The XTAR VC4S 3A charger is the latest addition in the VC series lineup. Featuring battery recovery, battery discharge, 3A charging, and updated graphics. How much punch does it really have? Let’s Find out.
This product has been sent with the kind generosity of XTAR for the purpose of an impartial review. The thoughts that you find below are mine and are no way influenced by the fact that this was gifted.
The XTAR VC4S comes packaged in the usual XTAR white packaging with a compatible battery list printed on the side, along with social media links. On the back are some more product information, warranty number, and scratch and check authenticity. In the box is the XTAR VC4S 3 Amp battery charger, USB cable, pouch for the VC4S, and Instruction guide.
Important – The VC4S it is not suitable for protected 20700 or 21700 batteries. Protected batteries are longer and won’t fit into the charger. Non-protected 20700/21700 batteries such as the Samsung 30T will charge fine.
XTAR VC4S 3A charger is made with flame retardant and fire resistant ABS giving peace of mind in its use, and like all of XTAR chargers feel good and sturdy. Protection wise, the VC4S features reverse polarity, short-circuit overcharging, and overheating protection, keeping you and your batteries safe. Charging of batteries utilises what XTAR refers to as the Three Stage charging. When a battery is first placed in the charger, there is a light trickle charge, gently getting the battery going. Followed with constant current (A) which applies the fast charging. Then there is the constant voltage output, that towards completion reduces the input to the battery. Making sure the battery finishes without any abrupt stops and at the correct voltage.
Graphics aside, the VC4S has an almost identical look to the VC4, the difference is the VC4S has an additional second control button.
It is the additional control button that operates the XTAR 4CSs charging modes. The operation of this charger remains simple to follow. The left-hand side button operates the detailed information of the current state of charging.
“Cap” – Reveals the current battery capacity since charging in mAh.
“Cur” – The current being pushed to the battery for charging in mA.
“IR” – Internal resistance at the current stage in charging in mΩ.
The right-hand side button gives the ability to change the method of battery conditioning being applied to all the batteries.
“Grad” – Batteries will be fully charged, then discharged to the point of assessing for the batteries grading. It will then fully charge again and upon completion will display its assessed capacity in mAh.
“Store” – Charging will commence with a lower voltage of 3.7 V or 1.2 V dependent on battery type. Upon completion of the first charge, the battery will then be discharged and recharged again. When finished the batteries voltage will be displayed in Volts.
Documented Constant Current
“3A x 1 / 2A x 2 / 1A x 4 / 0.5A x 4”
There must be something going on inside of the VC4S lifting its charging ability. Being able to charge 4 batteries at 1A is fantastic and a credit to the XTAR VC4S. Making life a lot easier, by reducing charging time without overkill on the batteries themselves.
The supplied USB cable looks great good including the recessed 2.5 Amperage rating of the cable. Yep you got that right. With a 3A capable charger XTAR supplied a bitterly disappointing 2.5A cable.
Important – Safety warning, if you do use a 3A charger DO NOT USE the supplied cable. It may be fine, but it really is not worth the risk.
List of compatible batteries for charging:
|3.6/3.7V Charging of Li-ion/IMR/INR/ICR||1.2V Charging of Ni-MH/Ni-CD|
It is important to remember to be careful when removing your battery from all chargers ensuring that the terminal does not catch and damage the battery wrap. The easiest way by far is to place fingers on the battery, pull them back all the way and lift out the batteries. Mitigating the possibility of damage.
USB cable aside the XTAR VC4S 3A charger is great, I love the updated graphics and the information displayed. Seeing the amperage being pushed to the batteries and the batteries current voltage while charging is reassuring. However some people may find the size of the text too small. Now with the ability of being able to charge all four batteries with a 1 Amp charge will half the charging time without a noticeable reduction in battery life. Now whilst you can charge four batteries there is a caveat with this.
The VC4S presumably uses the same body as the VC4 and as such has the same problem of cramped space for the middle batteries. With 26650’s in the outer charging ports and 21700’s in the inner, the fourth 21700 battery can’t quite fit. Instead, it is slightly raised from the charger. Although I have not had any problems it is important that the fourth battery is secure enough that it will not become loose. When using the VC4 the predecessor to the VC4S, I have had a battery catapult across the room, because I hadn’t double checked it was in securely. My fault but the designs flaw.
Although the XTAR VC4S is a 3 Amp charger we need to ask is it needed? Should I charge at that rate? Whilst the charger is designed to prevent risk and to stop charging if there is a problem. It is not great for a batteries life time to be constantly charged at such a fast rate. Personally I wouldn’t charge a single 18650 battery with 3A instead around 1A, and probably would only charge a 26650 at 2A. So I would say yes the power of 3A is needed. However not for charging an individual battery and would like to be able to disable single 3A battery charging. Perhaps even to be able to change the applied current much like XTAR’s VP4C battery charger.