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Old 08-29-08, 10:54 AM   #1
SlimAgainSoon
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Battery charger -- what fits my needs?

I use Fenix flashlights (2) on my commute, and two Planet Bike SuperFlashes as well. I'm also using a no-name flashlight on strobe mode -- it runs on three AAA batteries.

So I'm using four AA flashlights, that need to be recharged every other day, and four AAA batteries, that need a zap about every three weeks or a month, sometimes longer, and three batteries that need help about every week.

I'm using a charger that came with a set of AA batteries -- can't remember the brand, but got it at Lowe's or Target or somewhere.

Is there a better battery charger that I could use, or does it not matter?
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Old 08-29-08, 12:07 PM   #2
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I personally like to use well-designed and well-built battery chargers as opposed the cheap ones. They give you more control over the charging process, prolong overall battery life, and can even be used to revive seemingly dead rechargeable batteries.

Two very good ones are:

Maha MH-C9000
La Crosse BC-900

I use the Maha MH-C9000, but I really like the La Crosse BC-900, too. The La Crosse BC-900 can be had for a very good deal right now via Thomas Distributing packaged with eight Sanyo AA Eneloops, four La Crosse AA and four La Crosse AAA batteries, plus a few other goodies. That package deal is going for around $58. Without the eight Eneloops, the charger with the La Crosse batteries and other goodies is going for around $39. Both are very good deals. You can also get the La Crosse via Amazon.com for a price similar to the Thomas Distributing price (but not the deal with the Eneloops, I don't think).
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Old 08-29-08, 12:37 PM   #3
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yeah the cheap once cook the batteries really well. that garanties short life.
you want slow charge, low current and peak detection for NiMa and longer life.
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Old 08-29-08, 02:12 PM   #4
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Just a side note since no one else brought it up, the La Crosse BC-900 does not recharge alkaline batteries it only charges NIMH and NICD. I believe the MN-C9000 is the same but not sure.

I only mention this since you did not state what type of batteries you were trying to recharge. Yes it could be assumed most people use the NIMH but you cannot be sure.
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Old 08-29-08, 05:59 PM   #5
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I
I use the Maha MH-C9000, but I really like the La Crosse BC-900, too. The La Crosse BC-900 can be had for a very good deal right now via Thomas Distributing packaged with eight Sanyo AA Eneloops, four La Crosse AA and four La Crosse AAA batteries, plus a few other goodies. That package deal is going for around $58. Without the eight Eneloops, the charger with the La Crosse batteries and other goodies is going for around $39. Both are very good deals. You can also get the La Crosse via Amazon.com for a price similar to the Thomas Distributing price (but not the deal with the Eneloops, I don't think).
Can you charge Eneloops in the La Crosse? That wold be great if you could.

Also, I'd highly recommend buying the LaCrosse from Thomas. I bought mine form them, and they helped with a warranty problem when La Crosse wouldn't.
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Old 08-29-08, 06:39 PM   #6
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The La Crosse BC-900 should charge any NiCd and NiMH batteries in AA or AAA and has adapters to charge rechargeable C and D cells as well. I'd say it's a pretty danged versatile unit. So, yes...it will charge Eneloops, which are (as far as I know) a NiMH battery.

Also...one of those La Crosse packages at Thomas Distributing comes with Eneloops, so I'd guess that indicates a workable match.
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Old 08-30-08, 01:31 AM   #7
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Also note credit code GCNE561 for a 5% discount plus Google Checkout for an additional 1% at time of checkout as mentined in the concurrent thread HERE.
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Old 08-30-08, 08:52 PM   #8
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What is the big deal about Eneloop batteries?

I don't know anything about them.

I'm using Duracell and Energizer batteries, available at BigBox USA.

Are the Eneloops or other rechargables much better?
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Old 08-30-08, 11:08 PM   #9
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What is the big deal about Eneloop batteries?

I don't know anything about them.

I'm using Duracell and Energizer batteries, available at BigBox USA.

Are the Eneloops or other rechargables much better?
Eneloops are rechargeable batteries that will hold a charge for a long period of time compared to other rechargeable batteries in their class. They can supposedly sit for months and still be ready for use when needed. Most other NiMH batteries will self discharge after much shorter periods of time.

If you are using your NiMH batteries in such a way that you frequently charge them and use them on a near-daily or weekly basis, it's not that big of a deal. But, if any of your devices (or just the batteries themselves) are likely to be sitting unused for significant stretches of time (for instance, more than a month) using Eneloops can be very beneficial to you. Or, if you're the kind of person who might use a device a lot for stretches of time, then let it sit for stretches of time, you would likely be better off using Eneloops in that device.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:31 PM   #10
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The La Crosse BC-900 should charge any NiCd and NiMH batteries in AA or AAA and has adapters to charge rechargeable C and D cells as well.
The BC-900 comes with adapters that'll let your AAs take the place of C or D cells in a device. Unfortunately, it can't charge C or D cells. They won't fit into the charging bay, and besides, the charger tops out at 3000mAH, whereas a rechargeable D might have a capacity as high as 11000mAH, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, I have the BC-900 from Thomas Distributing, and it's been a good unit for me. I might get another BC-900, so I can have one at home and one at work... it's nice to pull a fully-topped-off set of Sanyo 2700mAH's right off the charger just before embarking on a long ride. I have some low-self-discharge AAs as well, but for a bicycle light, I'd rather have the extra 700mAH capacity. I'll use the low-self-discharge AAs in my digital camera.

Last edited by mechBgon; 08-31-08 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 08-31-08, 12:54 PM   #11
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The BC-900 comes with adapters that'll let your AAs take the place of C or D cells in a device. Unfortunately, it can't charge C or D cells. They won't fit into the charging bay, and besides, the charger tops out at 3000mAH, whereas a rechargeable D might have a capacity as high as 11000mAH, if I recall correctly.
Well, Duh! (To myself, that is.) Thanks for correcting me and pointing that out, mechBgon. I should have know better than that. I had ASSUMED (bad practice) that they had somehow worked out for the BC-900 to charge C and D cells as well.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find my dunce cap and go sit in the corner for a bit.
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Old 08-31-08, 01:00 PM   #12
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More advantages and disadvantages of eneloops. They perform better in the cold, but not as well in the heat. In the heat, they discharge faster, when being used, and in the cold they do the opposite.
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Old 08-31-08, 07:42 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the info.

I've got my eye on a LaCrosse BC-900. I might get a few Enloops for use in a few flashlights that sit around (such as the one in the boat) but need to be ready to go in an emergency.

As regards my Fenix flashlights, I have to charge those several times a week, so Enloop batteries might be overkill.

If I stick with Nimh standard rechargeables, are any brands better than others, or is pretty much something you buy on price alone?

I'm finding I'm using a lot of battery powered stuff nowadays -- and having rechargeable batteries is good. Otherwise, I would be spending a lot of dough and sending a lot of used batteries to the dump.
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Old 08-31-08, 11:52 PM   #14
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If I stick with Nimh standard rechargeables, are any brands better than others, or is pretty much something you buy on price alone?
Sanyo has a pretty good reputation. In absolute terms, a four-pack is only $13 (those are the 2700mAH, not the Eneloop LSD, by the way), and you'll get several years of use from them, so hey

By the way, if you do get the BC-900 and some new cells, see if you can set aside enough time to run a break-in on your new cells. The charger can charge them, discharge them, recharge them again, discharge them again, and keep going through this cycle until the cells aren't peaking any higher on subsequent cycles, indicating that they're fully broken-in. On my Sanyo 2700s, I think the first charge cycle topped out around 1600mAH, the next one was around 2000ish, and when the charger was finally done, they were hitting like 2740mAH. Nice. But it does tie up your charger for days at a time.

Last edited by mechBgon; 08-31-08 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 09-01-08, 11:19 AM   #15
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T

Also...one of those La Crosse packages at Thomas Distributing comes with Eneloops, so I'd guess that indicates a workable match.
Yeah, I know. But somehow, I got the impression that the charger that came with the Eneloops was different, and needed to charge them. Is it similar to the other "free" chargers that come with other rechargeable batteries?
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Old 09-01-08, 01:01 PM   #16
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Eneloops are only 1900-2000 mAh, not 2500 to 2700 like other AAs. So they stay charged a long time when not being used, but have a proportionally shorter runtime when used in a headlight.
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Old 09-01-08, 01:20 PM   #17
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Yeah, I know. But somehow, I got the impression that the charger that came with the Eneloops was different, and needed to charge them. Is it similar to the other "free" chargers that come with other rechargeable batteries?
I don't really know anything about the actual Eneloop charger, not having really studied them or seen one in person. They could very well be just like the other free chargers that come with some batteries...and if so, wouldn't be (in my mind) the best option to use. Then again, maybe Sanyo issues a better grade of charger with their batteries. But, to me, the Eneloop charger looks to be pretty basic and not the kind that allows much user control. I'm guessing it's more the equivalent of a standard inexpensive charger than anything close to the Maha or La Crosse chargers. But I don't think there's any kind of requirement to use a Sanyo/Eneloop charger to charge Eneloops. I just use my Maha C9000.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:43 PM   #18
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Differences between La Crosse BC-900 & two Maha models

Thanks to this forum I now have the La Crosse BC-900 package including 8 AA Eneloops, 4 La Crosse 2600 mAh AA's, 4 La Crosse 1000 mAh AAA's, the travel bag, and 2 C-cell 2 D-cell adapters that allow you to use one AA battery in a C or D cell battery holder. With credit code GCNE561 for a 5% discount plus Google Checkout for an additional 1% that is quite a deal!

Not mentioned yet in this thread is the MAHA MH-C801D AA - AAA Battery Charger DELUXE 8 Cell Professional Battery Charger w/ Full LCD Display with free accessory bag and free "Best Way" shipping for $68.97 minus those discount codes equals $64.84. This is only about $9 more than the 4 cell Maha MH-C9000. It does not have all MH-C9000's features but has the more important ones. If you already had and need to charge lots of batteries, this 8 cell charger might be the deal.

Comparing the La Crosse BC-900 with the two Mahas (Maha full instuctions available as PDF files at Thomas Distributing, under the "Description" tab for the MH-C9000 but under the "Extended Info" tab for the MH-C801D), the Mahas seem slightly nicer. First, the MH-C9000 manual gives more information on recommended charging rates (recommend charging at 0.33 to 1.0 of the mAh rating of the battery) and battery "forming" to get maximum performance, so it is worth reading even if you get the La Crosse package. Second, the Mahas will detect and not attempt charging an alkaline battery if a less knowledgeable member of your household puts one in; the La Crosse does not do this. Third, the MH-C9000 charge and discharge rates have 100mA increments (finer than the BC-900); the MH-C801D has only 2 & 1 amp rates for AA and 0.7 & 0.35 for AAA's. Fourth, the break-in discharge/recharge cycling on the MH-C9000 (unclear MH-C801) has a 1 hour "rest" period between charge or discharge which apparently is the IEC standard for determining battery capacity. The MH-C801D does not have a "break-in" mode but has a "Conditioning Mode" which is not described in detail. Finally, the MH-C801D defaults to rapid charging while the La Crosse defaults to the more conservative 200mA. It is unclear to me which is the preferable default.
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Old 09-04-08, 04:57 AM   #19
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Thanks to this Forum and it's members I too have the very same charger, it lights up one end of the living room ceiling with it's bright LCD display, not to mention doing a super job with the batteries.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:26 PM   #20
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... it lights up one end of the living room ceiling with it's bright LCD display, ...
I assume you got the Maha MH-C9000 which is described as backlit. My La Crosse BC-900 LCD display is not backlit and I don't see this claimed in the documentation. Another slightly nicer feature for the Maha (but Thomas Distributing's Maha offering lacked the 16 NiMH batteries that I needed).

Candlepower forums has some threads comparing the two: LINK1 LINK2 LINK3
Evidently earlier BC-900 models (circa 2006 or so) had some problems but these are now fixed. Thomas Distributing makes the point it is selling the latest version.

Incidentally, the way to set individual battery compartments on the BC-900 to different charge modes & rates is covered in just one sentence on page 6, "Press and release the Number key to select a particular battery compartment for charge modes and/or display mode adjustment." I missed that and kept changing all the compartments when I added another battery I wanted charged in a different mode than the others. I stumbled upon the correct way by trial and error.

Last edited by Giro; 09-04-08 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:38 AM   #21
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Also note credit code GCNE561 for a 5% discount plus Google Checkout for an additional 1% at time of checkout as mentined in the concurrent thread HERE.
Thanks for the heads-up on these codes. I've got a MAHA C9000 and some Sanyo 2700s on the way.
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