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Old 05-04-2015, 10:26 PM #1
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Default Importance of decent battery chargers

I searched for this question here but I haven't found an adequate answer. So, here I go.

I have one of those Chinese chargers (did not come with a laser-bought separately). Now I've heard that these type of chargers are a fire hazard. Is that only it though? What's the importance of a good charger? Are there any meaningful benefits, a reason to spend 15-20 euros to get a better one?

The charger also has a LED that indicates whether the batteries are being charged or not. Does that LED actually discharge the battery?

And finally, which chargers would you suggest? (for both 18650 and 16340 rechargeable Li-ion batteries)


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Old 05-04-2015, 10:46 PM #2
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constandinos97 View Post
I searched for this question here but I haven't found an adequate answer. So, here I go.

I have one of those Chinese chargers (did not come with a laser-bought separately). Now I've heard that these type of chargers are a fire hazard. Is that only it though? What's the importance of a good charger? Are there any meaningful benefits, a reason to spend 15-20 euros to get a better one?

The charger also has a LED that indicates whether the batteries are being charged or not. Does that LED actually discharge the battery?

And finally, which chargers would you suggest? (for both 18650 and 16340 rechargeable Li-ion batteries)

Basically the reason why chinese chargers are a fire hazard is because they lack a lot of the certifications and back up safety requirements that quality chargers have.

Reason being is because they want to make a charger as cheap as humanely possible. They lack thermal protection which is critically important in preventing fires, since they'll just keep happily pumping current into a cell that's too hot and not realize it. And, a cheap chinese charger will still try and charge a dead cell, which can be highly dangerous.

Nicer quality chargers also come with better voltage characteristics; i.e. they won't overcharge your cell. Some even come with the ability to read your battery's capacity. They also properly charge your battery with constant current, where some cheap chinese ones may just charge it via constant voltage.

The LED on your charger shouldn't drain the battery if they designed it right...


And I seriously, seriously recommend any NiteCore brand chargers. I personally have a IntelliCharger i4. They're chinese, but they're made properly and Nitecore is a pretty big brand (they also sell their own batteries with the proper capacity ratings) and the charger's have all the protections built in and don't use cheap iron contacts for charging your cells either. It also shows the charging progress too, and won't attempt to charge (at least, it won't normally charge) bad li-ion's. It'll push it very softly into the properly voltage range, and if gets there, charge it safely.

Oh, and to boot, it also charges NIMH and NiCd's too.

Here's a link to the one I have: Amazon.com: Nitecore IntelliCharger i4 Battery Charger - 2nd Generation: Sports & Outdoors


Kind of an advertisement for NiteCore chargers but I'm really happy I went with that brand. They're a thousand times better than any other dinky chinese charger's I've gotten.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:48 PM #3
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Talking Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Well, depending on the quality...there are decent Chinese chargers, and there are flat out scary ones.

The indicator light may not indicate what it says it does for example...some will say the charger is done charging...but, its still charging, or over charging, the cell, despite saying its done....or, say its done too soon, or, never say its done....and so forth. (You'd need to test it to see)

So, fire hazards are one concern, sure, typically due to a lack of protective circuits, poor solder, thin wires, etc.

The other concerns involve charge and termination current, CC/CV algorithms, heat management, speed/capacity, isolation limits, etc.

Those affect how much damage the charger does to the cells when used to charge them.

Li-ion cells for example require the charging to follow particular algorithms, not just sending in of juice until a voltage is reached....or cell life is significantly shortened.

Overcharging cells shortens their life as well, where under charging tends to not do damage, but, does make you recharge more often, etc.


The el cheapo chargers can shorten the life of the cell, or the life of the buyer, depending on just HOW bad they are.



One of the best reviewers I have seen of chargers (Cells too btw), is at:

Flashlight information


You can peruse his reviews, and, they are in DEPTH, with charts, infrared images, etc.


I personally use a lot of different cells, so I like chargers that hold a lot, and can do lots of types at the same time...and that have displays with charging status for each cell.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:14 AM #4
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Those cheapest Chinese chargers will also quit working eventually. I have one of these and I really like it:
Efest LUC V4 Charger - Chargers - Batteries, Chargers, and PowerPax Carriers

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Old 05-05-2015, 12:42 PM #5
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Quack View Post
Basically the reason why chinese chargers are a fire hazard is because they lack a lot of the certifications and back up safety requirements that quality chargers have.

Reason being is because they want to make a charger as cheap as humanely possible. They lack thermal protection which is critically important in preventing fires, since they'll just keep happily pumping current into a cell that's too hot and not realize it. And, a cheap chinese charger will still try and charge a dead cell, which can be highly dangerous.

Nicer quality chargers also come with better voltage characteristics; i.e. they won't overcharge your cell. Some even come with the ability to read your battery's capacity. They also properly charge your battery with constant current, where some cheap chinese ones may just charge it via constant voltage.

The LED on your charger shouldn't drain the battery if they designed it right...


And I seriously, seriously recommend any NiteCore brand chargers. I personally have a IntelliCharger i4. They're chinese, but they're made properly and Nitecore is a pretty big brand (they also sell their own batteries with the proper capacity ratings) and the charger's have all the protections built in and don't use cheap iron contacts for charging your cells either. It also shows the charging progress too, and won't attempt to charge (at least, it won't normally charge) bad li-ion's. It'll push it very softly into the properly voltage range, and if gets there, charge it safely.

Oh, and to boot, it also charges NIMH and NiCd's too.

Here's a link to the one I have: Amazon.com: Nitecore IntelliCharger i4 Battery Charger - 2nd Generation: Sports & Outdoors


Kind of an advertisement for NiteCore chargers but I'm really happy I went with that brand. They're a thousand times better than any other dinky chinese charger's I've gotten.
Thanks! Very useful info and all. Thanks for the suggestion, I've heard about that specific charger before, maybe I'll actually buy it soon

I tried +Rep but it says something about spreading rep points to other people first... will try again later
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:43 PM #6
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teej View Post
Well, depending on the quality...there are decent Chinese chargers, and there are flat out scary ones.

The indicator light may not indicate what it says it does for example...some will say the charger is done charging...but, its still charging, or over charging, the cell, despite saying its done....or, say its done too soon, or, never say its done....and so forth. (You'd need to test it to see)

So, fire hazards are one concern, sure, typically due to a lack of protective circuits, poor solder, thin wires, etc.

The other concerns involve charge and termination current, CC/CV algorithms, heat management, speed/capacity, isolation limits, etc.

Those affect how much damage the charger does to the cells when used to charge them.

Li-ion cells for example require the charging to follow particular algorithms, not just sending in of juice until a voltage is reached....or cell life is significantly shortened.

Overcharging cells shortens their life as well, where under charging tends to not do damage, but, does make you recharge more often, etc.


The el cheapo chargers can shorten the life of the cell, or the life of the buyer, depending on just HOW bad they are.



One of the best reviewers I have seen of chargers (Cells too btw), is at:

Flashlight information


You can peruse his reviews, and, they are in DEPTH, with charts, infrared images, etc.


I personally use a lot of different cells, so I like chargers that hold a lot, and can do lots of types at the same time...and that have displays with charging status for each cell.
Very informative post. Thank you! I'll check the reviews out as well
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:44 PM #7
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pi R Squared View Post
Those cheapest Chinese chargers will also quit working eventually. I have one of these and I really like it:
Efest LUC V4 Charger - Chargers - Batteries, Chargers, and PowerPax Carriers

Alan
Cool, thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:06 PM #8
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constandinos97 View Post
Cool, thanks for the suggestion!
Your welcome.

Don't triple post, that will get you into trouble, learn to use the multiquote and edit buttons, you can reply to multiple posts at once, or edit your last post to add more to it, otherwise wait until someone replied before you post again.

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Old 05-05-2015, 01:33 PM #9
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pi R Squared View Post
Your welcome.

Don't triple post, that will get you into trouble, learn to use the multiquote and edit buttons, you can reply to multiple posts at once, or edit your last post to add more to it, otherwise wait until someone replied before you post again.

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Alright man, thanks for the tips! (And for the reputation :P ) I had no intention of spamming, even though I realized that triple posting wasn't going to be such a good idea in the first place...
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:33 AM #10
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

I frequently use many different chargers, and have a slightly different outlook on chargers.

1st - Make sure the charger does NOT charge over 4.2 VDC. Check with an accurate meter.

2nd - Don't charge at a rate over 500-600ma for questionable cells. Check frequently for temperature rise (130' F max). HOT cells are the problem.

3rd - Buy an analysing charger to frequently check the overall health of your cells (internal resistance).
This is the one I use :
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Last edited by LarryDFW; 05-06-2015 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 05-06-2015, 04:00 PM #11
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

There are also scary chargers that output constant current and rely on a protected cell's protection PCB to terminate the charging. Good luck when you accidentally put in an unprotected cell.
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:42 PM #12
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryDFW View Post

1st - Make sure the charger does NOT charge over 4.2 VDC. Check with an accurate meter.

2nd - Don't charge at a rate over 500-600ma for questionable cells. Check frequently for temperature rise (130' F max). HOT cells are the problem.

3rd - Buy an analysing charger to frequently check the overall health of your cells (internal resistance).
Oh, so you're the Larry that's mentioned in the video "A Typical Day At LPF"? I was looking for you XD First of all, thanks for the tips, even though I don't have a meter yet... will probably buy one soon though.

One thing I wanted to ask you... what batteries (16340) would you recommend? I own a couple of Ultra Fire 2300mAh ones, but I want an expert's opinion :P Are they decent?
Quote:
Originally Posted by djQUAN View Post
Good luck when you accidentally put in an unprotected cell.
Thanks. How do I know if a cell is protected though? I only own a couple of Ultra Fire batteries. Any way to check? It says "over current protection" on them, is that the one I should be checking?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nwfreefly View Post
I own a Nitecore I4 and an Opus charging station.
The Opus sounds like an amazing charger. I will definitely check it out! Thanks
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:09 AM #13
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

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Originally Posted by Constandinos97 View Post
Oh, so you're the Larry that's mentioned in the video "A Typical Day At LPF"? I was looking for you XD First of all, thanks for the tips, even though I don't have a meter yet... will probably buy one soon though.

One thing I wanted to ask you... what batteries (16340) would you recommend? I own a couple of Ultra Fire 2300mAh ones, but I want an expert's opinion :P Are they decent?
)
You don't need an expert to know and tell you that Ultra Fires are complete garbage as well as Trust fire. They claim 2300mAh on a 16340? LOL! Probably less than 300mAh. Top quality 16340's are around 600-850mAh. Any battery claiming higher is usually full of it.

Quality 16340's-
-Nitecore (most expensive)
-Efest
-AW
I like Nitecore for this battery size not necessarily because they are better than AW but because they are not massively counterfeited like AW and Efest. Don't buy those without a recommended seller because the Chinese are notorious for selling fakes and often times even the re-seller of them on Ebay doesn't realize they are selling Trustfire or Ultrafire shit with false shrink wrap. Its so bad of a problem that Efest has an anti fake special barcode to ensure they are real.

IMO its just less of a risk to buy Nitecore and they are as good batteries but if you would prefer AW or Efest I have bought some on ebay and verified them to be legit. I could pass on the seller to you if you need.
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Last edited by olympus mons; 05-07-2015 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:44 AM #14
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by nwfreefly View Post
You don't need an expert to know and tell you that Ultra Fires are complete garbage as well as Trust fire. They claim 2300mAh on a 16340? LOL! Probably less than 300mAh. Top quality 16340's are around 600-850mAh. Any battery claiming higher is usually full of it.

Quality 16340's-
-Nitecore (most expensive)
-Efest
-AW

IMO its just less of a risk to buy Nitecore and they are as good batteries but if you would prefer AW or Efest I have bought some on ebay and verified them to be legit. I could pass on the seller to you if you need.
Yeah, I was trying to see which battery had the highest mAh, and that's the highest I could find, so I got them. I've heard that Ultra Fire aren't the best batteries out there, but that was after I had bought them.

If you can PM me the eBay seller, I would really appreciate it man
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:59 AM #15
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Constandinos97 View Post
Yeah, I was trying to see which battery had the highest mAh, and that's the highest I could find, so I got them. I've heard that Ultra Fire aren't the best batteries out there, but that was after I had bought them.

If you can PM me the eBay seller, I would really appreciate it man
Ill just add the link here so others can also get it in case they wish to order AW and Efest 18350's. These are confirmed non-counterfeit batteries and the best prices I have been able to find without having to order from China. Support North American sellers!!! They need the help trying to compete with Chinese sellers that our own Postal Service is subsidizing shipping which make it very hard to compete with. We should all try to always buy from North American sellers whenever possible.

AW- 2 x AW 18350 Battery IMR High Drain Li MN 700mAh Rechargeable Batteries | eBay

Efest- 2 Efest IMR 18350 800mAh 3 7V Rechargeable Button Top Batteries | eBay

Just for kicks here's 18650 Panasonic which in the tests I have done is the best battery by a narrow margin. Plus they're really purty.
2X Genuine Panasonic NCR18650B 3400mAh 3 7V Li ion Rechargeable Battery | eBay
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Old 05-10-2015, 09:44 PM #16
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Default Re: Importance of decent battery chargers

I have a NiteCore i2, and I'm perfectly happy with it. Easy case to buy a quality charger over a cheap one imo
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