Nitecore Intellicharger new i4 2017

DSC_1152

DSC_1153 DSC_1154

This is Nitecores "simple" charger in the 4 slot version.

DSC_1128 DSC_1129 DSC_1130 DSC_1131

The cardboard box lists lot of specifications, battery types and features.

DSC_1145

The box contains the charger, a mains cable, manual and a warranty card.

DSC_1155

The charger has two power connectors, one for mains input (100-250VAC 50/60Hz) and one for 9-12 VDC input.

DSC_1157

The user interface has buttons and the leds are place behind a dark cover.

DSC_1209


It has 3 green status leds and a red led to signal full current (1.5A). The status led also has a secondary function, they are used as indicators for selected voltage.
The charger is a bit special with current selection, usual it will select current depending on battery length and chemistry, but it can be overridden in one case: Two long LiIon batteries can be charged at 1.5A, but then they will be charged in sequence, not simultaneously.
To change voltage or current tap the C button until a single green led above the required slot lights up. Then hold C or V button to adjust current or voltage. C button can only turn the red led on, the V button will change between the 3 green leds for the 3 different LiIon charge voltages. Press again shortly on C or wait for timeout.

DSC_1158 DSC_1159

The slots uses the usual construction and works well. They can handle batteries from 28mm to 70mm long.
Notice the long bar at the plus end, due to this the charger can handle anything up to D or 32xxx size.

supportedBatteryTypes

supportedBatterySizes DSC_1198 DSC_1199 DSC_1200 DSC_1201

DSC_1202 DSC_1203 DSC_1204 DSC_1205 DSC_1206 DSC_1207

The charger can handle 70 mm long batteries, inclusive flat top cells.


Measurements


4.2V LiIon charging

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%231

This is a nice CC/CV charge curve, the termination is slightly high at 200mA.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%232
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%233
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SA18650-33%29%20%234

The other 3 slots looks similar.


Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SA18650-26%29%20%231
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28PA18650-31%29%20%231

The two other batteries also charges fine.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28BE18650-26%29%20%231

The old battery has more voltage drop when finished.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28KP14500-08%29%20%231

With a smaller cell the current is automatically reduced to 0.5A, but the termination current stays the same.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28AW18350-IMR%29%20%231

The charger has no problem with this old cell, but due to the high termination current the voltage will drop significantly when current is turned off.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%284xSA18650-33%29

With 4 batteries the charge current is fairly low.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%2012V%20%284xSA18650-33%29

And it need abou 0.8A from 12V

Temp4591

M1: 32,0C, M2: 35,3C, M3: 37,7C, M4: 36,9C, M5: 52,3C, HS1: 72,3C
The hot part is probably the internal power supply.

Temp4592

M1: 31,6C, M2: 35,0C, M3: 37,3C, M4: 36,7C, M5: 53,5C, HS1: 84,4C

PoweronLiIon1

The charger starts very fast. It turns current off to measure voltage.

ChargeLiIon14

With batteries in slot 1 & 4 it will only charge with half current, i.e. 0.75A

ChargeLiIon24

If I put batteries in slot 2 & 4 the current is also half, this time due to time sharing.

ChargeLiIon1234

With 3 or 4 batteries it will both reduce current and time share.



3.6V LiIon charging (LiFePO4)

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%2818650-LiFePO4%29%20%231

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28SO14500-LiFePO4%29%20%231

The charger handles LiFePO4 batteries correctly.



4.35V LiIon charging

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28LG18650-30%29%20%231

The 4.35V charging looks fine.



NiMH charging

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloop%29%20%231

With NiMH the charger current is only 0.5A for any size battery. The charging uses voltage termination without any top-off charge. I cannot see any temperature raise at the end of charge, i.e. the battery is slightly undercharged.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloop%29%20%232
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloop%29%20%233
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloop%29%20%234

The 3 other slots works the same way.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloopPro%29%20%231
Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28powerex%29%20%231

Same with the two high capacity batteries.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloopXX%29%20%231

This worn down cell got 7.5 minutes before the charger realized that it was hopeless and terminated.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%28eneloopAAA%29%20%231

The AAA cell is charged the same way.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20full%20%28eneloop%29%20%231

The full cell was detected in about 6 minutes.

Nitecore%20new%20i4%20%284xeneloop%29

With 4 batteries the charger current is about 0.375A, this time at least one battery gets warm (i.e. it is full).

Nitecore%20new%20i4%2012V%20%284xeneloop%29

The charger needs about 0.5A from 12V for charging four NiMH.

Temp4608

M1: 33,2C, M2: 38,0C, M3: 43,3C, M4: 43,9C, HS1: 72,0C

Temp4609

HS187,1C
Some electronic inside the charger gets fairly warm.

PoweronNiMH1

The charger is also fast to start with NiMH batteries.

ChargeNiMH24

With batteries in slot 2 & 4 the charger increased the current to 0.75A and starts time sharing.

ChargeNiMH1234

The charger do not reduce charge current with more batteries, 4 batteries use the same time sharing as two.

Testing with 2830 volt and 4242 volt between mains and low volt side, did not show any safety problems.



Conclusion

The charger is simple to use with the automatic current selection and chemistry selection: just put batteries in and they are charged.
But it is not a fast charger, a single 18650 can be charged in about 3 hours (This is fairly standard), but with four cell it will take 9 hours.
Charging LiFePO4 or 4.35V batteries is a bit more tricky due to the not very user friendly user interface, but it is possible.

I will call it a good family charger, everybody can use it for NiMH and 4.2V LiIon batteries.



Notes

The charger was supplied by a zapals.com for review.

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