I'll add my perspective for what its worth. :)
I've had a Pila since I got my first mod nearly 1 1/2 years ago. Loved it. You can tell by looking at it and holding it it is a quality item. It charged fast, too. When I purchased it I wanted the best, and at that time there was no other competition. I liked what I had read about the special algorhythms used potentially prolonging a quality batteries expected life. Well, I still have a couple of my original AW IMR 18650's in my rotation, nearly as good as new. 1 1/2 years of nearly every 4th day use and they still last me the entire day.
Sad but true, one of the bays recently stopped charging. The light turns red, with or without a battery in it, it seems unresponsive. It's now stashed away only for emergency use.
I needed another charger. Since I've accumulated many more mods, many more batteries of different sizes, I needed a multiple-bay charger.
I got the Xtar WP6 II with 6 bays. It's a fine charger but I have some issues with it. My 18350 batteries keep popping out of the slots and refuse to stay in unless I lay something on top of them - that's a PITA. Also not a fan of flimsy springs in the slots - these springs makes inserting all sizes of batteries a PITA. Presently this charger only gets used 10% of the time, when I need an 18650 charged and my newer Intellicharger is full with other batteries.
Because of my ongoing frustration with the spring-loaded bays of the above Xtar, I got a Nitecore Intellicharger i4. This has 4 bays and uses sliders, which I much prefer. I tend to use this charger 90% of the time. It see's 18650, 18490, and 18350 batteries nearly on a daily basis. I've had no issues with this charger and can highly recommend it. My daughter uses a Nitecore Intellicharger i2 to charge multiple 14500 batteries and she has not offered any issues with it.
Concerning the Pila vs Xtar VP1: As much as I love the Pila as a top notch performer, it probably should be updated to continue to be competitive with the new hot shot chargers like the VP1. The LCD of the VP1 looks nice and looks to be a pratical improvement, not just a bell & whistle. The Pila is just going on reputation now and will likely lose business to the new Xtar if they don't upgrade it soon.
Concerning the two chargers you asked about - Xtar XP4 vs Nitecore i4, there's a difference of almost $10 between the two from the RTD listing. I can't tell much difference in features. Battery chargers at RTD Vapor Both use the sliders in the bays that I prefer. The Xtar looks to only have the one indicator light for each bay to indicate charging status. The Nitecore uses a multiple LCD for each bay, it looks like a running board as a battery charges and then stays solid when finished, so you get more of an idea of the progress during charging. The Nitecore also indicates that it uses 4 completely independent microprocessors, I couldn't find that specification on the Xtar but it could very well have that too.
Unless I'm missing something, I think since they appear almost identical feature-wise I'd go with the less expensive Nitecore with no real reason to pay nearly $10 more for the Xtar.
thanks baditude! i was looking at the charge indicators as well, and it does appear that the nitecore's is the better of the two.
at this point, i think i'm leaning slightly towards the nitecore. i'm sure the xtar is an excellent charger, but it sounds like the nitecore is a proven design with everything i need at a better price. the extras on the xtar look good on paper (charge phones/tablets, repair over-discharged batts, selectable charging current), but in the end, i don't really think i need any of those features anyways.
just out of curiosity, has anyone had a nitecore i4 die on them yet? based on what i've read, several people have had at least one bay in the pila charger fail within 1-2 years. i haven't heard of any problems with the xtar xp4, but it's so new that i'd hope there wouldn't be any yet. i also haven't heard of any problems with the nitecore (v2, i know there were some issues with the previous one), so i would like to know if anyone has had any issues with it.
In all respect, I don't believe in any "special algorithm". Either it use CC/CV or it doesn't. Can this possibly be a remnant of the days when li-ion chargers was something "new", and that this special algorithm is in fact standard issue CC/CV?
Originally Posted by Baditude
I may be wrong. Worst that can happen is I learn something ;)
Originally Posted by vapo jam
I wouldn't let this story detract you from purchasing a Nitecore i4. The guy, a self-described journeyman electrician, was using a Trustfire battery in an Nitecore i2 charger. If you know anything about any of the "fire" brand batteries, they aren't the best in quality. The guy doesn't give many details in the story, but I believe there's at least a decent possibility that the precipitative cause of this incident had just as much to do with a low quality battery as it did with the charger.
I myself have had a protected Trustfire hard short and vent violently in a mechanical mod when its power button got stuck. The protective circuits in the "fire" brand batteries leave much to be desired.
I have a nitcore I4, and what could I say more? It works just perfect. No need for a more expensive one.
Just last week, I picked up a nitecore i4 off amazon for 20 bux shipped.
It will be here tomorrow.
It seems well regarded in the flashlight and vaping community.
It'll be a step up from the 2 dollar wall warts that came with my starter kit, and much more simple to use than my lipo hobby charger I use half the time.
guess i'm going with the nitecore. the cheapest i can find the xtar for is $35.99 on empiremods, so almost double the cheapest i've found for the nitecore ($19.25 on amazon). was hoping to bundle the charger with some batts on rtd, but oh well, i don't really need any more at the moment.
i've got the charger sitting in my amazon cart, now off to find something worth $6 to qualify for free shipping...
Yep I also found the little springs a PITA.
Originally Posted by Baditude
I have found a simple solution.
I pulled upwards on the end of the springs bending them up at about a 15 degree angle.
18350's & 18650's go in now without the spring ending up cockeyed or bowed over.
They should make it with the spring loaded ends to avoid both the little springs and the spacers.
Originally Posted by vapo jam
Since I needed to add 6 bux to my total as well, I figured it was a good opportunity to try out some butchers twine for wick material.
185ft of "Wenada Butcher's Twine" brought my total up to a smooth $25.10 shipped.
I should have it tomorrow or wed at the latest.
The main reason I chose that one is that both items were "fulfilled by amazon" , which means they ship together from amazon warehouse, so I will get them at the same time.
I also received Nitecore I4 and like it so far. No issues!
Originally Posted by cvedrick