XTAR SC2 Charger Review

Today I have another charger by XTAR in for review.  I have reviewed a number of “simple” chargers by XTAR (the D2 and D4, for example).  This is simple in the same way, but adds Quick Charge 3 connectivity.  That means it should be capable of faster (much faster?) charging that other (non QC3) chargers.  Let’s see if that pans out!


Official Specs

Price

This charger is currently $13.99 at amazon, on the official XTAR store (referral link).

Short Review

This charger is capable of doing what it says.  It’ll charge a single cell at 3A (which is a little high for 18650 cells) and can charge 2 cells at 2A each.  That’s an impressive rate!  It fits 21700 cells (nice!) but doesn’t work with NiMH (or anything but Li-Ion).

Long Review

Key Features

• Great compatibility, can charge protected 20700/21700 batteries.
• Micro-USB powered, charge anywhere
• Intelligent Adapting Identification
• Available with QC3.0 protocol, fast 2A×2 / 3A×1 charging
• Easy-to-read LED Indicator
• 0V Activation Function revives over-discharged battery
• Soft Start& TC-CC-CV Three-Stage Charging

Manual and Packaging

This charger comes in a bubble pack with typical XTAR colors and labeling.  The back of the package has just about all the needed info (but there’s a manual included too).

Here’s the manual.  There are a bunch of languages included.

What’s Included

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  • XTAR SC2 2-bay charger
  • High quality charge cable (USB to micro-USB)
  • Manual

Build Quality and Durability

This is a fine charger – no concerns with build quality.  There are at least two things worth mentioning.  First, there are no buttons.  Second, the bays do not fit shorter cells.

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The back has a little bit of cooling, but not much.  There are little nubs of feet made of molded plastic, not rubber.

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The back also explains what all the charger does.  Inputs, outputs, types of cells charged.  This is molded in, so it won’t wear or peel off.

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The charge port (on ‘top’ of the charger) is silk screen printed with QC3.0 Input.  The SC2 will work with non-QC3 micro-USB, but the charge rate will not be as high.

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Size

Officially 105mm x 53mm x 27mm.  This is a slim and short charger.

Power

XTAR includes a charge cable – it’s USB to micro-USB.  The cable has a very high quality rubbery feel.  The inside-USB accents are red (not blue like on USB 3).  I am not sure if the red has some relationship with QC3, but it’d be a clever bit of identification.

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Here are some charge graphs.  I tested with both 1 and 2 cells before I even had a QC3 port in my household, and then I got a QC3 port to test with.  Here are the two non-QC3 charge tests:

 

You might notice a little bit of strangeness around 90 minutes on this single cell single bay non-QC3 charge event.  I can’t explain it.  Read on for more.

The non-QC3 two-cell two-bay also has some weirdness – charging one of the cells at just over 1A very consistently, then stepping down to around 0.6A, with a very short CV phase.  This is strange, but ok.

And here are the two test when using an actual QC3 port, as intended.

The first is QC3 charging with only one bay occupied.  Interestingly this is the most normal charge graph, with essentially no weirdness.

The QC3 with two cells being charged has some extreme strangeness, though.  I ran this test twice with the same results.  After a time of CC of 2A (as claimed) the charger doesn’t switch to CV, or even step down like with non-QC3 2-cell charging.  It does some strange pulse charging until the cells are at capacity.  After another long time doing this switching current, the charger steps down for an 0.3A CC phase (long) then a short CV phase.

 

User Interface and Operation

There isn’t any user interface on this charger.  Plug the charger in, install cells, and the charger gets to work.

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As I mentioned above, the charger has a minimum length cell; it won’t charge 16340 cells or 18350 cells.  The default charge rate would be much too high for these anyway (at least if connected to QC3).

When charging, those four blue LEDs above the bays move.  When charging is complete, all 4 bars are fully lit (per bay).

The bays are labeled clearly, but the charger does have reverse polarity protection.  Also it can activate 0V cells, too.  Again, nothing to do with regards to that – just drop in a

The slides are quite nice.  With the short travel, the springs used have been chosen well to provide a just-right amount of resistance.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Utilizes QC3 charging, for up to 3A capability
  • Actually charges at 3A
  • Can charge at 2A at one time

What I don’t like

  • Inability to select lower than default currents
  • Display of activity is very minimal
  • Unusual charge graphs, particularly with 2 bays in use on QC3 input.

Up Next

Tomorrow I have a light by Fenix.  Fenix is a brand I’ve been trying to get involved with, and this will be light number two from them.  Looking forward to more!

Notes:

  • This item was provided by XTAR for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit 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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