Grizzly's Xtar SC1 Plus Review – A 26800 Charger is Here!

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tactical_grizzly
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Grizzly's Xtar SC1 Plus Review – A 26800 Charger is Here!
Correllux
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Shoot…that’s a swing and a miss. I’d like to see an electrical review but just on features alone I’ll pass on this one. Hopefully they’ll bring out a model that is more fully featured (and a multi-bay version at that). For now I’ll keep using my adapter sled and onboard charging lights.

Did you test for parasitic drain when the battery is left in the bay?

Also, you mentioned an optional brick. Is that the wall wart shown in your photos or do they have a brick available?

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Correllux wrote:
Did you test for parasitic drain when the battery is left in the bay?

I did not! I can test for that and add it to the review. Thank you for the suggestion!

Just tested. I got ~5ma for a few seconds and then it dropped to 60 microamps. Not bad at all.

Correllux wrote:
Also, you mentioned an optional brick. Is that the wall wart shown in your photos or do they have a brick available?

It’s the wall wart shown in the photos.

CollectEverything
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Man that looks cheap. I’m feeling alright about my decision to mod a Nitecore UMS2

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stephenk
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I’ll stick with 26650s for now.

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stephenk wrote:
I’ll stick with 26650s for now.

Completely aside from all questions of performance, I do love the 26800 form factor. It makes the battery tube a very nice length for my hands.

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-ROYCE-
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So it definitely terminates charging when it reaches approximately 4.2v? Because it turns out even my Nitecore LC10 just throttles way down but continues charging. Given the drawbacks with seemingly every charger that works with 26800 cells, I may have to pick this up even if it isn’t an ideal solution. Any idea when it will be available?

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Nice review!

It’s good to see that the SC1 Plus supports USB-C to USB-C input.

The hooks for a silicone strap are a nice touch.

Thanks for testing pass through charging.

We have another 26800 charger to choose. Big Smile

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ROYCE wrote:
So it definitely terminates charging when it reaches approximately 4.2v? Because it turns out even my Nitecore LC10 just throttles way down but continues charging. Given the drawbacks with seemingly every charger that works with 26800 cells, I may have to pick this up even if it isn’t an ideal solution. Any idea when it will be available?

Right. It terminates at 4.2V and does not continue charging.

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Does it charge 26800 at 3A the entire time?

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shou dian tong wrote:
Does it charge 26800 at 3A the entire time?

Excellent question! It charges at 3A until the cell voltage hits 4.2V, then it lowers the current continuously to avoid over-charging.

Ass far as I know, there are two phases when charging a li-ion cell. There is the “CC” (constant current) phase where the current is constant (3A in this case) first. When charging a battery, the battery’s voltage increases a bit. When the voltage hits 4.2V the charger will switch to the “CV” (constant voltage) phase. It will keep charging the cell but it will slowly decrease the current as necessary to keep the voltage at 4.2V. Somewhere around 2/3 of charging time is usually spend in the CC phase, then the remainder is spent in the CV phase I believe.

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That’s good on the drain, then…everyone once in awhile a charger comes along that will suck ‘em dry.

What’s the point of that strap anyway…carrying a cell in the charger while packing/traveling? Wouldn’t be so wise to strap a cell in while charging it, just in case you need to remove it in a hurry (same reason I’m not fond of the few approaches lately of cramming a cell into a charger that doesn’t leave much wiggle room…).

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Correllux wrote:
What’s the point of that strap anyway…

The strap helps keep an 186500, 21700 or 26800 secure while using it as a powerbank.

You might want to use the strap while charging if you’ve got the SC1 Plus connected to a power supply in a car. The cell could bounce out if bumped. But the slot does a good job at holding a cell in place without the strap.

It would be nice to see more than 5V 2A output for the USB-A socket. But the head of the SC1 Plus gets uncomfortably warm while using it as a powerbank with a 5V 2A load.

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shou dian tong wrote:
Does it charge 26800 at 3A the entire time?

No. Here are some graphs:

https://imgur.com/a/fP5LRJJ

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I for one applaud Xstar’s entry into the 26800 charger. It seems to offer a lot (by-pass and power bank) at a fair rate (~2 3/4 Amps*). And the price is very affordable.

Thanks Grizzly for reviewing this product (and getting a pre-run).

  • From TimMc Imgur link. Seems to be more constant voltage (~4.8) then terminates when detects current drop and goes into “settling in”. But this method would work.
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Sidney Stratton wrote:

  • From TimMc Imgur link. Seems to be more constant voltage (~4.8) then terminates when detects current drop and goes into “settling in”. But this method would work.

Ah, I used a Ruideng TC66C USB Meter to create the charging profile graphs, so it’s monitoring the USB-C input voltage and current. My approach isn’t as professional as HKJ’s.

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Explains the high 4.8 Voltage. Nevertheless, there is current termination and the trickling down.


“Charging profile 26800. Started at 2.88V. Finished at 4.153V.”

will34
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It’s most likely charging at 3A. At the input is 4.5V 2.5A = 11.5W

At 85% efficiency and 3.2V output it is pushing right around 3A

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I was still contemplating this but after seeing some other reviews and data…just no. The onboard temps are approaching ridiculous, such that I would never recommend using this as an “on the go” charger as people might do, tucking it into a backpack pocket or something. It’s unacceptable and Xtar is capable of much better, even in such a compact brain compartment as on this single-bay unit. Some more heat is to be expected at 3A-ish but imho that’s just to much. Hopefully the components can handle the heat for a reasonable lifetime but I would expect failure percentages to ramp up in this unit compared to others. The good thing, however, is that the heat doesn’t appear to be transferring to the cell itself…but that said, the heat and amperage is a reinforcing reason not to use that silicone strap while charging.

If they come out with one that will handle short cells, has selectable current, and can properly manage the heat like most chargers (and most of their own chargers) do, then I might bite whether it’s single or multi bay. Sounds like they don’t have motivation to do so, based on their comments thus far. Maybe we can count on Vapcell to come out with something. I appreciate Xtar listening to enthusiast customers to bring out an extended bay for 26800 but this seems like a very uninspired effort. It’s not just pared back features, it’s the backward steps in charger quality…we’ve been seeing a lot of the same in the last few years from a lot of companies. For years we pushed for higher quality and we mostly got it, but now it seems people are satisfied and 5-starring lesser products just because they are there or that’s all that’s available (or with many younger consumers, perhaps they’ve just never had standard or higher quality products to experience…).

I wouldn’t expect the quality/safety engineering or features on a $9 unit, to be fair.