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XTAR VP2 and VC4; NiteCore i4V2, and D4 Chargers


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#21 David Quevedo

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Posted 28 September 2015 - 08:00 PM

I've been reading about XTAR's new VC2 Plus Master Charger, and am seriously considering picking one up. The XTAR store is maybe five minutes away from me, so the temptation is all the greater tongue.png.

 

http://xtardirect.co...-master-charger

I like the USB power inputs (no bulky-a** wall warts), the countdown time and percentage readouts. I really like my VC4 chargers, and have a feeling I'd 'd be very pleased with this one, as well. If I like it enough, I'll pick up a second one biggrin.png.

I only wish they made a 4-port version of this new one (just like I wish they made a 4-port version of the VP2, retaining all of the same spec's/features (unlike the VP4 :| ).

Has anyone already gotten their hands on this new VC2 Plus charger? If so, what are your thoughts on it - especially compared to any of the other XTAR chargers?


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#22 David Quevedo

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 09:08 PM

The latest line-up.

 

IMG_9044p.jpg

 

Top Row (Left to right)

  1. LaCrosse BC-700

  2. Nitecore i4 V2

  3. Nitecore D4 (2)

Middle Row (Left to right)

  1. XTAR VC4 (2)

  2. XTAR VP2 (2)

  3. XTAR SV2 - This is the newest addition :D

Bottom Row (Left to right)

  1. XTAR VC2 Plus (4)

Right Hand Side (Top to Bottom)

  1. Pelican 1010 Case with 14500 batteries

  2. Pelican 1010 Case with 16340 and CR123 batteries (No...I did not buy those.  They came with some flashlight purchases.  I stopped buying CR123 batteries about four years ago.

  3. Pelican 1010 Case with 26650 batteries

  4. Pelican 1010 Case with 18650 batteries - still my favorite battery type :-)

A little closer look at those 1010 cases:

 

IMG_9056a.jpg



#23 David Quevedo

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 06:06 PM

I've gone ahead and ordered a Nitecore SC2 charger, which I'll be using, mainly to charge D Nimh bateries that I use for my old Maglites.
 
 

http://charger.nitec...com/product/sc2

 

I'll be sure to add pictures and comments, once it arrives, and I've had a chance to use it for a while.



#24 David Quevedo

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 06:08 PM

Quick favor to ask:

 

Would one of the moderators please update the title to read the following (since I've pickedup numerous charger models that weren't previously listed in the main title)?

 

New thread title would be:

XTAR VP2, VC4, VC2 Plus, SV2; NiteCore i4 V2, D4, and SC2 Chargers

 

Thanks!



#25 David Quevedo

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Posted 25 May 2016 - 08:30 PM

Here are the SV2s, in action. I couldn't be more happy with them:

 

Qak99CO.jpg

SV2s, shown next to a pair of VP2 Chargers

 

8n0Vk8a.jpg

A little closer look at the SV2s

 


D cells will fit in my VC4s, as well (in the outer 2 slots); but the charging rate is much higher on the SV2s, and the fit is much better (the wells seem deeper, on the SV2, so the fit is more snug, for these larger D cells).

I'm looking forward to comparing one of these SV2s, with the Nitecore SC2, once it arrives.

I kind of miss the estimated time 'til charged remaining on the LED readout, as is found on the VC2 Plus units. That's a really nice feature, not found, here. On the other hand, the higher charge rate (2 Amps/hour, as opposed to the 1 Amp/hour on the VC2 Plus units) makes up for that lacking feature. Also, these are not USB-power-able; but that's no big surprise, given the higher amperage rate that they produce.

A nice bonus of this SV2 is that you can drop the charge rate down to as little as 200 mAh, which is great for much smaller batteries. A simple double-click of the center button, causes the select-able charge rate (200, 500, 1000, or 2000 mAh) to 200 mAh. When you initially plug in the power supply, the default charge rate is 1 Amp/hour. The displays work the same as with the VC2 Plus units, in that they dim automatically, after one minute, after placing a battery in the slot. I'm fairly sure the only units that stay on constantly (but are defeat-able, if wanted) are on the VP2 units.

As with the other XTAR units, the LED readouts are defeat-able by pressing an holding the mode switch (It's an on/off toggle).

These SV2 chargers run surprisingly cool, considering the higher charge rate, as well. They did a nice job with the heat sinking on these units.



#26 David Quevedo

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Posted 27 October 2016 - 02:01 AM

Finally, some  newer pictures, showing the chargers in use

 

4MjY7wE.jpg

 

UcDpXbx.jpg

 

TzHJJ4O.jpg

 

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Pair of Nitecore D4s


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#27 David Quevedo

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Posted 31 October 2016 - 05:35 PM

I just picked up an XTAR Queen ANT MC6, 6-bank charger. I have yet to take any pictures of it. The interface seemed a little odd, to me. It's a dual (2.1 Amp) USB port charger, with banks 1 and 6, supplying up to 1 Amp/Hr, and banks 2-5, supplying 500 mAh (or, if you use only banks 2 and 5, or 1, 2, 5 and 6 - then 1 Amp/Hr - but not by default lol. Strange.

There are no buttons, of any kind, on this charger. It's just supposed to auto sense the battery and adjust itself, accordingly. XTAR mention "dynamic charging", which is supposed to adjust the charging levels, according to which batteries are added/removed; but it does it in a different way than my Nitecore D4 units, and that's the part I'm getting used to.

This is strictly a lithium ion charger. I'm not accustomed to having to use two USB cables, to power a single charger. That feels a bit strange, but not a huge deal.

 

I'm using one of these Anker Dual USB Wall Chargers , to power this charger, and it seems to be doing the job, well.

I use another one of those to power two VC4 chargers, and I've been really pleased with the quality of the many Anker products I use.

 

I'm kind of on the fence on this charger; but for the price, I couldn't pass it up, and figured it was worth a shot. It doesn't hurt that the XTAR Direct store is just minutes away; so I could place my order on-line, and have it in my hands, that same day lol.

The VP-4 Plus Dragon is next on my list, and will be a pleasure to use, I'm sure.

 

Stay tuned!



#28 David Quevedo

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 10:22 PM

I finally bit the bullet and picked up an XTAR VP4 Plus Dragon Charger. What an amazing unit! It's so feature-filled, and came with a bunch of accessories (12-volt power cable, test leads, for built-in multi-meter, nylon carry case, etc. It's probably the most high-end charger I own, to date. It definitely takes up the most real estate of any of my chargers, on my desk. This thing is huge! It's the largest charger I own, thus far.

Banks 1 and 4 can charge at 2 Amps/Hr max, or 1 Amp/Hr x 4. Banks 2 and 3 will charge at .5 Amp/hr. or 1 Amp/Hr x 2.

All four slots are wide enough to accommodate 4 26650 batteries side-by-side, with the only limitation being charging at a rate of 1 Amp/Hr x 4 (as opposed to 2 Amp/Hr x 2, using slots 1 and 4 only). I can live with that.

It's going to take me a while to really use all of the features, to be able to comment on all of them; but off the bat, I noticed that the display is really huge. You get status for two banks at a time, much like the VC4 units.

I kind of wish they had made the display half the size, and made a way to show status of all four banks simultaneously, rather tan just Banks 1 and 4, or 2 and 3 (as with the VC4). This thing is gigantic! I thought my VC4 s were big lol.

The built-in multi-meter (with the included probes) works beautifully, displaying battery voltage and resistance. Very nice smile.png. All you do is cross the leads, and it goes into multi-meter mode. Double pressing the Display button brings you back to whatever mode you were in (usually charge, for me).

I'll have to take some pictures in the near future.



#29 David Quevedo

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 01:52 PM

Finally, a picture of the Dragon, in action, charging a pair of 26650 batteries. Those probes came with the charger. Love those!

 

s0ns7be.jpg

 

the MC6 - probably my least favorite of all my XTAR chargers.

XoQ9S4l.jpg



#30 David Quevedo

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:35 PM

Just out of curiosity, for those of you who own multiple XTAR, or Nitecore chargers, which one(s) have been your favorite(s), and why?

 

For me, it's been a toss-up, between the flagship Dragon, the VC4s, the SV2s, and the VC2 Plus units.  I really like the actual voltage display found on the VC4s, but they're very slow, compared to the SV2, or the Dragon.  I love the charging speed, and the voltage metering (but only usable when using the probes, and when the battery is out of the slot).

 

The VC2 Plus units are great all-around chargers, but it can take a while to get an accurate reading on the remaining time to full charge, when using NiMh AA batteries.  Still, great all-around chargers - which is why I ended up buying four of them :-).

 

The SV2s are wonderful chargers, but their springs are extremely tight.  Twice, I've had to take a charger, in for replacement, because the inner spring snapped. It was no big deal, because their customer service is first rate; but I would recommend they use not-so-heavy springs on the next batch of chargers.

 

Both, the VC4s, and the Dragon units give you a read-out of how many MaH were placed on the battery, at the end of the charge.  I like that, a lot.



#31 David Quevedo

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 01:43 AM

This is the new Nitecore SC4 charger. I just received it a few days ago, and am loving it, so far.

 

I'm afraid my pictures don't seem to do the charger justice. Nitecore did an amazing job, with their website pictures, though (as they always do).

So far, I've only charged a handful of 18650 batteries (and some AA NiMhs, as pictured above) in it, but it does exactly as promised, and has the ability to charge at up to 3 Amps, through two of the slots (perfect for the bigger 26650 batteries, for speed charging).

The spring tension feels a little bit wimpy, compared to all of my XTAR chargers, but that's just being nit picky.

The display is a far cut above that of the D4 it replaced (both, clear, and more colorful). It is not defeat-able, but dims, after three minutes of non-use.

It's significantly larger than the D4 (taller, deeper, and wider), but that's not a big deal. The heat sinking in this one is certainly better (it barely warms up, to the touch, even with bigger batteries - compared to the D4).

I like that they placed the buttons on top, rather than on the side, as the D4 had, so I could set these, side-by-side, without locking access to the buttons.

I'm still getting used to the program-ability of the individual charging slots. Maybe in the next few days or so, I'll try and get some better pictures of it, and have some more comments; but I can say that I liked it so much, I've ordered a second one (through BLF Group Buy - killer deal).

This one arrived in a little over a week.

I'm still an avid XTAR charger fan, but this is really a step up, for Nitecore (I previously had a pair of i4 V2s, and a pair of D4s, before these two), and I'm glad to have made the purchase.

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#32 David Quevedo

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 07:49 PM

After eight months of daily use, my Dragon failed. I placed batteries in the charger, and the read-outs looked okay, initially. When I removed a battery, the readout displayed as if it was still charging.

I unplugged the power supply, and plugged it back in to re-initialize the charger. No good. The displays showed readings as if there were batteries in them channels, regardless. I, also , could not adjust the charge rate to 2 Amp/hr.

I also noticed tapping of the test leads switched modes over, from charge, to volt/internal resistance metering, but the double tap of the display button no longer switched the unit back over to charge mode. It was stuck in voltage metering/test leads mode.

I left the unit unplugged and messaged Lumens Direct (The XTAR distributor, from whom I had purchased the charger).

The next morning, I plugged the unit in, and it did the diagnostic function, then powered off completely for a few seconds, then did the initialize screen, and repeated that, every few seconds or so.

When the seller got back to me, they apologized for the problems, and advised me to ship back the charger (their physical store was no longer there. They had moved), and they provided me with an RMA #, following up with a prepaid shipping level, sent in an email, to ship the unit back.

They told me to send only the charger, and none of the accessories (which meant keeping the case, the two power supplies, test leads, etc.). They also told me that the didn't have stock of the Dragons, and it would be a few weeks before they did. This was fine with me, since I had a slew of other chargers; although I admit, I was disappointed that their flagship charger would or could ever fail.

But, it happens, right? Could be a car, a TV set, or anything else, regardless of price.

Some weeks passed, and I checked their on-line store, but they weren't expecting stock until the end of November. I followed up with them, and after a few exchanges, we agreed that they would ship me two SV2 units (which I really loved), and refund the balance - which they did. They took care of me - always have.

In the meantime, I purchased a second Dragon charger, on one of Andrew and Amanda's "Deal of the Day" sales, for $49.00 - a steal, as far as I was concerned. When the unit arrived, I tested it out, and it seemed to have the same problem; but that wasn't the case. I realized that I had plugged the test leads (using their USB plug) into the wrong USB outlet. Plugging it, into the appropriate plug, fixed everything.

If only that had been the case with the initial unit I purchased elsewhere. That first charger was sitting on the desk, for eight months, and used, the same way, every day, and the test leads had been plugged in, and left that way, from Day One.

The unit was unresponsive, even when I tried unplugging the test leads.

So, I still have one of these Dragons, and it appears to be working flawlessly.

No complaints. Since then, I purchased two Nitecore SC4 chargers, which have replaced my old D4s, and are pretty amazing little chargers, that I got through a Group Buy, on Budget Light Forums.

At first, I assumed the problem I had with the Dragon was a production issue, and was very saddened to feel that I needed to return the second charger; but equally relieved/pleased that this wasn't the case. Of course,Andrew and Amanda immediately issued an RMA, which I never ended up needing to use.

The bottom line, is I'm still very confident about the quality of XTAR chargers, and have never received anything less than first rate customer service, any time I've ever had an issue with one.

I will gladly continue buying XTAR products.

As for improvements they could possibly make for the "V2" version of the Dragon:

1) I would make the display characters smaller, so that it could show the status of all four channels, simultaneously, rather than just two at a time. The display is gigantic (I look at it and I feel it's for the visually impaired, or something lol); so, I think this is entirely possible, while still being easily readable;

2) I would also make the current/refresh and record/test buttons protrude, just a bit, so they're more easy to feel and find, in the dark. They're too flush with the rest of the panel, making them kind of hard to find, otherwise.

As for the chargers inability to set each channel, for independent charge rates ,etc. I have other chargers (My SC4s, for instance) that will do that, so it's still not really a deal breaker, for me. The same holds true for a charger that can charge LiFePO4 and 4.3 volt batteries, since I can do that with my VP2 or SC4s :-)



#33 David Quevedo

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 10:25 PM

I've enjoyed these new SC4s so much, I've ended up with four.

 

 

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#34 David Quevedo

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:50 AM

vY43EAB.jpg

The latest overall charger family pick


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