Li-Ion / NiMH (USB) charger advice ?

rotncore

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Feb 16, 2006
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164
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Toronto
Looking for a USB powered charger that can handle single or double 18650 charging, and AA Eneloops. Goal is to be able to solar charge. If needed I'd settle for using the charged 18650's as a bank to charge the Eneloops as I understand Eneloops don't do well with interrupted charging. What do you guys have and do for offgrid/mobile charging solutions? Thanks!
 

Timothybil

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Nov 9, 2007
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The great state of Misery (Missouri)
Re: Does it exist?

It's a quad, but the Xtar VC4 is USB powered (through a special cord) and will do up to four Li-Ion or NiMH cells. According to the manual, each channel is independent, and capable of handling either type of cell, regardless of what other cells might be also charging at the same time.

I haven't tried directly charging from my solar panels, but I have used the panels to charge a power bank, then used the power bank to run the Xtar. This was using my Anker 13 watt portable solar panel. Once I get my Renogy 100 watt panel setup working, I should be able to go either way, or use the 12v battery if the panel is shaded at that time. (Although I think that even a shaded 100 watt panel should be able to directly charge one of our normal chargers)
 

vadimax

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Dec 28, 2015
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Vilnius, Lithuania
Re: Does it exist?

Looking for a USB powered charger that can handle single or double 18650 charging, and AA Eneloops. Goal is to be able to solar charge. If needed I'd settle for using the charged 18650's as a bank to charge the Eneloops as I understand Eneloops don't do well with interrupted charging. What do you guys have and do for offgrid/mobile charging solutions? Thanks!

To provide continuous charging you need a powerbank. Anker made are the best I guess. You should take model of at least twice the capacity of the batteries you are going to charge. The charger is Xtar VC2 if you need 2 slots, VC4 -- 4 slots.
 

keithy

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May 8, 2015
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211
Re: Does it exist?

I have a few different USB input AA/18650 chargers and a few different USB solar panels that I take when off grid hiking and traveling.

If you search USB Charger or Solar Charge you will see other threads that might be useful.

I have both the Xtar VC2 and VC4. The VC4 does not work well with my solar panels due to the input current required. They both work fine at home when you use a decent USB power supply. The VC2 has a similar issue that the charging can be slow if the current drops. So I stay away from chargers that have a display LCD screen - I want all the solar current to go to charging the batteries rather than keeping a display lit up. In addition the VC2 and VC4 are bulkier than my other chargers so this can be an issue for you as well.

I currently use a mixture of these:


I use these as they are the lightest of my various USB chargers for use when off grid, and depending on the gear I need charged.

I have a few of the various smaller Xtar MC series and Miller single slot chargers but they only charge Li-ion cells.

I find when charging while walking, it is best to either charge Li-ion cells with the chargers or use a powerbank as others have also suggested. At camp, it is best to move the panel angle to the sun as it moves during the day. Even then, some panel/charger combos might not like intermittent cloud covers. So when charging the NiMHs, I then use the powerbank to charge these overnight.

My handheld GPS uses 2xAAs NiMHs, so I'm usually charging a pair of these at the end of the day (or every second day using Eneloop Pros). My torch/flashlights use AA/14500s, so I can charge those 14500s in the single cell chargers directly if required.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
5,611
Location
Miami, Florida
Re: Does it exist?

I've got two Liitokala 202s and two 100s. They can marginally be used as a power bank and are very flexible, covering most of the batteries/cells that we use.

They're cheap, too!

Chris
 

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