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  1. #1
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    What do I buy to Test my NIMH AA or AAA batteries capacity?

    What do I buy to Test my NIMH AA or AAA batteries capacity?
    I have plenty of them and would like to weed out those that do not hold their charge well.

    Is there an affordable device for this.

    I do use a charger with refresher model by Vinson, BC1HU Universal Smart Charger .

    Thanks Robert
    Robert
    Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Maybe higher than your desired 'affordable' price but the maha c9000 will do this and more. A great charger.

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    I bit the bullet and bought the maha (Powerex) c9000. Newegg occasionally have deals on these for $50 with a pack of 4 AA's thrown in and free shipping. Great device and it did bring some of my (previously thought to be dead) batteries back to life.

    If I hadn't gotten the c9000 I might have picked up the LaCrosse BC- 9009 ($10 cheaper but recent spotty reviews turned me away), or the BC-700 ($30 on amazon, free shipping) if you are okay with the slightly lower 700ma max charge rate.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Maybe higher than your desired 'affordable' price but the maha c9000 will do this and more. A great charger.
    Seconded. My C9000 has recovered a bunch of NiMh's that my other chargers refused to charge.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    It is interesting how we find certain things to pay attention to. I admit to wanting to eek the last possible use out of batteries as well. But realistically, there is only so much you can do.

    I own about 20 AA rechargeable batteries and marked the identical ones so that I know which ones are newer and which are older. I also make an effort to "cycle through" all of them -so as to sort of average out usage.

    But really, getting all anal on using refresh mode is even beyond Richard Cranium. (I do however perform occasional deep discharge cycles.) My rule, if they grow weak fast - even after a good charge cycle - pitch em.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Agreed and I have no problem tossing a bad one or more. What I want to avoid is having a bad one in say my Bike light they were all charged fine.
    The set will work but obviously not as long as I would hope for and of course tossing the bad one is what I am trying to do here.
    Robert
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  7. #7
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    The habit of properly conditioning and maintaining batteries probably came from my days of running electric r/c cars. It's not about getting all anal about these things, but having the right equipment for the job.

    The general idea is when using batteries connected in series, you should match the battery capacity of the cells so they all discharge more or less at the same rate. Before I got a smart charger I used to do what you described - grouping cells by age. After conditioning batteries, it turned out I had newer cells that weren't holding anywhere near stated capacity (and I was therefore getting crappy runtimes when mixed with other cells that were holding higher capacity). Without the conditioner I couldn't have gotten the capacity info. I also had a couple of newish 2700mah cells that I wrote off (and threw half of them away), and turned out to be perfectly fine after cycling the ones I didn't throw away. Between the cost of batteries I almost threw out and the replacement cost to buy new ones, I nearly paid for the conditioner.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Maybe higher than your desired 'affordable' price but the maha c9000 will do this and more. A great charger.
    +1

    It'll be the last charger for AA/AAA that you buy for a long time. Alternatively, you can buy a hobby charger, but they are bit more complex than the C-9000 and you'll need to get battery holders. On the plus side they can charge many different types of batteries, including li-ion.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I'll have to keep this on my list of THINGS TO BUY vs MUST BUY. Maybe I'll get it and sell what I have....hmmm there's an idea
    Robert
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Am I missing something here?
    The Maha (Powerex) c9000 is about $50 And the LaCrosse BC-700 is about $24.
    The Maha will charge faster, but I usually drop them in at night and remove in the am so time is not that big an issue (I think).

    What I really want to do is keep things simple:
    a) Charge the battery and then be able to test and see which batterries are holding the charge well.
    b) Test a battery after use (4 in my Dinotte) and see which one(s) may be going bad
    c) Repair or Refresh the Bad batteries to bring them upto snuf.

    I really ned input into which will work and not become a major project for this non-techie guy.

    Thanks all
    Robert
    Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Well - your post is confusing "going bad" - with being "discharged? And the other posts seem to indicate they keep finding "bad" brand new batteries.

    I don't know anything about conditioning batteries, but the post comments sound like a lot of hassle and time for supposedly being the "coolest" (efficient?) battery user. Okay. You're a cool battery user.

    Maybe, I'll do that in winter time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    Well - your post is confusing "going bad" - with being "discharged? And the other posts seem to indicate they keep finding "bad" brand new batteries.

    I don't know anything about conditioning batteries, but the post comments sound like a lot of hassle and time for supposedly being the "coolest" (efficient?) battery user. Okay. You're a cool battery user.

    Maybe, I'll do that in winter time.
    Was I that Confusing?
    I'm actually trying to understand your last post.

    Okay you want to help and I appreciate it so here is the simple version:
    Is there really something in the MAHA 9000 that is missing in the Lacrosse 700?
    I see that in the MAHA there is more room between batteries.
    I guess what I meant to say is that even though I keep the same groups of 4 batteries together when I use my Dinnotte
    I can run into a group that appears to run out sooner than others.
    My goal would be to find the bad battery in that group, refresh that battery
    and then have this set run the correct amount of usage time.

    Hope this is clearer.
    Robert
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  13. #13
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    I have an older LaCrosse BC700 and it works fine. I believe there was a problem with the LaCrosse overheating and meltng down. They probably fixed that (I would think they did by now).

    You can use the test mode which will discharge the battery then recharge them until fully charge. The display will show a capacity value of each battery in mah unit. Honestly, I do not know just how accurate this test really is when the drain test cycle current is lower than what most bicycle light draws. Battery have their own characteristic behavoir when they have been used for a while. Some battery can be ok with a lower current drain but discharge faster at a high drain. That's why I prefer to just start brand new where they meet factory spec. Same goes with reconditioning them. If I was using this for like a simple flashlight, then weeding out bad cell from ok cell is worthwhile the effort. However if it is for a headlight or a tailight on a bicycle where safety can be compromise, better off start new and save these older cell for other non critical equipments.
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  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I don't know the specifics of the capabilities of the bc700, but have a c9000. You can program a 'refresh analyze' cycle which tops of the cell, then discharges at any desired rate, then charges it to full at any desired rate. This lets you know how much capacity a cell has and since you can set the discharge rate can match it to your light. It also has a 'burn in' function where it performs a very slow charge, slow discharge, slow recharge per the standard industry method for determining cell capacity. Doing this long slow cycles also helps condition a cell which can increase capacity lost thru past misuse. This burn in does take about 42hrs. though so you need to do it when you don't need the charger for anything else (or keep two bays open, or have a back up charger)

    The C9000 also can measure the impedance of a cell, put in a fully dicharged cell in and it will give a reading between 1.4 to 2.2. A good new cell will read 1.5-6, when they get over 1.8 or so they are getting old and over 2 or so the charger won't even charge them any more. This is a quick and easy way to check which cells may need closer attention (a burn in cycle) or be used for non critical applications. But it can only be done with a discharged cell.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Agreed and Understood.
    I'm not a cheap (really cheap) person and would toss them.
    My frustration is that I need 4 sets to rotate and I have more than that. Of course I hate to pop them in and guessing they are fine then
    boom, 15 minutes into the ride I find out that I've got 20 minutes left. Maybe I should run=test the setsat home and see which may be the better the longer
    running sets. I just figured there may be a better way to weed out the bad boy.

    Then again buying 16 batteries might be the same as a Maha.
    Robert
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  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not the Slowest View Post
    Then again buying 16 batteries might be the same as a Maha.
    It very well may be less money to just buy 16 more cells. But the maha is more fun! More importantly with the info you can get about each cell you can better arrange you sets and weed out the bad ones (as the new ones go bad) which will keep them all running longer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    It very well may be less money to just buy 16 more cells. But the maha is more fun! More importantly with the info you can get about each cell you can better arrange you sets and weed out the bad ones (as the new ones go bad) which will keep them all running longer.
    Okay but does the MAHA do a better job of this that the Lacrosse 700?
    Robert
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  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not the Slowest View Post
    Okay but does the MAHA do a better job of this that the Lacrosse 700?
    I don't know if it does a better job, but I do know the maha is far more flexible in what it can do - programming any charging/discharging rates you want & more. But with that programming flexibility comes a bit more user complexity perhaps, but despite that it still can be used casually. Just pop an eneloop cell in any slot and walk away without a single button push and it will charge it at a 1000ma rate which is ideal for eneloops.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Okay, I got it. Thanks
    Now I just have to work on getting a reliable replacement battery for my Magicshine.

    Thanks all, The Maha it will be once I bust open my kids piggy bank
    Robert
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not the Slowest View Post
    What do I buy to Test my NIMH AA or AAA batteries capacity?
    I have plenty of them and would like to weed out those that do not hold their charge well.
    I think the only way to test capacity is to discharge the battery. So you could get a crude idea by running the battery continuously in a flashlight and see how long it lasts.
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  21. #21
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    The maha c9000 charger actually has a discharge-only mode too (in addition to programmable discharge-charge cycle mode). It will display the capacity at the end of the discharge. Your post just reminded me of something I read on someone's review of this charger on candlepowerforums: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=154756

  22. #22
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Here's another solution. Take one set(4 batteries) out of rotation. Buy a small AA flashlight(fenix has one), mount onto bike, test burn time as you ride. Run it until it's out, score time and put in a second one. W/in the week you'll have almost 2 sets a batteries done and another mini-light.

  23. #23
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    I bought a MAHA c9000 a few years ago and I can say that it has earned its keep. I have saved more than its purchase price by not having to throw away cells. I have some sanyo 1650mAh from1999 that are still going and test around 80% capacity. I use those in low tech kids toys, if thomas the train only runs for 80% of the time its not a big deal, just stick in another battery.
    Maha's Imedion batteries seem to work fine too but I've only been using them for a couple years so i can't say for sure yet if they will run 10+ like sanyo's. I use those for the higher tech toys, Wii, Leapster, kidzoom camera, then my sutff I use eneloops.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Not the Slowest's Avatar
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    Bit the bullet and Bought the POWEREX MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer w/4pcs 2700mAh AA Rechargeable Batteries
    from New Egg for $48.99. FREE SHIPPING TODAY, Not sure how long the sale is
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817355014

    I'm excited and of course will most likely go the Li-ion route soon, but with so many AA & AAA's I am sure they will be used in my kids toys or backup cells
    for my AA bike lights.

    THANK YOU ALL
    Robert
    Not The Slowest, Never The Fastest, even Solo

  25. #25
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    Lithium ion isn't perfect though, remember they loose so much of their life over time so you have to factor in replacement costs, then remember you usually can't swap spares with another device and each device will need its own charger.

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