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Thread: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

  1. #1
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    Default Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4





    This charger is based on a i4 with a display added and a couple of improvements. This makes it possible to charger more battery types than the i4 and also follow the charging in more details.



    The cardboard box lists lot of specifications, battery types and features.



    The box contains the charger, a mains cable, a manual and a warranty card.



    The charger has two power connectors, one for mains input (100-240VAC 50/60Hz) and one for 12 VDC input.



    The charger has two switches combined in one rocker:
    SLOT: Used to select slot.
    MODE: Used to change value displayed (Volt, mA, time), with longer presseds it can also be used to select low charge current and LiFePO4.



    The charger has a large display with background light.




    The display looks good, but is a bit on the technical side. The upper part of the display shows the four charge bays, the lower part shows the status for one bay. The actual bay is selected with the SLOT switch.
    The numbers will automatic switch between volt, mA and time, but can also be switched with quick presses on the MODE switch.
    Holding the MODE switch for about one second will select "Low", i.e. 300mA charge current. Average charge current may be halved due to time sharing (Display will show 150mA in that case).
    Holding the MODE switch for about two seconds will select "LiFePO4", i.e. 3.6 volt charging. Releasing the button and pressing again will select low current for LiFePO4.
    There is a small "Chg. Finished" text on the lower display, this is used on finished channels. When all channels with batteries in are charged the charger will show "ALL" in the numeric display.

    Displayed charger currents (They will slowly reduce when entering CV phase of a LiIon charge):
    750mA: The charge circuit is only charging one battery.
    375mA: The charge circuit time sharing between two batteries.
    300mA: The charge circuit is in low current mode and only charging one battery.
    150mA: The charge circuit is in low current mode and time sharing between two batteries.



    The slots uses the usual construction and works well. They can handle batteries from 30mm to 69.3 mm long.
    That excludes some of the longest batteries, especially some protected 26650.








    The charger can handle 69.3 mm long batteries, inclusive flat top cells.
    With 26xxx batteries there is only space for one battery.
    With C batteries there is a problem with the small button top sliding off the plus pole on the charger.




    A look inside the charger

    Nitecore asked me to show the inside of the charger:



    Four screws has to be removed to get into the charger.



    The display uses a long zebra connector between it and the circuit board. The background light is a separate module.



    On the circuit board can be seen:
    A long isolation slot between the mains and the rest of the circuit.
    Mains input has a fuse, NTC, a noise suppression capacitor and uses a IC for controlling the mains switcher.
    Safety capacitor between mains and low volt side.
    The two inductors marked 101 is for the two charge channels.






    Measurements


    • Discharges LiIon with 0.8mA and NiMH with 0.16mA when not connected to power
    • With a empty battery the charger will try to activate it, then show "Err" after a short time.
    • At 0.8 volt the charger will assume NiMH and start charging.
    • The charger will assume NiMH below 1.8 volt and LiIon above 1.8 volt.
    • Will not restart if battery voltage drops.
    • Charges with 0.2mA when LiIon battery is full.
    • Voltmeter readout freezes when charging is finished
    • Voltmeter is within 0.03 volt.
    • Voltmeter has a max. readout of 4.20 volt.
    • Current readout is not average charge current.
    • Charge will restart charging after power loss or battery insertion.
    • The button marked "SLOT" will change the display to the next slot with each press.
    • The button marked "MODE" will change value displayed (Volt, mA, time), with longer presseds it can also be used to select low charge current and LiFePO4.
    • C cells has a tendency to slide off the plus pole, i.e. some aluminium foil must used to get a stable connection. It is difficult to fit more than one C battery at a time.
    • The charger has two charge circuit, one is serving slot #1 and #4, the other is serving slot #2 and #3 using time sharing.
    • Low current selection is seperate for each slot and is independend of time sharing.
    • When a charge circuit has batteries in both slots, in will use 7.5 second on each in a 15 second cycle.
    • When a slot is finished, the current is not redirected to the other slot in the group.



    LiIon charging



    The charger does a simulated CC/CV charger with a 50mA termination, this is fine.
    I do not know where the jump in current comes from, it does make the charging a bit slower, but does not affect the quality of the charging.





    The other channels has the same CC/CV curve.




    There is not much variation in charge time for the different capacities.



    Selecting low current mode will reduce the peak charge current to 300mA, it does not change the terminaiton current.



    The old 16340 cell, does also have a jump in current, here the reason is obvious: The voltage gets too high and the charger has to do a fast adjustment in the current.



    The 18350 at 750mA works fine



    The 14500 at 300mA is also fine.



    With more batteries in the charger it will alternate between (time share) the slots and the effective charge rate is halved. Due to the low charge rate, there is not that much heat.



    When using the DC input the charger needs slightly above 0.8A. Notice the temperature is about the same with DC supply as with mains supply, i.e. the build in mains supply do not generate much heat.



    M1: 38,4C, M2: 40,2C, M3: 38,6C, M4: 35,6C, M5: 46,9C, M6: 51,2C, HS1: 53,5C



    M1: 36,8C, M2: 38,3C, M3: 37,2C, M4: 34,1C, M5: 44,4C, HS1: 69,8C
    Inside the box it get fairly hot and this makes the DC connector hot.



    The charger need some time to start a charge, it first does a test, probably to reset any LiIon protection and detect LiIon/NiMH.



    The charger measures voltage with current off.



    When a charge channel charges two batteries it will use 50% of the time on each slot.



    When a battery is put into a slot, all slots will pause for a few seconds.



    IFR (LiFePO4) charging

    Holding the MODE button pressed for about 2 second will switch to LiFePO4 mode.



    The charge voltage is too high, but this is not as critical with LiFePO4 as with ordinary LiIon batteries. The charge is a CC/CV charge with termination at about 50mA and no trickle charge.
    The voltage is no accident, the charger is marked 3.7 volt for LiFePO4 charge.



    NiMH charging



    The NiMH charging stops on -dv/dt and do not use trickle charge.





    All channels works the same.



    The eneloop XX needs a bit more time.





    I did the AAA cell at the low setting and it also terminated on -dv/dt.



    With -dv/dt termination it takes some time to detect a full battery, but this charger is very slow at it with 28 minutes.



    With four cells, the charge current is halved.



    Charging NiMH uses less current on the DC input, compared to LiIon cells, only about 0.5A.



    M1: 40,8C, M2: 42,1C, M3: 39,8C, M4: 36,8C, M5: 45,1C, M6: 46,5C, HS1: 54,3C



    The charger also uses a lower test current here, before it switches to the full charge current.



    Voltage is measured with current turned off.



    When a charge channel charges two batteries it will use 50% of the time on each slot.



    LiIon+NiMH charging



    With one NiMH battery and 3 LiIon batteries, the charger has no problem with charging the NiMH (Temps sensor is on LiIon battery).



    With one LiIon and 3 NiMH batteries, the LiIon is also charged fine (Temp sensor is on NiMH battery).




    Testing the mains input with 2500 volt and 5000 volt between mains and low volt side, did not show any safety problems.



    Conclusion

    The charger does a good charging on both LiIon, LiFePO4 and NiMH.
    The charge can be used for 26650 cells, but are not ideal for it, I would have liked the slots 2 mm longer, some protected 26650 are rather long.
    I like the display, but it is a bit technical to look at and it only shows data for one channel at a time.

    The D4 is a good universal charger and the low mode makes it better for small cells than the i4. Charging two batteries is reasonable fast, but four batteries requires some patience.



    Notes

    The grouping of slots is not the same as in the i4 series chargers.

    The charger was supplied by a Nitecore for review.

    Review of old i4 (V2)

    Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger
    My website with battery, charger, usb reviews, comparisons & information: https://lygte-info.dk/
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Awesome charger, thank you for the great review!!
    Last edited by kreisl; 10-26-2014 at 12:40 PM.

  3. #3
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    Talking Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Excellent review ! I purchased the D4 a short time ago and so far I'm very satisfied . The only draw back that I can see is the fact that it's a bit slow on the charging time with multiple batteries ,but I'm not in a hurry anyway so that doesn't bother me in the least. Thanks again for the review !!

    John

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Thanks a mil HJK, very helpful review as always!

    If I understood correctly, if you need to charge 2 cells and don't want to halve the charge you need to use slots #1 and #2 or #1 and #3 or 2# and #4 or #3 and #4. If for example I put 2 18650 into two slots using the same charge circuit like 1# and #4 it will use time share and roughly double the charging time or did I get it wrong?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by Labrador72 View Post
    Thanks a mil HJK, very helpful review as always!

    If I understood correctly, if you need to charge 2 cells and don't want to halve the charge you need to use slots #1 and #2 or #1 and #3 or 2# and #4 or #3 and #4. If for example I put 2 18650 into two slots using the same charge circuit like 1# and #4 it will use time share and roughly double the charging time or did I get it wrong?
    That is correct.
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Excellent review as always. HKJ!

    The new D4 looks nice charger.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    That is correct.
    Thank you HJK! : )

  8. #8

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    My 18650's come off the D4 at 4.16 according to my tester. Is this worth sending back for, or is 4.16 vs 4.2 fine or even maybe better? Its just the mindset that it isn't getting them topped off I guess. My Fenix ARE-C2 gets them to 4.21 or 4.22 normally.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by svhunter View Post
    My 18650's come off the D4 at 4.16 according to my tester. Is this worth sending back for, or is 4.16 vs 4.2 fine or even maybe better? Its just the mindset that it isn't getting them topped off I guess. My Fenix ARE-C2 gets them to 4.21 or 4.22 normally.
    It looks like you D4 is the most precise charger and ARE-C2 is slightly overcharging the batteries.


    Look at the yellow line in the above chart, it is exactly where the charger stops charging. The battery voltage is 4.20 volt, but a second later it is down to maybe 4.18 volt. How much the voltage drops depends on a lot of factors.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Thanks for the reply.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by svhunter View Post
    My 18650's come off the D4 at 4.16 according to my tester. Is this worth sending back for, or is 4.16 vs 4.2 fine or even maybe better
    It is common agreement that it is healthier for a cell to come off at 4.16 than at exact stable 4.20. So if you don't want your heavily used cells to turn bad fast, for example cells in a multi-cell arrangement (rechargeable 4x18650 daily flashright, e-bike peloton), then 4.16 is better than 4.20

    I don't buy the D4, so i cannot confirm your 4.16 measurement. Personally i certainly would not be happy with confirmed 4.16 but that's just me. I don't buy e-bike peloton.
    Last edited by kreisl; 11-20-2014 at 10:09 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by kreisl View Post
    However, for serious battery and charger testers like me, i need the expensive cell to come off at 4.20 to get a valid reference test run when determining the DISCHARGE capacity and comparing it against an official Panasonic or LG pdf datasheet.
    I would not call that serious. If you want to compare against datasheet capacity, you have to follow the procedure described in the datasheet and it will not finish at 4.200 volt, but somewhere lower.
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    The biggest downside to me on this charger is the maximum 750mA charging rate. I bought this charger when I first started using 18650 batteries a few months ago. At that time I was new to the game. During the sales around Christmas I picked up a Xtar VP2 and quickly noticed that would charge the batteries quicker. Did some research and discovered the lower max charging rate. Other then the slower charging rate for all battery types it is a very good charger. If I hadn't bought the VP2 I wouldn't have known the difference.

    My charger charges batteries to 4.2 volts consistently.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Thank you for your work HKJ








  15. #15

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Anyone knows what the differences are between the 2014 and 2015 nitecore D4?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by hammerjoe View Post
    Anyone knows what the differences are between the 2014 and 2015 nitecore D4?
    One obvious difference is the metal rails in the sliders.
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Does this charger measure MAH of the batteries?

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by mpett1 View Post
    Does this charger measure MAH of the batteries?
    No
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    HKJ, just wanted to say thanks for this excellent review. I ran across it a couple weeks ago and ordered a D2 as a result. Just got my D2 the other day, and it's awesome. I'm especially loving the metal slider channels, as opposed to the plastic ones on the old i2 I was using before. No more binding! Woot!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    I'm sure my digicharger used to move along the bays showing the status of each bay in turn, now I have to use button to advance. Was I imagining the first ? ? Or is there a way to restore that

  21. #21
    Flashaholic G. Scott H.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by brightsteve View Post
    I'm sure my digicharger used to move along the bays showing the status of each bay in turn, now I have to use button to advance. Was I imagining the first ? ? Or is there a way to restore that
    I believe the charger will switch to show each bay as a cell is initially inserted into it. Example (consider the farthest left bay as "bay 1"): You insert a cell into bay 1, the display shows info for that cell. You then insert another cell into bay 2, and the display changes accordingly. Rinse and repeat with the other two bays. Once the charger is full, I think the info for the last bay into which a cell was inserted is shown until you manually switch over to another bay to get the info for it. The bays will show the overall charge level progress as the cells charge (the little bars above each bay), but to get the specifics, like charge rate, etc., I think you have to manually select the particular bay you're interested in via the SLOT button. This is how my D2's work, so I'm assuming the 4 is the same.

    edit: Just another thought. When the charger is showing info for a given slot, it switches every couple seconds between showing votage, charge rate in mA, and charge time. Perhaps you're confusing this in your memory with it switching automatically between bays?
    Last edited by G. Scott H.; 03-11-2015 at 09:23 PM. Reason: additional info
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Would you say that the d4 is much better than the i4? Does the i4 support longer cells than the d4?

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by SoundWorx View Post
    Would you say that the d4 is much better than the i4? Does the i4 support longer cells than the d4?
    The two chargers supports the same cell length. They are about equal as charger, except the D4 also has a low current setting.
    Physically I prefer the D4, it fells more solid.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Thank you HKJ, now I need to get the d4 and a dmm .
    My light doesn't pierce the dark, it annihilates it

  25. #25
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Hi HKJ, this is my first post in the forum but I have read it since a long time, and I really appreciate your reviews!
    I was wondering, is it possible to "revive" dead discharged Li-Ion or NiMh batteries with this charger?
    The information provided on the user manual isn't so clear.

    "Battery Activation
    For every installed battery, the D4 will activate the battery by
    charging it for 6 seconds at a low current. If zero voltage is
    detected,
    Err will be displayed on the LCD screen. If activation fails
    the first
    time, please remove and reinstall the battery once again and
    activate for the second time.
    Note:
    The D4 is not recommended for use with over-discharged
    (zero volt) UNPROTECTED Li-ion batteries. Li-ion batteries with
    out
    a protection circuit can potentially cause a fire or explosion."

    Does it mean that it's possible to reactivate only protected cells or that its not recommended to do that in general?

  26. #26

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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by davidkoleda View Post
    Does it mean that it's possible to reactivate only protected cells or that its not recommended to do that in general?
    If you discharge a lithium-ion cell below two volts or so, you are asking for trouble. The 2.5 volt minimum specified by Panasonic (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. all have similar voltage ranges, with minor variations) is not just a suggestion. Over-discharging lithium-ion cells can cause permanent, irreversible damage, and indeed make cells more likely to vent or otherwise fail in spectacular ways.

    The charger doesn't even know the difference...it is a general recommendation.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by thedoc007 View Post
    If you discharge a lithium-ion cell below two volts or so, you are asking for trouble. The 2.5 volt minimum specified by Panasonic (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc. all have similar voltage ranges, with minor variations) is not just a suggestion. Over-discharging lithium-ion cells can cause permanent, irreversible damage, and indeed make cells more likely to vent or otherwise fail in spectacular ways.

    The charger doesn't even know the difference...it is a general recommendation.
    Many thanks, I was asking that because some chargers like the Xtar MC1 have the features to recharge dead batteries.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    I'm new to 26650's, and I was planning on purchasing this charger for them, but I was going to buy the Fenix brand 26650's (protected) to go along with the charger, but I see in your review that the D4 will only accommodate a cell length of 69.3mm

    Are there any protected 26650's that you know will fit? I'm looking one-by-one at the specs, but that might take a while.


    thanks,
    Herb

  29. #29

    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogdare View Post
    I'm new to 26650's, and I was planning on purchasing this charger for them, but I was going to buy the Fenix brand 26650's (protected) to go along with the charger, but I see in your review that the D4 will only accommodate a cell length of 69.3mm

    Are there any protected 26650's that you know will fit? I'm looking one-by-one at the specs, but that might take a while.


    thanks,
    Herb
    OK, going back and forth over many battery reviews and battery specifications, I ordered a pair of TrustFire 5000mAh batteries. According to the reviews, they are decent, protected batteries, and according to the specs, they should fit into the Nitecore D4 charger.


    Herb

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Test/Review of Charger NiteCore Intellicharger D4

    I need a battery charger strictly for AA/AAA batteries. The cheap dumb charger I have now will only charge in pairs. Im looking for a 4 bay that can charge a single AAA cell at a time or 3 at a time if need be. Looking at the Nitecore Digicharger D4. It has a low 300mA charge current setting so it would be good for a single AAA. Is this the one I'm looking for??

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