Benefits of high dollar chargers

tom-

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Until recently I have been using only cr123A batteries and life has been good, very good. I have decided to try some 18650's and am discovering that getting a charger is not a simple task, for me: alot of offerings in the $30-$50 usd range-then its on to $100 plus and I cannot seem to find out just what one is paying for at the higher dollar examples.

If you could have one and one charger only which would it be and why-your budget is unrestrained.
 

Bazsy

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Until recently I have been using only cr123A batteries and life has been good, very good. I have decided to try some 18650's and am discovering that getting a charger is not a simple task, for me: alot of offerings in the $30-$50 usd range-then its on to $100 plus and I cannot seem to find out just what one is paying for at the higher dollar examples.

If you could have one and one charger only which would it be and why-your budget is unrestrained.

If you want to have maximal control over all details of charging like many of us do and are willing to learn a good deal to understand everything then the best charger will probably be the Skyrc MC3000.
But if you dont care for all the details and will only have something good enough then you can choose some of the easy to handle chargers there the type will be decided by how much you will pay for the charger and how many charging bays you normally need at the same time.
You could probably go with some of the simple chargers just make sure it is safe to use. Check HKJs site for tests if you want.
 

SilverFox

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Hello Tom,

There are basically two different types of chargers: those that charge, and those that charge and analyze.

Simple chargers generally costs less.

Analyzers give you more information (if you are interested in that) and tend to cost more.

I would also suggest looking at the Skyrc M3000 but I appreciate the extra information that analysis gives you.

Tom
 

CuriousOne

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In most cases, having a charger with lots of buttons, crowded screen and amazing set of functions will make you just feel more advanced and geeky-ish. In practice, there's very few situations, when you REALLY need such an advanced charger.
Personally I do have Miboxers, LiitoKalas, Lacrosses and hobby chargers, but mostly using simple Xtar MC1 charger - just put in 18650 battery and let it charge.
 

tom-

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Appreciate the replies and info, is it fair to say that with the high dollar chargers one gets more robust components in addition to the additional capabilities/info?

I do find myself looking at the 'hobby' class of products it appears that you first purchase the main unit then purchase various battery holders for the types you wish to charge THEN of course you have to learn how/when to push the buttons or connect to the internet for pre programed programs-the aluminum appearing cases seem to be calling me however I am severely digitally challenged so opting for one of these units most probably would be a mistake.
 

archimedes

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Appreciate the replies and info, is it fair to say that with the high dollar chargers one gets more robust components in addition to the additional capabilities/info?
....

Hobby chargers aside, I would say that you are paying more for features in pricier chargers, not (necessarily) better or more robust components , in general
 

Boris74

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The high dollar chargers really aren’t needed if you have no problems discharging batteries with normal use regularly and often. I don’t need a charger that will discharge my batteries so I will have a reason to charge them or break them in. I wouldn’t have time to run my electronics if I were doing that kind of thing with my batteries.

My Nitecore D4 is a hard chargin’ reliable work horse. I run my batteries dead, then plop them in and run another set down then repeat the cycle. It’ll charge everything I need or want charged and does it reliably. All a high dollar charger would do for me is cost more upfront to have the ability to charge my batteries.

I am looking at getting a SC4 though, sometimes I run more down than normal and all 4 slots running on the D4 is a tad slow for the pace I run batteries down when that happens. Sometimes the NiMH get stacked up from other household electronics and the D4 and Panasonic eneloop charger are running with a que. they take a while lol. Another faster charger wouldn’t hurt for my circumstances. Even then the SC4 isn’t high dollar, at least how I see it.
 

Gauss163

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The high dollar chargers really aren’t needed if you have no problems discharging batteries with normal use regularly and often. I don’t need a charger that will discharge my batteries so I will have a reason to charge them or break them in. I wouldn’t have time to run my electronics if I were doing that kind of thing with my batteries [...]

Higher end analyzing chargers do more than just discharging, e.g. IR tests to help track health and match cells, and fine charging control to help prolong life, e.g. lower charge termination voltage, programmable storage voltage, lower currents for tiny cells, higher currents for big cells, CV phase on discharge, programmable software control, etc.
 

Bazsy

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X2

This is how I wound up with an Xtar Dragon VP4 Plus. I looked for the three yellow smiley faces. FYI, the HKJ side is HERE.

I have one of those chargers as well as the Skyrc. If you charge one type of batteries at the same time time and don't want to to control a lot more details that is the perfect charger. Takes pretty much all types without external holders, can charge 2x2A or 4x1A without a fan. It is very easy to set up and will choose chemistry automatically and is also PWM free an does a wonderful CC-CV charging. You also get a built in DMM to measure IR and Voltage.
 

hiuintahs

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..........is it fair to say that with the high dollar chargers one gets more robust components in addition to the additional capabilities/info?............
Who knows, hard to say. Typically the saying is you get what you pay for. I think silverfox says is what I think of when going with more expensive charger......is that you're paying for more features such as analyzation. I personally prefer a charger that has a voltage display on it. And I don't care about the analyzation part. That is mostly for people where this hobby is fairly strong. I just care about the ability to choose the charge current rates like 250mA, 500mA or 1 amp. And I like to see the voltage displayed. The reviews will point out if the charger has good accuracy with termination point (4.20v). Go with a popular charger that favors your likes and needs.
 

tom-

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The use of our lights is pretty much seasonal and some of the higher dollar units allegedly have a 'storage' feature which should go a long way in keeping batteries usable ?
 

Bazsy

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The use of our lights is pretty much seasonal and some of the higher dollar units allegedly have a 'storage' feature which should go a long way in keeping batteries usable ?

"storage voltage" is also achievable by not charging the batteries when they are discharged to that level on normal use or with any charger that has a discharge function by stopping the process when the voltage is optimal (about 3.7V or something like that). With that said it would probably improve the lifetime of of your batteries but if you charge them like 10-20 times a season you will probably change them due to technological advancement before they die :)
 

Boris74

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Higher end analyzing chargers do more than just discharging, e.g. IR tests to help track health and match cells, and fine charging control to help prolong life, e.g. lower charge termination voltage, programmable storage voltage, lower currents for tiny cells, higher currents for big cells, CV phase on discharge, programmable software control, etc.

I don’t have time for any of that. I literally need lights that run and batteries that charge. My cheap D4 will tell me when a battery is done, and it has. I drop them off for recycling and replace.

If I charged as a hobby or just had to know actual mah, maybe. What I need is lights that run as long as they can and lights that can bring the yard to life at night or light them dark corners in barns impossible to see with daylight blasting in from every window or crack.

I will know if a battery is good when it runs as as long as I need. I don’t trust a charger to tell me I’ll be good to go. As it is, I’ve learned some lights prefer certain batteries and some batteries prefer different lights or electronics. My eneloop and energizer NiMH run everything perfect except my FRS radios. Even the worst alkaline run them best but they hate any rechargeables. A charger couldn’t have told me that. I have a 70~ lumen 1 AA energizer hard case that runs half the time on an eneloop than my 1L-1AA runs at twice the lumens. It loves the energizer 2300mah AA though. My charger can’t tell me that.

I just need charged batteries and my low dollar D4 runs almost daily 4-8 hours charging batteries for everything around the house. It’s perfect for someone who only has time to do a discharge in actual use. My simple Panasonic smart NiMH charger runs regularly too and it only has a green light per slot, kinda slow but dead reliable.

It all all boils down to why you need a battery charged for me. I don’t need to know actual mah or a charger that discharges for me. I do that at a pace fast enough to run chargers regularly.

Dont get me wrong, I want to have all them features, but I need my time for other things and them things discharge batteries well enough for me. The low dollar D4 fills up batteries just fine for my needs. Actual use tells me when I need to dump them (the D4 tells me too). I don’t need to compile data and compare to new battery stats to tell me a battery is on the way out. I’ll buy new batteries and enjoy a few brews while the new cells charge ;)

If you can’t tell yet, I don’t hobby charge lol.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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I am looking at getting a SC4 though, sometimes I run more down than normal and all 4 slots running on the D4 is a tad slow for the pace I run batteries down when that happens.

I like my SC4. It's not super-fancy, but it's fast with 4 cells and it does the job. It is handy having the voltage readout, if I wish to take cells off at 4.1v to extend their life, but I very seldom do that. The other features (IR, mAh charged, etc) are mostly fluff.
 

tom-

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Thank you to all that are helping me out.

Perhaps I am overthinking this, if the discharge feature is the same as an advertised storage feature than this is great and if the component quality between the $50 or so -through the high end models are close enough that no real difference can be quantified then double great and decision made-pretty much....
 
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