[Review] Nitecore SC4 (2*3A/4*1.5A, Ni-Mh/Li-Ion, 4 channel indipendently controlled, 300~3000mA charging current steps)

1 post / 0 new
Neil_Tennen's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 07/16/2016 - 09:19
Posts: 103
Location: Italy
[Review] Nitecore SC4 (2*3A/4*1.5A, Ni-Mh/Li-Ion, 4 channel indipendently controlled, 300~3000mA charging current steps)

Hello to everyone laughing
Thanking them for the trust, today I will review the Nitecore SC4 that was kindly provided by Nitecore itself.

CLICK HERE to go to the official product's page on the Nitecore website.

I want to clarify that my reviews are made at an amateur level, so without the aid of science fiction tools or tests in secret and cutting edge
laboratories. Therefore, among the lines that follow, there will be my humble observations and even my humble opinions.

Official features:

- maximum charging speed up to 3000 mA
- charging current from 300 mA - 3000 mA is manually selectable
- compatible with 1,2V, 3,7V, 4,2V, 4,35V batteries
- high-definition color LCD screen displays charging parameter in real time
- utilizes energy saving function
- charging program optimized from IMR batteries
- automatically identifies battery type and selcts appropriate charching voltage and current
- capable of manually choosing charging voltage for LiFeP04 battery (3,7V) and Li-Ion battery (4,35V)
- automatically detects small capacity battery and select appropriate charging current
- capable of charging four battery simultaneously
- indipendently controls and charges each slot
- integrated USB port compatible with all USB devices
- automatically stops charging upon charging completion
- reverse polarity protection and short circuit prevention
- Li-Ion battery restoration
- overtime charging protection
- built-in temperature monitor to prevent overheating
- automatically detects internal resistance
- made from fire retardant/flame resistant PC material
- designed for optimal heat dissipation
- certified by RoHS, CE, FCC and CEC
- insured worldwide by Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd.

Where to buy it

The Nitecore SC4 is available to be purchased from the NitecoreStore.

The packaging

The Nitecore SC4 is sold inside a light black cardboard box with the yellow ends and therelief lettering. On the front stand out the image (in scale) of the product, the name of the company and the one of the product.
The writing "superb charger" is clearly emphasized to underline the high performances that can be achieved by the product, whose main characteristics are reported a little lower.

On the back are explained the general characteristics of this charger. A QRcode sends us back to the official page of the product on the Nitecore website and, finally, we find the company data and their website.

On one side there are the technical specifications concerning input and output together with CE, RoHS and FCC certifications

while on the opposite side there is a long list of all the SC4 compatible batteries.

Once we have extract everything from the package, we will find:
- SC4
- a power cable over 1 meter and 20 cm long with an Italian plug
- the warranty card
- the multilingual manual
Ps There is not the car charger as it is optional

Here is the manual page in the English language only. It is however possible to view (and download) the entire manual at THIS address.

The charger

The SC4 is the Nitecore's top-of-the-range charger. This is a product with a generous screen with two buttons and 4 independent slides able to charge 4 different batteries simultaneously at a maximum speed of 3000 mA. We also have the possibility to select a speed that goes from the 300 mA up to the 3000 mA already mentioned, selecting the speed in 100 mA steps (for a total of 28 selectable speeds). Inside the body there is the transformer which supplies the necessary current to the 4 slides.
The body is made of good-quality plastic able to delay flames and avoid, or at least slow down, the spread of a possible fire inside the apartment. Good general quality is perceived by touch.
On each sled, however capable of accommodating cells up to a maximum of 6.8 / 9 cm, a little drawing of a battery is imprinted to indicate the polarity that have to be respected. The two side slides are wider than the central ones and allow larger cells (like 26650) to be accommodated. The charger is however equipped with an anti-reverse polarity device and that prevent short-circuits.
The connectors on each slide are however protruding and adapt to the best of each battery,  as long as
at last 2.7 cm long (minimum distance between positive and negative connectors).

As mentioned earlier, we can put a multitude of batteries in the slides of this SC4. For demonstration purposes I put a 18350, an AA, a protected 18650 and an unsecured 26650.

At the top of the charger we find a USB output (does not have the powerbank function but it is useful if we want to charge some devices like the smartphone), the car adapter socket (which I remember to be optional and not included) and the one for the power cord included in the package.

On the two sides we find the name of the product. These cuts to dissipate the heat generated do not go unnoticed.

On the back we find the name Nitecore together with the certifications.

A yellow sticker report the batteries accepted by the SC4 and the speeds involved.

Once the power cable is connected, the monitor will turn on and all the information will be readable without problems thanks to the use of white and yellow on a black background. The screen has a good backlight that drops automatically after a while but
unfortunately it is not possible to completely turn off the screen manually.
Without batteries we can see that the screen is divided into three distinct zones: the "chg.mode", in which we can see or select the chemistry of the battery inserted in a given channel; the "channel status", in which we will see all the information about the battery; the "chg.channel", the area in which the charge progress of the cell is indicated.

How does it work

The SC4 automatically identifies both the chemistry (ie Li-Ion, Ni-Mh / Ni-Cd) and the capacity of the batteries, thus choosing the right charging program based on the inserted battery. The initial speed will also depend on the capacity of the battery itself (always detected automatically) so we will have a speed of 500 mA for small batteries (<1200 mAh) and 2000 mA for large batteries (> 1200 mAh).
Obviously in the settings we could change the speed, selecting it in a range between 300 and 3000 mA.
To change the speed it is necessary, with the battery inserted, keep the C key pressed and, when the charging speed will flash (under the channel status panel), press V to increase the speed of 100 mA at a time. With the V key pressed, the speed can be increased faster. To exit the setting after reaching the desired speed, just hold down the C key again.

As I said, the inserted battery is automatically identified, whether there is a Ni-Mh / Ni-Cd

than a Li-Ion.

As we all know, there are different types of Li-Ion and therefore may will be necessary to go to the settings to select a different one from the classic one (4.2V). As for the change of speed, you must hold down the C key, press C again to switch from the speed (located under "channel status") to the information that will be proposed under "chg.mode". By pressing the V key we can select the type of battery between Li-Ion and LiFePO4 in the voltages (4.3 and 3.7). To exit the settings after selecting the type of our battery, just keep the C key pressed.

When we have filled two or more slots, we may need to move between the channels to see information about each individual slot. To do this, just press the C key once, each time we move of one position and we will know which channel we are consulting thanks to the yellow "flags".

Once a specific channel has been selected, we will be able to know various information about that battery. Under the word "channel status" we will have information that will change automatically during the charge or that we can manually recall by pressing the V key.
Among the information that we will have available there will be the mAh stored during the charging process, the time spent,

the charging speed, the battery voltage

and the battery status (indicated with GOOD or POOR) with the value of its internal resistance.

Once the charge is completed on a given channel, we will have the word FULL in the "channel status" field and the cleats under "chg.channel" will be full.

Here is a little tab with the various times I found reloading some cells at certain speeds (type of battery, starting V, current speed, time spent, end V).

I also remember that the SC4 is equipped with a USB output that can power large and small devices. This does not have a powerbank function (ie it does not use the capacity of the batteries to charge other devices) but uses part of the current that enters from the power cable.
Here is a LA30 charging

and a common powerbank.

The SC4 has the function of battery recovery (it is able to charge those batteries that have 0V). Simply insert a damaged battery into the slide and simultaneously press the C and V keys to start charging.
Nitecore also advises to dispose of batteries that fail
properly to overcome this type of charging as they could be seriously damaged and could constitute a serious danger to our person.

Weights and dimensions

The Nitecore SC4 measures 16.5 x 11 x 4.7 cm and weighs 386 gr.

Next here is the dimensional comparison with a big BIC lighter and a 18650

and an Xtar VC4 and an Opus BT-C3100.

Here is a shot demostrative video to see the behavior of the display and the charger in detail

Personal considerations

The Nitecore SC4 is a battery charger with 4 slides and 4 independent channels with not excessive dimensions and good build quality.
I really appreciated the possibility to manually set the charging speed from 300 to 3000 mA. This allows us to choose different speeds unlike other products that have 3-4 pre-set positions but which do not allow us to set an ideal speed for a given battery.
The slides flow well and I have not detected problems or malfunctions even though I would have liked to be able to manually turn off the backlight of the monitor.
I found the USB port comfortable and not running from powerbank has no importance given the size of the charger itself ... it would not be a compact powerbank unlike other Nitecore products that operate as powerbanks.
The only flaw in my sample is a slight buzz (coil noise) given by the integrated transformer. The "noise" is not synonymous with malfunctions and does not affect the correct operation of the device.

What do you think of this battery charger? Would you buy?

Edited by: Neil_Tennen on 08/08/2018 - 09:00