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Thread: Best 18650 charger?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Best 18650 charger?

    Hello there,

    Is there any really good charger out there, an up to date model i hope?
    I might settle for a two cell charger that does 1 amp each cell with 2 cells installed, but i would prefer to be able to do 2 amps per cell with 2 cells installed, and four cells with 1 amp each or really four cells with 2 amps each would be ideal.

    Anyone have some links or ideas?
    18650 is the target cell but other cells would be nice too, such as the bigger ones.

    Thanks again.
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrAl View Post
    Hello there,

    Is there any really good charger out there, an up to date model i hope?
    I might settle for a two cell charger that does 1 amp each cell with 2 cells installed, but i would prefer to be able to do 2 amps per cell with 2 cells installed, and four cells with 1 amp each or really four cells with 2 amps each would be ideal.

    Anyone have some links or ideas?
    18650 is the target cell but other cells would be nice too, such as the bigger ones.

    Thanks again.
    You don't mention a budget?

    SkyRC MC3000 is the de facto king of the hill in home, consumer chargers, even compared to hobby chargers. About a $100 delivered. You need a PhD in programming to operate it, however.

    Liitokala Lii 500 Engineer is a very well regarded multi-chem charger that does some analyzing, telling you basic health parameters about your cells. Maybe $50 shipped from the States, less from Asia.

    Opus BT-3100/3400 v. 2.2/3.1 are basically the same charger and they both analyze cells and they truly are multi-chemistry chargers, charging up NiMH, all li-ions, doing 2 bays of li-ion at 2A, 4 bays at 1A, you can discharge at 1A for li-ions and 700mA for 4 NiMH, so it's flexible. Maybe $40 shipped.

    For basic li-ion charging only, the Xtar VP2 is still a top notch 'charger' charger, meaning it doesn't do any analyzing, it just charges and charges safely, but is only 2 bays. Maybe $35 shipped.

    Xtar also makes the more expensive Dragon Slayer, which is their analyzing charger and is well regarded. Maybe $70 shipped?

    There are others, but those have a lot of use here on CPF.

    Knock yourself out:

    http://lygte-info.dk/info/roundCellC...ndex%20UK.html

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, S2+, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, XP1, MC1+, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Chris knows his stuff, so listen to him rather than me.
    For what it's worth I use an Xtar VP2 and a Dragon, very happy with both. The Dragon will do 1 amp into four slots and 2 amps into two. The Vp2 will do 0.25 charging for smaller cells. Nicely built solid gear. Only had the Dragon a few weeks, but it's doing well. Also have a couple of MC1s for bog standard, no nonsense charging.
    As Chris says, check HKJ before you make any decisions. I weed them out by looking at the conclusion before getting confused with the clever stuff. Then the clever stuff for the final decision.
    P
    I'm looking for a Torchlab Triple V4 Nichia Drop In. HML or Single mode. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...66#post5245466

  4. #4

    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Thank you for the advice on the charger. I am learning and appreciate the advice from experienced people.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Hello there,

    Thanks for the ideas and all. I'll take a look at the mentioned chargers and get back here again with some comments.

    What about the "Zenflare C4" charger, any good? It's 30 bucks, USD.

    Thanks again.
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrAl View Post
    Hello there,

    Thanks for the ideas and all. I'll take a look at the mentioned chargers and get back here again with some comments.

    What about the "Zenflare C4" charger, any good? It's 30 bucks, USD.

    Thanks again.
    Bud, the Golden Age of chargers has been with us, by my account, for at least 6 years. When I started here, it was the Pila IBC charger and the rest was cheap Chinese crap.

    We still have Chinese crap, but there are some well established brands around that test out fine, have a huuuuuuge, I mean huuuuge track record and do a safe job of charging up our stuff in a safe (ka-boom) manner and in a healthy (for our batteries/cells) manner.

    Even though HKJ tests the Zanfare out pretty well, it's not a well known charger.

    Remember, he has people sending him containers full of stuff, much of it not all that widely utilized.

    Stick with the known stuff--Opus BT-3xxx, or the Liitokala 500 would be worth the $30-$40 you're going to pay.

    Remember, it's the pioneers that take the first arrows.

    Don't be that guy.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, S2+, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, XP1, MC1+, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic RCTPAVUK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I'm voting for GyrFalcon All-88 2017 (Enova)
    Looks like a great choice for those of us with multiple lights and cells. Also it can charge all 8 ports @ 1amp, which is great if you gotta hurry.
    Here's the review by HKJ:
    http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%2...2017%20UK.html

  8. #8
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Best is a tough one as there really isnt one, just one that would suit you maybe more than another would. Some do more chemistry types than others. Some have a lower charge rate and higher rate etc etc.

    Recently i have the c4-12, very happy with it so far. You can manually set the charge rate like with most from 0.1 up to 3a on all 4 bays, or let it auto select which works very well. Measures resistance and picks the rate. For my 2100mah vtc4, it picks 1.3-1.5a. My 20700 cells get 2.5a-3a, vtc6 1.5a-2a for examples. It also supports nimh which is useful for my loops.
    Opus btc 3100 v2.2 has been excellent, several years of issue free charging. Both get the most use out of them all at home, my work main use chargers are an xtar vp1 and opus btc100

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGarrett View Post
    Bud, the Golden Age of chargers has been with us, by my account, for at least 6 years. When I started here, it was the Pila IBC charger and the rest was cheap Chinese crap.

    We still have Chinese crap, but there are some well established brands around that test out fine, have a huuuuuuge, I mean huuuuge track record and do a safe job of charging up our stuff in a safe (ka-boom) manner and in a healthy (for our batteries/cells) manner.

    Even though HKJ tests the Zanfare out pretty well, it's not a well known charger.

    Remember, he has people sending him containers full of stuff, much of it not all that widely utilized.

    Stick with the known stuff--Opus BT-3xxx, or the Liitokala 500 would be worth the $30-$40 you're going to pay.

    Remember, it's the pioneers that take the first arrows.

    Don't be that guy.

    Chris

    Hi again,

    He he, interesting way to put it. We end up testing the equipment for the manufactures some times.

    I got burned already with various things. like for one, the Energizer 15 minute NiMH charger. That thing turned out to be really nasty for the cells, and Energizer would not accept ideas for improving. In a letter they claimed that they can not use ideas because those ideas might already have been in place. Ha ha, sure.

    I'll take your advice, and look at the ones mentioned. One of them was the "Dragon vp4" which looks kind of cool although a little pricey.
    I am looking for functions like:
    charge (of course),
    discharge (NiMH),
    capacity test, and
    internal resistance measurements.
    Any other ideas would be cool too though.

    Thanks again.
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    Best is a tough one as there really isnt one, just one that would suit you maybe more than another would. Some do more chemistry types than others. Some have a lower charge rate and higher rate etc etc.

    Recently i have the c4-12, very happy with it so far. You can manually set the charge rate like with most from 0.1 up to 3a on all 4 bays, or let it auto select which works very well. Measures resistance and picks the rate. For my 2100mah vtc4, it picks 1.3-1.5a. My 20700 cells get 2.5a-3a, vtc6 1.5a-2a for examples. It also supports nimh which is useful for my loops.
    Opus btc 3100 v2.2 has been excellent, several years of issue free charging. Both get the most use out of them all at home, my work main use chargers are an xtar vp1 and opus btc100

    Hi,

    That opus, is that the one priced around 35 dollars USD?
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  11. #11
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    It is Mr Al, very good charger and very good value

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    It is Mr Al, very good charger and very good value

    Hi,

    Ok thanks, that looks good.
    I also see the next one up is around 50 dollars USD. Does that one do anything that the 35 dollar one doesnt do?
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  13. #13
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrAl View Post
    Hi,

    Ok thanks, that looks good.
    I also see the next one up is around 50 dollars USD. Does that one do anything that the 35 dollar one doesnt do?
    The c4-12 is not an analysing charger(i dont bother with this on the opus anyway), what it can do is auto select the current. Have from 0.1a up to 3a per bay. The opus can handle from 0.2a up to 2a (on bays 1+4 )or 1a on all 4 bays. The c4-12 can show temp of each cell and also shows the % charged(as well as the voltage) .Both can do nimh cells, the C4-12 up to 1a, the opus up to 2a on 1+4 again. The c4 can also be used as a power bank(USB slot) which is not much use to me personally.

    The opus is kind of a jack of all trades for the money, but tends to do things well. I got the c4-12 simply to get a newer charger and have the 3a per bay option. The opus has been great and still is, also will be used along side the c4-12

  14. #14

    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I am happy with my Zanflare C4. 1 amp charge and its also an analyzer. Got for under $25 with coupon on gearbest.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by ven View Post
    The c4-12 is not an analysing charger(i dont bother with this on the opus anyway), what it can do is auto select the current. Have from 0.1a up to 3a per bay. The opus can handle from 0.2a up to 2a (on bays 1+4 )or 1a on all 4 bays. The c4-12 can show temp of each cell and also shows the % charged(as well as the voltage) .Both can do nimh cells, the C4-12 up to 1a, the opus up to 2a on 1+4 again. The c4 can also be used as a power bank(USB slot) which is not much use to me personally.

    The opus is kind of a jack of all trades for the money, but tends to do things well. I got the c4-12 simply to get a newer charger and have the 3a per bay option. The opus has been great and still is, also will be used along side the c4-12
    Hello again,

    Actually i meant do you know the difference between the Opus BT C3100 and the Opus BT C3400.
    Are there any real advantages to the BT C3400 more expensive model?

    Thanks.
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I'm looking for a Torchlab Triple V4 Nichia Drop In. HML or Single mode. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...66#post5245466

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by peter yetman View Post

    Hi,

    Thanks, but are you sure? I see one difference myself and that is the 3400 does two channels at 2 amps while the 3100 does only 1 amp on any channel. So the 3400 does 1 amp on 4 channels but will do 2 amps on two channels only, while the 3100 can never do 2 amps anytime on any channel. Isnt that true?

    I am not answering my own question though because that's about all i know, and only if that is true too :-)

    Thanks for any additional info too.

    Almost forgot, the 3400 comes with car charger plug and cord for cigar socket. That's all i can be sure of.
    Last edited by MrAl; 03-12-2018 at 05:33 AM. Reason: add content
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    The only way i know to find out stuff is to use the search function.
    I'll leave the answer to someone else.
    P
    I'm looking for a Torchlab Triple V4 Nichia Drop In. HML or Single mode. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...66#post5245466

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    They both work the same way. I have one of each although my 3100 is an earlier software version. You can charge 4 bays at 200mA, 300mA, 500mA default, 700mA or 1A all individually selectable. If bays 2 and 3 are empty, bays 1 and 4 can also charge at 1.5A and 2A in addition to the other five options. The difference between the two is the seller. The BT-C3100 is sold by many dealers. The BT-C3400 is only sold by one dealer. He sells it in a few different places like Amazon, E-bay and DC Workshop but itís all the same guy. He is based in the US and handles any warranty issues directly. If you by a BT-C3100 from someone in China it will more the likely have to be returned to China if there is a warranty issue. Not the case with the BT-C3400.

    Frank

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* MrAl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Hello again,

    Very interesting. I'll have to think about all this and if i get one i'll report back after a few tests.
    Nice chargers, xtar ones too.
    Take care,
    Al
    LED's vs Bulbs, the battle is on.
    My bumper sticker: "I Brake for LED's"
    To err is human, to theorize divine.

    Got Light?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    The 3400 discharge down to 3.1 volts , the 3100 discharge down to 2.8 volts.

  22. #22
    ven's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Yes same charger just different names...............just too add to the confusion . The latest version as Nev states discharges down to 3.1v due to issues with some protected cells(tripping iirc or just cheap cells). The older one which i have ,v2.2 discharges down to 2.8v. If anything, the older will get you a more accurate reading as most cells min V is 2.5. So manufacturers will measure the cells mah from 2.5(or 2.75 variable on manufacturer) to 4.2v. Its not critical imo anyway, you can still build up a comparison with other cells you have and also notice any build up(IR) loss of mah.

    Both models(or all as several) have 0.2 to 2a on bays 1+4, 2+3 are limited to 1a and if all 4 used, all limited to 1a.

    Even today, several years on, the opus still offers very good bang for buck. Hard to beat this side of $35 imho.................its not perfect but its damn good!

  23. #23

    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I bought the Xtar Dragon, so I wouldnt have to worry about multimeters and everything. Its perfect so far.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    The 3400 discharge down to 3.1 volts , the 3100 discharge down to 2.8 volts.
    Not entirely correct.

    The BT-3400 v. 2.2 discharges down to 2.80v and the BT-3400 v. 3.1 discharges down to 3.10v. The BT-3400 v. 2.2 also has an upgraded fan over the BT-3100 v. 2.1 model and you can toggle the lighted display for 'constant' on, or off after a few seconds.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, S2+, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, XP1, MC1+, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    As you can see, lots of good chargers these day to choose from, these days it's most important to know what you really want in a charger.

    1. Compatible Cell Chemistries
    2. Max Charge Rate
    3. How Many Cells
    4. Maximum and minimum physical Size of the cells you need to charge.
    5. 12V input OK, or do you prefer USB for connivence.
    6. Integrated battery analyzer?
    7. Other special requirements?

    Thinking about these points, and probably a few I forgot like ergonomics/ease of use, can help you get the right charger.

    Since you said you might settle for 2 cell charger, I'm liking the look of the MiBoxer C2-4000 right now. On paper it looks really good. If it was 4 cell I'm sure it would be a hot item, but currently the companies 4 cell chargers don't have a good test/analyzer mode. Check HKJ's review of the charger first, I have not had a chance to play with it myself, just too many other chargers to play with these days, but I'm looking forward to spending time with it. Lots of other good suggestions already mentioned.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGarrett View Post
    ...Xtar also makes the more expensive Dragon Slayer...
    Dragon Slayer? Is this an improvement over the Dragon Plus? With fully independent charging channels and a .25A charging capability?

  27. #27
    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    Quote Originally Posted by SubLGT View Post
    Dragon Slayer? Is this an improvement over the Dragon Plus? With fully independent charging channels and a .25A charging capability?
    No, just a play on Xtar's naming scheme--Hummingbird, Ant, Dragon, Queen Ant and Panther.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, S2+, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, XP1, MC1+, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I use the Nitecore SC4 charger. 4 slots, 300mA to 3000mA charge per slot (though half-that if you use all the slots at the same time). It has a bunch of functions, and will do all chemistries, but really the only thing I use is the voltage readout, in case I want to take the cells out early.

    Unless you're into analysis, pretty much any lithium-ion charger is fine. They all use the same CC/CV algorithm. I like the little micro-USB chargers for single cells, if you don't need a rapid charge. But, yeah, for multi-cell lights, your best bet is a 4-slot charger.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    I've had the Zanflare C4 for about a month now. Great charger, very happy with it.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* stephenk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best 18650 charger?

    +1 for the XTAR Dragon. Had been used almost daily for the last 15 months with no issues.

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