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Thread: Recommend the best Smart charger/dischargers: Universal and NiMH/NiCd..

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* HighlanderNorth's Avatar
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    Default Recommend the best Smart charger/dischargers: Universal and NiMH/NiCd..

    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?

    Thanks, Patrick......

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Recommend the best Smart charger/dischargers: Universal and NiMH/NiCd..

    Well, regarding the i4, Selfbuilt has a very good review in CPF about the oddities of how the slots are managed in the i4. Frankly, I am very skeptical of chargers that claim to handle both Lithium-Ion and NiMH cells. too many compromises are made. Your hot cells appear to be consistent with one characteristic of the i4.

    For Li-Ion, either the Pila or the 4Sevens charger are good - and I owned both of them. There are other Li-Ion chargers. At the moment I have only the 4Sevens chargers for reasons of physical space. Watch out for the "3V" cells and the "3.7" volt cells and matching chargers. Some chargers will handle both via a slider switch.

    For NiMH cells, check out the review by SilverFox in the combined sticky by Unforgiven at the top of the forum. Take your pick of those chargers.
    - I owned an AccuCharger - both sizes. OK, but too large.
    - The Maha C9000 is good, with many features, but physically too large for me - I sold mine. The LCD was way too bright!
    - I also had a couple versions of the Maha 801D and 800S for 8 AA/AAA cells - given away because of excessive size.
    - The LaCrosse BC700 is smaller and has not had the problems of the BC900 and will provide a reasonable readout of capacity via it's discharge function. I have had a couple copies of both units.
    - I still have the Titanium TG2800 for AA/AAA cells - reasonable performance with a discharge function.
    - The Sony BCGxxx with or w/o the LCD display has survived many years w/in my extended family in Europe and the US - over a dozen copies in use. It has discharge/charge function for 1-4 AA/AAA cells, but no capacity readout. You can purchase the Sony BCG charger on Amazon when in stock.
    - I tried but did not like some of the small Maha chargers. See the reviews.

    Notice that I do not have an all-in-one NiMH charger. Simply too large, especially when traveling. I purposely focus on AA/AAA cells and use upsizers if I need a D cell. I avoid purchasing devices that use C-D cells for reasons of size. I have a separate Maha 9V smart charger which has been very reliable. Usually the 9V chargers in the all-in-one chargers are dumb trickle chargers.
    Last edited by moldyoldy; 06-29-2012 at 07:04 PM. Reason: grammar

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    Default Re: Recommend the best Smart charger/dischargers: Universal and NiMH/NiCd..

    Edit: for NiMH cells, only purchase the LSD (Low Self Discharge) cells. Those cells have solved the "dead battery" problems with devices using normal NiMH cells. Now there are many LSD brands, but the Maha and Eneloop are very good. I have both.

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    Default Re: Recommend the best Smart charger/dischargers: Universal and NiMH/NiCd..

    another edit: for a multimeter, there are many available. Focus on a meter with a 10A range - which allows a more accurate measurement of charging current. If set on a ma range, most smart chargers will recognise the added resistance and indicate that the cell is bad - because of high resistance. Once you are looking at meters with a 10A range, that normally elimimates the lower accuracy units. Otherwise stick with the main brands. Nearly any meter in the $50+ area will probably have the needed accuracy and 10A range. ie: RadioShack, Home Depot, Menards, Lowes, etc. etc.

    In any case, you need a multimeter to manage rechargeable batteries.

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