Nitecore Q6 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
Up Next
Notes

Preface

I’d asked over and over for the Q4 charger from Nitecore, but it just never happened.  Then they went and upped the bays by 2, and made the Q6!  I’m happy to have one of those in for review!  Thanks Nitecore!


Official Specs

Price

This one’s going for around $35 MSRP, but street price puts it in the $30 range.

Short Review

I love the simplicity of this charger, and it’s plenty fast for my needs.  There are scenarios where I’d like a button to do a few things, though, so I do miss that.  But as far as “drop it in and charge,” it doesn’t get much better!

Long Review

Key Features

Input: DC 12V 2000mA (24W)
Output: 4.2V±1%
2A*2, 1A*4, 0.65A*6
Compatible withLi-ion/IMR:
10340, 10350, 10440, 10500, 12340, 12500, 12650, 13450, 13500, 13650, 14350, 14430, 14500, 14650, 16500, 16340(RCR123), 16650, 17350, 17500, 17650, 17670, 17700, 18350, 18490, 18500, 18650, 18700, 20700, 21700, 22500, 22650, 22700, 25500, 26500, 26650, 26700

Manual and Packaging

Typical Nitecore black and yellow packaging!  Most of the specs are on the box, and a photo of the item, too.

Here’s a pdf manual, which includes how to use the charger, but more of just specs and things, since how to actually use the charger is very, very simple.

What’s Included

  • Nitecore Q6 6 bay Li-Ion charger
  • Wall wart (12V, 2A)
  • Manual and paperwork

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Build Quality and Durability

The plastic used on this charger is pretty typical Nitecore plastic.  One reason I always wanted to see the Q4 is all the colors offered (yellow, pink, clear, black).  I’d love to know how those hold up!  But this Q6 is fairly standard plastic.

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The metal contact points work as they should.  Nothing exceptional either way.

There’s a barrel plug connection on the top of the device, and it requires 12V input.  The barrel plug isn’t the same size as all my other 12V plugs.  It’s bigger.  So while they do work, they don’t make perfect contact.  You’ll want to use the wall wart that Nitecore included, and/or be careful that your regular 12V plugs fit and make proper contact.

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The bottom has some nice Nitecore branding.

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The back does list all the chemistries that are acceptable.  Really it’s only Li-Ion cells (no NiMH!).  A bunch of different sizes, but no really small cells.

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Size

Officially L-5.41″xW-5.22″xH-1.43″, and weighing in at 8.08oz.

This isn’t a huge charger.  Certainly for being 6 bays, it’s very reasonably sized.  Four of the 6 bays are generally 18650 sized, but the outer two bays are wider, allowing for charging of 26650 cells more easily.

Power

As mentioned above, the power is from a 12V, 2A wall wart, with a big barrel plug.

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This barrel plug connects at the top of the charger.

What can be powered?  Well just about any Li-Ion cell 14500 size and over.  The outer two bays are fit for 26650 cells, and still have room for 18650s beside.

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18mm diameter cells don’t even protrude over the front of the device, but 26mm cells will.  (Ie bay depth is around 22mm.)

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Also, note how long the bays are.  This charger is very well suited for your longer cells, like 20700/21700, and other 70mm long cells.  (In fact, this might be my first charger that has such space, allowing longer cells!)

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User Interface and Operation

There’s literally nothing to do.  Just drop your cells in, and they’ll start charging.  Broadly speaking, these limits apply:   2A*2, 1A*4, 0.65A*6.  So charging 2 cells, you’ll charge at 2A each.  Charge 4 cells, you’ll charge at 1A each.  Use all 6 bays, and you’ll be charging at 0.65A per cell.  Practically that’s a 4A limit for the charger.

There are a few things you can note however.  The bays are grouped.  From left to right, bays 1 and 2 are a group, then 3 and 4, and 5 and 6.  Any group can not exceed 2A at any time.  Say you’re charging 2 cells.  We know the charger has a 4A limit overall.  That’s if the cells are in different groups.  So if the cells are in bays 1 and 3, then the CC phase should be as high as 2A.  However, if the cells are both in one group, say, bays 1 and 2, then you’ll still be limited to 2A of the group.  Ie 1A average per cell.

Is this a way to modulate how fast a cell is charged?  If you don’t want to charge your smaller cells like a 14500 at 2A, for example.  No it is not.  See the messy looking graph below.  When two cells are in the same group (ie bay 1 and 2), the charger doesn’t split the current between them.  It pulse charges the max current available for ~10s on and off.  Pulse charging isn’t specifically bad for cells, so this isn’t a problem, but it’s definitely something to note for using the charger.

Otherwise the charger does what it’s supposed to.  2A charging actually is 2A.  And when 2 cells are being charged (in different groups), they both do charge at 2A.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Actual 2A charging
  • Love the 6 bay design
  • Support for 70mm cells
  • Support for wide (26mm+) cells

What I don’t like

  • I’d really like to see 6A total charging from this – a 12V 3A wall wart should get us there.
  • No buttons for anything
  • Surprise! Pulse charging on bay groups, isn’t really mentioned in the manual.

Up Next

I hope to finish the RovyVon A5 keychain light for tomorrow!  Not sure where the rest of the week will take me though!

Notes:

  • This item was provided by Nitecore 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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