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Old 03-13-09, 02:26 PM   #1
duke_of_hazard
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How to charge a single AA battery?

My cheap 2-hour walmart charger can only work if 2 or 4 batteries are inside it. If I put just one in, it won't work. Can I charge a dead one with a fully charged one? Is the charger smart enough to know to only charge the dead one and not overcharge the already charged one?
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Old 03-13-09, 02:40 PM   #2
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Buy a decent charger and stop frying your batteries.
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Old 03-13-09, 02:43 PM   #3
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What is a decent charger you recommend?
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Old 03-13-09, 02:58 PM   #4
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Nimh or nicad ?

It's tricky, I'm not in the same country as you.

However some cheap chargers trickle charge 4 batteries in parallel but independently - because they trickle charge you can estimate charge time based on capacity and overcharging isn't an issue because the current is so low.

I use a computerised charger.

I strongly suspect that your 2 hour charger just outputs high current for 2 hours and then stops - not very good for a partly discharged or lower capacity battery.

Hope this helps....

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Old 03-13-09, 03:01 PM   #5
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I have a LaCrosse and it's worked fine for me. It came with a nice set of batteries to get started with.

http://www.lacrossetechnology.com/900/index.php
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Old 03-13-09, 03:04 PM   #6
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This is my charger ( nimh ):

http://i.walmartimages.com/i/p/00/02...59_500X500.jpg

I think it has some intelligence not to overcharge since it automatically turns off when batteries are charged.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:06 PM   #7
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That's a 1 hour charger ?
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Old 03-13-09, 03:08 PM   #8
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That's a 1 hour charger ?
I couldnt find my exact model, but that is quite close to mine.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:13 PM   #9
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See

Battery Charger Comparison

From the chargers listed there, I have TurboCharger 4000 and am very pleased. It has a thermal switch that terminates the charging if the batteries begin to heat up. There are other smart charger options there, including the possibility to charge an odd number of cells. Simple chargers either take forever to charge or fry the batteries. I would not charge a set where one battery is dead - either the other will not charge or you will have a good chance to damage the other as well.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:15 PM   #10
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If you are lucky the charger is cutting off before the battery has reached full capacity as it isn't possible to properly charge a NIMH that quickly.

In any case the number of charges you get from the batteries will be a lot less than careful charging and the capacity will drop a lot quicker too.

It's a trade off - you get the convenience of a fast charge - the batteries pay the price.

Higher capacity batteries are not suitable for fast charging.

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Old 03-13-09, 03:20 PM   #11
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generally any charger will work in this situation.

you don't need a fancy charger, despite what others may claim.

better off buying a cheap multimeter so that you can make this determination yourself.

typically they'll all (2 or 4 cells) charge to within 0.1v of endpoint
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Old 03-13-09, 03:39 PM   #12
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generally any charger will work in this situation.

you don't need a fancy charger, despite what others may claim.
Oh really ?

Just how does a 2 hour charger detect the negative delta V of each battery when it has a minimum of two batteries attached to it ?

And isn't capable of charging individual batteries ?

Sigh....

Last edited by Unknown Cyclist; 03-13-09 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:48 PM   #13
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you don't need a fancy charger, despite what others may claim.

better off buying a cheap multimeter so that you can make this determination yourself.

typically they'll all (2 or 4 cells) charge to within 0.1v of endpoint
0.1V of what endpoint?? The consumer is supposed to take measurements with a meter, produce a chart and decide that the voltage has already gone through the peak, very weakly pronounced in the case of NiMH. I would appreciate if you could record your actions and post them on YouTube or elsewhere so all of us stupid getting smart chargers could learn.
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Old 03-13-09, 03:54 PM   #14
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0.1V of what endpoint?? The consumer is supposed to take measurements with a meter, produce a chart and decide that the voltage has already gone through the peak, very weakly pronounced in the case of NiMH. I would appreciate if you could record your actions and post them on YouTube or elsewhere so all of us stupid getting smart chargers could learn.
+1 if you are using a cheap charger you are either going to over or undercharge every battery you put in it - what are you suggesting, checking the battery with a multimeter every 10 seconds in a vain hope of detecting a minute voltage drop ??

I think the OP is hoping for good advice.
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Old 03-13-09, 04:04 PM   #15
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Would just like to say that I don't like FAST chargers.

A big problem with the 1/2hour chargers is that the battery gets very warm, and the heat drastically shortens its lifetime re charging cycles, but does, in my experience seem to effect the length of each actual charge as well.

I find 6-8 (12 if necessary) hours depending on capacity adequate.

Lets face it, if you need a battery NOW, it would make little difference if it was an hour away or 12 hours away, you still wouldn't have it NOW.
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Old 03-13-09, 04:29 PM   #16
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Lower-priced chargers may not apply a fully saturated charge. Some will indicate full-charge immediately after a voltage or temperature peak is reached. These chargers are commonly sold on the merit of short charge time and moderate price.
Quote:
A well-designed charger is a reasonably complex device. Taking short cuts will cost the user in the long run. Choosing a well-engineered charger will return the investment in longer lasting and better performing batteries.
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Old 03-13-09, 04:49 PM   #17
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A billion people recharge batteries successfully every day, simply by following the instructions - all without the sage wisdom expressed in this thread.
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Old 03-13-09, 04:54 PM   #18
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A billion people recharge batteries successfully every day, simply by following the instructions - all without the sage wisdom expressed in this thread.
The OP asked for advice - take it up with him.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:07 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
better off buying a cheap multimeter so that you can make this determination yourself.

typically they'll all (2 or 4 cells) charge to within 0.1v of endpoint
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A billion people recharge batteries successfully every day, simply by following the instructions - all without the sage wisdom expressed in this thread.
Oops, I thought you were the source for the wisdom.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:11 PM   #20
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A billion people recharge batteries successfully every day, simply by following the instructions - all without the sage wisdom expressed in this thread.
But how many actually realise the full life time form their batteries?

I can tell you that before I became wise to the pitfalls of cheap and/or fast chargers, I was having under 1 year old and under 100 charge cycle batteries going flat far too quickly or just not holding a charge at all, constantly.

1 decent charger later and I have not had a single battery to date that has not met its expectations.

I am a big fan of the new hybrid batteries too.


Anyway, advice was asked for, and has been given.

Whether it is good advice or not, that is for the OP to decide.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:19 PM   #21
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A billion people recharge batteries successfully every day, simply by following the instructions - all without the sage wisdom expressed in this thread.
And while we are talking of sage wisdom:

Quote:
generally any charger will work in this situation.
you don't need a fancy charger, despite what others may claim.
better off buying a cheap multimeter so that you can make this determination yourself.
typically they'll all (2 or 4 cells) charge to within 0.1v of endpoint
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!

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Old 03-13-09, 05:25 PM   #22
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Thanks for all the replies, I take it the answer to my question below is no.

Is the charger smart enough to know to only charge the dead one and not overcharge the already charged one?
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Old 03-13-09, 05:34 PM   #23
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Thanks for all the replies, I take it the answer to my question below is no.

Is the charger smart enough to know to only charge the dead one and not overcharge the already charged one?
Your cheapo wal-mart charger... - Probably not.

There are chargers that will charge individual batteries - and even tell you if a cell is dead.

You pays ya money and takes ya choice.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:39 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the replies, I take it the answer to my question below is no.

Is the charger smart enough to know to only charge the dead one and not overcharge the already charged one?
I'll try to answer accurately: No, I dont believe it is possible.

Quote:
A nickel-metal-hydride charger must respond to a voltage drop of 8-16mV per cell. Making the charger too sensitive may terminate the fast charge halfway through the charge due to voltage fluctuations and electrical noise. Most of today's nickel-metal-hydride chargers use a combination of NDV, rate-of-temperature-increase (dT/dt), temperature sensing and timeout timers. The charger utilizes whatever comes first to terminate the fast-charge.
Note: that refers to intelligent chargers

There are several ways a charger can detect when a battery is fully charged and a decent charger will often use several at the same time.

If your charger has a temperature monitor it might cut off before the healthy battery is too badly damaged.

If your charger detects the delta peak (very unlikely when charging 2 batteries in parallel) I would say you have no chance of not damaging the healthy battery.

Sorry, a cheap charger is a cheap charger.
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Old 03-13-09, 05:40 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the replies, I take it the answer to my question below is no.

Is the charger smart enough to know to only charge the dead one and not overcharge the already charged one?
A charger that charges cells in pairs, takes the pair connected in series. A smart charger will usually figure out that something is wrong and refuse to charge or will switch to a trickle mode. It has no means of disconnecting those cells from each other. The dumbest fast chargers have only a time cut-off and will try to proceed with an unclear outcome.
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