Flashlight Reviews  By old4570
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Xtar MCO usb Charger

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For review I have the MCO charger from Xtar
Please take a look at the manufacturers product page for more detailed information  

The nitty gritty of this charger is that it was made for charging the smaller Li-ion batteries we use for our flashlights, from the 10440 to the 18500 and to do so with sane charging currents. Available is 250mAh and 500mAh charge currents simply by using a button on the charger, and I can confirm here and now that's what you get.  There is only the one voltage option (3.7) 4.2v fully charged.

Where you want 250mAh is with the small 10440 battery up to the 16340 size batteries. It is acceptable practice to limit battery charging to about equal to capacity or 1C, so if you have a 500mAh capacity battery then you don't exceed a 500mAh charge rate , in fact most people consider the ideal charge rate to be about half that of capacity. This makes charging anything smaller than 16340 somewhat problematic in theory as you are either charging at the limit, or over charging in the sense that the current is too high. Charging at too high a current can shorten the life of batteries and in some instances damage the cell, and though somewhat rare, cause a serious incident that could possibly be life threatening.

 Thankfully Xtar has addressed the need for a lower charge current for the smaller Li-ion batteries, not only with the MCO but also with the WP2s , XP1 , and VP1 chargers, making Xtar a leader in the field. ( Li-ion battery chargers for flashlights ).

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For testing I employed my analog meter setup which consists of a Volt meter and a Amp meter. The volt meter is reporting the voltage of the battery, not the voltage of the charger. The amp meter is reporting the actual charge current that is going to the battery. This setup allows me to watch what is happening as it happens to the battery.

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500mAh setting.

I used two batteries to test at the 500mAh charge rate, a 16340 and a 14500. Both batteries came of the charger at exactly 4.2v, and both batteries were good ones ( low internal resistance, low use ). Both batteries were discharged to 3v ( under load ), allowed to rest and then charged. The charger behaved exactly the same for both batteries.

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The charger starts of at about 460mAh, holds the charge current well until around 4volts when it begins to drop the charge current, termination was exactly 4.2v with the two batteries tested, and the current was about 30mAh at the charge end.

250mAh setting

The charger behaved exactly the same at the 250mAh charge rate beginning at some 240mAh and terminating the charge cycle at around 30mAh. I tested the charger with a 10440 and a older 16340 both of which had relatively high internal resistance. The 10440 finished at 4.07v ( same as my other chargers ) and the 16340 finished at 4.14v again in the same ball park as my other chargers.

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The charger performs extremely well, there is no charge current after termination, the charger is very easy to use, it's small, and there simply was no issue with charging. The only thing worth mentioning is on the  500mAh charge setting the green light comes on early, around 4.05v to 4.1v region. The green light is on and the charger is still charging. In terms of time, it depends on the capacity of the battery and the time it takes to fully charge, but for me that ranged from 30minutes to one hour before actual charging completed ( with the green light on ). Now there is no such issue ( ? is it an issue ) at the 250mAh setting, the light turns green when the charger has finished. You could simply switch over to the lower charge rate if this is a problem. Just let me point out, once charging is complete, it is complete ( my multimeter picked up 0 current ).

I have to say this is an impressive charger, and the green light coming on early for me ( 500mAh ) is not a deal breaker as I will be using it at 250mAh, this is where this charger stands out and will find 99.9% of its use. Its so convenient to have it plugged into the USB port on my computer and the charger right in front of me where I can keep an eye on it.

Thank you Xtar for making this review possible.