Nitecore V2 Charger Review

I was on a long driving trip a while back and fighting for access to USB ports.  All while wanting to be able to charge 18650 cells (because I was using those cells in my Nitecore F2 for charging devices).  Now Nitecore comes out with the perfect product?  I’m pleased to have one from Nitecore Store for review! Read on, and hope you enjoy!


Official Specs and Features

Price

The MSRP of the V2 charger is $39.95.

Short Review

For the utility this device adds (namely the ability to charge 18650 cells, and adding 2 USB ports), it’s easily worth the $40 cost.  The size and shape, while possibly ideal for car travel, is strange and unwieldy for desk use.

Long Review

Key Features

  • In-car speedy battery charger
  • Capable of charging 2 batteries simultaneously
  • Compatible with Li-ion, Ni-MH(NiCd) batteries
  • Auto detects battery power and selects appropiate charging mode
  • Two integrated USB charging ports for USB devices
  • Overcharge protection

Manual and Packaging

Good ol’ standard Nitecore black and yellow package here.  Typical photo of the product and even a nice illustration (wish I could draw those!).  Specs and features included.

The manual is an unusual one for Nitecore:  A booklet.  The first few pages are English and the rest are in Latin*.  Here’s a pdf of the manual.  The manual basically has two sheets (4 columns) of manual information.  Most of it’s just scary lawyer stuff, but the operational information is good.

* Ok, probably not Latin.

What’s Included

  • Nitecore V2 2-bay charger
  • 12V lighter adapter for charging in-vehicle
  • Manual and paperwork

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Note that there isn’t a wall wart included for using this charger outside of the vehicle.

Build Quality and Durability

The V2 is nicely built.  In fact it feels much like the other current Nitecore chargers, such as the F1 and F2.  Same plastic, same feel, similar look.

There are cooling fins on the top of the V2, too.

The bottom of the device conveniently has printing with what cells are compatible.

One tiny dislike I have about the two bays is that the polarity markings at the back of the bays are…. confusing but….  maybe that’s just me.  Positive goes toward the top of the charger.  The little negative symbol is there it’s just almost hidden by the nub of the negative terminal.

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Something I have a concern about regarding durability – the USB ports are on the top of the V2, which exposes them to falling debris, dust, and schmoo.  I would like a small cover for these ports, at the very least.

Size

Officially the V2 is 67mm×65mm×125mm.  That’s around the same diameter as a soda can.  This means it fits easily in cup holders.  It’s also not much taller than a soda can, too.

The V2 holds cells quite deep into the body.  To be sure, they can be a touch difficult to remove.  I found “rolling” them out a little was the best way to get cells out.  You can see in the last photo above that cells don’t stick out very far.

Another concern I have with a vertical charger like this – and it’s the same one I had with the Nitecore i8 – the cells don’t like to stay in this orientation.  The V2 holds the cells more securely than the i8, but I’d really like something hold them in around their waist.

 

Power

The Nitecore V2 requires 12V power to charge cells.  With this being primarily a vehicle charger, Nitecore has opted to include only a cigarette plug adapter.  Below, see the barrel plug on the side (and top) o the device.

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The barrel plug and cigarette plug adapter for the V2.  Nothing spectacular, but gets the job done.

Now, I had a 12V barrel plug wall wart laying around, so I used that for my testing.  Below see a test charging a 2000mAh 18650 at 1A and 2A.  These curves look generally like CC/CV curves for Li-ion, but seem a bit jagged.  Apologies but my setup wouldn’t cooperate with 3A charging, and based on the CC/CV curves below, the amount of time spent actually charging at 3A would probably be very, very minimal anyway.  Possibly this is an issue of my using a 2000mAh cell – the V2 senses the cell capacity and modulates charge current possibilities accordingly.

 

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The V2 also supports NiMH, size AA and C.

There are also two USB output ports.  Female USB 2.0 plugs on the top of the device.  Nitecore claims these will output 2.1A.  There isn’t any turning these on or off – just plug them in.  If the device has 12V power, they’ll work.  The V2 is in no way a power bank.

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And the output is very solid.  All the way to pulling almost 2.5A, the charger voltage is over 4.8V.  Both ports can provide this too (though I can’t test them concurrently).  These ports should be able to handle whatever device you throw at them.

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User Interface and Operation

There’s a single button, and it’s on the top of the V2.  The button is hard plastic, clicky, and fairly large.  And to be frank there’s not a lot of uses for the button; the V2 is a simple device.

Installing a cell will start 1A charging.  (Presumably this is for NiMH too, and for AA cells that seems a little high, though still less than 1C for most cells.)  Pressing the button will cycle through 1A, 2A, 3A, and the blue LEDs over by the USB ports will light correspondingly.

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The V2 as a bunch of built in protections and features like the ability to activate a 0V cell (tripped protection), overtime charging protection, reverse polarity protection, and temperature control.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Made for car use
  • Up to 3A charge speed
  • USB output is true 2.1A
  • Multiplies the USB ports available in a car, without using any for charging

What I don’t like

  • Exposed USB ports on the top
  • Cells held in vertical position inclined to disengage from charger (though that didn’t happen during my use of the V2)
  • Barrel plug should be on the top of the charger, too – on the side will be a problem for some deeper cup holders

Up Next

I’ll have another Nitecore product this week!  A headlamp!  After that the schedule is less certain, but I’ll likely have another flashlight this week too.  Maybe another charger.  I have 2 more in for testing.  One great, and one I’m still on the fence about….

Notes

  • The Nitecore V2 was provided by Nitecore Store for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • The cells used in this review were provided by Liionwholesale.com.  I’ll be reviewing these 18350s soon!
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org. 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!!

Author: zeroair

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