Metabo HPT, formerly known as Hitachi Power Tools, has come out with a new 18V/36V 4-port battery charger (UC18YTSL). It can charge any Hitachi or Metabo HPT 18V or MultiVolt slide-type battery, and it can charge them one at a time or simultaneously.
The charger also features 2 USB charging ports (2A total) and 2 AC outlets (2-prong, 10A) which are likely designed for daisy-chaining additional chargers. Metabo HPT says that you can use the AC outlets to power additional electronic devices, but the 2-port non-grounded ports will likely limit your options.
As mentioned, the charger can recharge Hitachi/Metabo HPT slide-style Li-ion batteries either individually or all at the same time.
In Rapid Charge mode, the charger can recharge up to 4 batteries one at a time. Let’s call this “sequential mode.” In sequential mode, the charger can fully charge an 18V compact 3.0Ah battery in 30 minutes. So, you can plug in 4 batteries and put your first one back to work in 30 minutes. The charge takes 120 minutes to fully charge 4 compact 3.0Ah batteries in sequential mode.
There is also a simultaneous charging mode, but it’s slower. In this mode, it will charge all 4 batteries at the same rate, and as with sequential mode it can handle batteries of different capacities, 18V and 36V MultiVolt. It will take 120 minutes to fully charge 4 compact 3.0Ah batteries.
Basically, the 4-port charger is a single charger with 4 ports. In sequential mode, it rapidly charges the batteries one at a time. In simultaneous charging mode, it delivers 1/4 of the current rate to each charging port. This results in more batteries being charged at the same time, but with longer charging times.
The charger is 10″ long and weighs 3.3 lbs without batteries.
- 18V Compact 3.0Ah: 30 mins each in Rapid Mode, 120 mins for 4 batteries
- MultiVolt 2.5/5.0Ah: 32 mins each in Rapid Mode, 128 mins for 4 batteries
- MultiVolt 4.0/8.0Ah: 52 mins each in Rapid Mode, 208 mins for 4 batteries
New to MultiVolt? Read This: How Hitachi’s New MultiVolt 18V/36V Batteries Work
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I’m a little surprised at the design. While Metabo HPT and Metabo are not the same company (long story), I would have thought that Metabo HPT’s charger would have been simultaneous like Metabo’s 8-port charger. However, Metabo’s charger does cost ~$1000 or more.
The two AC outlets doesn’t seem very useful, except maybe for plugging in simple electronics or additional 2-prong chargers. USB charging ports are always nice.
It looks like the handle folds down, and there are controls for mode selection and to power the USB ports on the top.
I’ve been thinking about the two charging modes, and have come to the conclusion that I don’t really get it. In the rapid sequential charging mode, you have a fresh battery ready to go in X minutes. In simultaneous charging mode, you have 4 batteries ready in 4X minutes, assuming that they’re all the same type and with the same charge capacity.
Metabo HPT says that:
A mix of batteries with various voltages and Amp Hours can be charged simultaneously to keep everyone going on the jobsite.
Let’s say you have two 18V compact 3.0Ah batteries and two MultiVolt 4.0/8.0Ah batteries. You put the smaller batteries in ports 1 and 2, and higher capacity batteries in ports 3 and 4. The charging times for each batteries is then going to be:
- 30 mins
- 30 mins
- 52 mins
- 52 mins
The total charging time in Rapid Charging Mode will be 30+30+52+52 = 164 minutes.
If you decided to use Simultaneous Charging Mode instead, the charging times will be:
- 120 mins
- 120 mins
- 208 mins
- 208 mins
Press materials show that the simultaneous charging rate is the same whether you have 1, 2, 3 or 4 batteries, which I take to mean that two batteries of the same kind won’t charge any faster four batteries.
In simultaneous charging mode, you don’t add up the charging times. In this mode, if I’m understanding things correctly, the two compact 3.0Ah batteries will finish charging after 120 minutes, and the two higher capacity MultiVolt batteries will finish charging after 208 minutes. I suppose the benefit here is that you can swap out the fully charged 3.0Ah batteries for another pair of batteries that need to be recharged. But, couldn’t you do the same with the charger in sequential mode?
I’m having trouble seeing the benefit of the slower simultaneous charging mode. However, it seems convenient to have the option. This charger gives you choices, and you don’t have to elect to use the simultaneous mode if it doesn’t benefit you in any way.
I can see that the charger lets multiple users recharge their batteries without interfering with others’ charging cycles, but is that a benefit if the charging times are four times longer? Let’s say that four users, each with the same type and size of battery, all need to recharge their fully depleted batteries at the same time. If there are no freshly charged spares, the Rapid Charging mode finishes charging the first battery in 1/4 the time it would take to charge four, the second in 1/2 the time, and the third battery in 3/4 the time.
Here’s a look at the chart that I’ve been drawing from.
Overall, the new 4-port seems to be a convenient accessory for Metabo HPT cordless power tool users, and the pricing seems appropriate.
I think simultaneous mode is for the scenario where you have four people working with four batteries that all dipping into the 30% range when lunchtime rolls around. Stick all four in, go have lunch, and pull all four out at 75% to finish the day’s work.
I agree with the lunch scenario. Also, use the slower simultaneous mode at the end of the day when you don’t care about the time it takes? It is marginally better for the packs to charge them at a lower current.
I’m assuming the two-prong plugs are intended to limit the draw of the devices users will be tempted plug in there. E.g. won’t be able to run your mitre saw off your battery charger because the cord won’t fit. Still seems like an odd choice since there are so many things with three-prong plugs.
It only has a small gauge two prong cord itself, from the looks of it; so it is probably only meant for a phone charger, light or small portable speaker.
208 minutes is far too long to wait for 4 batteries to fully charge. That’s almost half of an 8 hour day. No thanks. Like all multi battery chargers sold by battery manufacturers these have a circuit governor which limits the amount of juice that each battery gets when charging hence the 3½ hour wait time. That’s a lot of time wasted when there’s work to do and you need to use several tools with full batteries. I ended up making my own multi battery simultaneous charger by taking 5 individual chargers cut the plugs off and separate the hots and neutrals strip the wires wire all the hots together with a pigtail and all the neutrals together with a pigtail took a male plug replacement apart removed the ground prong from a male plug replacement run both bundles of wires through the ass end of the plug replacement then screwed the hot pigtail to the brass prong and the neutral pigtail to the silver prong. It was very simple to make and it charges 5 nearly dead batteries in less than 2 hours no matter what the amphours per battery is. This is because there’s nothing regulating how much juice each charger is getting. Why battery manufacturers won’t design a multi charger that will charge batteries in a timely manner is beyond me. If you have several individual chargers you are better off making your own multi battery charger than if you were to buy something such as this Metabo hpt multi battery trickle charger.
Common sense would dictate that normal folks don’t wait until every single battery they own is dead before charging them all at once, then complaining their multicharger is taking too long. The problem with that diy pigtail bundle, for those of us in commercial/industrial work, is that citation for modifying or using a tool beyond it’s design. Get UL or another agency to approve a rat-tail suicide cord like that, and you’d make a lot of workers very happy, but until then, that’s a quick way to get yourself off site and/or unemployed. We danced around that reg for awhile but making 4/6 receptacle boxes with a single 10g cord feeding it, and just plugging all the individual chargers into an outlet, but these days they won’t even allow us to use cords with S.O. heads on them at mine sites.
The only time a device like this seems useful is if either you have a ton of batteries, so you can do without the ones on the charger for the rest of the day, or you want to charge all your batteries overnight.
The average user probably wouldn’t need this, but it’s probably good to note that Hitachi/Metabo 3.0 ah batteries are also relatively inexpensive at $40 each, so owning several batteries is an easy pill to swallow these days