XTAR VC8 Plus Charger Preview

XTAR VC8 Plus Charger Preview

This XTAR VC8 Plus is an 8-bay charger capable of being powered by USB-C (5V or 9V) or 12V DC. It can charge lithium-ion and NiMH as well!


Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the XTAR VC8 Plus charger product page.

Price

Looks like the XTAR VC8 Plus charger is available for $39.02 at aliexpress.

Short Review

Having eight bays makes this charger a winner.  There are other things that make it great too, though.  Probably more important things, like the ability to be powered by USB-C (at 9V, too!).  Charging both lithium-ion and NiMH cells is a super feature (and necessary for any charger that’s going to live on my desk.)

Long Review

Key Features

Type-C 8×21700 Protected Battery Charger with Capacity Test Function• With DC input (12V 3A), max.output 1A x 8
• Type-C Powered, QC3.0 3A Fast Charging
• Charge 8×21700 Simultaneously
• Test Batteries’ Real Capacity
• Maximize Batteries’ Lifespan
• Detect the Battery Type, Select the Best Charging Strategy
• 0△V and -△V Method Precisely Control the Timing for Cease of Charging Ni-MH/Ni-CD Batteries
• 3A/2A/1A/0.5A/0.25A for Manual Adjustment
• VA LCD Screen Shows Real-time Charging Status

Manual and Packaging

What’s Included

  • XTAR VC8 Plus 8-bay charger
  • Power supply (Wall wart to DC barrel @12V)
  • Manual

Build Quality and Durability

This is a reasonably simple charger but does seem nicely appointed.  For example, the bay numbers are deeply molded into the case, just like the cell orientation marker in each bay.  And it’s not just that – while the very external-most parts around these markings have a bit of a matte finish, while the writing itself has a nice gloss.  Really sets the markings apart!

On the back, as you can see above, are just two power connectors.  One is a barrel plug, which works with the included 12V power supply.  To the right of that is a USB-C port, which powers the XTAR VC8 Plus charger at either 5V or 9V.

The little rectangles you see below aren’t anything.  Maybe this hints at a Super Plus version that has USB output?

Both sides are just plain, with no extra features.  Those “fins” (left, above) do actually do into the cavity and can allow air to pass.  There are no fans.

Each bay is pretty standard, with a metal tab for the negative terminal, and a springy movable tab for the positive connection.

Both extreme bays (left- and right-most) have a maximum current of 3A.

 

The Lumintop FWAA does not charge this way, of course.

On the back of the XTAR VC8 Plus charger are 9 rubber feet, each rubber disc covering a screw hole and screw.  I did not tear this charger down.

Size

Officially the XTAR VC8 Plus is … not stated!

Most importantly it’ll hold 21700 length cells (that is, 70mm in length).  The bays are also big enough for 26650 diameter cells (that is, 26mm  in diameter).

All in all, for an eight-bay charger, I’d call it “pretty small.”

Power

Power is provided to the XTAR VC8 Plus charger primarily by this (included) wall wart power brick.  This brick takes AC wall power and converts it to DC power at 12V.

The wall wart connects via a barrel plug to the back of the charger in the circle port seen below.  The 12V power from the included adapter can be up to 3 amps or 36W total power.  Thus, the claim of 1A charging across all 8 bays at one time seems reasonable.  (36W/~4V (charge current, roughly) = 9A, or roughly 1A per bay).

There’s a second option, too.  The VC8 Plus can be powered by USB-C and can accept 5V or 9V input this way.

The back of this charger conveniently stated what all can be charged here.  For search purposes, I’ll put the important text here.

Apply to 3.6V/3.7V Li-ion/IMR/INR/ICR
10440/14500/14650/16340/17335/17500/17670/18350/18490/18500/18650/18700/20700/21700/22650/25500/26650 and 1.2V Ni-MH/NI-CT AAAA/AAA/AA/A/SC/C batteries.  Also compatible with protected Li-ion 21700 batteries.

There are definitely some cells listed there that I don’t know anything about.  And some cells that could easily be listed that aren’t.  You can generally assume that any lithium-ion cell that’s between the size of 10440 and 26650 (in diameter) or protected 21700 (in length).  For example, a 26350 cell would definitely be fine to charge here.  I will say that since the slowest charge rate is 0.25A, you might think twice about charging very small cells (10440 for example) (and probably AAAA, however small those probably are!).  That rate could be a little fast for very small cells.

Here’s the charger being powered off USB-C power, right around 9V.  On USB-C power, the total power input is much lower.  Two amps at either 5V or 9V.  That’s either 10W or 18W, which is a var cry from the 36W the included adapter can provide.  Probably you should see USB-C as a good backup to the included power.

User Interface and Operation

The buttons here are simple.  There are two sets of two buttons.  But really you don’t necessarily even need to know that.  If you put a cell in any bay, it’ll start charging right away.  No need to worry about selecting chemistry (lithium-ion or NiMH for example) or any of that.

The left two buttons are “Mode” and “Curr.”  These two switches regard only the left four bays (CH1-CH4).  The other two buttons, the two on the right are labeled “Disp” and “Curr.”  These support actions on the right four bays (CH5-CH8).

The difference in actions is important.  While all bays can charge (among other things), CH1-CH4 can also perform two advanced functions: Grading and Storing cells.

Otherwise, I’d call the charger usage very straightforward.

Conclusion

What I like

  • Eight bays!
  • 36W of power from the included adapter
  • Simple user interface
  • Ability to grade cells and put cells in storage voltage
  • Multi-chemistry support
  • Reasonable cost
  • Can be powered by USB-C

What I don’t like

  • There’s really not much to dislike here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Notes

  • This item was provided by XTAR for review.  I was not paid to write this review.
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