[Review] Xtar MC1S , MC2S and MC3 - A technical overview

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bilakos10
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[Review] Xtar MC1S , MC2S and MC3 - A technical overview

The chargers were sent to me by XTAR for review.

All of the chargers are newly launched. In fact, MC1S and MC2S are not even listed on the manufacturer's website so far.
On the other hand, more information for the MC3 can be found here: Xtar MC3



To my understanding, the MC series chargers are the budget category of chargers that XTAR produces.
Their packaging are pretty simple.

Both the MC1S and MC2S come in a simple blister package.

 

The MC3 comes in a more elegant-looking cardboard box.



All of the chargers come with a USB3 to micro-USB cable and a user manual.

 

In all cases, the charging cable is 0.8m long and comes with grooved edges for better grip.



A difference I noticed is that the MC1S comes with a cable rated for 1A of current.



While MC2S and MC3 arrived with a cable rated for 2.5A, which is quite thicker.
Skip to the end of the review to see a resistance measurement of all the cables. 



For the most part, the specifications / features of all the chargers are the same.
What changes among them is the maximum input / output current.

Here's a table I have compiled with all the available data.

Feature MC1S MC2S MC3
Input DC 5V 1A DC 5V 2.1A DC 5V 3A
Output 1A x 1 1A x 2 2A x 1 / 1.5A x 2 / 1A x 3
Battery Slots 2 3
Input Plug micro-USB micro-USB micro-USB
Led Indicator Yes Yes Yes
TC/CC/CV Modes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Revive Mode (0V) Yes Yes Yes
Cut off Voltage 4.2V 4.2V 4.2V
Reverse Polarity Protection Yes Yes Yes
Overcharge Protection Yes Yes Yes
Short Circuit Protection Yes Yes Yes
Overheat Protection Yes Yes Yes
Supported Chemistries Li-Ion Li-Ion Li-Ion

 

Here's the chargers side by side.



Their back side lists the maximum input/output power as well as the cells supported.
Left: MC1S , Right: MC2S

  

And the MC3



The status of the charging is indicated by an LED.
The LED will shine Green if the cell is fully charged or no cell is detected, while red indicates that the cell is being charged.
A pulsing red indicates that the cell is placed in reverse orientation.

 


All of the chargers are capable of charging the following battery types:
10440 , 14500 , 14650 , 16340 , 17335 , 17500, 17670, 18350 , 18490
18500 , 18650 , 18700 , 20700 , 21700 , 22650 , 25500 , 26650

Please keep in mind that protected 20700 and 21700 won't fit ( manufacturer clearly states that ).
On the other hand, protected 18650 and 26650 will fit without any problem.

Here's the chargers on duty.

  


Performance Measurements

In order to be able to validate my measurements, I have used two input sources.
  a. 16.000mAh powerbank capable of 3.0A of current.
  b. DPS5020 adjustable bench power supply, capable of 20A paired with a spliced microUSB cable.
In both cases, the input source was measured with my trusty RD UM34C usb meter.

The output current was measured by intercepting a multimeter with high gauge leads between the positive terminal of the carrier and the battery. 

Xtar MC1S
Input : 0.944A @ 5.09V
Output: 1.41A
The charger's performance easily surpasses the number that the manufacturer provides (1A)


Xtar MC2S - Single Cell
Input: 0.991A @ 5.12V
Output: 1.47A
Under a single cell, the MC2S performs pretty similarly to the MC1S.


Xtar MC2S - Two Cells
Input: 1.799A @ 5.02V
Output: 1.36A per cell (2.72A total) 


Xtar MC3 - Single Cell
Input: 1.841A @ 5.06V
Output: 2.56A


Xtar MC3 - Triple Cell
Input: 2.271A @ 5.05V
Output: 1.01A per cell (3.04A per cell)


Cable resistance measurements
The cables' resistance was measured using the RD UM34C usb meter and the RD LD25 electronic load.
Resistance was calculated by measuring the voltage drop across the cable while running 1A of current through it.

Xtar MC1S cable (1.0A rated)
Resistance = 0.33Ω


Xtar MC2S cable (2.5A rated)
Resistance = 0.181Ω


Xtar MC3 cable (2.5A rated)
Resistance = 0.141Ω


All of the included cables seem durable and their resistance seem to be good enough for their rated current.

Other Observations
I found out that while unplugged and while there is a cell inserted into the charger, there is persistent voltage on the input terminal.
The voltage is affected by the cell's charge level and is in the 3.0-3.7 V range. 
I went ahead and connected a load on the input of the chargers and I recorded 15mA of maximum current leakage.

Provided that you use a trustworthy input source (any modern smartphone charger will do), the reverse current path should be no issue but non the less, I felt like reporting it smile

Summary
As we saw, the chargers are pretty good, especially for their price.
They have no fancy features, yet they get the job done.
A bonus point towards the MC1S and MC2S as they seem to be able to provide even more current than the specified value cool

Edited by: bilakos10 on 01/13/2019 - 14:20
januar930
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Thanks for the review bilakos10.

I am looking to buy the MC2S. Do you know what are the differences with the MC2 ??

bilakos10
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januar930 wrote:
Thanks for the review bilakos10.

I am looking to buy the MC2S. Do you know what are the differences with the MC2 ??

The only difference between the MC2 and MC2S seems to be the maximum output current.
The S models seem to be able to provide double the output current (2Amps) than the non S ones.