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Thread: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

  1. #1

    Default Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Hey Guys,

    I am planning on slowly replacing all my AA and AAA batteries with eneloops and have been looking into chargers. I should be honest and say I don't know much about the technical details other than learning here about the cycles and mAh. My battery use will be to replace all the household AA and AAA as well as to run my Sunwayman D40A occasionally.

    I am looking for 1 charger ideally one that has an car adapter or one that a car adapter can be purchased for.

    I've read through numerous threads and it seems people rave about the Maha Powerex MH-C9000 and the La Crosse Technology BC-700 seems to be a popular less expensive choice. Frankly I have no idea what options I do and do not need. It seems the ability to see the batteries voltage and capacity would be useful, as well as discharging and recharging to get a good full charge which both seem to have. But after this I'm not sure what options are missing and needed from C9000 for 2x the price.

    In other words I'm looking for recommendations on a charger for an newbie with very modest usage demands. I don't want to break the bank buying features I don't need or understand, but don't want to buy junk that will ruin the cells.

    Thanks for the help,
    Dan
    Last edited by chitwndan; 02-07-2014 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Just my opinion after owning both a Maha C-9000 and LC BC-700 for two years. If you're only getting one charger and you want one that probably does the best job out of the more common consumer chargers, the Maha C-9000 is hard to beat. You can buy the 12v car adapter like I did for $10 shipped and run the Maha from the car, or any 12v solar charging system.

    The C-9000 is bigger than the BC-700, which I actually travel with, but it's got that 2A charge rate vs. the 700's 700mA top rate. You should look into the BC-1000, which does 1.8A (IIRC,) but it's more money than the 700 and close to the Maha, so the 'Wizard One' still gets the nod in my book.

    If you need to charge up say 8 batteries at a time, then the Maha 808M is a pretty good charger which does Cs and Ds as well, but it's not quite as sophisticated as the C-9000. Still, it's a worthy charger for those needing to charge up a lot of batteries at once, or to do Cs and Ds down the road.

    Chris
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Hmm The BC-1000 is actually more expensive on amazon than the Maha C-9000. I use very few C and fewer if and D cells, so I was eventually planning on buying adapters for those. This is also because I am trying to simplify this process as much as possible and only worry about keeping two types of cells charged..

    I guess the c-9000 is the way to go then. Thanks for the insight.
    Last edited by chitwndan; 02-07-2014 at 09:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Right now, my Ebay dealer for the Maha and LC chargers, has the Maha C-9000 and 8 Eneloop Gen. 2 1500x batteries for $73.25 shipped. That's basically $22 for the batteries and $51.25 for the Maha, shipping inclusive. He's selling the 12v car adapter for $5.84 shipped and he's also got the BC-1000 for $59.93 shipped, sans any batteries, so he's a bit higher on the BC-1000, like Amazon.

    I won't post his name, but you can search Ebay under BC-1000, or Maha C-9000 and figure it out, or just PM me.

    I too thought about going with the D adapters for a 12v 'hurricane fan' that I have, but you're stacking 8 AA batteries in series and while you get to ~11+ volts, you're still stuck at whatever capacity your AA battery charts at, which isn't a lot and then you need to be mindful of matching those batteries and culling out the weaker ones to prevent reverse charging, which was a deal breaker for me.

    Chris
    Convoy: S2, M1, M2, Fenix: P1D, PD32, HL30, ET: D25C Ti, SF: 6P, ZL: SC-600, Klarus: P2A, Jetbeam: BA-20, Icon: Rogue 1, L3: L10, Xeno: E03, ShiningBeam: I-Mini, Olight: i3s, SWM: D40A, M11R, V11R, Maglite: 6Ds, MMs, Solitaires, LaCrosse BC-700, Maha C-9000, XTAR VP2, MP1S, WP2 II, NiteCore i4, v2.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Do not pass up a good small charger just because it does not have an input for a 12VDC car adapter. The 12VDC to 120VAC adapaters for (western) vehicles are rather low cost in stores and will function with much more than just a battery charger. I migrated up from a simple plug-in DC/AC power supply that plugged in to my vehicle's adapter outlet to a corded DC/AC power supply, still plug-in. It is listed as 150watt as I recall. In the stickies at the top of the forum is a long test with small chargers by Silverfox. I progressively purchased several of the recommendatons therein and have not been dissatisfied. As always, YMMV!

    edit: a reasonable DC/AC power converter costs about ~$20 or so. Of course, larger sizes for a higher price are available.
    Last edited by moldyoldy; 02-08-2014 at 03:51 AM. Reason: DC/AC cost

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    + 1 for the maha C9000.

    The C9000 has a bit more features.
    It has a break-in function as well as a dedicated discharge function , whereas BC-700 does not.
    It also has a lot more charge and discharge rates to choose from.
    The C9000's bigger size is actually a good thing in my opinion. This means there is better ventalion around the cells.

    Not that it means much these days. But if you wanna charge c cells for instance , the C9000 has a bigger charge limit ( 4000 mah ).

    The C9000 will show the cells internal resistance ( only once ), some seconds after the charge begins. I don't think the BC-700 does.
    However the BC-700 is better to charge really poor crap cells , if one likes to play around with these.
    Another thing some dislike about the C9000 is the lower cut-off voltage at 1.47 volt. I belive the BC-700 has a cut-off at 1.52 or 1.53 volt.
    This means the C9000 will only fill eneloops approximately 95-98 percent up , unless you topoff charge them for another 2 hours.
    Last edited by Viking; 02-08-2014 at 05:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Flashaholic Rosoku Chikara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    I too cast my vote for the MAHA C9000.

    It is somewhat (surprisingly to some people) "large" in size, but that is not a bad thing. Having the cells spaced well apart assists with cooling. [Oops, just noticed that Viking already said the same thing.] It is also (in my opinion) quite robustly constructed. I am expecting mine to provide many years of service.

    The 2 hour "topoff charge" has never been a problem for me. I rarely "watch them like a hawk," so my cells usually end up spending several hours on the charger anyway.

    It may not be "perfect," but so far, it is the "best available." Price may seem high, but no reason to skimp on your charger if you are going to be purchasing substantial quantities of good quality (expensive?) cells such as Eneloops.

    In the long run you will need most of its functions. The problem with simple chargers (no matter how well they work) is that they don't provide much (if any) indication of the condition of your cells. For example, if you are considering 3xAA cell -> D cell adapters you will want to occasionally verify that those 3 AA cells are well "matched." Likewise, for the cells you use in your Sunwayman D40A. Without some method of measuring condition and capacity, you cannot match your cells.

    The need for "matching" extends to some degree to all applications that require more than one cell. In addition, over the years, some of your Eneloops will eventually deteriorate to the point where you will only want to use them for less demanding applications. You cannot do this, if you cannot measure condition.

    I say buy the MAHA C9000 and don't look back. Someday, someone may come out with a better charger, but who knows when that will be. And, until that day, as many others have already pointed out, it is your best choice.
    Last edited by Rosoku Chikara; 02-08-2014 at 10:42 AM.
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  8. #8
    Flashaholic Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosoku Chikara View Post

    The 2 hour "topoff charge" has never been a problem for me.

    I think it was 45/70 that had a theory, that the low cutoff voltage combined with the following top off charge could be a more gentle way to completely fill up the cell. Based on the theory that the last squeezing 2 percent charge is more stressful than the first 98 percent.
    To me it makes sense so I actually like the low cut off voltage.
    Last edited by Viking; 02-08-2014 at 08:31 AM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Great advice guys, thanks a LOT... looks like the MAHA 9000. I was concerned it would be like buying a Ferrari for your grandma to drive to and from church, but clearly it's the way to go especially given I plan on investing good money on the eneloops.

    It was mentioned to fully charge them it needs to be left on the charger for a 2 hour "top off charge" and the charger then goes into a low charge mode so as not to damage the cells. So to clarify, if I were to forget that my cells were charging that they would be fine, right?

  10. #10
    Flashaholic Viking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    Yes after the two hours top off charge ( at 100 mA ) it will trickle charge at 10 mA indefinitely , just to keep the charge.
    I don't think that will be harmfull.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic Aahhyes68's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on buying a charger for AA and AAA batteries

    I bought my Maha 9000 off Ebay for 47.34 shipped from a seller named Islandman2009. No car charger. A couple extra bucks in your pocket can't hurt.

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