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Old 04-23-10, 11:33 AM   #1
UberIM
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Rapid Charger for AA NiMH

I am finally going totally DINOTTE as I am tired of all different batteries and I find the P7s are "like the candle in the wind:" Bright but they don't last long (my grandmother the great philosopher said, "you get what you pay for.")

I am going with eneloop AA NiMh but wonder about rapid chargers
which ones are safe, etc.
can I get one that does 8 batteries which can do rapid and slow,etc.

Any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 04-23-10, 11:39 AM   #2
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Take a look at the lacrosse chargers - they only do 4 at a time but they do everything to a battery you would need.

http://www.amazon.com/Crosse-Technol...2044252&sr=1-2

Saw this while looking for the lacrosse - never used it but it looks like it might meet your needs too
http://www.amazon.com/Powerex-MH-C80...2044252&sr=1-7
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Old 04-23-10, 12:47 PM   #3
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Get a LaCrosse. DO NOT rapid charge, if by "rapid charge" you mean less than a couple of hours. It's really hard on the cells. Charge in an hour, you'll probably get 150 charges out of a set of cells. Charge in 6 or 8 hours, probably more like 600.

I used many chargers before getting a LaCrosse a few months ago. It's wonderful. It immediately identified several bad cells that I'd been using, and I'm having better luck now that I got them out of my stable of cells. It's worth every penny of $30.

I try to charge at 200mA with the LaCrosse, but if I'm in a hurry I go to 500mA. That's still 4.5 to 5 hours. I wouldn't go any higher than that.
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Old 04-23-10, 02:24 PM   #4
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Slow charging is a lot better for the cells, just like ItsJusMe said.
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Old 04-23-10, 02:33 PM   #5
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Thanks!!
Very helpful as usual.
Perhaps a smarter way to go is extra batteries (low discharge) and then not having to rapidly charge the batteries.
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Old 04-23-10, 11:37 PM   #6
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Thanks!!
Very helpful as usual.
Perhaps a smarter way to go is extra batteries (low discharge) and then not having to rapidly charge the batteries.
A lacrosse or Maha (having used both I perfer the MAHA 9000 due to the fact that it is simpler to use, has more functionality, and is slightly larger so cells don't get nearly as hot as with the lacrosse - but it's personal preference) will be able to charge any AA cells safely in about an hour.
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Old 04-26-10, 02:26 PM   #7
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Thanks!!
Very helpful as usual.
Perhaps a smarter way to go is extra batteries (low discharge) and then not having to rapidly charge the batteries.
Yeah, I used to use the Dinotte AA lights and it was way easier to just use 2 different sets of batteries - if you frequently use your lights (like once a week or more) you can just leave one set in the charger.

I will add some cautionary notes though -
1. Don't leave the batteries plugged into the light when you're not using them. It *will* completely drain your batteries, even though the light is not on. My impression is that it took about a week before they were completely dead when I would leave them plugged in by accident.
2. You'll probably need to wrap a rubber band around the batteries in the case to keep them in the case if you hit any bumps in the road. It's annoying.

In college money was very very tight and it was worth the annoyance of taking the batteries in and out of the case and charging them every time. Since I needed an AA battery charger for my xbox controllers anyways, the charger wasn't extra cost.

But after I got a job post-college and time became more valuable than money (well...you know, sorta) I got the lith-ion battery lights. Combined with the fact that I could keep my bike next to a power outlet, it was sooooooo much easier. With AA's, every time I went riding it was annoying procedure - take the battery pack off the bike, take out the AA holder, take off the rubber band, take out each cell, take the charged cells out of the charger, put the old cells in the charger, put the new cells in the battery pack, put it back in the case, put it back on the bike. It didn't take *that* long, but it was always annoying. Once I got lith-ion, I didn't even have to take the batteries off the bike - unplug the battery from the light, plug in the charger. I have some ideas for making the AA's easier to deal with, but I've probably already wondered off topic to long, lol.

Another thing about the quick chargers - I read from people who did tests that the quick chargers wouldn't completely charge the battery unless you left it on the charger overnight either. They'd charge it to 80-90% and call it "done". fyi.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:20 PM   #8
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I used many chargers before getting a LaCrosse a few months ago. It's wonderful. It immediately identified several bad cells that I'd been using, and I'm having better luck now that I got them out of my stable of cells.
By now I have a number of cells that Lacrosse identified as bad, that charged fine with other chargers and later with Lacrosse as well, without him complaining. This has not turned me away from that charger, just taught me that it is too fussy in rejecting cells.
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Old 04-27-10, 09:00 AM   #9
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By now I have a number of cells that Lacrosse identified as bad, that charged fine with other chargers and later with Lacrosse as well, without him complaining. This has not turned me away from that charger, just taught me that it is too fussy in rejecting cells.
The LaCrosse I've got won't charge cells with a voltage less than bout 1 V, which means it won't charge perfectly good cells that are just fully discharged (as happens when they're used in an unregulated flashlight or the like). Putting in a cell that it will charge, and jumping from the positive terminal of it to the positive terminal of the "dead" cell with a paper clip for a second or three will get it to charge the cell just fine.
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Old 04-28-10, 12:58 PM   #10
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Alternatively, use a cheap dumb charger for inital charging if dead cell, then Xfer

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The LaCrosse I've got won't charge cells with a voltage less than bout 1 V, ... jumping from the positive terminal of it to the positive terminal of the "dead" cell with a paper clip for a second or three will get it to charge the cell just fine.
This is why I keep a "dumb"charger around. When the LaCrosse refuses to start charging a fully discharged cell, I put the cell in the "dumb" cheap charger for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cell to the LaCrosse.
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Old 04-28-10, 01:15 PM   #11
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This is why I keep a "dumb"charger around. When the LaCrosse refuses to start charging a fully discharged cell, I put the cell in the "dumb" cheap charger for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cell to the LaCrosse.
You know, I have a LaCrosse and have never encountered a problem with a to drained battery (probably because I take them out as soon as any battery warning goes off).

If it's true, I'm not saying it's a showstopper, but it seems kinda dumb such a fancy charger can't handle it.
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Old 04-28-10, 10:36 PM   #12
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I've never had a problem charging low voltage cells with my Maha.
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Old 04-28-10, 11:36 PM   #13
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I've been happy with the Maha MH-C401FS and Maha MH-C9000. I also note some anecdotal problems with some LaCrosse models on CPF:
http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=252188
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Old 04-29-10, 08:29 AM   #14
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I've been happy with the Maha MH-C401FS and Maha MH-C9000. I also note some anecdotal problems with some LaCrosse models on CPF:
http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=252188
That could be why the 700 model is so much easier to find these days. I have a 700. Note that they say this problem appears to be only on the 900, not the 700.
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Old 04-29-10, 08:56 AM   #15
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I've never had a problem charging low voltage cells with my Maha.
I avoided the Maha C9000 because it sounded like setting it up to charge batteries was a giant PITA, like from the review "Showdown: Maha MH-C9000 vs. La Crosse BC-900" here -

http://www.amazon.com/Powerex-Wizard...2552709&sr=8-4


If you want to recondition four cells...On the C9000, you can insert in all 4 cells at once, but you have to program them one at a time. Which means:
- press UP/DOWN to select 'CYCLE', then 'ENTER' (2-5 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select charging current, ENTER (1-11 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select discharging current, ENTER (1-6 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select number of cycles, ENTER (1-13 key strokes)
Congratulations! You just finished programming the first cell. Now repeat that for the other three cells.


Is that really the case? Or maybe, does that only apply to special functions like reconditioning, but not regular charging?
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Old 04-29-10, 09:27 AM   #16
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I avoided the Maha C9000 because it sounded like setting it up to charge batteries was a giant PITA, like from the review "Showdown: Maha MH-C9000 vs. La Crosse BC-900" here -

http://www.amazon.com/Powerex-Wizard...2552709&sr=8-4


If you want to recondition four cells...On the C9000, you can insert in all 4 cells at once, but you have to program them one at a time. Which means:
- press UP/DOWN to select 'CYCLE', then 'ENTER' (2-5 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select charging current, ENTER (1-11 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select discharging current, ENTER (1-6 key strokes)
- press UP/DOWN to select number of cycles, ENTER (1-13 key strokes)
Congratulations! You just finished programming the first cell. Now repeat that for the other three cells.


Is that really the case? Or maybe, does that only apply to special functions like reconditioning, but not regular charging?
That review is total BS. I timed myself after reading it, and it took less than 25 seconds to set up my C-9000 to charge four batteries. That guy is making it seem like a hassle when it really is dead simple. He's not even posting how to charge cells, but rather he's posting about the most complicated thing the charger can do (repeated charging and discharging per the users parameters) and making it sound like that's what you need to do to simple charge a cell. It's totally dishonest. In fact there is a much easier way of reviving dead cells on the C-9000; he just choose to use the most convoluted one.

Last edited by Ziemas; 04-29-10 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-29-10, 09:31 AM   #17
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That review is total BS. I timed myself after reading it, and it took less than 25 seconds to set up my C-9000 to charge four batteries. That guy is making it seem like a hassle when it really is dead simple. He's not even posting how to charge cells, but rather he's posting about the most complicated thing the charger can do (repeated charging and discharging per the users parameters) and making it sound like that's what you need to do to simple charge a cell. It's totally dishonest. In fact I find the Maha easier to use than the Lacrosse.
To be fair, he might have been talking about reconditioning, not simply charging...?

Though unless I'm missing something, taking 25 seconds to charge some batteries sounds rather long...
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Old 04-29-10, 09:41 AM   #18
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Twenty five seconds to set up a charger to charge four batteries is a long time? Twenty five seconds?

He is talking abut reconditioning batteries, but he has chosen to use the most difficult way to do it. There is another much simpler way to recondition batteries on the C-9000. In my opinion the review isn't fair at all, and was written with the intention of slamming the C-9000. BTW, I've used both the Maha C-9000 and the Lacrosse BC-900. I prefer the Maha as I find easier to set up and I can charge cells with different capacities at the same time.
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Old 04-29-10, 09:56 AM   #19
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I have the Maha. It's not that complicated. If you want to charge a battery, just stick it in. If you want to recondition it, just press a button a few times. It takes more time to pull it out of the drawer. It sounds like the reviewer had an agenda.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:16 AM   #20
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On the LaCrosse, when you put several batteries in at once, then start to set modes, it assumes you're setting it for all of them at once unless you push the button indicating a single cell. Instantly 1/4 the number of button presses. Not complex, but kind of a pain. Seems to make sense to me that if I put in 4 cells at once, I probably want to do the same thing to all of them. It does seem to me to be a pain in the butt to have to set mode and current on each cell separately.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:33 AM   #21
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I love my Lacrosse charger. It's awesome.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:34 AM   #22
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Twenty five seconds to set up a charger to charge four batteries is a long time? Twenty five seconds?
On my LaCross, it takes no time at all at it should be. I'd rather not spend my time screwing around with it. If I want to do a battery test (full discharge/recharge), it takes 5-10 seconds.

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He is talking abut reconditioning batteries, but he has chosen to use the most difficult way to do it. There is another much simpler way to recondition batteries on the C-9000. In my opinion the review isn't fair at all, and was written with the intention of slamming the C-9000. BTW, I've used both the Maha C-9000 and the Lacrosse BC-900. I prefer the Maha as I find easier to set up and I can charge cells with different capacities at the same time.
Huh, interesting.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:38 AM   #23
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On the LaCrosse, when you put several batteries in at once, then start to set modes, it assumes you're setting it for all of them at once unless you push the button indicating a single cell. Instantly 1/4 the number of button presses. Not complex, but kind of a pain. Seems to make sense to me that if I put in 4 cells at once, I probably want to do the same thing to all of them. It does seem to me to be a pain in the butt to have to set mode and current on each cell separately.
It's not difficult at all, and something that seems to be over thought on the internet and totally not an issue in real life.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:40 AM   #24
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On my LaCross, it takes no time at all at it should be. I'd rather not spend my time screwing around with it. If I want to do a battery test (full discharge/recharge), it takes 5-10 seconds.



Huh, interesting.
You probably spent more time writing the above than it would have taken to set up the C-9000 to charge four batteries. I can't really see an extra 15 seconds making a difference when setting up a charger.
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Old 04-29-10, 11:18 AM   #25
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It's not difficult at all, and something that seems to be over thought on the internet and totally not an issue in real life.
Didn't say it was difficult, just that it was perhaps a bad user interface design that resulted in pressing 4 times more buttons than should be necessary. The LaCrosse makes the most common situation (doing the same thing to all batteries) and also makes it the default, and makes it pretty trivial to set one battery at a time if that's what you want.

If 95% of the time you put in 4 batteries and want to do the same thing to all 4 of them, it kind of makes sense to make the mode and current buttons change all 4 batteries at once by default, and then give an option to set one at a time for the rare instances when you need it.

If I want to do a conditioning, I put all my batteries in and press "mode" 2 or 3 times. Done. Same with changing charge current for all 4.
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