I received the Nitecore SC4 for the review from Nitecore.
While I think I can provide some useful information about flashlights from a technical point of view, when it comes to chargers, I have very little knowledge. So what I can do is give you my thoughts as a flashlight user, maybe with a few years of flashlight passion on my shoulders.
The SC4 is a multi chemistry smart charger with LCD display from Nitecore with a USB port with an 2.1 A output.
The SC4 comes in this box.
Inside the box there are the SC4, manual and power cable (Standard C7 plug).
Right from the start, I thought it looked like an updated version of the well known Nitecore D4 charger.
And that wouldn’t be a wrong statement, as you can still see the type of cell inserted, charging current, charging status, voltage of the battery, charging time, mAh charged, but also
– Select the current from 300 mA to 3000mA (the latter only in one slot) with 100mA increments for each slot,
– Receive an overall indication (Good/Poor) of the status of the battery, based on a quick measure of the internal resistance,
– Recover Over discharged li ion cells with a dedicated program,
– Select witch li ion chemistry are you using (3.7, 4.2, 4.3 Volts),
All this can be done using the C and the V buttons that are under the screen.
Well, not only Nitecore added more functions, but also made took great care in the design and animation of the LCD display.
To make justice to that I made a simple video showing the animations and going through some operations (changing current, viewing information… for detailed instructions refer to the SC4 manual).
All the digits and animations are clear and sharp, and the viewing angle is good from all directions. The display on the SC4 will automatically turn off after 3 minutes of inactivity.
The contact points are raised dots for both poles so you can charge flat and button top cells.
As far as real use, the SC4 offers more functions than other chargers and so, but it isn’t overly complicated and, with only 2 switches, it is simple to get ahold of the basic functions very quickly.
Nitecore states that the charger is able to automatically set the current charge at 500mA for Nimh cells, while for li ion, states that batteries with less than 1200mAh the standard current will be 500mA, and 2000mA for cells bigger than 1200mAh.
Now, sorting the battery chemistry between nimh and li ion is a no brainer for the charger, but for the li ion cell capacity? I believe the SC4 resorts on the measure of internal resistance of the battery.
Note that for non IMR li ion cells, it is commonly accepted 0.5 C as standard charging current.
Although the default li ion slower charge at 500mA is fine (maybe a bit on the high side) for most cells, even small ones (like RCR, 14500…), the other default faster one of 2000mA could be too much for some kind of batteries like 17670 or non IMR 18650 with low capacity.
In reality, this things really depend on your batteries. If you don’t have small (10440) or IMR 18650 with low capacity old cells, the automatic setting can work fine… and in both cases you can still set your charging current for each slot with a few clicks.
I guess that a fast standard charging current could have been in the 1200mA range, but given the increasing market of IMR and hybrid li ion cells, more people will benefit of the 2000mA standard current, resulting in cells being chargerd faster.
As far as fasting charge, the 3000mA available on one port will surely come in handy for charging bigger cells like 26650.
I like the 2.1 Amps USB port on all electronic devices. Sometimes even us flashaholics find ourselves charging our smartphones and so more often than our flashlight batteries.
I like that the SC4 has an integrated power adapter and so uses a standard, non proprietary C7 cable.
I like that is also available, although as an accessory, the 12V car adapter.
Thanks to Antoled for the camera help.