eXtensions - Tuesday 27 November 2018


Cassandra - Nitecore Battery Charger for the Nikon: Reasonably-priced and Effective

By Graham K. Rogers


I had a minor emergency this week when a friend returned my Nikon D850 on Monday evening after a trip to Switzerland. Just after he had left, I discovered that the battery charger was missing. A quick series of messages confirmed that it was at his home and he would return it in a few days. There was a problem: the battery was showing a charge of 42%, not enough for a safe day's shooting; and I had a plan to use it Wednesday morning and throughout the day.

He promised to send it to me by express mail, but that would take at least a day (perhaps more) and I was not willing to take that risk. On Tuesday morning I took a detour to Siam Paragon intending to track down a suitable charger.

At the Paragon mall there are three or four shops selling cameras and accessories. One or two are better than others, so I started at Big Camera where I have had some success in the past. This is a chain group and their stores at other malls may not be to the same standard. The staff here are polite and interested in cameras. They also usually have what I want.

Nitecore UNK1

I just showed the assistant the battery and told her I wanted a charger. I expected a Nikon-branded accessory to appear but I was shown the Nitecore UNK1, which can charge En-EN_L14 type batteries as well as the EN_EL15 type. There are two sides to the charger and the device can charge both types of battery at the same time. The charge comes from a USB 2 connector that is hidden away when not in use. Although the battery from the D850 was not listed, I am aware that the charger for the D7000 would work and that the two batteries are compatible (although the D7000 might have lower lasting performance).

Nitecore display Instead of the flashing red light of Nikon's own battery charger there is a flashing digital display showing charge in a series of steps (as three is complete, so level four flashes until the charge is complete); temperature, which alternates with charge; and Milliamps, alternating with MaH. This last changes to "End" when the process is complete.

A look at the documentation in 9 languages, showed some clear information in (I was surprised by this) excellent English. The company which is based in China had taken the time to have this properly edited: something many organisations are poor at doing. The document did not show the D850, but I (rightly) reasoned that this had probably been printed a while back.

As well as the clear information on paper, Nitecore has a good web-site which is clear and easy to read. Again someone has taken care of the language. A search for the Nitecore UNK1 quickly gave me the information that I wanted, including the point that the D850 was now included: the battery was covered.

As a note, I had seen online that it was not possible to charge the Nikon using USB as the voltage required is 7v, while the USB 2 specification is for 5v. The Nitecore UNK1 uses USB for its power input but the documentation shows output of 8.4v: there is a voltage step-up mechanism (transformer or the like) included in this compact charger. The cost to me was 990 baht (about $30), which did not break the bank.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)



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