Charging is tedious and the only part of technology that I don’t like, besides photography. Having used the Bronine Volkit, however, I can honestly say that this has changed.
When the Bronine Volkit was launched on Kickstarter, it first landed on our radar almost exactly one year ago. It’s described as a “free voltage charging device” that has a central hub that can host up to four different charging modules at once. Bronine described it as an “AI charger” since it can automatically adjust the voltage to charge a specific battery at between 15.6 and 15.6 volts.
Although I thought it was a stretch to call this technology “AI”, I was open to the possibility. Bronine sponsored the Showcase to allow us to see the final product. They sent two Volkit hubs (the four-port and two-port), as well as several battery chargers. I don’t use Canon much these days so I requested a set Canon LP-E6 chargers along with a dongle to charge a DJI Mavic 2. The individual boxes were all in their own plastic wraps, which I greatly appreciated.
What’s inside the Box?
Bronine Volkit’s design is very simple so the contents are quite straightforward. Each box includes either a main hub, or a module. Each module connects magnetically so that there aren’t any other parts than the charger. The hubs offer a little more and include a USB C charging cable (but not a charging brick) along with the hub itself.
They are all plastic, with the exception of the metal contact points. I would not recommend dropping them on concrete floors.
There are tons of options
Bronine’s extensive range of modules covers many of the most popular batteries used by photographers. Bronine currently lists 32 modules for the Canon LP–E6NH as well as the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. to the Sony NP–FZ100 and the Nikon EN–EL15C. There are many battery options available for Sony, Canon and Nikon, Panasonic as well as Olympus Fujifilms, GoPro, DJI and a cylindrical module that can charge five types of lithium-ion batteries.
The two-port charger is $48, while the four-port charger is $78. Each module costs $9. With the exception of the cylindrical module, which costs $10.
Bronine has no reason to stop adding new products (and I believe the company will), and it would be great to see a module that can charge four or more AA-sized batteries as well as Panasonic’s full-frame cameras.
Let’s get charging!
Once you have the USB-C connected to the Volkit and into a brick charging it, you are ready to go. You can insert a battery and slide the module over the Volkit hub. Then, you are ready to go. Each battery charging module and cable has a magnetic connection that connects to either the four-bay or two-bay Volkit hub.
It doesn’t matter what port the modules are attached, they can be plugged in and out at will.
The Volkit locks in after being locked in. It takes a few seconds for the voltage to be calibrated before it charges. Each hub has a display that displays the status of the charge, voltage, and how long the battery has been charged. The mAh reading was supposed to tell me how full the battery is, but it seems that it resets every time the module is plugged in or unplugged. I believe it is simply telling me how much juice has been added since the charging started.
This information is invaluable. I have used the Canon stock battery charger for years and the Volkit is so much better than a blinking light.
It might not be correct, as the blinking light may not be true. One battery showed 100% green on my Canon wall charger. However, it was able accept more juice after I plugged it in to the Volkit.
It seems that a “simple” charger won’t give you the same performance as Bronine’s “smart”. The system offers many other benefits.
Better than the Official Charger
The Volkit was more than just a charger. I also found another reason to love it. My LP-E6N LP-E6N battery that I purchased directly from Canon stopped working in my EOS R within the last few month. (I use it now as my webcam). They still work in all my accessories powered by the batteries. However, the EOS R wouldn’t turn on and gave me an error code on the top LCD. The little red light on the top LCD kept blinking while I tried to charge them with Canon’s wall charger. Both were charged in the Volkit and both appear to be back on the EOS R. Although I have no idea what devil magic is at play here, I am not complaining.
If I had to complain about the Volkit it would be that the display is very dim. It can be difficult to see the display in bright light like the one in my studio. The display reflects a lot and doesn’t produce a lot. If I’m honest, this is a minor issue.
The Volkit gives me visibility into charging
To me, charging batteries has always been a mystery. Stock chargers that come with almost every camera and drone I own are a guessing game. I felt like I was waiting for the blinking light in my head to reveal something useful. I didn’t know how to fix a problem if something was not working correctly.
That has been changed by the Volkit. The Volkit appears intelligent enough to solve the battery problems and gives me a level of insight into charging that I’ve never experienced before. The Volkit was a charger that I had never seen before. I dismissed the claims of “AI” and just ignored it. It has proved to be a great tool. This thing rocks!