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XTAR VN2 USB camera battery charger

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XTAR VN2 charger

Smart charger shows amount of charge

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The XTAR VN2 is a new battery charger that is powered via a USB C socket, allowing you to charge 1 or 2 batteries from a computer, or even an external 5V USB power bank.

Keith has had a look at this new product that makes it easy to charge batteries on the go.

Note: The VN2 is a new product. See more details on the XTAR web site.

VN2-charger

XTAR VN2

Xtar have been known for their battery chargers for a while, and recently asked if I’d like to have a look at a new smart charger for different camera battery types.  I’ve just recently had a look at the Canon EOS R5 [R5 overview] and have an EOS RP here [EOS RP review], both of which use up batteries at a faster rate than I’m used to with my 5Ds and 1Ds models before that.

Those cameras can be charged from a USB Power Bank if it has higher voltage PD charge capabilities [see my look at RP USB charging]. That’s great whilst the camera is in my bag, but what about if I’m using it? I also can’t use my largest capacity power bank, since it’s 5 Volt only.

USB Charger

The VN2 is a smart charger ‘header’ with a USB C socket which fits to a range of different battery holders for charging. Currently this is Canon LP-E6N, LP-E17, LP-E8 and Sony NP-FW50

XTAR VN2

The USB lead for power plugs into the top of the charger (5V 2.1A max)

charger unit

The bottom of the charger has some locking pins and six power connecting pins.

charge connectors

The pins match up with the battery holder unit – three per battery.

The Version shown here is the LP-E8 battery.

LP-E8 socket

The holder takes two batteries.

The charge current is 1A for a single battery, or 0.5A per battery if two are present.

LP-E8 socket 2

Depending on the battery, temperature information may be available.

The LP-E6/E6N holder at the left supports this.

LP-E8 and LP-E6 sockets

For smaller batteries, the two batteries are mounted side by side.

This is the LP-E17 battery used in my RP,

LP-E17

Not just Canon

Although I only tested bases for batteries for cameras I use, other bases are available

As a new product I don’t currently have a full list, but here’s a NP-FW50 XTAR battery and its dual holder.

NP-FW50

Using the charger

The charger has a USB lead which should work from any modern USB port capable of supplying the maximum 2.1A at 5V.

charger and lead

Here it is, with a longer charging lead. I’ve just put an LP-E17 into it, and it’s showing that the battery is about half full, with an output voltage of 7.6V and it’s charging at 985mA

insert battery

A short while later, the charge indicator has moved up and we can see the amount of charge (in mAH) has risen to 17mAH

charging underway

The amount of charge is an indicator of the battery’s capacity.

A battery with reduced capacity will show full (based on the output voltage) sooner, and with a reduced charge put into it.

If you find your camera indicating a battery is flat and it charges quite quickly, then this is often a sign that all may not be well.

The battery has short circuit and reverse polarity protection (it will indicate ‘Err’)

Dual batteries

Here’s the LP-E6 base loaded with two batteries for my EOS 5Ds. Note the release clip on the side of the top charging unit.

both batteries

The display alternates between the two batteries (it dims after a minute or so).

slot 2slot 1

Using the VN2 – conclusions

It’s a new unit, not even being advertised when I started testing it, but it’s instantly made its way into my kit bag when on jobs.

Here it is on my Peli 1535 Air Case charging a battery for my 5Ds from a USB power bank, whilst I’m photographing specialist brick cutting machinery in a factory (it’s what we do).

battery-charging

The light weight helps, but what’s most useful is that I can easily top up batteries, whilst I’m working, whether in my car (from a 12V-USB cigarette lighter adapter) a 5V USB Power Bank, or even my old Macbook Pro.

I note that none of these would support USB charging of the EOS R5/RP, which needs a higher voltage USB Power source – the 5 Volt requirement for the VN2 makes it a lot easier to use.

The charger should be adaptable to take mounts/sockets for a whole host of other battery types, but I’m just checking the initial version.

Availability

See more details on the XTAR web site.

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