THE NEW VC4 HAS 4 INDEPENDENT CHARGING CHANNELS AND CAN CHARGE ANY CHEMISTRY. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY MY "GO TO" CHARGER.
Xtar chargers are top notch and the VC4 is a fifth generation charger. I searched high and low for the best value (performance + price) in a modern charger and this is it. the VC4 even shows you how much capacity was delivered during charge.
Just like its two-station sibling, the VC4 displays detailed charge information on 4 separate charging channels. The VC4 also allows you to charge ANY type of rechargeable battery that will fit: Li-Ion, Ni-Mh, and even Nicd.
The charger automatically detects the battery type and sets the appropriate charge parameters. You can even charge four different battery sizes/types at the same time because of the 4 separate charging channels.
Be advised, you can plug the VC4 into any USB port to initiate a charge; however, a standard USB port only delivers 500mA of current. This is enough to fully power one charging channel. If you put in 4 batteries the current (500mA) gets divided by 4. If you use the 2A USB wall adapter you can charge 4 batteries at 500mA per channel. If you are only charging on 1-2 channels, each one will get a maximum of 1000mA.
If are a hardcore "input" person you can check out Battery University for tons (and tons) of information.
A lot of people ask how long a battery takes to charge. That depends on how deeply the battery is depleted. That said, the VC4 should take no more than 5-6 hours to charge a depleted battery. If it takes a lot longer than that...you let the battery get "too" low.
The VC4 is not a "fast charger," or at least not as fast as some chargers. There are two reasons this is good. First, the charger uses a current of 500mA in the smaller central bays and 1000mA in the larger outer bays. This relatively low current makes it possible to charge from a USB port. Second, slow charging any battery prevents stress and prolongs the overall battery life span.
In my personal use, I will put the battery on the charger if I've used it for more than 10-20 minutes. At this level of shallow discharge the battery will top up in 40-80 minutes.
DO NOT leave the battery in the charger for an extended period of time. Overnight is fine. The MC1 has a safety feature to prevent over-charge, but best practice dictates that you should remove the battery when the charge cycle is complete.
The Xtar VC4 has a "charge checking" feature that will periodically check the battery voltage if it's left in the cradle. When the voltage drops below 4.0V the charger will proceed to fill the battery back up to 4.2V. The VC4 will not begin a charge if the battery is above 4.0V.
If you put a battery on the charger and the LED stays green, this means your battery is above 4.0V and ready for use.
Please note, deeply discharging a li-ion battery also reduces its life span.
Unlike other chemistries, li-ion has no "memory effect" so you can charge it any time without loosing capacity. In other words, it's best for battery health to recharge frequently rather than waiting till the battery is "dead.">> ESSENTIAL FEATURES FOR A LI-ION BATTERY CHARGER:
Woah! Okay I know you might suddenly be thinking li-ion batteries are dangerous. Keep in mind that virtually every modern laptop and cell phone uses li-ion batteries...and this is why having a high quality charger (and batteries) is very important. This is also the reason I won't sell anything but Xtar chargers and AW batteries.
|Plug Type||USB (2A)|
|Charging Channels||4 Independent Channels|
|Charge Current||500mA (inner 2 channels) or 1000mA (outer 2 channels)|
|Termination Voltage||4.2V +/- .05V (Li-Ion) / 1.4V +/- .1V (NiMH)|
|Supported Batteries||Li-Ion 3.7V / NiMH / Ni-CD (Can charge 4 different chemistry batteries at the same time)|
|Reverse Polarity Protection||YES|
|Where it's Made|