Liitokala Lii-402 Charger Review

Preface

I’ve reviewed a Liitokala charger before (the Lii-500).  I liked that one, so I was excited to get the Lii-402, a simpler 4-bay charger by Liitokala.  Read on for my thoughts and experiences!


Official Specs and Features

Key Features

  • Micro USB DC 5V input, two independent slots and charging channels with built-in micro-computer management system to ensure the high efficiency
  • Charging current options (0.5A/0.7A/1.0A/2A)
  • Four LED indicators shows the charging status (25%, 50%, 75%, 100%) and also shows the battery type when insert into battery (1.2V Ni-MH , 3.2V Li-Fe, 3.7V Li-ion, 3.85V li-ion)
  • Identify Li-ion and Ni-MH automatically; But, you need to adjust the charge mode for LiFePO4 and 3.85V li-ion battery
  • It can active 0V rechargeable battery but the charger don’t charge 1.65V ~ 1.85V battery types.
  • Built with Over-charging protection, over-discharging protection and polar reverse protection. Also, it can identify broken battery.
  • Charing mode: instant current and voltage.
  • DC input charging: working power source at 5V-2A (Micro plug)
  • Standard automatic 5V/1000mAh USB output port

Price

GearBest currently has this charger for $9.99.  That’s the best price I can recall – I think the normal price on GearBest is around $15-16.


Short Review

This is an inexpensive charger, bordering on cheap.  I’m not entirely dissatisfied with the charging ability of the Lii-402, and the USB out feature is useful.  I think charging could be better, but it gets the job done.

Long Review

Manual and Packaging

GearBest ships the Lii-402 in a corrugated box, with their inventory sticker.
20180314-IMG_0988.jpg
What’s inside that generic box, is Liitokala’s actual packaging.  Shipping is done this way because included is a USB wall plug.
The Liitokala package is black and yellow with photo and specs of the unit.

The manual is good enough.  Just one illustration and all the features and specs included on this page. (That’s not a pdf manual, but that’s Liitokala’s version.)
20180314-IMG_0995.jpg

What’s Included

  • Liitokala Lii-402
  • Charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Wall USB plug (European)
  • Manual

20180314-IMG_0994.jpg

Build Quality and Durability

The build of the Lii-402 is on-par with the price.  The button (in the center) works fine, but it’s just one button.

There are no fans in the case, and the case is held closed by 6 Philips screws.  The back of the unit has a list of the compatible cell types (which notably includes NiMH).  There’s a QR code on the side, which directs your phone’s browser to www.liitokala.com.cn.  That’s not the North American site, but it’s still in English, and I believe probably updated a little more often.

Power is supplied to the device by the micro-USB port seen below.  And USB out is beside it.

The slides are chrome, and the spring used on each has a very good (perfect) amount of tension.  The slides hold the cells well, but they don’t require any fight to get the cells installed.

Size

Officially the Lii-402 is 112 x 90 x 30 mm.  Probably one of the smaller 4-bay chargers available.

Here are a few shots with various cells.  The two outside bays are fit for 26650 cells.  When charging two 26650 cells, there’s not much room for anything else.  There is plenty of room for longer xx650 cells.  That purple Efest 18650 is one of my longer cells, and it fits just fine.

There isn’t too much reveal on the cells when charging.

Power

One of the things included in the package is a wall wart with a single USB out.  It’s made for European walls, though, and so is useless to me. But it doesn’t matter, since I have USB plugs all over the place. (My current favorite and most used is this Anker.)

The package also includes this (relatively short) cable.
20180314-IMG_1006.jpg
I tested the setup a couple of times at 1A.  I couldn’t get the 2A to work with my setup – I do think this was an issue with my test setup, and not the charger.
The Lii-402 holds ~1A for a short time (let’s call it 15 minutes) and then switches to the CV phase.  Based on my readings, this switch to CV is too early – before the cell has even crossed to 4V.
1A_2nd.png
In the other test I did, I can’t even explain this little hiccup at 60 minutes.  Still a very short CC phase in this test.

1A.png

The charger also offers USB-out.  And this is actual USB-out-as-in-powerbank.  In fact the USB out doesn’t even work through a wall connected micro-USB.  The USB out is powered by a single cell in the right-most bay.  It’s claimed to provide 1A at 5V, and based on my testing (seen below) it does this (which you can see from about 1.2m to 1.5m).
usb out.png

User Interface and Operation

There’s a single button on the Lii-402. It’s right there in the middle, labeled “MODE.”  It’s a button behind a sticker.  The sticker covers the whole display of the device and the button is kind of clicky…. it’s the kind of setup where the sticker will eventually crack and the button will poke through.  I actually went ahead and peeled this sticker off, and the button underneath is more substantial than I’d guessed, but I do think the sticker would crack sooner than later.
When the charger is plugged in, all the indicators light up.
When a cell is inserted, the charger identifies the chemistry (between Li-ion and NiMH).  Also at this time, the charger will indicate the cell chemistry by lighting the led with beside the proper chemistry, above the active bay.  After 5 seconds, the charger switches to actual charging, and the level of charge is displayed (one of four percentages) above the bay.
Any time the charger is powered, charge speed may be selected – hold the button for 2s to advance between modes.  0.5 > 0.7 > 1.0 > 2.0A.  The button must be clicked and held between every change – one can’t just hold the button down all the way from 0.5 to 2.0A.
20180314-IMG_0998
That’s basically all for operation. As far as I can tell (and no thanks to the manual), all cells will charge at the same rate.  Also strangely the third bay always displayed 100% after the other bays began charging.  I’m not sure if that’s a fault with my unit, or some feature that isn’t described in the manual and that I don’t understand. When I insert a cell into that bay, it still lights blue at 100%, so doesn’t appear to be charging.  I would guess this is a fault with the device.
It seems that when multiple sizes are installed, the charger will charge all the cells at the slowest rate acceptable for those cells.  That said, it is ok to charge NiMH and Li-ion at the same time.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Micro-USB powered so it’s good for on-the-go charging
  • USB out/powerbank features allows me to charge from the device
  • Small for a 4-bay charger
  • But still has room for 2×26650.

What I don’t like

  • Overall build quality is cheap
  • The UI is a bit confusing to be honest, and I don’t care for it.
  • Did not seem to actually charge at 2A (but could have been user error)

Up Next

I have another charger upcoming.  And a 3d printer, and some random things!  I’m thinking of reviewing the McGizmo Sundrop XR-U.  Let me know in the comments if that’d be interesting.

Notes

  • This item was provided by GearBest for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • The Vapcell 18350’s pictured here were provided by Liionwholesale – I’ll be reviewing those soon.
  • 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!!

Author: zeroair

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