Status for 2015
I have been very busy this year with reviews and as usual I did not get around to review everything I wanted to review. Here are some highlights from the year, both good and bad.
To keep up to date on my reviews it is a good idea to check the "Last additions" section on my frontpage, it will list the last couple of reviews/test/articles I have done, just below it there might also be information about good offers, coupon codes, etc. for stuff I have just reviewed (When present it will be from the dealer that gave me the review item).
I have reviewed about 130 batteries this year, this means I have more than 400 battery reviews on my website.
Like last year I got a pile of batteries during the year, this preventing me from reviewing the new cells directly (A lot of the cells in that pile is based on the new cells).
The battery capacity did not increase this year, but 3500/3600mAh batteries are common now from many brands:
The high current cells has moved up in capacity and popularity, but usual the stated current drain is very optimistic, especially on the higher capacities. The capacity is from 2500 to 3500mAh, where the 2500/2600mAh can deliver very high current, higher capacity has more limited current.
The 16650 cell has also moved up in capacity, but it is a 4.35V cell and the protection trips before 4.35V, i.e. it is impossible to use the full capacity. This do not make it a bad cell, even at 4.20 volt it has lot of capacity and can be used as a replacement for 2xCR123 in some cases:
In 26650 the 5000mAh+ cell is common now, but this size cell is not really good at high current:
Here is an example of a optimistic rated cell, it specifies 60A, but failed in my 30A test:
I have been testing/publishing a lot of NiMH tests, mostly they work well, but there are a few exceptions. The cell show below do not live up to its rating (As expected, about 2700mAh is maximum):
Duracell and a few other has some AA cells with ridicules low capacity (1300mAh), they are very useful when selling "high speed" chargers, due to the low capacity the charge time will be very short:
At long last I also got around to review a 1.5V LiIon battery (To fix the voltage difference it uses electronic):
In addition to the NiMH cells, I did also test some alkaline cells. All alkaline are very bad at high current, but looks good when current goes down. For some of them I did a 10mA (0.01A) discharge test. This current is in the same range as a DMM uses and most cells lasted between 13 and 15 days. Premium cells do not always look better than the regular cells.
I did get time to write a few articles during the year, one about charging NiMH:
And one about alkaline and discharging to very low voltages:
I did open some Ultrafire batteries:
Last year I tested many chargers and it has been the same this year with about 50 chargers (Some of them for battery packs), this means I have nearly 150 battery charger reviews on my site. I have included some regular NiMH chargers and not only LiIon chargers.
The total list of charger can be found on my website.
Many of the big brands NiMH chargers are not very good, they charger cells in series, may have timer or no termination and sort of lies about charge speed.
This one is a rated as a 45minute charger, but needs 2½ hour to charge 4 2000mAh cells and the batteries are in series:
Again the batteries are in series and termination is on time, not when the cell is full:
Panasonic do make some good chargers (They do also make bad chargers):
Looking to more specialized brands and the charger is much better, here is individual charge control for each cell, correct termination and analyzing:
For analyzing LiIon the LiitoKala is fairly simple to use and works well:
When listing good chargers I must also include an Xtar. They have for a couple of years deliver very good LiIon chargers:
A charger/analyzer for 9 volt batteries did also arrive this year:
For very advanced chargers we got the Opus BT-C3100 last year, this year we got the SkyRC MC3000. This charger can do everything any other analyzing charger can do and then some, it handles just about any round cell size, its precision is way better than anything else, this also means that it is a rather expensive charger.
USB equipment for charging
This year I did not do much in powerbanks or usb meters, instead I tested and disassembled nearly 50 usb chargers, this brings the total number of USB chargers (Mains+Power banks) above 70. I made a index with some important parameters to make it easier to locate a good mains charger. For general usb equipment, I have another list on my website.
There where some unsafe ones (Arrow points to a spark):
And some safe with high output power and automatic adaption to any equipment:
And smaller travel chargers:
I did even check a few for car usage:
To make usb chargers faster there have been two upgrade: One is the official usb type-c connector with usb power delivery support, this standard is very complicated to implement, even the cables needs a chip in them. The other is Qualcomm QuickCharge V2.0 that will work on any usb cable. I have started on checking some chargers with QC support:
I tested very few led drivers this year.
This is a update of a driver I tested last year, but with significant improvements:
In this category I checked a few interesting things.
For my own project I needed performance data on some cheap ebay converters, I did publish the results:
Some people that has home automation as hobby asked if I could do a check on a mains to 5 volt converter (Basically a usb power supply, without the usb part), it looks to be very nice for small hobby projects:
What to expect in 2016
I do not expect any major changed in 2016, but will probably reduce my publishing frequency (More than 4 articles each week is a bit too much). Like end of 2014 my backlog of batteries are mostly done and I can get around testing the new batteries.
I do plan on changing my LiIon battery test stations to use full 4 terminal testing and temperature sensing on the batteries. When I do that all new high current test will look better!
I have been testing a few 9V batteries and when I have made the script to generate charts I will start publishing them.
There will be some power bank reviews in 2016.
To discuss or ask questions about specific reviews they can usual be found on CPF, BLF and fonarevka (Not all reviews are posted everywhere).
Suggestions about what to test are welcome. When sending suggestion remember to include a link to a shop that ships to EU (Denmark). It is also possible to ask dealers/manufacturs if they will send stuff for review.