Charger NiteCore LC10

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This is a minimum USB charger and power bank with a light.

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The box shows how it is used on the back.

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The box contains the charger, a plug converter (Apple lightning) and a manual.

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The two magnetic battery connectors. There is no polarity, the battery can be connected either way around.

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The charging input is a rather simple USB-A connector with the power bank output inside.

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Here the power bank output is released.

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And with the Apple Lightning converter attached.

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On the back is some specifications and a touch switch.

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Behind this white cover is a couple of leds.

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Red leds to show charge state, they will automatic turn on when charging and can be turned on by the touch switch when used as a power bank (They will also briefly turn on when a battery is connected).

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There is 3 white leds that can be used for some illumination, they have 3 levels and are also turned on by the touch switch. The light output is fairly limited.
The white leds also turns on when usb power is supplied without a battery connected.

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The magnetic clamps only works with LiIon batteries and can handle just about any size.

supportedBatteryTypes

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In praxis the size is limited due to charge current, with 1A the current is on the high side for many smaller batteries.




Measurements

Charging

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The charging circuit obvious has some temperature problems, this means the current is reduced when charging a empty battery. The circuit also lacks a real turn-off at the end of charging.

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Input current from usb goes slightly above 1A during charge.

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On this battery the voltage raises faster and the current is not reduced as much due to heat.

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No surprise here.

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With this old cell the charge curve looks a bit funny, but it do charge the battery and for once it terminates.

Temp6655

M1: 47.7C, HS1: 49.7C


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Nitecore says soler panels can be used as power source and it definitely looks like it.




USB output
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The USB output can deliver about 1.1A with a full battery.

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Also when switching the battery polarity.

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At 0.5A output the voltage stays stable until the battery is empty, i.e. about 2.7V, then it turns off. This is fine.

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At 1A output the boost converter has some trouble maintaining the output voltage when the battery is discharged.


10ohm

At 0.5A the noise is 6mVrms and 53mVpp, this is very low noise.

5ohm

At 1A the noise is 90mVrms and 850mVpp, here it has high noise, but sometimes it went away.

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It is not a good idea to let a empty battery stay connected, it will be discharged very low. Generally I do not see it as a problem with this type of charger, usual people will disconnect it when finished with using it.



Conclusion

The charger is very compact and can charger LiIon batteries and be used as a power bank. It is not perfect for either application, but can definitely be used as a compact travel charger.
The charger cannot maintain full charge speed with good batteries when they are empty and it do not really terminated charging, but just reduces current. It will work with a solar panel. The usb output is a bit low power at 1A and has good coding.

I will call it fairly good as a travel charger, but not as a regular charger.



Notes

The charger was supplied by a Nitecore for review.

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