Pila USA is the designated USA distributor for Pila IBC Li-ion chargers, which are made in China. There are a few Li-ion chargers available, but this charger appears to be safer than the rest, and charges to a proper cc/cv algorithm. If you read around the web, the Pila is the recommended charger for a simple plug & play charger that is safe and works.
While I have not heard of any Pila IBC charging beyond 4.2V +/- .5 volts, which is Excellent and makes this charger very safe, there are inconsistencies regarding the cut off voltage that can vary between 4.02v – 4.20v. Some users get a consistent 4.18v-4.19v while others are getting 4.10-4.15v. And then there are some that charge to less than 4.1v
The issue is the following >>
If you Do Not Use Pila Batteries, and you use the Pila IBC charger with other Li-ion batteries, the Pila Warranty will be VOIDED!!!
You will NOT receive Support from Pila USA or any of its Distributors!! They will absolve themselves of ALL Liability, including, but not limited to malfunctions, injuries, damage to equipment, etc.
The problem with this is that :
Pila USA nor its Distributors post the above anywhere on their web sites. There is NO WARNING regarding the Hazards of using their chargers with non Pila batteries, and there is NO NOTICE regarding NO WARRANTY and NO SUPPORT if you use Non Pila batteries! The only sentence that is posted on their website, that is extremely remotely related, is the following >
‘The IBC 4-stage Charger is specially designed to work with Pila Li-ion batteries.’
This sentence ‘may’ absolve Pila of any liability issues (although I would like to see it tested in a court of law,) but I would say that this sentence is ambiguous at best, and deceptive.
Pila and its distributors are more than happy to sell their chargers to customers who do not use their Pila batteries, but they do not post the above Warnings or Notices anywhere on their websites, which you would think would be very important for potential customers to be aware of.
Pila is aware that they sell many more chargers as compared to their batteries, and are aware that many people are using their chargers to charge non Pila Li-ion Batteries. It is obviously great for sales, and there is nothing wrong with making Money $$$$.
So why doesn’t Pila USA take a more pro active stance regarding Warning people of the potential Hazards and Dangers in using their chargers with non Pila batteries, and why don’t they post on their website that the Warranty will be Voided if you use other than Pila batteries??? MONEY, that’s why. It’s all about the Dollar. If they were to post a simple WARNING, and also post the fact that your newly purchased coveted Pila IBC charger will have NO WARRANTY and NO SUPPORT if you use other than Pila batteries, Sales would Plummet. And that is the only reason I can think of. Hell, it’s not even about taking a Pro Active stance, but about an Obligation to potential customers to warn them of the Dangers of using their charger with non pila batteries.
There are those that already know about the dangers and no warranty if used with other batteries, but many more people who do not. Pila USA and its Distributors have an obligation to post this information on their website, and cannot assume that customers are already aware of the Hazards, and that there is No Warranty in effect if you do not use Pila batteries.
Pila makes a Big Issue on these points when you call in for support, or for a Warranty issue, and then they tell you, in a nice way, to go take a Hike! But when you want to make a purchase of their IBC charger, you don’t get any advanced warning when you order from their website because there is NONE!!
Pila USA, step up to the plate, and post these Warnings and Notices. Jeeeze, all you have to do is post 2 simple things >
– There is No Warranty if the Pila IBC charger is used with other than Pila batteries
– Using the Pila IBC charger with other than Pila batteries may cause great bodily harm, and or damage to surrounding property.
Or something to that effect. Yeah, I guess if you did post this information, your sales would take a slight tumble. So whats more important, the well-being of potential customers, or the Dollar???? Mmmmmmm…..food for thought. I’ll leave that for potential customers to decide. I think Pila USA already told us Their answer. Hey, their distributors are not absolved of any liability either, as they should also post these WARNINGS and NOTICES. But they too, wash their hands of all Liability, and tell you to call Pila USA, if you should have an issue.
While many IBC chargers operate properly, there are some that don’t. Just like other pieces of electronic equipment, sometimes there will be units that are faulty. BUT Pila distributors will make every excuse in the book regarding Voltages, Faulty Meters, Bad batteries, user error, etc. in order to not blame their chargers. The Great Wall in China will look like a Stair Step, compared to the Wall you will slam into when dealing with Pila distributors regarding Warranty issues. If you used Pila batteries, I wonder if they would throw their wall of blame on the above excuses as I mentioned, or if an exchange would be an easier process, if you mentioned the charger was faulty. I would guess the ladder.
We cannot rely on Pila US to inform us of the pitfalls of owning their charger, and many on the web make excuses for Pila because they have a financial stake in selling Pila Equipment and/or collect Advertising revenue. Many people on the web, and in numerous forums will be asked by Pila IBC users why their chargers are charging at inconsistent cut-offs. They will get a lot of technical information as excuses as for the reason for the inconsistencies such as >
Faulty meters, Old batteries, New batteries, Ambient temperatures, Non calibrated meters, Wrong batteries, Pila IBC is the best charger, User error, and the list goes on and on. While it is true that in some instances, any of the above can be a reason or reasons for the inconsistent cut off voltages, I have another reason that is never mentioned as to why the Pila IBC charges inconsistently: Maybe because it is a sensitive piece of electronic equipment that is produced in the thousands, and manufactured in China, and maybe, just maybe, there may be an out of box failure now and then. How does that sound? Is it possible that there may be defects in some of the units that are sold? Yeah, I think there may be, but you will never here that as a reason from Anyone, including Pila and its distributors.
The issues with the Pila IBC have more to do with charging cut-off inconsistencies, than being dangerous. I have not heard of any instances where the Pila IBC created a dangerous circumstance when used with non Pila cells. But, as I mentioned before, Pila will not forget to verbally tell you that they are not responsible for anything, including dangerous occurrences, and or warranty issues if the charger is not used with Pila batteries, when you contact them.
We have to rely on users such as myself to put the word out, in order to possibly help potential customers make a more informed decision before they purchase the IBC charger, and find out that there is No Warranty, and more importantly, that the charger may be Dangerous to use if you do not use the proprietary batteries that Pila sells. In addition, you may save yourself around $50.00, the cost of the Pila IBC charger.
I would guesstimate that 1 person out of 20 will purchase Pila Batteries, and why is that? Because Pila cells can cost as much as $28.00, when AW cells, say an 18650 2900mAh cell will only cost you $18.00 each. Redilast sells cells for about the same cost as AW. Both cells are very high caliber, and respected by users. Pila wants you to think their cells are much better than the competition, but they are NOT. In fact, the 2900mAh 18650 cells are made from cells and pcb’s manufactured by Panasonic, and then assembled over seas. Pila batteries are also made overseas, in CHINA, just as their Pila IBC charger is. There are Li-ion cells which are not as safe as others, or are more problematic, such as Trustfire cells (cost much less than AW and Redilast) , etc. and Pila USA likes to say that ALL the other cells can be Dangerous, as compared to Pila batteries. This is TOTAL BULLSHIT, and they are trying to get you to purchase their Chinese batteries at over 50% of the cost of AW & Redilast, for example. Of course, stay away from Li-ion batteries where the name is like BonFire, LumaFire, Hotfire, SpitFire, etc. You get the idea. Their are many Chinese manufactures whose Li-ion batteries are very dangerous. But AW and Redilast are some of the finest batteries made.
As I said, few people use Pila Li-ion batteries, and if Pila USA had to depend on their Pila battery sales to pay their bills, they’d have a slight problem. It is their Pila IBC charger which is their bread & butter. And Pila USA knows this, and knows it well.
In fact, Pila representatives actually push their chargers to be used with other cells, and say their charger is the best on the market. This is what they tell you when you speak to the reps. But they don’t tell you about the Warranty & Dangers until after you call in for Support. And then even when you call for support, they will tell you that you gave up your rights to any warranty claims when you used other than Pila batteries, but you still have the best charger for the Job.
Nice racket, eeerrr…… business, Pila USA has, don’t they? So Be Informed, Be Aware, and make the Best Decision for yourself, and make sure you know what you are getting into, before you make a purchase. And don’t waste your money on Pila Li-ions when there are batteries available that are equal to or better then them.
As an alternative, you may want to take a look at the charger below. While not a plug & play charger, it will charge your Li-ion cells, as well as other types of chargeable batteries, has multiple user settings, has an on board digital display, in addition to many other user friendly features. I have not used the Turnigy myself, but have read only positive reviews from users who do.