Status for 2014
This is a look at what I have reviewed in 2014 and what I believe is the most interesting stuff. I have published about 200 test/review in 2014, mostly batteries and chargers, but also some other stuff. This brings the total number of reviews and test on my website above 650.
I have reviewed about 100 batteries in 2014, in total I have reviewed about 280 batteries.
The most obvious trend is high current batteries, some vapers like a lot of current into their coil and this can be seen on the selection of LiIon batteries. The capacity and maximum current of high current batteries is also fairly substantial at 2500mAh and 20A. Higher capacity 18650 did not show up, the 3600mAh LiIon battery from 2013 is still very difficult to find.
My queue of batteries got very long, this picture is from the start of August. At the end of December the queue is mostly gone.
Keeppower started the high current trend with the LG ICR18650HE2 cell that can deliver 20A and has 2500mAh.
Efest started their purple line of batteries, all of them using some very good high current cells, but they do not tell what is inside. Today you can find 2500mAh high current batteries from many brands, one brand even copied the "purple" idea.
I got my hand on some Sony VTC5 cells, they are rated 2600mAh and can deliver 30A.
As usual some xxxFire brand has a record breaking cell, but when tested it is not anywhere near the stated capacity. Even a cheap good quality 2600mAh cell is much better than this one.
With 26650 the capacity got up to 5200mAh and with their higher voltage compare to 18650 they are useful for some application.
I found this flashlight (DQG 26650) was a good fit for 26650 batteries (Sorry no review).
Efest got the best high current 26650 I have tested and it is no surprise that they used a purple wrapper on it.
In 18500 batteries I got a 2000mAh rated battery, but it can only deliver about 3A
For high current 18500 cells one of the options is Efest, it has only 1000mAh, but can deliver 15A.
In the 18350 size a couple of high current cells has arrive, the Efest purple is a very good one.
I did not see much new in 10440, 14500, 16340 sized batteries.
I did test some AA and AAA batteries, the most interesting is probably the Fujitsu. They are made on the FDK factory in Japan, that is the same factory that has been producing eneloop and their performance match the eneloops. I will be looking more at Fujitsu batteries in 2015.
Frequently people are talking about replacing batteries with capacitors, but this is not just around the corner. To show it I decided to test two super capacitors the same way I test batteries. The above capacitor has about the same energy as a AA battery.
In 2014 I added comparators for AA/AAA and 26650 batteries to my website.
Some people have been saying that the protection in batteries does not work at low current, I did not believe that, but decided to do a test.
In the test I discharge batteries with down to 0.1mA or 100uA.
I have the impression that I have mostly been testing chargers this year and the numbers confirms it. I have tested about 45 chargers in 2014. The total number of battery chargers I have tested is about 100.
This year we started seeing analyzing LiIon chargers (Hobby chargers excepted).
This is the most interesting NiMH charger I have seen, it has all the usual functionality of a analyzing charger, but in addition to this you can link it to a smartphone with bluetooth and get curves (I would have preferred to get the curves on a PC) and adjust settings in the charger.
Want a very small 18650 charger? Xtar probably has the record for a small cradle charger that supports many battery sizes.
The first analyzing cradle based LiIon chargers. The LiitoKala is a very simple analyzing charger, but will tell the capacity of most LiIon battery (It has a problem with long protected batteries). I will be looking at an updated model in 2015.
This charger was also rebranded and sold by AWT
Xtar upgraded the VP1 to VP2, this upgrade included support for 3 charge voltages, the charger does also have 3 current settings, making it one of the most universal LiIon chargers around. Xtar has two more models that support 3 voltage and 3 currents: SP1 and WP2h.
In 2014 we also got a advanced analyzing charger. This charger has the same functions as NiMH chargers, but can handle both NiMH and LiIon. The charger had some initial problems, but the 3. version (V2.1) of it works fine. I used about 2 months testing this charger in the different versions.
Usual a LiIon charger is for 1, 2 or 4 batteries, but I got a 8 way charger to test. The charger can both handle LiIon and NiMH batteries and has a usb power output.
Nitecore decided to make an advanced version of the i4 charger and calls it the D4 charger. The actual charging is about the same, it is still very slow at charging 4 batteries.
Many people was waiting for the VP4, hoping for a 4 channel version of the VP2. Xtar did make the VP4 and it is a good charger, but it did not live up to expectations.
USB equipment for charging
I have different types of equipment in this category: power banks, usb power adapters and usb meters. I did not test many power banks and power adapters, but did test a couple of usb meters.
A power bank with separate handling of each battery. I have been using it often and have found one problem with it: The lid is not locked secure enough.
This power bank has non-replaceable batteries, it works fine and has a small led for illumination.
I got some old quality power adapters. Here I have tested one from HTC. It is interesting to compare the internal construction to the cheap ones I have tested.
Xtar shipped a usb power meter to me for review, I decided to check some more. This one uses a OLed display and shows both power and capacity.
This is the most advanced usb meter I have tested, it can also be used more generally for DC power measurement. If you try to optimize you charges, batteries and other equipment for solar power this is probably a must have.
I tested 17 in 2014 bringing the total to 27.
This linear driver was one of the more interesting drives with a maximum current of 5A.
This is a more simple direct drive driver, that can handle high currents.
I do not post much in this category, but I got started on component testers.
Peak makes many component testers, they are very good, but not cheap. I have posted two reviews of Peak testers, but plan on posting more.
A much more economic component tester and also more versatile, but it cannot reconize as many semiconductors as the Peak tester. I do have more testers in queue.
I did also post a overview of the test equipment I uses when doing my reviews.
What to expect in 2015
It will basically be the same. Hopefully a bit fewer chargers, many of the chargers I tested in 2014 took longer than a week to test, meaning I had to be running two charger test in parallel.
My large backlog of batteries and chargers are mostly processed and I will soon need new batteries to test for keeping up the frequent publishing of battery reviews. I am also planning to add a few more battery sizes to my test.
I do have some usb meters and component tester nearly ready to publish.
Suggestions about what to test are welcome. When sending suggestion remember to include a link to a shop that ships to EU (Denmark).
Most numbers are based on dates of files on my computer this number is not entirely accurate: Some reviews contains multiple devices, some reviews are not published yet and I do sometimes update a review.