Vapcell S4 Plus Charger Review

I’ve tested a bunch of Vapcell cells, but I think this is the first charger.  Also it’s been a long time since I tested a charger and so I ended up not testing this one in a timely manner.  This is my last remaining 2019 review item.  Sorry Vapcell and thanks for being patient!  Also I’m stating up front that my charger reviews are likely going to get scaled back.  In this case I’m basically testing the main feature, which is the ability to charge 4 bays at 3A each!!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the official product page.

Here’s the official product info.

Price

Looks like the best price I see is around $36 for the S4 Plus.  That’s at LiionWholesale.com.

Short Review

I didn’t see 3A but I can’t really blame the charger (my setup likely has enough resistance to throw off the measure).  What I can say is that I’d call it close enough, and certainly as fast as I’d want to charge 18650 cells.  And it can in fact do this for all bays at once.  2.8ish A is plennnnttttyyyy for even the max cell size that it can fit.

Long Review

Key Features

  • 3A each slot ,12A in total.
  • Charge / Discharge / Capacity test / Repair
  • Automatically select the optimum charge current.
  • Easily choose current manual mode.
  • 0.25A /0.5A /1A/1.5A/ 2A/ 2.5A/ 3A charging for each slot.
  • Show charging status in real-time like voltage, capacity, temperature, time, current.
  • Fits 21700 battery
  • Top surface have a button top type feature to make contact in recessed battery
  • Support 4 slots charging independently.
  • Automatically activate and repair “0V” lithium battery.
  • Automatically calculate battery charging time.
  • Automatically calculate the battery percentage.
  • Charging protection, over-discharge protection and protection of polar reverse, short circuit protection, detecting a broken battery.
  • Temperature control protection; Keeps battery safe.
  • Intelligent power bank 5V 1A.

Manual and Packaging

 

What’s Included

  • Vapcell S4 Plus 4-bay charger
  • Power adapter (wall plug to barrel) (12V/5A output)
  • Manual

Build Quality and Durability

There’s nothing inherently bad about the build quality.  And certainly for $36 it’s acceptable given the other features of this charger.  It is a very simply built charger though, and that shows just through holding it and using it a bit.

This is a fairly slim charger.  There isn’t much in the headspace area.  Each bay has its own temperature sensor.

The back has silk screened info about what the charger does and cell sizes, etc.

The right side has this Manual/Auto switch.  More on that later!  But simply, this switch allows the user to select currents etc (“Manual”) or the charger to select currents etc (“Auto”).

The top of the body has the power input barrel connector, and also a USB output port.

Size

Unofficially: 173mm x 115mm x 35mm.

It’s really not a big charger at all.

Power

Power is sent from the wall to the barrel plug at the top of the S4 Plus via an AC/DC 12V/5A adapter, which is included.

The barrel plug looks to be completely standard.

And in another sense, power is provided to the charger via cells – even when the barrel plug isn’t connected, inserting a cell into any bay will briefly power the charger.  If a load is applied to the USB port, then it’ll stay on.  If not, then it’ll shut off soon.

The charger fits many size cells:

LiIon: 10340, 10440, 14500 16340 ,16650, 17500, 17650, 17670, 18350, 18490, 18500, 18650, 20700, 27100, 22650, 26500
NiMH/NiCD:  AAAA, AAA, SC, C, D

Below have a look at the 26650 – it doesn’t stick over the top (front surface) of the charger by much.

Here’s a spate of charge graphs.  They’re all labeled so not much commentary, except to say that it does look like performance as the number-of-bays-in-use goes up, does not decrease.  Except to say that after around 5 minutes, charging drops off from 2.8Aish to 2.6Aish – I imagine this to be temperature related, instead of an issue with the charger.

Discharge is at 0.5A (except in the right-most bay, which was recording a discharge of 1A).  So all 4 bays going @3×0.5A and 1x1A = 2.5A discharge total.  That’s higher than the manual spec of 2A total.

And a couple of USB-out graphs, pulling current from a single 18650.  Output was fantastic, at over 2A for the duration of the cell’s capacity.

The cell was also not taken below around 2.7V, which is also acceptable.

This USB output without any power connection (besides using cells, of course) does mean that the S4 Plus could be used as a powerbank, if you so wished.

User Interface and Operation

First off, there’s this Manual & Auto button, seen here.  This switch allows the user to select currents etc (“Manual”) or the charger to select currents etc (“Auto”).

Then there are these three buttons:  Mode, Display, and Current.

Mode switches the action of the charger between Charge, Discharge, Cap test, and Repair.  Default is Charge.
Display switches between the bay about which information is being displayed.  There’s an icon for every bay, but only one has extended info.  If it’s the active bay, the channel name will appear under the bay icon (a la “CH1”).
Current switch only operates if the Manual toggle is selected on the side.  This button allows a user to manually select the charging current.  (If set to Auto, the charger measures the cell IR and picks an appropriate current.)

One other thing about operation:  Once a cycle is complete, the charger has a fairly loud tone.  I don’t think there’s any way to turn this off, and I found it…. annoying.  I kept forgetting about it and was annoyed every time I did hear it.

Here are some photos of the screen in use, during the Discharge and also Cap test operation.

As you can see, during discharge, the percentage indicates how charged the cell is, and when discharge is complete, there is “00%” charge.  In the left image, you can see the resistance (99) and the discharge capacity thus far (1964mAh).  To the right, basically the same image except it’s showing discharge rate (middle photo: 00mA) and then discharged capacity total (2999mAh).  Various other things are shown as well.  Discharge voltage cutoff is 2.5V, which is not inappropriate, but is lower (for example) than I have my SkyRC MC3000 set to discharge to.

Cap Test goes: Charge/Discharge/Charge.  The capacity is displayed after the discharge cycle, and not reported after the final charge cycle.  IE the reported capacity is what was discharged from the cell.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Very fast charging, even across all bays (probably 12A total, but not sure I can test that)
  • Low cost

What I don’t like

  • Buttons are a bit clicky
  • Audible tone after a cycle finishes, and no way to turn it off!

Notes

  • This item was provided by Vapcell 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 BangGood and GearBest coupons. Please subscribe and get notifications when the sheet is edited!!

Author: zeroair

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