I first bought rechargeable batts back in the late 80's- early 90's, and didnt think much of them to be honest. They seemed to not last as long, and lost their charge when not in use too. Then I bought a 4 pack of AA Energizer rechargeables in 2005 for my point and shoot Canon digi camera. But soon after, my truck was broken into(literally, they broke the passenger window), and the guy stole about $2000+ of tools, cell phone, and my Canon camera. So I bought a Nikon that has its own specialty rechargeable battery(an En-EL1), so I gave the 4 rechargeable AA's to my Mom. She didnt like them because they would go dead quickly, so she stopped using them.
But then I came here last year and rediscovered rechargeable batteries mainly due to the fact that they've gotten better over time, and I also began buying many lights, so I needed rechargeable batts for them. I now have 16340's(RCR 123), 18650's, 14500(all Li-Ion), then I have LSD AA's and AAA's in NiMh.
So I needed a charger and I bought the inexpensive Nitecore/Jetbeam/Sysmax Intellicharger I4. It is somewhat rare in that it will recharge NiCd, NiMH, and Li-Ion batteries, in MANY, MANY sizes. But it is also very simple, and has no LCD screen telling me the voltage or capacity or anything. It will automatically discern what each battery needs as far as charging, and it will do it, and the 4 bays are separately controlled by its system, so it can charge mixed battery sizes(to some degree)
But last night I was topping off 2- 2500mah XX Eneloops, while also charging AA's in the other 2 bays, and when I went to remove the now finished Eneloops, they were REALLY hot! I've never had any batteries come out of this charger hot like that. They are usually room temp, or slightly warm, but not hot.
Anyway, I want a nice charger that will not only charge, but discharge as well, and will automatically cycle batteries through charge/discharge if needed to maintain them. I want a charger with an LCD screen that tells me all the pertinent info. I'd like to have an all-in-one universal charger, kinda like the setup of my Intellicharger with the capability to charge NiCd, NiMh and LI-Ion of many sizes, but I get the feeling there arent too many of these out there, with the LCD screen and all.
So in lieu of that, I'd settle for a smart charger that does the NiMh/NiCd in AAA,AA,C,D, 9v if possible, and maybe another Li-Ion smart charger with LCD and all the other bells and whistles listed above^.
But maybe a third option would be to just keep using the Intellicharger I4, and get an electronic multi-meter to monitor all the other stuff. But the I4 doesnt do C or D(not that I need it to right now, but....)
I've looked around, read reviews, etc., but I wanted to get the opinions of people here who have actually owned and used these things for an extended period of time, and not just a review from someone who just opened the box today, because that doesnt tell us much about toughness or longevity, although its good for basic specs).
Is there an all-in-one universal smart charger that does Li-Ion and NiMh with LCD, etc? If so which do you recommend, if not, which separate NiMh/MiCd and Li-Ion chargers w/LCD, etc do you recommend?
Which basic, no nonsense, inexpensive, fairly well optioned multi-meter is recommended?