Liitokala Lii-S1 Single Bay Charger Review

Preface
Official Specs
Price
Short Review
Long Review  
  Key Features
  Manual and Packaging
  What's Included
  Build Quality and Durability
  Size
  Power
  User Interface and Operation
Conclusion
  What I like
  What I don't like
Parting Shot
Up Next
Notes

Preface

Liitokala is known for nice products which tend to be reasonably priced.  This is their latest offering, an update to the Lii-100.  This is the Lii-S1, which has a digital display, and the option to work no matter the orientation of the cell.  A novel feature!  Read on for more.


Official Specs

Price

This charger is $5.34 on GearBest right now.

Short Review

This is a nice upgrade from the Lii-100.  I like the display, and it seems like a fairly ok charger.  The charge rates are not consistent (or even accurate) but it’s not unsafe.  It’s a nice little backup charger.

Long Review

Key Features

  • One-slot charging andmanagement system, Micro USB DC 5V input port
  • Battery polarity auto-detection ( Any Polarity)
  • 500mA/1000mA charging current for selection
  • Built-in digital tube indicator shows the real-time charging status of voltage and current
  • Identify Li-ion and Ni-MH battery automatically
  • Activation function for 0V battery of PCM protection.
  • Can not charge battery with 0.0≤U<0.2V  for NiMH/Cd and 1.6≤U<2.2V for Li-Ion
  • Over-charging and over-discharge protection
  • Identify broken/defective battery
  • Charging under constant voltage and current

Select manually by short-press the mode button for IMR battery (3.80V Li-ion) and LiFePO4 battery (3.2V).

Manual and Packaging

Simple cardboard package, in LiitoKala’s usual black and yellow.

The manual is a long fold out one page affair, with the other in Chinese.  It’s pretty thorough, but this isn’t an extremely feature-dense charger, so the manual is still short.

20180604-IMG_4013.jpg

What’s Included

  • LiitoKala Lii-S1 charger
  • USB to micro-USB cable
  • Manual

20180604-IMG_4012.jpg

Build Quality and Durability

The Lii-S1 seems sturdy, and of a quality that belies its price.  The display, while a simple display, is built in and connected more firmly than in other similarly priced chargers (ie, the Opus seen below).

The slide is very smooth, and just the right amount of springy.

20180604-IMG_4024.jpg

Liitokala has a QR code sticker on the side of the unit, that leads to www.liitokala.com.cn.

20180604-IMG_4023.jpg

Size

Officially: Length 115mm x Width 38mm x Height 29mm.

This is certainly not the smallest single bay charger on the market.  But it’s still very small.

Power

The Lii-S1 will charge many chemistries, and many size cylindrical cells.  Here’s LiitoKala’s list:

Li-ion/IMR/LiFePO4: 26650,21700,18650, 18490, 17700, 17500, 16340(RCR123), 14500, 10440

Ni-MH/Cd: AA, AAA, A, SC, C size

I tested only Li-Ion cells, since my charger test setup doesn’t accommodate the lower voltage of NiMH.  I tested both 1A and 0.5A settings.  The results can be seen below.

1A.png

0.5.png

The 0.5A setting holds steady in the 0.5A range.  The 1A setting doesn’t even have CC for any amount of time.

Below, see some photos of what the cells look like in this charger.  It holds a 26650 easily.  This is an unprotected flat top, so there are certainly longer 26650s, but I believe this charger has room.

20180604-IMG_4027.jpg

Here’s an unprotected flat top 28650.  You can see that the bay doesn’t just default to having the cell very well placed, but with just a little positioning, this isn’t really a problem.

Same with a longer button top – the cell just floats in the bay a little.

20180604-IMG_4033.jpg

User Interface and Operation

There is a single button, and it’s on the front of the device just under the display.  It’s a thin button but raised enough to be easy to find and press.  It’s quite clicky.   It’s labeled as a “Mode” button.

Here’s LiitoKala’s manual, which will suffice for my UI description.  I’ll edit it for clarity

Long press the ‘MODE’ button for 3 seconds to change the charging current. You can change the charging current at any time.

Short press the ‘MODE’ button to change the charging types of lithium batteries. If no setting, it will default as 1.2V Ni-MH or 3.7V li-ion battery automatically. You need to change the mode for 3.80V li-ion and 3.20V LiFePO4 battery.

It begins to charge the battery 5 seconds after your settings.

I think it’d be nice if the button presses were reversed.  Short press to change the current; long press to change the chemistry.  Other than that, no complaints.  Easy UI, easy to use unit.

Here are a few in-use shots.  When the device is powered but there’s no cell, the display reads “null.”  This can’t be turned off, and there’s just one brightness setting (which is fairly bright, but being red isn’t all that distracting in a dark room.)

2018-06-11 21.38.56.png

Selecting the current modes:  0.5A and 1.0A.

Once a cycle has started, the device reads the cell voltage.  I found that the display ramps up to 4.1-4.2V very quickly, even though the cell I was testing was much lower actual voltage.  I’m not sure why this is….  But I would recommend waiting til the charger says “Full” to remove the cell and consider it “full”.  I’ve caught a photo in the down-flash, but when the charger is charging, there’s a little “v” to the right of the voltage readout.  That flashes about once per second when charging is active.

2018-06-11 21.39.42.png

Note that the cell voltage is accurate (enough) when the cell has just been placed on the charger.

When the cell is full, the charger tells you so.

2018-06-11 21.37.45.png

Conclusion

What I like

  • Price
  • Size
  • Capability with multiple chemistries (including my most-used-two).
  • The “impossible reverse polarity” is a neat thing but I wouldn’t make a habit of using the charger in this manner anyway, so it’s a gimmick to me.  Still works!

What I don’t like

  • Voltage readout not indicative of actual voltage after it’s been charging for a while.
  • Display is a bit bright, and always on.
  • Smaller-than-huge cells don’t sit in the bay all that straight without extra care

Up Next

I’m not committing to anything.  I have a couple of lights in for review, but likely will push those til next week!

Notes:

  • This item was provided by GearBest 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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