XTAR VC2L Charger Review

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TimMc
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XTAR VC2L Charger Review

XTAR VC2L Charger Review

The charger came packed inside a retail box with a hang tag so that it can easily be displayed in a store. There's a clear photo of the charger on the front of the box, cell compatibility on the side, and specifications on the back. The photo appears to be about 80% of the actual size of the charger.

The box felt smooth and strong to hold. The photo and logo felt smooth and slightly raised.

I pulled two cardboard tabs to reveal that the hang tag is also a handle for a plastic shell inside the box.

The plastic shell pulled out like a drawer to reveal:

  • XTAR VC2L Charger
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Manual

XTAR included an anti-counterfeit sticker on the box where a unique code can be checked online on www.xtar.cc.

 

XTAR VC2L specifications

Model VC2L
Input 5V⎓2.1A
Constant Current 4.2V⎓2Ax1 / 1Ax2 / 0.5Ax2
1.45V⎓2Ax1 / 1Ax2 / 0.5Ax2
Cut-Off Voltage 4.2±0.05V
Cut-Off Current 4.2⩽150mA
Operating Temperature 0-40℃

Default charging current values:

Charging Current Level Battery Type Qty
2A Li-ion 1pc
1A Li-ion 2pcs
0.5A Ni-MH/Ni-CD 1pc
0.5A Ni-MH/Ni-CD 2pcs

Cells:

Cell Type Sizes
3.6V/3.7V Li-ion/IMR/INR/ICR 10440 / 14500 / 14650 / 16340 / 17335 / 17500 / 17670 / 18350 / 18490 / 18500 / 18650 / 18700 / 20700 / 21700 / 22650 / 25500 / 26650
1.2V Ni-MH/Ni-CD AAAA / AAA / AA / A / SC / C / D batteries.

 

Physical dimensions

I took the following measurements myself with some calipers:

Item Measurement
Charger height 33.6mm
Charger width 67.8mm
Charger length 136.8mm
Shortest cell length 31.2mm
Longest cell length 78.2mm

 

Manual

The manual has been printed on a sheet of glossy paper and folded into sections with eleven languages.

 

Initial thoughts

The display is easy to read. It shows the manually selected charging current, voltage and capacity. The tachometer-style screen looks cool but I'd rather see larger numbers for the charging current and voltage.

I was surprised to find that the charging current can be selected by pressing the button. This isn't mentioned on the retail packaging or on the www.xtar.cc website (at the time of reviewing). But it is mentioned in the manual. While charging one cell, the button cycles through 2.0 > 1.0 > 0.5 > 2.0 A. While charging two cells, the button cycles through 1.0 > 0.5 > 1.0 A. It would be nice if the charger let you manually cycle through 0.2 > 0.5 > 1.0 > 1.5 > 2.0 A.

Charging current on the display doesn't appear to reflect the actual charging current. A USB Meter may show an input voltage and current of 5 V and 0.4 A but the charger shows 2.0 A on the display. When you insert two Li-ion cells it shows 1.0 A instead of 2.0 A. Based on my observations, I assume that the charging current shown is the maximum charging current that the charger may apply but this may not be close to the actual charging current (e.g. 2.0 A may be displayed while actual charging current is 0.4 A).

I'm not comfortable with charging small cells (e.g. 10440) in this charger because the current selection only goes down to 0.5 A. I'd prefer to use a lower charging current (e.g. 0.2 A) for small cells so that I don't exceed the cell manufacturers maximum continuous charging current.

 

Power supply

The charger doesn't come with a power supply. 5 V 2.1 A input is recommended via the USB-C port.

The following power supplies worked successfully:

Power supply USB-C to USB-C USB-A to USB-C Start with Li-on cell already inserted
Google Pixel USB-C PD Yes N/A No
Laptop USB-C PD Yes N/A No
Laptop USB 3.1 N/A Yes Yes
Netgear 5V 2.0A N/A Yes Yes
XTAR PB2C N/A Yes Yes
XTAR PB2S Yes Yes Yes

The charger didn't power on when I had a Li-ion cell already inserted and I connected a USB-C PD power supply. I had to remove the Li-ion cell first to get the charger to power on.

 

Charging

I attached a USB Meter and noted down my observations while charging various cells. This testing methodology isn't professional and it won't show the actual current and voltage applied to each individual cell.

Cells that I charged:

Cell Type Sizes
3.7V Li-ion 10440 / 14500 / 16340 / 18350 / 18650 / 21700
1.2V Ni-MH AAA / AA

The initial and final cell voltages were measured using a digital multimeter.

Power supply: Google Pixel USB-C PD
USB Meter: Ruideng TC66
Digital Multimeter: UNI-T UT139C
Room temperature: 19.0 to 24.0 C

 

Charging two 10440 Li-ion cells (Vapcell INR10440 320 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1 VC2L voltage 2 VC2L capacity 2
00:00 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 1.866 A 5.027 V 1.0 A 4.1 V 4 mAh 3.8 V 2 mAh
00:03 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.891 A 5.068 V 0.5 A 4.1 V 4 mAh 3.8 V 2 mAh
00:20 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.945 A 5.061 V 0.5 A 4.1 V 150 mAh 4.1 V 147 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.983 A 5.045 V 0.5 A 4.15 V 232 mAh 4.2 V 229 mAh
00:40 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.381 A 5.058 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 278 mAh 4.2 V 271 mAh
00:43 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.052 A 5.070 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 283 mAh 4.2 V 274 mAh
00:43 XTAR VC2L 2x Vapcell INR10440 0.052 A 5.070 V 0.5 A 4.2 V FULL 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 3.343 V
Final voltage 1: 4.137 V
VC2L capacity 1: 283 mAh

Initial voltage 2: 3.341 V
Final voltage 2: 4.168 V
VC2L capacity 2: 274 mAh

I pressed the button once to drop the charging current down to 0.5 A. However, the USB Meter showed 5.068 V 0.891 A. Each slot may have been getting approximately 0.5 A.

 

Charging a 14500 Li-ion cell (Vapcell H10 14500 1000 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 1.624 A 5.074 V 2.0 A 3.5 V 0 mAh
00:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.425 A 5.072 V 0.5 A 3.5 V 3 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.464 A 5.064 V 0.5 A 3.5 V 227 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.491 A 5.058 V 0.5 A 4.1 V 452 mAh
01:30 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.503 A 5.054 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 675 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.052 A 5.077 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 792 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell H10 14500 0.052 A 5.077 V 0.5 A 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 3.024 V
Final voltage 1: 4.174 V
VC2L capacity 1: 792 mAh

I pressed the button twice to drop the charging current down to 0.5 A at the start of the charge.

 

Charging a 16340 Li-ion cell (Sofirn 16340 800 mAh) attempt 1

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 1.781 A 5.050 V 2.0 A 4.1 V 3 mAh
00:01 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.486 A 5.056 V 0.5 A 4.15 V 20 mAh
00:07 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.486 A 5.056 V 0.5 A 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 3.209 V
Final voltage 1: 3.467 V
VC2L capacity 1: FULL

Uh, oh! I incorrectly assumed that the charger automatically selected an appropriate current. This charger requires the user to manually select the charging current.

The charger defaulted to 2.0 A as the charging current when one 16340 Li-ion cell was inserted. The manufacturer's recommended maximum continuous charging current for this 16340 Li-ion cell is 0.75 A. I pressed the button twice to drop the charging current down to 0.5 A.

Charging stopped unexpectedly at 7 minutes. The VC2L displayed FULL. I removed the cell and measured the voltage with a digital multimeter. It read 3.467 V. Perhaps the internal resistance went too high due to the initial 2.0 A charging current for a minute.

 

Charging a 16340 Li-ion cell (Sofirn 16340 800 mAh) attempt 2

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 1.769 A 5.049 V 2.0 A 3.8 V 0 mAh
00:00 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.451 A 5.058 V 0.5 A 3.8 V 0 mAh
00:05 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.462 A 5.061 V 0.5 A 3.8 V 38 mAh
00:10 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.469 A 5.059 V 0.5 A 3.8 V 76 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.474 A 5.058 V 0.5 A 3.8 V 223 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.497 A 5.049 V 0.5 A 4.15 V 472 mAh
01:30 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.218 A 5.070 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 638 mAh
01:40 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.052 A 5.074 V 0.5 A 4.2 V 644 mAh
01:40 XTAR VC2L Sofirn 16340 0.052 A 5.074 V 0.5 A 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 3.277 V
Final voltage 1: 4.180 V
VC2L capacity 1: 644 mAh

This time I quickly pressed the button twice to select a charging current of 0.5 A after inserting the cell while the charger was powered on.

 

Charging an 18350 Li-ion cell (Vapcell F14 18350 1400 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 1.667 A 4.955 V 2.0 A 3.0 V 1 mAh
00:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.865 A 5.032 V 1.0 A 3.0 V 3 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.962 A 5.016 V 1.0 A 4.1 V 502 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.851 A 5.029 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 1019 mAh
01:30 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.311 A 5.064 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 1255 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.052 A 5.076 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 1299 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L Vapcell F14 18350 0.052 A 5.076 V 1.0 A 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 2.932 V
Final voltage 1: 4.163 V
VC2L capacity 1: 1299 mAh

I pressed the button once to drop the charging current down to 1.0 A at the start of the charge.

 

Charging two 18650 Li-ion cells (Murata US18650VTC6 3000 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1 VC2L voltage 2 VC2L capacity 2
00:00 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.633 A 5.065 V 1.0 A 0 V 1 mAh 0 V 1 mAh
00:10 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.769 A 5.033 V 1.0 A 3.5 V 175 mAh 3.5 V 175 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.807 A 5.024 V 1.0 A 3.5 V 501 mAh 3.5 V 500 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.870 A 5.014 V 1.0 A 3.8 V 1001 mAh 3.8 V 1001 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.972 A 5.004 V 1.0 A 4.15 V 2005 mAh 4.15 V 2005 mAh
02:30 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 1.666 A 5.050 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 2498 mAh 4.2 V 2472 mAh
03:00 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 0.669 A 5.024 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 2791 mAh 4.2 V 2766 mAh
03:10 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 0.262 A 5.068 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 2818 mAh 4.2 V 2812 mAh
03:10 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 0.263 A 5.068 V 1.0 A 4.2 V FULL 4.2 V 2812 mAh
03:18 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 0.052 A 5.073 V 1.0 A 4.2 V 2818 4.2 V 2826 mAh
03:18 XTAR VC2L 2x Murata US18650VTC6 0.052 A 5.073 V 1.0 A 4.2 V FULL 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 2.909 V
Final voltage 1: 4.189 V
VC2L capacity 1: 2818 mAh

Initial voltage 2: 2.904 V
Final voltage 2: 4.178 V
VC2L capacity 2: 2826 mAh

 

Charging a 21700 Li-ion cell (Samsung INR21700 40T 4000 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.147 A 5.077 V 2.0 A 0 V 0 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 1.728 A 5.036 V 2.0 A 3.8 V 845 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 1.863 A 5.026 V 2.0 A 4.1 V 1863 mAh
01:30 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 1.902 A 4.992 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 2875 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.874 A 5.051 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 3557 mAh
02:30 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.398 A 5.058 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 3888 mAh
02:47 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.052 A 5.073 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 3929 mAh
02:47 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.052 A 5.073 V 2.0 A 4.2 V FULL
03:00 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.052 A 5.074 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 3929 mAh
03:00 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.052 A 5.074 V 2.0 A 4.2 V FULL
03:30 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.053 A 5.076 V 2.0 A 4.2 V 3929 mAh
03:30 XTAR VC2L Samsung 21700 40T 0.052 A 5.076 V 2.0 A 4.2 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 2.703 V
Final voltage 1: 4.191 V
VC2L capacity 1: 3929 mAh

 

Charging a AAA Ni-MH cell (eneloop AAA 750 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1
00:00 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.105 A 5.080 V 2.0 A 0 V 0 mAh
00:00 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.105 A 5.080 V 1.0 A 0 V 0 mAh
00:01 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.105 A 5.080 V 0.5 A 0 V 2 mAh
00:07 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.254 A 5.076 V 0.5 A 1.3 V 20 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.207 A 5.074 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 150 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.259 A 5.074 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 319 mAh
01:30 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.262 A 5.073 V 0.5 A 1.5 V 488 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.274 A 5.073 V 0.5 A 1.5 V 659 mAh
02:15 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.053 A 5.075 V 0.5 A 1.5 V 726 mAh
02:15 XTAR VC2L eneloop AAA 0.053 A 5.075 V 0.5 A 1.5 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 1.19 V
Final voltage 1: 1.482 V
VC2L capacity 1: 726 mAh

I pressed the button twice to drop the charging current down to 0.5 A. Ni-MH was displayed instead of Li-ion.

 

Charging two AA Ni-MH cells (eneloop pro AA BK-3HCCE 2450 mAh)

Time Charger Cell USB Meter current USB Meter voltage VC2L current VC2L voltage 1 VC2L capacity 1 VC2L voltage 2 VC2L capacity 2
00:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.160 A 5.080 V 1.0 A 0 V 0 mAh 0 V 0 mAh
00:10 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.190 A 5.072 V 0.5 A 1.3 V 39 mAh 1.3 V 39 mAh
00:30 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.463 A 5.065 V 0.5 A 1.3 V 149 mAh 1.3 V 149 mAh
01:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.464 A 5.064 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 325 mAh 1.45 V 323 mAh
02:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.471 A 5.064 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 662 mAh 1.45 V 659 mAh
03:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.370 A 5.064 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 1007 mAh 1.45 V 1001 mAh
04:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.211 A 5.069 V 0.5 A 1.45 V 1346 mAh 1.45 V 1339 mAh
05:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.212 A 5.063 V 0.5 A 1.5 V 1684 mAh 1.5 V 1677 mAh
06:00 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.446 A 5.059 V 0.5 A 1.55 V 2012 mAh 1.55 V 2005 mAh
06:20 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.053 A 5.069 V 1.0 A 1.55 V 2268 mAh 1.55 V 2257 mAh
06:20 XTAR VC2L 2x eneloop pro AA 0.054 A 5.069 V 1.0 A 1.55 V FULL 1.55 V FULL

Initial voltage 1: 1.199 V
Final voltage 1: 1.464 V
VC2L capacity 1: 2268 mAh

Initial voltage 2: 1.198 V
Final voltage 2: 1.468 V
VC2L capacity 2: 2257 mAh

I didn't press the button but the charging current dropped from 1.0 A to 0.5 A. At six hours into the charge I pressed the button to increase the charging current to 1.0 A.

 

Summary

The charge terminates at approximately 4.20 V for Li-ion cells and approximately 1.50 V for Ni-MH cells.

The capacity displayed approximately matches the advertised cell capacity when a Li-ion cell is initially discharged to around 2.7 V, or a Ni-MH cell is initially discharged to around 1.19 V.

It would be nice if 0.2 A could be selected as a charging current for 10440 Li-ion cells. 0.5 A is too high for 10440 Li-ion cells.

10440 cells with a slightly recessed negative terminal due to insulation (wrap) are difficult to position in the VC2L so that they charge. eneloop AAA Ni-MH cells fit easily by placing them at the bottom of a slot but 10440 cells may need to be carefully positioned toward the top of a slot.

The charger doesn't power on when a Li-ion cell is inserted and a USB-C PD power supply is connected. The cell needs to be removed first for the charger to power on.

 

Pros

  • USB-C to USB-C input.
  • Manual current selection.
  • Display is easy to read.

 

Cons

  • No automatic current selection.
  • The lowest charging current option (0.5 A) is too high for small cells (e.g. 10440).

 

Notes and links

XTAR held a reviewer recruitment drive via social media and I offered to provide an amateur review from the perspective of a torch enthusiast. XTAR provided this VC2L for free to review. I was not paid for this review.

Manufacturer's product page: http://www.xtar.cc/product/XTAR-VC2L-Charger-177.html

For more photos see: https://imgur.com/a/VdHzuSq

Edited by: TimMc on 11/25/2021 - 06:39