Freitag, 15. Januar 2016

Short Charger Review: LiitoKala Lii-500

To save some space and because the old NiMH charger startet behaving strange I decided that its time for new charger. As I know what I'm doing I'm not afraid of a charger that handles LiIon and NiMH. If you don't know or care about the battery chemistry, as worst case a deep discharged LiIon could get charged (and that with a way too high current) and become unstable, so that this cell will become dangerous. Take care to not charge LiIons that are depleated below ~2.5V.

My choice was a LiitoKala Lii-500. It has four slots which can accept even 26650 LiIon batteries, and it supports NiMH batteries as well.
On AliExpress you can find it for even less than 20€, I bought mine here.
The device is quite a bit bigger than a two-cell-charger; still two independent chargers require more space.
The Lii-500 has another nice feature that might come in handy from time to time: It can act as power bank when batteries are inserted and no power is available. A USB plug on the back side offers 5V with up to 1A then. I didn't check it yet, but I think you need at least two inserted cells for that feature to work.

 But more technically speaking, the charger is built solid. The contacts are great and work even with longer protected 18650 cells (70mm+).
For a switching charger, the charging current is very stable. A proper CC-CV charging is applied, the charger completely stops charging when the battery has 4.22V. At lest for 24-48 hours; if you leave batteries longer than that in the charger, they get slowly charged more. After 5 days I had a battery at 4,20V while it should have dropped to 4,15V or less. So take the batteries out the chargers the day after they're full, or better even earlier. By default, the Lii-500 wants to charge with 500mA; it offers 300, 500, 700 and 1000mA as well.
Also a fast or a normal test mode is included. There the battery gets discharged and fully loaded once to measure the capacity of the cell. This take some more hours though. Discharging is done with 250mA when 300 or 500mA are chosen as charge current, and 500mA for higher charging rates. The capacity shown by the charger is very close to that I can measure with my setup.
NiMH batteries get a trickle charge. Charge termination will be triggered by dV detection and seems to work properly and stable for all the tests I did the last few weeks.

It is possible to charge LiIon and NiMH batteries at the same time (in different slots, of course ;) ). The Lii-500 detects the cell type based upon the voltage and decides from there if the NiMH or LiIon charging scheme will be applied. Below 0.6V a cell is not detected. Deeply discharged NiMH cells must be "jump started" otherwise therefore - or just don't abuse your cells this badly!

I'm very satisfied with this charger's performance and can recommend it.

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