Test/review of Zanflare C4

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flydiver
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4.17 > 4.25 are all within spec.
The difference is …….trivial.
10 seconds in a light and the ‘over charge’ is gone. You almost can’t measure the capacity involved without significantly expensive professional equipment.
There are sure a lot of OCD people in this forum.
You are spending $$ on hundredths of a volt.
Think about it.

The MC3000 is still consumer grade. You are quibbling over 0.0x volts.

Why would you charge a Li-on, and then immediately charge it AGAIN? Then be upset if it was 0.05 volts over the usual/expected norm?

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rcwiily
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I guess I’m still kinda stuck in my RC days when we’d pull 150A+ out of a 4s setup and having unbalanced cells could cause bad things to happen when low voltage cutoff couldn’t keep up with voltage sag on a bad cell. Something about seeing 15’ flames shooting from a little car sorta sticks with you.

But yeah with these relatively low Amp applications not as big of a deal.


flydiver
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My C4 is getting LCD screen ‘rot’. The upper right corner top and right side are going from blue to white slowly. The white completely destroys the information.
Anything I can do about that? I would guess this applies to many LCD screen chargers.

Charger is way beyond warranty. Getting so it looks to be hard to find a replacement, or very expensive now, should it go too far and I want one.

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Lightbringer
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Try gennnnnntly pressing on that corner, and see if it gets better or worse.

If better, some compression could fix it somewhat.

If worse, obviously don’t touch it.

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flydiver
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Tried that. There’s a plastic protective plate over the actual LCD screen. Using a pencil erasure I put pretty decent pressure on it to no effect at all. Mmmm.

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Lightbringer
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Hmm, sometimes, then, the glass seal breaks and the LC “ink” inside drains out.

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UnownJ
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Hey everyone my first post and sorry for reviving the thread. So measurements come out a bit higher than they’re supposed to? I’m in the process of creating an ebike battery and have about 107 of these cells that I need to accurately test (A guy on photonlexicon actually hooked me up with these batteries, really awesome guy!). https://www.orbtronic.com/batteries-chargers/panasonic-ncr-18650-2900mah...

I like these chargers from what I’m seeing on youtube and other sites including this one but I’m just concerned about that accuracy. The OP is the only one who has actually delved into these chargers in GREAT detail. You can get two of these for about 60 bucks so I really hope I can trust them. What you guys think?

Lightbringer
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Compared to my Opus and almighty Miboxer, yeah, the Zanflare consistently reads about 10% high. Maybe it’s just optimistic.

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UnownJ
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Ok when I order mine I’ll do tests and post my results here. I think I’ll be ok with them. I’m also going to pick up one of those tec-06 testers and do a comparison. You guys ever see those? A guy on youtube did extensive testing on them and they proved reliable. We’ll see

DudeMan
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fantastic detailed review, and great info from you folks. thanks for the inner bits pictures DEL. Thumbs Up

this charger (got one for Christmas) is great for charging up to 4 at 750mA in my opinion. 3@1A?
would be SO much better if there were vents on the top side of the charger by the screen.
doing a capacity test with 4×500mA the area around the screen gets pretty warm.
if i were to charge at 4×1A, i would use active cooling, and a beefier 12v supply.

mostly use it for charging my pair of 25Rs for my SST20/S2+, and a pair of 30Qs for my XPL-HI/C8+
rotating them. my last 30Q gets charged in my Pico mod with a magnetic cable.

i just received 4 sammy 35E protected cells for when my BLF LT1 arrives. they are from 2 different batches.
this is the first time i did a capacity test. all 4 cells were at 3.55v.
charged them to about 4.1v at 750mA, then changed to ‘NOR TEST’ (normal) @ 500mA.
took forever, but here are the results.

batch JM2T
3571mAh
3687mAh

batch JL1T
3602
3649

if i calculate 10% high (reading x 100 ÷ by 110(or ÷ by 1.1) as many report…

3246mAh
3351mAh
3302mAh
3317mAh

that seems more realistic for these cells. i’ve read you can expect around 3350mAh from a 35E.
these are protected, don’t know if that affects capacity or resistance.

what sold me on the C4 charger is the internal resistance reading got praised by a few reviewers.
the IR will go up as cells age. also being able to view voltages instead of percentages! Party
i usually charge to 4v to prolong the battery’s service life. i may switch to 4.1v

i’m not often testing, or testing a lot of cells, so the slower/higher reading capacity test isn’t an issue for me.
being able to use ‘FAST TEST’ to discharge cells to a storage voltages (3.5v) is nice to have.

trying to sync the settings for all 4 batteries can be frustrating. first stops blinking by the time the 4th is pushed in.
i found just quickly pushing the cells to briefly disconnect them, you can get them all flashing to sync the settings for all 4 cells.
yes, you can use the button for each cell to get them to flash, but if the settings are out of sync it’s like playing wack a mole. lol

cheers
/richard

popper
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NKJ wrote:
It will restart charging on reinsertion of the battery or power cycling

I have this model and noticed this immediately. Isn’t this a waste of time/power? Why wouldn’t a good charger detect a full state and abort a recharge?

Am I reading this correctly or do I have a defective device?

Thanks

HKJ
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popper wrote:
NKJ wrote:
It will restart charging on reinsertion of the battery or power cycling

I have this model and noticed this immediately. Isn’t this a waste of time/power? Why wouldn’t a good charger detect a full state and abort a recharge?

This is normal behaviour, you cannot detect a full battery immediately, you need to charge a bit first. For NiMH it can take up to half an hour to detect the full battery, for LiIon it is much faster.

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

flydiver
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Relax, the C4 is a fine unit. As HKJ says, normal behavior. The amount of power you are “wasting” during a re-start is trivial.

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popper
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Thanks for the responses.
What’s happening with this device is that upon reinsertion (after at least 6 hours and in CHARGE mode) the mAh display is flat and will continue to charge
until, what I assume, it tops off the cells. This can last 10 min or several hours depending on the size, age or IR of the cell. Once it has finished this cycle the mAh reading is low and does not represent the cell’s total capacity. The only way I can get that mAh reading back up is to put them through the NOR test mode.

The cells that I’m using are BK-4MCCA and BK-3MCCW Eneloop’s (Apr 2020) and for example. After a NOR test cycle a AAA cell reads 806 mAh the following day after a reinsertion and set to CHARGE mode the resulting mAh reading is
260 mAh.

The only other chargers I have are automotive and don’t have this feature.
Would someone with experience with these chargers please explain what is happening or if I have a faulty device?

Thanks

flydiver
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NiMh charging is….sloppy……
Imagine you are blindfolded, you have a pitcher of water, and you have to fill up a large cup with it using only hearing. As the cup fills, the sound will change. When it’s full, it will overflow, the sound will be different than when it was filling. So….now maybe you think you realize it’s full and stop.

The next day being blindfolded still you have to fill up a cup that may….or may not….be full. You start pouring water and listening. It might take awhile before you realize you actually are dealing with a full cup.
That is absolutely normal. A bit of ‘over charge’ on NiMh is not only OK, but is normal. A LOT, is not good. A bunch of undercharge is also not a great thing.

Filling NiMh is kind of like this. It is NOT a precise process. It’s kind of…..sloppy. If it doesn’t screw up outside your acceptable limits of under or over discharge, don’t worry about it. Really.
I don’t see anything that makes me think your charger is not working appropriately.

Lithium is a whole different chemistry and needs to be thought of and treated differently.

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Marius1976
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Hi People,

Sorry for bumping this rather ‘old’ thread… I am new to this forum, and I found the very detailed test here in this thread. Excellent to see so much information, thanks for that!

I recently purchased this loader, and it seems to work quite well.

I have one question about it though, and I can’t find the information, and perhaps you people know it (or you are able to check it out, I have no idea how I could do that).

The question is:
Does this charger, go into ‘trickle charging’ once it shows ‘END

I have some 1000mAh NiMH cells here, and when they are finished the Voltage is 1.51V, but when I keep them in the charger the Voltage indicator slowly goes back to 1.41V (it updates the Voltage information though, but it indeed does not restart charging).

So I was wondering: does it do some kind of trickle charging? It seems not, but perhaps you people know it for sure.

Thanks a lot!
Marius

thefreeman
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There is no visible trickle charge on the graph, and HKJ doesn’t mention the presence of a trickle charge.

The review also says this :

Quote:
When power is connected with a full battery, it will charge with about 1mA.

Which would mean that it does charge a full cell, but I think that 1mA is too low to be considered a trickle charge.

Robin Dobbie
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If there is a post-END trickle, I can’t measure it. I rigged up a cell to measure current and my clamp meter reading fluctuated between .03A and .09A immediately after END appeared. I kept the cell in for about a minute and I didn’t notice a change of that behavior after the cell was disconnected. Immediately before cut-off the voltage was 1.56V and the current was between .96A and 1.01A.

Just noticed I have another cell in there that I wasn’t measuring. The voltage has been steadily dropping since cut-off. It’s down to 1.42V at this point.

DudeMan
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welcome to the forums Marius1976. Beer

for keeping NiMh cells topped off, i use a couple MH-C401FS by Powerex.
i wiped out the power supplies (12V) with my generator (guessing the diodes), but they still work on my bench supply.
they have to be at least 10 years old by now. Shocked

keeping AAAs topped off is a must. i hate AAA cells of any chemistry. Tired

just pulled some AA, and AAA cells out of them. they were between 1.45v and 1.47v.

again, welcome. Smile

thefreeman
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Trickle charging Nimh is definitely not a “must” since that degrades it, here is a test : http://aacycler.com/post/trickle-charging-lsd-cells/

The MH-C401FS trickle charges at 50mA.

DudeMan
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well, it’s a must for me. i’ll trade cell life for being able to grab a couple of cells and power whatever device without having to top it off first.

thefreeman
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Alright, but then a lower current would be more appropriate for minimizing degradation, a trickle charge of 50mA is a vestige from NiCd era which had high self discharge and thus needed relatively high current to be kept full, here we see that in 44 hours the AA fujitsu/eneloop lost ~100mAh*, which means that a trickle charge of 2~4mA would probably be enough to keep a full charge, and 1/3 that for an AAA.

edit : * which seems high actually, maybe the charger he used for the test pulled a small current during the 44 hours wait.

Marius1976
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Wow thank you so much for all the replies, and so soon (and the warm words!).

Nice to see this activity. I am completely new to this forum, and it is great to have all this information.

I am not an expert in this field, although I did (and do) quite some electronics with my Ancient Atari 8bit computers.

My problem is this:
We have quite some tiny light ornaments in the house during the holiday season. My daughter (12 years old) already decorated her room with these cables full with LED’s (you probably know these). Well, I purchased a collection of several AA NiMH’s and guess what? The ones with the highest capacity do NOT physically fit in the battery-compartment! Only the 1000mAh cells do work. But the longest cables with lights still ask quite some mA’s so with a fully charged battery they only last for a couple of days, and then I need to recharge. Since these batteries are new, I think the capacity will grow some but still… the charger reports quite some mA’s after a full charge (it is simply a timer actually, but ok).

I am quite surprised how much the charger seems to ‘recharge’ the batteries after they were fully charged and only stand there (fully charged) on the shelve for a couple of days (!). I charge the 1000mAh battery, I remove it from the charger… it stands on the shelve for less then 4 days, and then it seems to need a recharge (the charger tells me it was able to add 180mAh to it). That’s odd right? Or not?

So that is why I was interested in a trickle charge, to keep them loaded.

One last thing (sorry for writing so much) … is it normal that some of these rechargeable batteries are ‘fatter’ so they don’t fit?

I have here (all new)

Duracell 2500 -> does not fit at all
GP ReCyko+ 2600 -> does not fit easily, but with some pressure it fits more or less
GP ReCyko+ 2000 -> Same as 2600
Varta Recycled 2100 -> fit almost without pressure
Varta Endless Energy 1000 -> yeah these fit
Kruidvat* 2300 -> fit almost without pressure

*) This is a Dutch brand.

I hope my English is understandable… I am Dutch, so it is not my native language.

Thanks again!

Robin Dobbie
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Quote:
it stands on the shelve for less then 4 days, and then it seems to need a recharge (the charger tells me it was able to add 180mAh to it). That’s odd right? Or not?

If you’d have bought low self-discharge cells, both you and your wallet would know it.

It’s not uncommon for inexpensive consumer electronics to have size tolerance issues. That name-brand cells aren’t fitting leads me to believe the problem is with the holder, but who knows.

If it were me, I would look into maybe a small DC power supply to save time and money with messing around with cells.

Marius1976
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Robin Dobbie wrote:
If you’d have bought low self-discharge cells, both you and your wallet would know it.

I completely understand this. But even with the more expensive cells I see the same happening… but because they have a higher total capacity, it is relatively a smaller amount of Amps that has to be charged after a few days of sitting on the shelve. Is this decharge behavior something that is more likely with newer cells?

Robin Dobbie wrote:
It’s not uncommon for inexpensive consumer electronics to have size tolerance issues. That name-brand cells aren’t fitting leads me to believe the problem is with the holder, but who knows.

Perhaps both. I have more equipment here that does not like the size of the rechargeable batteries. I have a travel-shaver here, that is very picky on the size of the batteries. You’d expect the Varta and Duracell cells to fit… but they don’t. I also have a device that vaporizes salt water and medicine to inhale a certain type of medicine for the sinus: only the 1000mAh Varta cells did fit. It’s very odd.

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Marius1976 wrote:
I am quite surprised how much the charger seems to ‘recharge’ the batteries after they were fully charged and only stand there (fully charged) on the shelve for a couple of days (!). I charge the 1000mAh battery, I remove it from the charger… it stands on the shelve for less then 4 days, and then it seems to need a recharge (the charger tells me it was able to add 180mAh to it). That’s odd right? Or not?

I’m not an expert on battery charging, but have gained some information about them by reading a lot through this forum, so just consider what I’m going to mention as additional information (verify them in other forum posts or other battery-charging information sites, especially check HKJ’s battery charging test write-ups…)

Ok — what you’re experiencing is a characteristic of NiMh battery charging.

I recall someone here explained it as — NiMh cannot be easily detected as “full” if just basing on their voltage — these batteries need to be charged (ie. pump in current into the battery), and the charger has to detect that the battery cannot take in more power (ie. the NiMh battery starts to get warm/hot). When this happens, the NiMh battery is considered “full” (there are some differences in “how to detect that the NiMh battery is full” – some use a negative-delta-v/delta-T (from what I understand, while pumping more power/‘capacity’ into the NiMh battery, the voltage will rise, but when it’s “full” [ie. cannot take in more power], the voltage will actually drop slightly. Also, the battery’s temperature will also rise – there is a speed of temperature rise, I think. Different chargers detect this “full” condition differently — if you check HKJ’s NiMh battery charger reviews, he often tests and mentions “fast to detect NiMh battery full” or “fairly slow to detect”.) Fairly slow to detect, means the charger charged more capacity into the battery before detecting the battery is full.

Thus, the “180mAh” capacity charged is how much the charger tried to pump into the battery, but it probably does not mean the battery actually gained “180mAh” of usable capacity… since the battery is almost full. (the charger “pumped” the capacity into the battery in order to know if the battery is full or not).

Perhaps an analogy is a pail of water. We can pour water into the pail, but in this case, we could NOT know it is full by observing (assuming there is a cover on the pail of water), until the water overflows. So, the overflowed water is not actually “usable” water since it overflowed…

flydiver
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Also, as batteries charge, they get warm as they get full. Depending on the battery (quality), internal resistance, and charging current the warmth may vary. Increased temp > increased chemical activity.
After the charge the battery cools down. Chemical reactivity decreases. Voltage goes down a little.
This is true for all rechargeable batteries. HOW MUCH is dependent on a host of other factors; chemistry, age, temperature difference, accuracy of the charge termination in the first place, etc.

To Air is Human, to Respire….Divine.

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