Xtar VC2 Plus Master Charger Review

Preface

It’s been a while since I reviewed anything for Xtar.  I like Xtar items.  They’re typically solid workhorses – not always the most flashy items.  Xtar sent over this VC2 Plus Master charger, and I’ve been testing it for a while.  Read on!


Official Specs

Short Review

A nice little charger.  Not fancy, but it’s well built and works well.

Long Review

Key Features

• Countdown function tells the remaining time to fully charge
• Optional charging currents (0.5A/1A)
• LCD display shows detailed charging status
• Wide adaptability to charge different size and types of batteries
• USB output function

Manual and Packaging

The VC2 Plus Master comes in a very printed white box.  There are a few specs on the box, too.

The manual isn’t terribly long, but this charger isn’t just terribly feature rich, so a long manual isn’t necessary.

What’s Included

  • Xtar VC2 Plus Master 2-Bay charger
  • USB to barrel connector
  • Manual

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My package also included a wall plug with USB out, that provides over 2A out.

Build Quality and Durability

This is a sturdy little charger.  The display is very bright and clear.  The slides for cells are smooth and operate very well.

The plugs are stable.

I did not attempt to disassemble this charger.  Typically chargers are held together by screws, and this charger looks to have 6 screws holding the top and bottom together.

Power

Power is provided to the charger by means of a DC barrel plug.  On the other end of this is a USB plug.  Astute observers will note immediately that “most” “standard” USB plugs can’t supply this charger’s max-per-bay (1A per bay).  That’s true, and you’d be right if you thought that.  Xtar provided me with a wall adapter which has a 2.4A rating.  This is plenty for charging at full speed.  If you don’t have anything that provides >2.1A, I recommend purchasing the Xtar Wall Adapter along with this unit.

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There are two bays.  Each is clearly marked with cell direction.  The terminals hold cells snugly.

Below, you can see the charge results at the 0.5 and 1.0A settings.  1.0A is clearly faster.  Both look to be fairly standard CC/CV charging profiles.

Charging.png

Here’s the provided cable.  USB on on end, barrel plug on the other.

I tested the USB Out a little.  See the graph below – these data points aren’t connected and really there’s just two important points.  That is when the unit stops providing power (right side of the graph).  At around 1.6-1.7A, the USB out completely shuts off.  It’s still providing well within-spec voltage.  This is true on wall power (with no cell in any bay) and off the bay that provides usb power (with no wall connection).

Special note on power!  My package also included this Xtar USB wall adapter.  I already had one of these, actually, and I really like it.  This accessory is necessary for charging both bays at 1A.  Using this charger from a computer USB connection, or many “normal” usb plugs will cripple your charger with slower speeds.

This is a nice little unit to have on hand, even if you don’t need it for a charger like the VC2 Plus Master.  For example, this is better (where “better” means “faster”) for charging things like iPads or iPhones, which can utilize more than the 1A that the Apple adapters provide.

User Interface and Operation

Using the VC2 Plus Master is simple.  There are only a few options a user can select.  Double clicking turns the backlight on or off. Single clicking selects the charge rate (0.5A or 1.0A).  USB out is only from the left bay (Right bay is not connected to USB out at all).

This charger can charge many size Li-Ion cells (between and including 10440 and 26650, but not cells as long as protected 20700/21700).  It’s also capable of charging different chemistries: Li-Ion, IMR, INR, ICR, NiMH, and NiCD.

Below can be seen the display when lit and off.  When the unit is on but the backlight is off, the display is properly dark (but not actually off).  This is a great feature that I wish more chargers had (looking at you Opus).  I like to be able to easily turn off the display.

The display has some fancy graphics that show percentage, battery type, charge current, and a countdown (to charge finish) timer.

You can see that these bays are plenty big for 26650 cells.  And you can see that usb power is only active when there’s a cell in the left bay.

The unit can also revive 0V cells, and has reverse polarity protection.

Size

Officially 133x66x33mm.  It’s not the smallest 2-bay charger, but it has a nice big display to account for that.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Built quality is great
  • Display is great (and displays useful information)
  • Charges at advertised rate

What I don’t like

  • It’s a very simple charger
  • A 1-bay only 2A option would make this charger more current
  • Requires >2.1A wall adapter many people may have to purchase separately

Notes:

  • This item was provided by Xtar for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.wordpress.com. Have a look there for the best experience!
  • Whether or not I have a coupon for this charger, I do have a bunch of coupons!!  Have a look at my spreadsheet for those coupons.  Note I’ve upgraded that sheet so that now, you may subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

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