Charger choice question

Talster

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
53
Location
Cumbria UK
Hi.

Looking at getting a charger and I have three that I can't decide between:

XTAR DRAGON VP4 Plus
Nitecore SC4
Nitecore Digicharger D4

I will be mostly charging the following batteries (but not a combination of the different one at the same time, it would mostly be the 4 Nitecore batteries / 4X 18650):

4X Nitecore IMR 18650 3100 mAh 3.7V Li-ion batteries that have a max continuous discharge of 10A (which are the ones that will come with my Nitecore TM28)

4X of a spare set of IMR 18650 batteries that I would be looking at purchasing for to use in the Nitecore TM28.

4X AAA NiMH 1.2V 750 mAh batteries.

4X AA NiMH 1.2V 1900 mAh batteries.

4X AA NiMH 1.2V 2000 mAh batteries.


I was wondering if anyone could help me please in deciding between the three chargers, share your experience in using them.
 
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louie

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Messages
1,026
Location
Seattle
I have used the Dragon for some time, also an original Nitecore D2. No experience with the SC4, although it looks interesting.

The Dragon may be getting a bit outdated in features and is not inexpensive, but it is good. The included instructions are minimal, and I have my own handbook/cheatsheet I am happy to send. It has a max charge current of 2A if only 2 slots are used IIRC, otherwise a max of 1A in 4 slots and a minimum of 500mA, so 3 choices manually selected. This works for me, as I charge 18650 protected LiIon and AA Eneloops at 1A, and AAA Eneloops and RCR123 LiIon at 500mA. I like the Dragon's ability to charge cells that have higher internal resistance (older Eneloops) and LiIons whose protection has kicked in (showing 0 volts). Some chargers refuse to accept such cells.

In addition, you get capacity and internal resistance testing, which I don't use very often, but many users want the capability. There is a powered USB and wired pack outlet, and the ability to use the charger as a USB portable battery bank.

My complaints would be that it can be confusing to operate, and some finger manipulation is needed to get the longer cells inserted - a little extra slot length would've helped. My power adapter cord was pretty short.

I use the Nitecore D2 as an auxilliary and travel charger. The D2 is limited to 500mA, so takes a little longer, but otherwise works fine, has the basics and is inexpensive. The D4 is different, I realize.
 

AlexLED

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 31, 2006
Messages
237
Just to update:
I went with the Nitecore SC4 as I was able to get it at a good price.
Very good choice !
The SC4 can charge with 4x 1.5A which is good & usefull. There are not many chargers which are this powerfull.

With 4 cells, the D4 is limited to 375mA, so AA cells take quite long to charge and I'm not sure if dV always works with so low charge current - although according to lygte-info.dk the charger terminates ok.
 

Talster

Newly Enlightened
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
53
Location
Cumbria UK
Very good choice !
The SC4 can charge with 4x 1.5A which is good & usefull. There are not many chargers which are this powerfull.

With 4 cells, the D4 is limited to 375mA, so AA cells take quite long to charge and I'm not sure if dV always works with so low charge current - although according to lygte-info.dk the charger terminates ok.

Thanks. I'm mostly happy with the SC4, and like you pointed out, the charging rates offered with the SC4 are very useful. I also like the ability to charge at a lower rate when desired (as this is said to cause less stress and thus extend the charging life of the cell). My charging usage for my cells (mostly charging 18650 up to this point) have been 1A when I put the cells on charge before going to bed (and as such I'm in no hurry for them to charge).

And when needed I either let the SC4 decide for itself what to charge them at, or I turn it up a bit. All in all a good charger, although I do find the internal resistance feature not really something of much use, for the following reason. I find the reading it shows if you take the battery out and then put it either back into the same channel, or even moving it to the next channel along, the difference in the result/number shown you can see big fluctuations. I have seen posts on here and elsewhere that discuss this, and also with it not been too accurate and to take what it shows with a pinch of salt. So I tend to ignore this feature and make use of what the rest of the charger has to offer.
 
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