Charger Efest LUC V4 2014

This is an updated review of the LUC V4 charger, because Efest has adjusted the charge voltage. When possible contents has been reused from the old review.

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Efest has been building a line of chargers from single cell to four cell with fixed and variable current, this is a 4 channel LiIon charger with 3 charge currents.

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The charger comes in a brown cardboard box with a list of supported batteries.

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In the box is the charger, a power supply, a car cable, a manual and a warranty card.

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The charger is powered from 12 volt and has an usb output. The usb output can only be activated when no power is connected to the input.

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At 0.5 and 1A current the charger can charge 4 batteries. The two arrows are animated while charging.
The voltage display shows the battery voltage (The 8 is due to mixing of digits during long exposure, not because the display showed 8).
Below the display under the word "Charger" is the button, it is used to select charge current and to activate usb output (when possible).

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At 2A current only the two center slots can be used, this is clearly illustrated on the display.

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Usb output uses a icon in the center. This does not indicate what slot to use (It is slot #2).

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The sliders for the battery work smoothly and can accept batteries from 30mm to 70.5mm.

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Between the batteries is a list of supported battery sizes, but the 10440 size is only valid for IMR cells.

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The charger can handle 70 mm long batteries including flat top cells.
The charger is rated for 10440 batteries, but due to the charger current it is only recommended to charge IMR 10440.
Note: Using to high charge current will not make the batteries explode, but will reduce lifetime of the batteries.



Measurements

LiIon at 4.2V (ICR/IMR)


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The charger does a good CC/CV charge curve with a good termination current.

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My old IMR cell is also charged perfectly.

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Same with the 18350 cell.

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Not surprisingly the 14500 is also perfect.

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With 1A it is exactly the same, very good CC/CV charge curve. The termination current stays low, this means fully charger cells.

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Both larger and smaller capacity 18650 cells are charge perfectly.

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With 2A current the charge does also looks good.

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At 1A my old IMR 16340 cell is also charged perfect.

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The other 3 slots looks close to the first slot, all doing a good CC/CV charge.

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Charging four cells at the same time works fine.

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Using a DC power supply gives the same result (No surprise). The charger uses about 1.6A. I will expect about the same result with a 2A charge current, because it is limited to two batteries.

Temperature1

M1: 40,5C, M2: 39,8C, M3: 40,7C, M4: 40,1C, M5: 40,2C, HS1: 56,9C

The heat from the charger is distributed fairly even across the batteries.

Temperature2

M1: 39,3C, M2: 42,1C, M3: 35,7C, HS1: 45,9C

startup

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The charger does slowly ramp the current to the selected charger current, changing the selection will start a new ramp from 0.



USB output


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As usual I do a load sweep first, to see how the output works at different loads. The LUC turns off at 1.15A, this is good for a 1A rated output.

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Only one battery is used for usb output (Slot #2), here I am running with a 0.5A load, the output turns off when the battery is down to just over 3 volt. The efficiency is good at 85% to 90%.

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2600mAh has shorter runtime.

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3400mAh has longer runtime.

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Increasing the load to 1A, show that the output has some trouble just before the battery is empty.

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With 7mV rms noise and 108 mV peak-peak noise the output voltage is good.

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With 1A load the rms noise increases to 9mV and the peak-peak to 110mV, again a good value. The trouble just before the battery is empty will, of course, have much higher noise.


Testing with 2500 volt and 5000 volt between mains and low volt side, did not show any safety problems.



Conclusion

The charger uses the correct algorithm has a good termination current and I like the design.
The usb output does also work fine, but I do not know how much use it is in this type of charger. If it had been powered when the charger was powered, it would probably be more useful.

I will call this a good LiIon charger.



Notes

The charger was supplied by Efest for review.

Here is an explanation on how I did the above charge curves: How do I test a charger

Read more about how I test USB power supplies and chargers