Introduction – The SC4 Superb Charger By Nitecore
If you’ve ever been on your way out, waiting for a three cell vape to charge in-device, you’ll know that this can be a losing battle. If you’ve ever, God forbid, had a device explode while charging (like I have) then you’ll know why external chargers are such a lifesaver.
Not only will an external battery charger like the Nitecore SC4 charge your batteries at many times the speed of your on board charger, it’ll also prolong the life of your rechargeable batteries and give you a window into the health of your batteries every time you charge.
Now, Nitecore is an internationally renowned manufacturer of all things battery, charger, flash lite and LED and they have quickly become well known in vaping circles as a leader in the external battery charger game. Many vapers will be familiar with the D4 and i4 chargers…but the SC4 is even better, with a book length list of intelligent features and twice the charge speed of the i4.
The fact is, a battery charger is an investment, over time it will SAVE you time, prolong the life of your vape batteries and possibly even save you from a nasty onboard charge related incident.
What’s In The Box
- 1 x Nitecore SC4 Charger
- Power Cabler
- Instruction Leaflet
Specs & Features
Nitecore SC4 Specifications
• Input Voltage:
◦ AC 100-240V 50/60Hz:
◦ 1A (MAX) 40W:
◦ DC 12V 3A:
• Output Voltage:
◦ Battery: 4.35V±1% / 4.2V ±1% / 3.7V ±1% / 1.48V ±1%:
◦ USB: 5V±5% 2.1A MAX:
• Output current: 3A*2 MAX 1.5A*4
• Compatible with:
◦ Li-ion/IMR/LiFePO4: 10340, 10350, 10440, 10500, 12340, 12500, 12650, 13450, 13500, 13650, 14350, 14430, 14500, 14650, 16500, 16340(RCR123), 16650, 17350, 17500, 17650, 17670, 18350, 18490, 18500, 18650, 18700, 20700, 21700, 22500, 22650, 25500, 26500, 26650
◦ Ni-MH(NiCd): AA,AAA,AAAA,C,D
• Size: 6.50” × 4.33” × 1.77” (165mm×110mm×45mm)
• Weight: 13.59oz (385g) (without batteries and power cord)
Nitecore SC4 Features
• 300mA-3000mA maually selectable charging current
• Compatible with 1.2V, 3.7V, 4.2V, 4.35V batteries
• High-definition color LCD screen displays real time charging parameters
• Utilizes energy-saving function
• Charging program optimized for IMR batteries
• Each battery slot controls and charges independently
• Automatically detects battery power status and displays charging progress
Build Quality & Design
The first thing I notice about this charger is how much bigger it is than the D series 4 slot charger, the D4 from Nitecore. The slots have been extended, as has the size of the screen section. This one is 11cm x 16.5 cm x 4.5 cm and weighs a full 385g.
The entire charger is covered in heat fins and if you shine a light into it you’ll see that it’s even more ventilated than you thought. The fact that the whole device is open to air and moisture means it’s wise to keep in a dry place. I live by the sea so I’ll be keeping mine in a desk drawer, just to be safe.
The black PC body is highly flame retardant and won’t release deadly toxic fumes.
On the side of the device where the screen is are all the power inlets and outlets…there’s a USB output for charging cellphones, laptops and the like and there’s a 12V input, as well as the included power cable’s input. I plug it in, keen to get a load of this LCD display.
The first thing I notice when I slip in two 20700s and two 18650s is the dead silence, there is no fan on this device, but those 100 or so heat fins should do the trick.
I had thought, when I briefly glanced at the huge amount of text all over the box and on the instruction leaflet, that I was going to have to figure out some complicated controls in order to get my batteries on the charge but, to my delight, the 4 channel displays instantly light up the screen with towers of flashing bars, which build up from one bar to six bars, in each channel, as each battery charges.
The battery slots, with spring loaded negative connects, accepted each battery with ease and the negative connects are upraised enough to accommodate batteries with the thickest wrapping.
While you need to be careful to set your batteries straight on those spring loaded connectors, this is mainly because the slots themselves are big enough to fit even a thick 26650, which I’m afraid I couldn’t review the charge speed of because I own not one single 26650 mod.
The device automatically selects the correct charge mode and current for each battery, no programming is necessary on your part. Still, if you’d like to lower the charge speed, as is always recommended to prolong the life off your batteries (because the less heat they experience, the longer they’ll last,) then you can change the settings manually.
Sitting at my desk with the device a meter away from me, I’m seeing the screen display bright and clear at 45 degree angle. Awesome screen!
- Under the 8.5 x 4.5 cm LCD screen are two large, clicky buttons.
- The one on the left is marked C, presumable for ‘channel’, as clicking it cycles you through your working battery channels, while the screen will display charge status information on each channel individually in the top left hand corner.
- Holding C down will enter you into Manual Settings Mode, where you can alter your change current.
- Pressing V will cycle you through different info on your chosen channel, including battery status, internal resistance charge current, battery voltage, charged volume and charging time.
- Holding V down will prioritize channels 1 and 2, on the left, for charging.
Some Other Interesting Features
- USB output for fast charging phones and laptops, if all your slots are full the device will charge the batteries those batteries first before hitting the USB, this is just to conserve power.
- Automatically stops charging when the batteries are full.
- Various protections, including internal temperature monitoring, internal resistance detection, short circuit, overtime charge and reverse polarity.
- A really interesting feature is the devices ability to restore Li-ion batteries, provided their externals are intact.
How Does The Nitecore SC4 Perform?
My first test of the SC4 was to load it with the hard working 20700s from my Captain PD270, I placed them in slots 1 and 2, completely depleted and was delighted not only when the device instantly detected battery type and adjusted itself to do 2.5A charge…I was delighted when both my depleted 20700s charged to fullness together in under an hour…53 minutes.
What the…!!!! I prefer to turn down my settings a little, to about 2A for the 20700s and 1.5A for 18650s, to prolong their lifespan and to avoid heating up the device.
I found the screen got a little warm (only slightly) when I filled up the device with 2 x 18650 25s from SAMSUNG and 2 X 20700s from iJoy and demanded the whole of that 6A output …but I’ve got to say that the truck load of heat fins work a charm.
I tested it out with 4 18650s and achieved full charge in under two hours… 1 hour and 40 minutes.
That charge speed will vary slightly depending on the state of your batteries and where they are in their lifespan.
Also, your charge speed is entirely dependent on the speed setting you choose for each given channel, unless you run with the auto-settings…which will divide that 6000mAh total charge output between your batteries according to their amperage and type, aiming to fill 4 depleted batteries to capacity simultaneously unless you’ve selected to prioritize the batteries in channel 1 and 2.
On the subject of battery lifespan, I like the fact that this device will advise me of my batteries ill health when even my best TC, regulated mods detect no trouble. This can be a lifesaver as battery related accidents are no joke, ask me, I know all about that!
I found the automatic charge stop, when your battery is full, to be flawless, as is the device’s ability to read and charge every slot independently, even if you’re using four completely different battery types, it’s a clever little thing.
Not to mention the simple controls, which allow you to cycle through your channels and view each battery independently.
Needless to say, if you know zero about batteries, the display is going to be gibberish except for those disco bars lighting up. If you know zero about batteries, all the more reason to buy this charger because at least it will tell you when it’s time to give a nasty battery the boot.
What I Liked
Well, I was floored by the device’s ability to charge my 2 x 20700s in under an hour…given that charging them on my iJoy Captain PD270 takes all of 4 hours!
I’m impressed by the independent and accurate detection of battery type for each slot and the devices ability to set charge speed appropriately.
I like the fact that operation is completely silent and that it becomes only slightly warm when you demand the entire output by filling your slots.
I feel secure in the fact that I now have proper insight into my battery health and have a tool that will detect problems before those problems detect me, if you know what I mean.
What I Dislike
There’s definitely nothing not to like here…a great piece of gear.
Final Review Verdict
Vapers, you can’t afford to be without an external charger and the SC4 from Nitecore is surely one of the snazziest and fastest chargers on the market. You will be shocked by those charge speeds, as well as by the sheer ease of using this device. Enjoy.
Would I buy the Nitecore SC4 if I lost/broke the device? I wouldn’t want to return to the slow and dangerous on board charge, nor would I want to go back to the i4, whose charge speed its only half that of the SC4…which stands for Superb Charger and that is exactly what it is.
- 6A total charge output with a 3A capacity per single slot means FAST charge
- Real time insight into battery health
- Ease of use
- Independent detection of battery type and relevant adjustment for each slot
- Silent operation with no fans
- Effective heat fins and a flame retardant body
- Definitely no cons here