Hi, I am a sports photographer. Long story short, I will shortly have 32 (or more) Powerex 2700s (NiMH) and probably need another charger to charge them all. I hardly ever fully discharge batteries as I swap them out before they die. I already have a fast charger and a slow charger with a refresh button.
I was thinking of getting the Maha MH-C808M, Maha MH-C801D or Maha MH-C800S. I don't really know the difference. I don't need to charge C or D batteries so probably don't need the Maha MH-C808M.
All I want to do is charge AA (and sometimes AAA) batteries. In the summer I will need to charge them all at least once a week maybe more.
So basically, do I really need a smart charger? Does it make much of a difference?
Dumb charger is fine for fully discharged cells, but not a good idea for partially discharged. Reason being, a dumb charger will put the same mAh in no matter if the cell can hold that much or not, so you end up overcharging every time. So for your purposes I'd def suggest a delta-V charger.
Independant channels (not in pairs of cells) would be another good thing if you dont want to keep track that discharged pairs get charged together (and essential if your devices use odd numbers of cells).
I have the C801D (all I have are AA and AAA cells) and use it also in my photographic endeavours.
I have 66 AA NiMh cells I cycle thru my 3 Canon DSLR's.
I think it is a good charger and have never had any problems with it.
Had it for about 4-5 years now.
I like the slow charge feature when I'm not in a hurry because it is much easier
on the cells, and the cycle feature which I use about every 12-15 charge cycles
just to exercise the cells, because like you, I change them out before they get too discharged.
If you are going to use C or D cells anytime for other applications, get the 808M.
A smart charger is probably the best way to go as dumb chargers tend to also be very slow chargers to make them safe, you can't really have a dumb fast charger. Or at least not one that won't ruin batteries. But it's actually a good habit to not kill the batteries. When used in multiples, using them til they die really only serves to kill the weakest battery through reverse charging. Individually refreshing them with that feature every now and then helps to revive them some but don't expect miracles because you've been taking pretty good care of them. Honestly the only time I actually need a refresh feature is if they've been sitting for a long time unused.