I wouldn’t recommend doing that with Li-ion cells. Different chemistries, different potential issues.

Jinx
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Lumenlover wrote:
I don’t need fancy charge levels or super fast charging. Just a simple charger that I can stick cells in and pull out a full cell a while later, without the charger overcharging the cells or blowing them up.

Well the rocket is easier than the VC imo, the display is super simple and you just pop a cell in and charge it. Percentage is displayed, that’s it, so you do get an idea of how long.
One button press to get the fast charging should you ever need it otherwise it’s standard charge for a 18650.

The complex display and risk of changing to super slow charging make the VC harder work. My cable failed on the VC, so not only picky about the supply I then had to buy another, not common, USB to barrel cable. The supplied cable is of poor quality.

DB Custom
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A USB charger gets limited power supply, so it wouldn’t be a fault of the charger if it “balked” under a heavy load but rather a failure of the supply to meet demand. Charging 2 drained 18650’s is likely to tax a 2 A 5V supply and make something get hot. Probably a lot safer to go with a mains supply and better charger.

Lumenlover
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I was having trouble with my account and that is why I didn’t reply. I was able to log out but then couldn’t log back in. Weird.

I like the form of the rocket but I need it to be 4-bay. I have a Thrunite TN4aand I don’t want to charge 2 cells at a time for it. I was browsing HKJ review for the Opus chargers. The Opus BT-C3100 kinda caught my eye. It isn’t quite as simple as some but I like the control it gives me. I am not real worried about the pulsing charge current. I see that IMRbatteries.com has the Opus on sale too. I believe that website is supposed to be reputable, a plus.