Xiaomi NiMH AA/AAA 4 slot USB charger (and batterybank)

TinderBox (UK)

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Just got my charger today, It took 10 day`s to the UK not bad.

The charger is extremely light, feels fragile the cover just slides off and is seperate, it has 4 while led`s one for each channel.

It came with an Chinese manual and the writing on the charger is in Chinese as well so i will have to attempt to work out when the lights mean.

When charging the white light flashes slow, when charged the while light is on, I think fast flashing is error full battery, maybe reverse cell as well.

When being used as an usb power source (needs 4 cells) the white led seems to slowly flash on each channel one at a time, moving from channel to channel why it is doing this i don't know.

Anyway that`s all for now.

EDIT: I did a power bank capacity test, I charged 4 x Tronic Eco Energy 2300mah nimh cells in the charger then connected a usb charge monitor/meter to the usb output and then an 5watt led light.

OK, the led light is drawing 480ma from usb port, when the charger died my usb meter recorded 1584mah at 5v so that is not enough to charge a modern smartphone if it can charge at all from the 500ma usb port power bank.

John.
 
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Lynx_Arc

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We actually need more smart USB AA/AAA chargers. Newer cars carry USB charging ports and being able to charge batteries without needing to use solar (which can be unreliable if you're in a cloudy area without sunshine) you can always use your car.
I would rather a car have a 12v socket and use a 12v charger instead of a USB one myself as you can charge 3 batteries in them a lot faster than 1-2 on USB based AA/AAA chargers.
 

keithy

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Just got my charger today, It took 10 day`s to the UK not bad.

Thanks for the update John. Dang it, just my luck. I ordered before you and I still haven't got mine yet.

And then I see old4570 also from Melbourne has received one from Gearbest, where I ordered mine as well..

Hopefully it arrives in the mail on Tuesday (since Monday is a public holiday here).

At least it sounds from old4570's review that it is indeed a fast(er) charger than my current USB AA/AAA chargers.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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My Xiaomi ZI5 seems to be drawing approx 280ma according to my usb power monitor even when all 4 charging lights are on (full charged) this is supposedly bad for LSD cells, So i started pulling out the cells one by one and the current being drawn dropped every time until the charger was empty and it was only drawing 20ma
, I am no expert so i cannot be certain about this, Hopefully HJK will get an Xiaomi ZI5 and do a review.


John.
 

keithy

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Finally received my Xiaomi Zi5 from Gearbest!

It came from China to Australia via Germany, and got waylaid on the way.

It is now my smallest and lightest 4 slot AA/AAA USB smart charger with individual channel charging, and it seems to be a fairly fast charger - only charged 2 AAs in there so far. I've not timed it yet or tested properly, but it does appear to be my fastest 4 slot AA/AAA USB charger.

Here are some pics comparing the size of the Xiaomi Zi5 with my other AA/AAA USB chargers - Goal Zero Guide 10+, Fujicell SCH500/Portapow, Sunjack. I've put some rubber strips around the button on the Fujicell because it has a habit of being easily pushed down when in a backpack - and this stops the charging process and reverses the single USB socket from input to output.

I have a few single slot USB input chargers but haven't included them in this comparision.

AJRWpXs.jpg


P3bfwsa.jpg


9UzNGDK.jpg


Weight comparisons:
  • Xiaomi Zi5: 58.1g (2oz)
  • GoalZero Guide 10+: 59.1g (2.1oz) - without AAA holder & without silicone cover
  • FujiCell SCH500/Portapow: 79.5g (2.8oz)
  • Sunjack Charger: 85.2g (3oz)

I'll take this as my default AA/AAA travel USB charger in place of the others now. My handheld GPS, torch, and Steripen all use AA batteries, so I'll have to try it out with my solar panels and see how it goes directly charging, but being winter in Australia now we have crappy weather in Melbourne, so it might be a while before I can test it in optimum conditions with solar.

Also HKJ has also got a review of this charger ready to go in a few weeks!
 
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TinderBox (UK)

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Strange, I just received my Nitecore F1 li-ion charger, and it is pulling 1.060A from my usb 3.0 port on my notebook when charging, But my ZI5 only pulls approx 500ma from the same port and the charging fails after up to an hour because the ZI5 must needs around 1000ma to charge correctly 4AA cells, (i assume), so why is it not pulling 1000ma when my Nitecore F1 seems to be doing so fine.

USB 2.0 at least 500ma
USB 3.0 at least 900ma

I have read that some usb ports can supply up to 1500ma

So if your ZI5 can charge from your usb 3.0 port may depend on the motherboard you have, it does not seem to like mine.

John.
 
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davidt1

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John,

Thanks for the info on the F1. One more reason for me to get it. Did you test the powerbank function?
 

TinderBox (UK)

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It`s more of an emergency function as it`s only 500ma and 4 AA NiMh cells don't contain a lot of energy, when 20% of that maybe lost in heat when boosted to 5v the Nitecore F1 is supposed to have an 90% efficiency and it works really well.

My cats like the ZI5 they took it off my desk, 2AA are missing in action and they where chasing the plastic cover around the floor (they like the sound it makes) when i got up, Cat`s are great are they not.

But for a power bank you need an 10000ma+ version at a minimum if you want anything more than a boost and i prefer the 18650 diy power banks as it`s easy to replace the cells when they die.

John.

John,

Thanks for the info on the F1. One more reason for me to get it. Did you test the powerbank function?
 
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SemiMan

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Strange, I just received my Nitecore F1 li-ion charger, and it is pulling 1.060A from my usb 3.0 port on my notebook when charging, But my ZI5 only pulls approx 500ma from the same port and the charging fails after up to an hour because the ZI5 must needs around 1000ma to charge correctly 4AA cells, (i assume), so why is it not pulling 1000ma when my Nitecore F1 seems to be doing so fine.

USB 2.0 at least 500ma
USB 3.0 at least 900ma

I have read that some usb ports can supply up to 1500ma

So if your ZI5 can charge from your usb 3.0 port may depend on the motherboard you have, it does not seem to like mine.

John.

Could be handshaking with the laptop not being proper and hence not supplying any more power. Have you tried it with a USB charger to see how much it can pull?
 

TinderBox (UK)

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I found the reason (thanks to you) my ZI5 was only pulling 500ma from my USB 3.0 port on my notebook, my usb power meter, has different modes, it was in connect mode meaning it passes all data signals from the ZI5 to my notebook, this seem to limit the charging to 500ma, so i changed my usb power meter to disconnect mode which stops all data transfer and now the ZI5 is charging at 1amp.

So you might need a charging only cable (no data wires) if you want to charge at 1000ma from an usb 3.0 port, depending if your usb 3.0 port can supply 1amp as the spec is 900ma (do not know if this is enough for a successfully charge)

I need to charge some empty AA cells to be sure a full charge is completed as i have seen the charge fail after over an hour at 500ma

The ZI5 pulls just over 1amp when charging 4x nimh 2000ma cells from an usb charger which is what the specifications say.

John.

Could be handshaking with the laptop not being proper and hence not supplying any more power. Have you tried it with a USB charger to see how much it can pull?
 
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davidt1

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So, is this charger a good replacement for the Panasonic 17 something smart charger?
 

keithy

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John - I also just tested mine out on a USB 3 port on laptop. It pulled 1A with 4 x 2000mAh NiMH batteries in the charger.

I haven't read the manual yet so don't know the actual sequence of LED blinks. When charging it is a slow blink, and when finished it is a fast blink. I would have preferred maybe the LED stays lit when full instead.

I've had the fast blink so far on an empty NiMH put in to charge. The cell was <0.6V, so that might mean it is too low to charge. Even after "jumpstarting" the flat battery, it still fast blinked in the slot. So maybe that might mean a battery that doesn't charge. Hence the potential confusion for not knowing if cells are fully charged or not.

When using 4 x AAs, I have found that trying to extract one battery without removing the others a bit difficult. Had to use a flat tool to pry just the one cell out.

You are right about the flimsy battery case cover too. Mine generally stays on, but it isn't hard to slide it all the way off unintentionally.
 

keithy

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Ok - I pulled out the manual.

The translated LED status is :

Charging
Normal Charging - the LED Blinks slowly
Full - the LED does not flash?
Abnormal Charging (Error) - the LED flashes

Discharging (when used as battery bank)
Normal - 4 lights flashing alternately
Error - the LEDs are off

So I'm not sure why it blinks when charging is complete. or if the manual is wrong (or my translating skills are wrong).

I plugged it into one of my 2.4A capable USB power bricks and it pulls 1.35A-1.66A from there when charging 4 x 2000mAh AAs.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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Led`s stay lit when charging is complete.

I have seen 600ma from the usb charging when my phone was connected, though the output voltage drops to 4.85v or less (usb spec is high 5.25v low 4.75v) though i have read that many device will charge as low as 4.50v or less.

John

Ok - I pulled out the manual.

The translated LED status is :

Charging
Normal Charging - the LED Blinks slowly (CORRECT)
Full - the LED does not flash? (LED STAYS LIT)
Abnormal Charging (Error) - the LED flashes (LED FLASHES FAST)

Discharging (when used as battery bank)
Normal - 4 lights flashing alternately (CORRECT)
Error - the LEDs are off (DONT KNOW NOT SEEN YET)

So I'm not sure why it blinks when charging is complete. or if the manual is wrong (or my translating skills are wrong).

I plugged it into one of my 2.4A capable USB power bricks and it pulls 1.35A-1.66A from there when charging 4 x 2000mAh AAs. (NEVER SEEN HIGHER THAN 1.1AMP APPROX MYSELF)
 
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keithy

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Led`s stay lit when charging is complete.

Thanks I just noticed that. I put a set of Eneloops in and on completion, all four LEDs stayed lit. So the manual is correct. It doesn't blink when finished charging.

The previous charge with the PC's USB 3 socket I charged some older Varta cells, and noticed that my USB meter showed 0A current, but the four slots were blinking fast. So potentially those cells are on their way out? I'll run them through a refresh cycle on my Maha and see how they hold up.
 

TinderBox (UK)

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Looks like there is an 2hr trickle charge after the led stay lit (charging complete) that`s were the 240ma drain is going when charging 4xAA once the trickle charge is complete the charger is only pulling 41ma

John.
 

fedcas

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TinderBox (UK)

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It`s so light, I woke up to find my cats chasing it around the floor (they love the plastic lid), it took me all day to find the four AA cells that were inside.

John.
 

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