ThruNite C2 3400 mAh Compact Portable Charger Review

Preface

I reached out to Thrunite recently, and they agreed to send me this Thrunite C2 charger for review.

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I’m excited to have it, and look forward to testing and using it. Thanks to Thrunite for providing this unit for review.


Thrunite C2 Charger Official Specs:

  • The C2 is designed to be the fastest charging and discharging solution on the market.
  • Buy ONE you will get a THREE in one solution: a fastest charger, a fastest portable mobile power bank and a high capacity rechargeable battery.

Features

  • The fastest charger with 2.4A input
  • The fastest portable mobile power bank with 3A output
  • The high capacity rechargeable battery which is applicable for various lighting devices
  • Reversed polarity protection system prevents damage to the device
  • Input: DC 5V, Max 2.4A
  • Output: DC 5V, Max 3A
  • Material: AL T6061 aircraft aluminum body
  • Applicable Battery: ThruNite 3400mAh 18650 rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Working Temperature: -20℃-40℃.
  • Size: 92.8mm(Length)*25mm(Width)
  • Weight: only 38g (excluding the battery)
  • Accessories: USB cable, 18650 3400mAh battery, mesh bag

As a fast power bank with a max output of 3A, C2 Only charges devices when the input current at least 350mA.
We recommend using the original devices cable to charge phones and other devices. Uncertified cables may not be compatible with devices.
Please make sure the charging cable is connected securely into the charging port of the C2 charger.The charging notification will be displayed on the screen of mobiles devices once connected successfully.

The above section contains the manufacturer’s descriptions and claims, not my impressions or results.


Thrunite C2 Short Review

This is a nice little charger, which fills the category that we’ve been wanting: A metal tube charger/powerbank. Sales have been discontinued though, so we can eagerly await version 2.

Long Review

Key Features

  • Micro USB input (5V)
  • Fast charging of internal cell at >2A

What’s Included

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  • Thrunite C2 Charger
  • 3400 mAh Thrunite protected button top 18650
  • Charging cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Warranty card
  • Manual

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Pictures

Here’s a photo album.

Manual and Packaging

The package

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is my new favorite kind of package. It’s a cardboard box, but it’s a slip fit type, with little cutouts so it’s easy to open. (Manker uses a very similar package.) . It has Thrunite branding printed everywhere but the bottom. Inside the box is a foam cutout with the C2, cable and the other goodies.

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The manual

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is just a printed single sheet which has 4 languages. The verbiage includes product description, user interface, and warranty info, among other specs.

Build Quality and Durability

First and foremost, the C2 is metal (so metal \m/_(>_<)_\m/ ). That’s long been on the wishlist around here (particularly among the moderators of this sub. I’m pleased it was Thrunite, who’s known for making quality products, who produced this item. The tube on this charger is very well made. It’s aluminum of course, and has big beefy square cut threads.

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Only one end unscrews, and the operation of screwing that on is so much like my Zebralight SC600Fd that it’s uncanny. (Actually the size and knurling are quite similar too. The threads are completely different or I’d see if they swap-fit.) There’s a little grease, but it’s enough. So the build quality on that end of the unit is great.

The port end of the C2 is also knurled, but does not unscrew. That’s a touch confusing but it’s firmly seated – you will not accidentally unscrew the positive end of the C2. That begs the question of why it’s knurled in the first place? I’d rather it not be knurled, but it does make for a nice symmetrical design. On the head (I’ll call the positive terminal/button/port end the ‘head’ end), there are two ports and a tiny button, housed in a plastic circle.

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The micro-USB is a 5V (2.4A) in, and the USB port is a 5V (3A) out.

Due to the open ports (2) on the C2, I can’t recommend having this thing anywhere near water. It does have springs on both ends,

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but it has no impact rating. There’s a small amount of play in the cell, so I wouldn’t want to bang this charger around too much. But it’s a ….. It’s a metal tube with basically screwed on caps. It’s generally going to be fairly rugged no matter.

I think it’d be neat if the head and tail both unscrewed. I’m sure there are some implications regarding that, but I still think it’d be neat.

Power

The Thrunite C2 ships with a single 18650, Thrunite branded.

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It’s a protected button top. Under the Thrunite label can clearly be seen a NCR18650B label.

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This is not a criticism. It’s good to see quality cells being used in units like this. And Thrunite adds their own protection to that NCR18650B – I believe they put the protection circuit board on the positive terminal (which is a departure from normal protection boards). I did not test the capacity of this particular cell, but I’ve tested 4 NCR18650B’s recently, and they tested around the correct (rated) capacity.

The cell arrived at 3.62V. I ran the cell down in a Convoy S2+, but didn’t trip the protection. Started charging the cell at 3.28V, finished it was 4.15V. Second test terminated at 4.2V.

Note that the cell goes with the positive terminal toward the head of the unit. The head being where all the electronics are. Note also that the springs in the head/tail can rotate just a little and if you aren’t paying attention you’ll insert the cell (the correct way) and then hear some popping and carrying on and freak out thinking you put the cell in the wrong way…. Nope, that’s just the springs rotating as the unit is tightened. I personally would love to see v2 of this unit to have pogo pins like Zebralights. 🙂 In this vein: there is no indication what direction a cell should be placed into the unit. I feel like that’s a bit of an oversight, and I wish there was some marking. Even on the inside of the tube, like Olight does on the S Mini, would be fantastic. I wrote with a Sharpie inside my tube, just in case.

Unfortunately I don’t have anything that draws 3A, so I have no way to test that aspect of the charger. The unit did charge an iPhone 7 at appx 1.3A.

Worth noting is that the C2 seems to have difficulty charing low-draw items. For example the Nitecore Tip only charges at about 450mAh. 10180 cells also should charge at a slow rate. The C2 will not be good for those applications. It won’t even work. In truth the C2 even showed a bit of difficulty charging my iPhone, but I will attribute that to not using the iPhone cable. (Charging would work for a minute or two then stop. After 3 or 4 cycles of this, the unit did charge my phone for appx 20 minutes.)

It’s because of these issues that the C2 has been pulled from the market (not recalled! Just not being sold any more.) And because of that I hope that Thrunite will make the necessary changes and rerelease this product – it’s proven to be popular (based on word on the street, anyway). Edit: Thrunite tells me that the C2 isn’t pulled from the market, it’s just sold out, and improvements are being made before more are sold.

User Interface and Operation

The UI is simple. The micro-USB is for charging the internal cell (the manual calls this simply “charging”) and the USB is for charging other things (the manual refers to this as “discharging”).

That just leaves the tiny button. It’s actually an indicating button, with three color options: blue, purple, and red. Blue is always the best (highest voltage), red the worst

If the unit is being used (charging or discharging), the indicating switch will be lit.

Truth be told, the button doesn’t do much.

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It must be actuated in order to use the C2 as a power bank. It can be pressed to check the voltage of the contained cell. I’ll also note that it’s this button which keeps the unit from “head standing” in a flush manner. It causes the unit to rock. That’s not a big deal, but for a button with such minimal usage…. I’d much rather see a flush mount button here, even if it’s much harder to push.

Indicating Color Charging Discharging
Blue 4.2V
Flashing Blue 3.65V-4.2V 3.65V-4.2V
Flashing Purple 3V-3.65V 3V-3.65V
Flashing Red 2.8V-3V
Red <3V <2.8V

Size

92.8mm long and 25mm wide. It’s essentially just bigger than the 18650 it houses, and not much excess. Could it be smaller? I’m not sure how the electronics in there work, but I doubt it it could get much smaller than this. For reference this is just smaller than my Zebralight SC600Fd.

This C2 is around the same size as the Nitecore F1. I loved the F1; it’s my go-to travel charger. The C2 will probably unseat the F1 at least most of the time. I like that there’s no chance of the cell falling out.

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Conclusion

As a portable powerbank, I like this little unit. It sports a quality build, and is user friendly. As a portable charger to carry along with non-rechargeable flashlights, this unit also excels.

What I like

  • Size
  • Threads and tailcap
  • That it has an indicating switch
  • Provided cell is high quality
  • Cell is held securely IN something (not in a charger bay like other small chargers)

What I don’t like

  • Ports aren’t weather proof (or even resistant)
  • Problems charging low draw items
  • I wish it were a little shorter

Final Thoughts

Since sales have been halted are finished for this charger, what I think is less important. I love the metal-ness of it, and I love the beefy threads and tailcap.

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I believe version 2 (if there is a v2, and I hope there is a v2) will be a fantastic charger/discharger. I can’t wait to see that one, and I hope the problems are fixed.

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