Which do I buy?

XTAR VC4SL Upgrade Version VC4S Smart Rechargeable Battery Charger Type C 4 Bay Fast 18650 Charger with LCD for 3.7V 3.6V Li-ion Battery 10440 14500 18650 21700 26650 and Ni-MH Ni-CD AA AAA Amazon.com

This is what I bought.

I wouldn’t trust Amazon to accurately note things like updated products. Could be that the listing was just modified to include new information. Too many times I’ve seen Amazon claim that one product was replaced by another totally different product.

I recommend looking for a manufacturer’s website whenever possible to verify product/model# no matter what you are buying. You can always search for model numbers on Amazon after you have compared them on the manufacturer site.

Sorry for the rant, Amazon annoys me in this area

Forgot to mention, sometimes Amazon sellers relist an old product as a new product in order to dump bad reviews.

I didn’t buy it because it was updated. I just wanted it. Someone on here mentioned that it was updated and then I looked to see if I had it. I can’t verify the claim myself.

Oh whoops I guess I should have replied to the other guy. BTW I didn’t mean to come off like I was scolding a person, I just wanted to raise awareness that Amazon’s product listing standards are awful.

I didn’t think you were. Lol

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idk man I have fuzz in the brain today. It’s like I never slept, but I slept plenty :melting_face:

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You should send that one to me :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously though, I have been considering the VC4SL and S4+ recently and will probably be buying the MC3000, so here’s some free feedback.

If I’m getting a charger from China at 50+ Euros, I might as well buy the MC3000 which will come with some semblance of warranty, besides premium features such as Bluetooth/USB connectivity.

The S4+ as far as I know is way off on IR, PS/edit: can only charge NiMH at 1A, and only the first and last slot will discharge at 1A, which would be excusable at a lower price IMO, but at 50+ (AND direct from China), I am less lenient.

It is a easier to use charger, and that can be a valuable thing, too.

Had the S4+ been available at a lower price point and/or on the regional Amazon, OTOH, I would have not thought as long or deep about the new purchase, and thus the S4+ would be in my possession already.

Not sure that this is very useful feedback, but hey - it was free, as promised.

OK, I understand. The VC4SL is an upgrade for the VC4S

The SL can charger also protected 21700 (longer slots), possible to select max. charge current and have USB-C

It´s a bit annoying, yes, I think it should be possible at least for NiMH with this big charger. The chargersI know to support 4x 1A or higher discharge:

Powerex MH-C9000 Pro
Skyrc NC2200
Skyrc NC2500 Pro (up to 1,5A for 6 cells)
Keeppower L4
Skyrc MC3000 (4x 2A) with fan use
ISDT C4 EVO with fan use

LiIon is something different, 1A means 3x wattage of NiMH. Maybe this is the reason why Vapcell Dennis wrote 4x 1A is to much? But it should be possible for NiMH in this big charger without fan.

Keeppower L4 can discharge NiMH in all slots with 1A but LiIon only with 0,4A

It’s not just being unable to discharge at full current in all slots, though, but also being forced to use two specific slots.

I’d be more willing to turn a blind eye if it was any two slots: that’s more freedom in filling the charger as you go, without having to plan in advance.

That said, it might not be a hardware limitation, perhaps Vapcell chose to limit full-current discharge to the slots farthest from one another to reduce the chance of thermal issues.

IIRC the MC3000 has temperature sensors in each slot, so the discharge process can be throttled.

The S4+ being a less expensive charger, it may not not be instrumented to the same degree and thus require some compromises.

Speaking of my case specifically, however, I am more let down by the inability to charge NiMH at more than 1A.

With the S4+ being able to charge 4x Li-Ions at 3A, what could be the rationale against 4x NiMH charging at 2A ?

Fast charging NiMH when necessary, was one of the two reasons that sent me looking for a new charger.

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I confirm that. Moreover, it has a separate temperature sensor in the body, which you can use to take into account general warming (environmental, etc).

Perhaps because NiMH charging is more finicky than Li-Ion (0dV vs -dV, etc), so it would require more precise circuits for higher current (just a guess, tho).

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I believe the S4+ also has temp sensor per slot, for throttling charging also, however, in my experience, the read-out is not accurate ( I don’t have an IR thermometer, I just taped a temperature probe from a multimeter to a charging cell). I’ve also not tested to see if the throttling works.

At 1/3 of the price of the MC3000, so I’m happy with mine overall, it’s my main charger after my miboxxer C4 died a while back, and my BC700 style (not lacrosse) NiMh charger now doesn’t charge one slot, so that’s been recycled.

If one uses such logic to justify purchases to oneself, then I’m not going to disagree, different strokes and all that.

Nowadays I’m more aware of my outgoings and generally tend to buy something in the middle of the range, or cheapest option that will get the job done well.

Very rarely, I will buy top of the range, often after something cheap/mediocre wears out or gets relegated to backup. I hardly ever have to replace stuff with newer stuff simply because the cheap one failed. I’m not buying the “cheap and nasty” at the bottom of the market though.

For a general example, project farm reviews will often have a really top rated item which is expensive (PBSwiss tools), then a lower cost but pretty okay item (Irwin, etc). I’ll often go with the one that’s okay enough, the limit of diminishing returns isn’t worth it for me for most items.

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I’m actually in agreement with you and always try and take cost-benefit into consideration; more often than not, I end up buying the midrange instead of the top-of-the-line, as long as it does everything I need. I should have given more emphasis to the “because the cheaper one wouldn’t do everything you need” clause in my post above…

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Certainly it must have sensors to feed its temperature read-outs, and for safety.

It may however not have one per slot, and perhaps they are placed sub-optimally (on the MC3000 if I’m not mistaken, the sensors are exposed and right under the cells, but I could spot no visible sensor holes in the S4+ bays)

edit: here’s a pic from HKJ’s teardown showing the six sensors.

I could imagine three sensors, under the plastic shell, two in the slot area and one the board/power area, with the logic interpolating slot temperature from the inputs it has.

Since I couldn’t find a tear-down anywhere, that’s purely speculation on my part, and may very well turn out to be wrong, though it would provide some kind of explanation for the inaccurate sensing.

Is there any charger with a correct read out?

The read out temps of my Vapcell, ISDT C4 EVO and Keeppower L4 are all not good. Maybe all these chargers show about 40° or below while my Infrarot Thermometers show over 50°

The MC3000 is active fan cooling and the S4+ isn’t. That’s why it is more finnicky about discharging currents and bays, the heat from discharging has to go somewhere.

Also, the S4+ v2.0 is available for 39.99$ straight outta china, which is imo the best charger for the money atm and a big gap to the MC3000 price.

As much as I like the MC3000, it is overkill for 95% of the users - but a fine investment after all.

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Im away from my S4 at the moment, so can’t take a photo, but there is a metal band that sits at the bottom of the cell bay, I assumed (from the traces of thermal compound that occasionally ooze out) these were to provide good thermal contact with the cells.

HKJ review of the S4+ shows the metal plate I’m talking about, adjacent to the positive terminal of each charging bay:


If one has a background that has promoted accuracy and flexibility in using instruments, there is simply nothing out there in a bay type charger that comes close to the MC3000. Settings cover all of the charging and discharging parameters and allow a wide range of user settings. So if you know what you need to do for a specific cell, you can tailor the settings to get there. You can calibrate each channel to a standard, so you know your readings are accurate. Of course @dmenezes has documented the kind of automation that can be done. Ok some, or most, may not care about these things. I truly get it. But if a person simply wants the best tool to charge cells accurately, and with repeatable results, there is just nothing available to a consumer that comes close.

Is it worth the price (especially considering that mine is over 12 years old, used daily, and still working)? (Oh, I pitched an S4+ after about 18 months of light use… So to have a working one It cost close to what the MC3000 did). That is up to the individual. But I can’t see how it can be argued that it is not the best available charger in the purist sense. Of course there are plenty of chargers that are “good enough”. If you don’t want to, or can’t afford the best tool, or simply cannot rationalize the cost, you can get one of those. They are adequate.

Anyway, I probably am not convincing anyone of anything, but you do know where I stand on the question. Back to quietly charging my cells… :smiling_imp:

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I would agree with that except for one rather major point: the bays are too short, and I’m not talking about protected 21700s.
Standard 21700s barely fit into the charging bays and it’s not fun getting them in or out. As good as it is on the electronics/features side, it needs a physical redesign with longer bays for sure if you handle a lot of 21700 batteries.

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Agreed, to say nothing of even longer batteries like the 26800.

I don’t have any of those (I don’t even have any 21700s yet :grin:, and when I do I will be sure to buy unprotected ones), but in the meantime I bought a couple of these so I’m prepared when the time comes to recharge those batteries: Magnetic Charge Cable - ProgressiveRC

The plan is to either 3D-print a battery-sized cylinder and place metal bolts at the ends, connected to female banana connectors in the middle of the body to which the male banana connectors are plugged and then attach the magnetic ends to the battery poles (more work, but safer) or just cut the banana plugs of a pair and solder them directly, and then use the magnetic ends to connect to both the battery and the charger terminals (simpler, less work, and probably lower electrical resistance).