Battery charger recommendations

I’m going to get a battery charger primarily for charging AA and AAA batteries, but I would also like it to be able to revive a dead LiFePO4 cell if one of my Reform’s batteries ever dies (knock on wood, so far it’s recovered from 0% every time I forgot to charge it). I’ve seen the Nitecore i2 recommended in the forum, but that can only do two batteries at a time. I see that Nitecore has a few options that can charge four batteries at a time, but they have mixed reviews and there are other brands with chargers that can do eight at a time.

Has anyone used a higher-capacity charger with the batteries in the Reform?

I left the laptop without a charger for about a month and 2 batteries died. Used this charger, and it brought them back to life. I have the feeling that they drain faster, but I have no way to prove since I don’t know which are the ones that originally failed, but it’s just perception.

I have A nitecore D4, but it is really annoying to use with LiFePo4 batteries, because it assumes they are 4.7v cells, which would damage them if you are not paying attention… you have to manually set it with each and every cell by holding a button for a second or two at the right moment to get it to charge them as LiFePo4 batteries. If the power goes out while you’re charging and comes back, it will reset and charge at 4.7v, killing your batteries.

Most multi-chemistry chargers are like this, as I understand it, probably because people using higher voltage cells would otherwise complain about incomplete charging…

I would recommend getting one that only does LiFePo4, or has hardware switches to select the appropriate voltage (e.g. 3.2v). I have a two-cell charger by XTAR which has this, and am pretty happy with it.

Which one from XTAR do you have? I saw the VP2 has a mechanical switch to select the voltage but it’s discontinued:

1 Like

That definitely looks like the two-cell XTAR charger I have. I cannot find a model number on mine anywhere.

I ordered the Nitecore SC4 after @mauro’s post, and unfortunately it has this same issue. Otherwise, seems to work great.

Not sure if discussion is more about EU or USA situation (available hardware differs, despite globalization).
For EU (Germany to be precise) I used Voltcraft IPC4, bought last year in Conrad (German electronics-related shop). It can charge 4 AA batteries or 2 18650 at one time, and allows for choosing charging parameters (LiFePO, LiIon, NiCd, etc.).
It can also show statistics, like current during charging, detected capacity, and so on. Nice tool, was able to resurrect one discharged battery - although I have less need for it since recent firmware upgrade :smile:

I’m currently resurrecting my batteries with a Nitecore VP2, thanks to @josch for mentioning it. It was a bit of a pain to get, since it’s discontinued, but I appreciate the hardware switches.

Taking a battery from around zero to the standard min for that battery takes ages. I haven’t attempted to time it, but we’re talking many days, maybe 4 days straight or more.

It’s worth noting that it can only resurrect one battery at a time, and just in the right battery bay. It can do a standard charge at the same time in the left bay though.

Often you can revive batteries with even the most basic charger by “jump-starting” them. If you have a two slot charger then put a good battery in one slot and the bad battery in the other slot. The charger should start charing the good one. Then you can use a cable and bridge the “hot” contact (+) from the good battery with the hot contact (+) from the bad battery (I use breadboard jumper cables) . The negative / ground side (-) is normally the same for all the batteries.
Now the charger sees the voltage from the good battery and will apply a charging voltage to the bad battery.
It’s like jump starting a car battery. It works for me in almost all cases (if the battery is not completely dead (chemically)