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Thread: Charger Comparison

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    Default Charger Comparison

    Charger Comparison

    Edit: I will be adding results from various chargers to this post as I test them.

    I have heard several people express that rechargeable batteries just don’t hold up as well as other types. Others complain at the poor run time they experience when using rechargeable cells in their lights.

    Many people have rechargeable lights (TigerLight, Streamlight Stinger and Ultra Stinger, MagCharger, SureFire 8NX and 8AX, SureFire 10X Dominator, SureFire L7, and the list goes on) and complain that they don’t get decent run time from them.

    When looking at rechargeable batteries, the charger my play a more important role than the cells themselves when it comes to performance. I decided to take a look at this from the charger perspective. Could it be that our charging methodology is flawed?

    I picked up a new travel battery charger and have been getting acquainted with it.

    The Titanium TG-700 (from www.AmondoTech.com ) is a compact independent channel charger for AA or AAA NiMh or NiCd cells. You can charge up to 4 cells at a time and it plugs into AC (110V-240V) and also comes with a DC (12V-24V) adapter. Charging current is about 450 mA. It then goes into a trickle charge mode of 30 mA. It does not have a discharge circuit.

    Dimensions are 4 ¾” long x 3” wide x 1 ¼” thick. It weighs 4.5 ounces and the DC adapter adds another 2 ounces for a total of 6.5 ounces. AA cells fit right in and a flip of a lever reduces the length of two slots (two levers total) to accommodate the shorter AAA cells.

    I decided to test a group of cells charged in this charger and compare the results to the same cells charged in my Vanson BC-1HU. The Vanson charge rate is 500 mA and the trickle rate is 50 mA. It is also an independent channel charger and unlike the TG-700 it has a discharge function.

    I also picked up some Titanium AA 2400 mAh cells to check out.

    Please note that these procedures do not apply to Li-Ion or Li-Poly cells.

    The first procedure with new cells is to go through a few cycles on them. I started by discharging the cells, then charging them up again on my Vanson. I repeated this cycle 4 times, then proceeded to discharge them again.

    I would assume that when the charger green light comes on, the cells are fully charged.

    I put the cells on the Titanium charger and let them charge until the indicator lights turned from red to green. I then took them off the charger and let them cool down. The cells got up to about 130 F during the charge cycle. After an hour of cool down, I ran the discharge tests.

    I then waited an hour and put the same cells in the Vanson charger and once again pulled them out when the lights turned green. The temperature was only about 110 F, but I followed the same cool down cycle. After an hour of cool down, I once again ran the same discharge tests.

    Here is a graph of one of the tests, however the other cells behaved in a similar fashion.

    EDIT: As you can see, the following graph has the data from all of the chargers. It is getting a little messy, so I am adding a table with the chargers ranked according to Watt Hours. The reason I choose Watt Hours is because it represents a combination of capacity and voltage retention under load. Capacity is important, but it is my humble opinion that Watt Hours is more important.

    Here is the charger ranking according to Watt Hours



    As you can see, both chargers ended the charge early, but the Vanson was able to get more charge into the cells before the green light came on. I later found that if I left the cells trickle charging for an additional 2 hours on the Vanson and 4 hours on the Titanium, the capacity of the cell went up and there was little difference between the chargers. I finally ended up with a rating of 1.94 Ah, 2.35 Wh, and 116 M at this 1 amp discharge rate.

    The next time you go to grab the cells off the charger when the light turns green, remember you might be able to get an additional 10-20 minutes of run time (at a 1 amp load) by letting them trickle charge for a while.

    I would suggest that for AA cells of around 1800-2500 mAh capacity, you can leave the cells on a Vanson charger for an additional 3 hours after the green light comes on (or 5 hours for the Titanium charger) to get that extra capacity.

    I am quite pleased with the Titanium TG-700 and will be replacing my Radio Shack 13 hour charger with it while traveling.

    Edit: 1/23/05 added Maha C-401FS charger results. Thanks Brock for letting me borrow this unit.

    The slow charge rate on the Maha C-401FS does a very good job of getting the most capacity into the batteries. The price is that it takes a bit longer to charge.

    The fast charge rate on the Maha C-401FS is scary. Not only do the batteries heat up, but it appears that the slots charge unevenly. I will terminate the charge when the cells reach 130 degrees F. The cells on the Maha charger shot past 130 rapidly and as I was reaching to shut the charger down, the green light came on. The temperature continued to climb to 135 and was still going up when I pulled the cells from the charger and held them in my hand to cool them down. This is not new information, it has been reported several times before. I just want to confirm that it does happen and I believe constant use of this setting will reduce the life of your batteries.

    On the other hand, if you need a quick "top off" to get a bit more capacity from partially used cells, the fast charge would give you extra capacity quickly. For example if you are out using your lights and run the batteries part way down. You could come in, take a short break, put the batteries on fast charge, pull them off the charger before they heat up, and go back out and have more fun. The "balanced charge" of the cells may be thrown off by this, but it might be worth a try to get some additional run time.

    Brock sent me his charger and this observation is based on a sample of one. I did do two runs to verify the trend, and it appears that the C-401FS on fast charge delivers different charge rates to the different slots. I ran my first test and was surprised to see the scatter. I mixed up the batteries so they were charging in different slots, and got very similar results. The performance followed the slots, not the batteries. On this charger, slot 1 does the best, and slot 3 the worst.

    Here is a graph of the results from the fast charge.



    This is another reason not to use the fast charge option on the C-401FS.

    To sum up, the Maha C-401FS on slow does a great job of charging AA and AAA cells. It does not have a discharge function. On fast charge, cells get too hot and there is some inconsistency between the amount of charge for each slot. Overall a good charger, just be careful when using the fast charge option.

    1/25/05 added results from the Ccrane KC-983 Quick Charger. Thanks Brock for letting me borrow this unit.

    It did a good job charging. I noticed a slight reduction in capacity from slots 3 and 4, but it was not enough to worry about. With this charger you put a single cell in and check the condition of the cell with the lid open. To start charging, you need to close the lid. The charger first goes through a discharge cycle down to 1.0 volts, then a “soft start,” then a “fast charge,” ending up with a “trickle charge.” I believe it has independent channels, however, if you put another cell in to be charged in the middle of the charge cycle, it will start discharging the cell that was already in there. I guess it resets every time you open the lid. The batteries only got warm during charging.

    1/28/05 added some results from the Triton charger/analyzer. Thanks Bwaites for letting me borrow this unit.

    The Triton has so many features it would take some time to check them all out. I focused on the charging side. I have to say that it is one of the most versatile chargers out there. The Triton user manual states that you can do a better job of charging if you set the parameters rather than use the Auto settings. That is an understatement! The Triton on Auto mode is close to, if not THE, worst performer so far. If you get a Triton, take the time to figure out the settings. You will enjoy better performance from your batteries as a result.

    I set the Triton for a 400 mA charge rate to get a good comparison with the other chargers in this test. It did almost as good as the full 24 hour charge on the Vanson. I ran additional tests at 1 amp and 2 amps and was surprised. There was very little reduction in the total capacity and the cells stayed below 100 degrees F. After testing the Maha on fast mode, I was expecting the cells to get hot at 2 amps, but they didn’t. The charging algorithm used in the Triton does a great job.

    Some brief comments on the Triton’s other capabilities. I did several discharge tests and got results similar to what I am seeing with my CBA. I check the NiCd charging and discharging function and found it similar to the NiMh. I charged up my lead acid battery from my Pelican Big D without problems. People using the Triton report that it is a very good charger, but also it has a few minor quirks. That did not stop them from highly recommending it, but it will take a while to get used to it.

    The Triton will also charge Li-Ion and Li-Poly cells and packs. There is some debate over the termination of the charge. To get a “full” charge on a Li-Ion cell, you need to charge to 4.2 volts and hold it there until the current drops way down. You do not trickle charge Li-Ion, but the last part of the charge is at a rate below most trickle charge rates. The price you pay for utilizing a “full” charge is reduced cycles. Charging to 4.2 volts gives you about 500 cycles. The Triton charges to 4.1 volts and does not seem to hold the final part of the charge long enough. Pulling a cell from the Triton saw the voltage drop from 4.1 volts to 3.9+ volts in about a half hour. My experience with other chargers is that a cell “fully” charged to 4.2 volts will drop to 4.185 volts in a week. The Triton does charge faster than my other chargers, but you end up with less capacity in the cell.

    There are a couple of advantages in terminating the charge early. You will heat the cell up more with you hand than with the Triton charging it, so I would suggest that it is safer. The other advantage is increased cycle life. A cell charged to 4.1 volts is estimated to give you around 1500 cycles.

    I have only touched the surface of what the Triton is capable of, but my brief exposure to it has me planning to get one. Please understand that the Triton is designed for the RC community to field charge their battery packs. You hook it up to your car battery and away you go. To use the Triton in the workshop, you will need a separate power supply. Radio Shack sells an excellent 13.8 volt 15 amp unit that works well with the Triton.

    1/29/05 I have added the results from the Energizer 1 hour charger. Thanks Brody.

    This charger is pretty straight forward. Put the cells in, plug it in and go. I observed that with my Titanium 2400 AA test batteries it took 1 hr 17 minutes to charge. That is close to an hour. The temperature topped out at 110 degrees. It did a pretty respectable job of charging the batteries.

    1/30/05 I have added the results from the Lightning 4000N charger. Thanks Brody.

    This charger is very impressive. It is smaller than the Titan TG-700 and does a better job of indicating full charge. It has a discharge function and the cells stayed cool during charging. At the completion of charging it switches to a trickle charge mode. The trickle charge mode is different than others in that it does a high current pulse at a low cycle rate. Most chargers give a low current constant rate. You are cautioned not to “store” batteries on the charger for an extended period of time. Overcharging damage may result.

    The down side is that it only runs on AC power. It is interesting that the manufacturer ( www.RipVan100.com ) has a bold headline that reads “No Car Adaptor Needed.” Another down side item is that it only does pairs of cells. It has two independent channels and each one hold two cells. You have to charge two batteries at a time.

    The publicized advantage of charging two cells at a time is that it tends to equalize them. I can see that this would be an advantage in devices that use pairs of batteries, but if you only use one at a time, the advantage is lost.

    This is an excellent charger if you have no need for the ability to charge from your car, and don’t mind doing pairs at a time.

    2/1/05 I have added the results from the Ray O Vac IC3 charger. Thanks Underdog for letting me borrow your charger and batteries.

    For the purpose of this evaluation, I am only including the results from charging my test Titanium 2400 mAh AA cells on the IC3 charger. In this application, the IC3 charger is simply at timed charger. You put the battery in, and in about 12 hours it is charged up and ready to go. I was very pleased with the “overnight” performance. It did a good job on non-IC3 cells. I would not purchase this system to charge normal NiMh batteries, but in a pinch it works quite well. This system is better utilized with the IC3 batteries.

    The IC3 system testing (with the IC3 batteries) will be covered in a separate thread. It seems to work very well. If you need batteries in a hurry, this is the system for you.

    2/6/05 La Crosse Technology BC-900 Charger (available from Jon Burly)

    It has modes that range from simple to complex.

    In simple mode, just plug the cells in and come back the next day and they are ready to go. The charge rate of 200 mA is great for AAA cells and is OK for AA’s also. When the charge is complete, the LCD display shows FULL. In a perfect circuit a 2400 mAh AA battery should be fully charged in 12 hours, but figuring in losses, 14 hours is more realistic.

    I could stop there and say this is a great charger… but there is more.

    I will not go into all the details because there is another thread that pretty much spells out all the features. Suffice it to say that it offers:
    6 charge rates (from 200 mA to 1800 mA) and
    6 discharge rates (from 100 mA to 900 mA) for AA cells.
    3 charge rates (from 200 mA to 700 mA) and
    3 discharge rates (from 100 mA to 350 mA) for AAA cells.
    A test mode.
    A refresh mode.
    And a display that gives you lot of information about the cell you are working with.

    It has 4 independent slots and you can mix AAA and AA cells, NiCd and NiMh chemistries next to each other. You can even pick (with minor limitations) different charge and discharge rates for different slots. You can match cells for use in multi cell lights and check for weak cells. The refresh mode lets you break in new cells and revive old ones.

    This charger is a true workhorse.

    I have issues with the absolute numbers it gives for capacities, but it is consistent from slot to slot and from cycle to cycle. I find it gives more uniform capacities if you start the test mode with a fully charged cell.

    It is too bad they don’t have one for C and D cells…

    All of this and there is more. The charger comes in a handy carry bag along with 4 adapters. You can use your AA batteries in C and D cell applications. I have a 3 D Mag Mod by 3rd Shift (great light Stephen) and I have been using 9000 mAh D cells in it. The D cells weigh about 6 ounces each. The Titanium 2400 mAh AA cell along with the AA to D adapter weighs about 2 ounces. I pop 3 of these in and safe about 12 ounces when using the light. Granted the run time is less, but it still goes for a couple of hours and that is enough time for a lot of projects.

    Not only does this charger have lots of features, it also does a good job of charging. I show that it came in very close to the best of all those tested.

    What more can I say. I am very impressed.

    2/15/05 I have added data from the AccuPower AccuManager 20 Charger. Thanks Lureleven for letting me check this charger (and a number of cells) out.

    We have a new winner. The Vanson BC-1HU (charging for 24 hours) held the lead for the most charged cells until now. The AccuManager 20 has done a better job in a shorter time.

    This charger has independent channels for 4 bays of round cells and two 9V bays. It will charge NiCd and NiMh chemistry in AAA, AA, C, D, and 9V sizes. It shares the same housing as the Vanson, but has a distinctive blue and yellow color. AccuPower claims they do not need a discharge function because the algorithm they use for charging will take care of any memory effect that is forming in NiCd or NiMh cells.

    The most significant claim is that the AccuManager 20 will charge up any capacity battery in one setting. The Vanson is only good to about 8000 mAh batteries. My 9000 mAh cells require a reset half way through the charge cycle. There is a shut off timer for safety, but it is set for something like 35 hours. This gives a theoretical charge limit of 24500 mAh. I tried 9000 mAh, 11000 mAh, and 12000 mAh cells and the AccuManager 20 had no problems charging them up.

    Cells get warm while charging but do not get hot, and this charger seems to be able to get a full charge into the cells quite well. When the green light comes on, the cells are ready to go. You can leave them on for a maintenance trickle charge, but they are good to go when the light comes on (it actually goes from blinking while charging to steady on when finished). This may be a good replacement for the Vanson, especially when using high capacity batteries.

    4/12/05 Wayne at www.amondotech.com sent me some chargers to check out. The first one I pulled out was the V4000. This charger looks and performs exactly like the Lightning4000N. It does pairs of AA or AAA cells NiCd or NiMh chemistry. The test results were exactly the same as the Lightning4000N so I will not post the graphs. All in all a pretty nice charger if you use pairs of cells.

    4/12/05 The Amondotech Titanium TG1000 is a 4 channel charger for AA or AAA cells and NiMh or NiCd chemistry. It did a pretty good job of charging. It uses a cord to plug into the wall and is a little more bulky because of that.

    4/12/05 The Amondotech Titanium TG2800 is a great charger. It has 4 channels for AA or AAA cells, does NiMh and NiCd cells, and has a discharge function. It also has an LCD display that gives a graphic of a cell and an indication of the charge state. When you are discharging, the graphic goes down. When you are charging, the graphic goes up and shows the charge level in 4 segments. The LCD display is back lighted. This charger did almost as good as my Vanson after 24 hours. Very impressive. The plastic door comes off easily, but the charger works with out it just fine. Cells come off the charger at about 95 degrees F, then the charger goes into a trickle charge mode. Charging current is 2.0 amps max. This charger has replaced the TG700 as my travel charger, even though it is not designed to run on 12 volts. I’ll find a place to plug it in…

    4/12/05 The reign of the AccuManager 20 has just been toppled. I just picked up a Schulze isl 6-330d-RS. It has a lot of the similar functions as the Triton. It is able to charge any type of battery or battery packs up to 30 cells NiCd or NiMh, up to 19 lead acid or gel cells (38 volts), up to 11 Li-Ion or Li-Po cells, up to 13 Lithium Manganese Oxide cells (whatever they are), and that is about it for the Battery 1 output. It also has a Battery 2 output that will do up to 6 NiMh or NiCd cells, 4 gel cell or lead acid cells (8 volts), and up to 3 of the Li-Ion, Li-Po, and Li-MO cells. This is quite the charger.

    Like the Triton, the 330d requires a separate 13.8 volt battery or power supply. The manual suggests to not use a power supply, but there are a lot of people using them without problems (including me). I believe you need to make sure the power is clean and has a good capacity. I believe a 30 amp unit would be adequate. It works fine on a car battery and will even warn you if your battery voltage falls below 11.25 volts. The charger draws about 50 mA when idle.

    Charge rates for Battery 1 output are up to 5.5 amps and 332 mA for the Battery 2 output. It also has a bunch of automatic programs including auto charge, auto discharge, auto CD, auto DC, and a cell former that does 3 cycles of charge discharge. Discharge rate is up to 1.0 amps in 8 steps. You can run both Battery 1 and Battery 2 outputs at the same time.

    Like the Triton, the 330d has an auto program. The nice thing is that the Schulze algorithm actually works and does a good job of charging cells. The auto program starts off at a low charge, then ramps up to a higher charge, then ramps back down to finish. All the time it is shutting off for a moment to check the battery condition. I find the Auto program to be a bit slow, but it works well. On a single cell it spent a lot of time charging at 500-600 mA.

    This charger is designed for battery packs and the RC crowd. I can charge a single cell on it, but it takes some extra work. 2 cells and up are fine. You can not discharge a single NiMh or NiCd cell.

    It does a great job on Li-Ion. The cells come off at 4.205 volts.

    The instruction manual is a bit obtuse, but after a few times using the charger it starts to make sense. After that, it’s easy. I would say that if you just want to drop a cell in and have it charged up, the Schulze is not for you. If you are willing to spend a little time getting to know how it works, it is excellent.

    There are many more features, but that covers some of the highlights. More information is available at www.schulze-elektronik-gmbh.com/index_uk.htm . They also have several big brothers to this unit.

    The Triton is easier to figure out “right out of the box,” but the Schulze does a better job of charging. I also have a link to connect it to my computer for some data analysis (right up my alley ).

    I do have one objection… The box it came in was a loud pink color, as is the labeling on the unit, as is the battery hook up leads. I am not sure what the Germans have in mind, but when I think of a “Manly Tool,” pink is not the first color that comes to mind…

    Check the graph out, we now have a new leader. This charger was able to push a little more in to my test cells (about 3.3% more). I am very impressed.

    2/1/06 It has been my pleasure to check out the Maha C808M charger. This is a fantastic charger and I am very pleased with the way it performs. Please refer to my review of this charger in the reviews section.

    This charger is a very good performer. It charges AA, C, and D cells at 2 amps and keeps them cool while doing that. It also can charge at 1 amp by hitting the soft charge button. In addition, it has a discharge/conditioning cycle.

    I don’t recommend leaving cells on the charger, but if you want to do that, this is the charger to do it with. The trickle charge rate is low enough that I believe your cells would be safe left on it indefinitely.

    This charger utilizes an advanced charging algorithm that does a very good job of charging while also considering how to get the most cycles from your cells. As you can see from the results, it does not push the most capacity into the cells, but it is right up there with the top contenders.

    I will gladly trade a little capacity for the knowledge that my cells will last longer. This charger also does a good job of charging the high capacity D and C cells. At the other end of the size spectrum, it does a good job on AAA cells as well.

    Thank you William at Maha for providing this charger for evaluation. You have a real winner with it.

    4/5/07 I have added the results for the Duracell 15 Minute charger. This charger is very similar to the Energizer 15 minute charger, and the results are also very similar. It is my opinion that because the Duracell 15 minute charger actually takes about 18 minutes to charge, it may be a little bit easier on your cells. I have not tested this, but the cells seem to end up a little cooler.

    The back of the Duracell unit is slightly arched, and the feet are longer than then Energizer unit. This allows for better air flow, and I think it is a design improvement.

    If you need your cells in a hurry, the Duracell 15 minute charger joins up with the Energizer 15 minute charger to provide you with charged cells in a very short time. This charger, like the Energizer unit, is picky about cells that have developed higher internal resistance. If your cells are "crap," this charger will refuse to charge them.

    4/5/07 I have also added the results for the Maha C9000 Wizard One charger/analyzer. The original version had some issues with termination and has been superseded by the improved version. This unit is giving the BC-900 a lot of competition, and offers a lot more flexibility.

    You have to program each slot independently, and have charge rates ranging from 200 mA to 2000 ma in 100 mA steps, and discharge rates ranging from 100 mA to 1000 mA in 100 mA steps. You can use the Refresh/Analyze function to charge/discharge/charge your cells with a read out of the capacity on a large back-lit display. You can run up to 15 cycles selecting the charge and discharge rates you want. You can do a discharge only. This function even works with Alkaline cells, but is not recommended.

    One of the most beneficial features is the Break-In function. This function allows you to program in the capacity of the cell, then the C9000 will do a 0.1C charge for 16 hours, rest for 1 hour, a 0.2C discharge, followed by another 0.1C charge for 16 hours. This takes a long time, but your cells will perform better with this "forming" charge. Since the function starts with a charge, it is best to do a discharge first, but it is not totally necessary.

    This is refereed to as a Standard Charge, and is the industry standard for determining the capacity of cells. This capacity is supposed to be what is labeled on the cell, but there seems to be some liberty taken with the current cells. Most of the current labels are "optimistic." This function will allow you to evaluate if the good deal you got on some high capacity labeled cells was really a good deal.

    There is one caution. If your cells have higher internal resistance and you charge 4 cells at 2 amps, the charger, and your cells, will heat up. Even with cells in excellent condition, they will get hotter charging at these higher rates.

    Another plus for the C9000 is that it can be powered from a 12 volt source. This makes it a good choice for remote and emergency situations.

    Excellent charger/analyzer and I highly recommend it.


    Tom
    Last edited by SilverFox; 06-15-2007 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Nice data Tom,

    Do you have a MAHA C-401FS to test? That unit is regarded by some as a very well performing unit.

    Wilkey

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Wilkey,

    Thanks for your comments. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I don't have any MAHA units. In the future I may have to do a more complete comparison of chargers.

    I believe the Vanson is working well enough to start a comparison of NiMh cells, which is next on my list of fun things to do...

    Tom

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    *Flashaholic* Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Tom do you want me to send you a 401 and a ccrane for a trial run?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Wow,
    You are building a nice database of information Tom. I'd like to see the battery and charger test threads stickied.
    Wilkey

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Brock,

    That would be great.

    I found out while testing the Alkaline's and CR123's that several people on CPF were willing to send me cells to check out. Some brands I was not able to come up with and I think it rounded out the data base as well as some cross checks through doing more runs.

    The whole purpose of purchasing my CBA was to evaluate rechargeable cells. I feel I have developed a good testing methodology, now I am working on a sound charging methodology.

    I believe I have a procedure that is controlled, repeatable, and will work for our use. Feel free to comment and offer improvements, however let's keep it practical.

    The vast number of rechargeable cells around makes me think that it would not be economically feasible for me to put together much of a comparison. Primary cells I can eventually use up, secondary cells seem to last quite a bit longer.

    I am thinking I may call upon the people at CPF to give me a hand in this project. I could start with what I have, then ask others to ship me a few of their different cells for testing. I would then return the cells and add the results to the data base.

    Another option would be to take a poll of what brands people are using and just cover the most popular ones...

    Comments and suggestins are welcome.

    Tom

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    *Flashaholic* bwaites's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    I think adding a few more chargers might also help.

    Maybe a Triton?

    I could probably afford to send mine for a few days or a week!

    Bill

  8. #8

    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    [ QUOTE ]
    SilverFox said:
    Hello Wilkey,

    Thanks for your comments. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I don't have any MAHA units. In the future I may have to do a more complete comparison of chargers.

    I believe the Vanson is working well enough to start a comparison of NiMh cells, which is next on my list of fun things to do...

    Tom

    [/ QUOTE ]

    SilverFox,

    1. Would you be up to testing several more chargers of NiMH's, and would you be only testing standard consumer NiMH's; or more specifically, then new 2500ma Sanyo/Energizer, 15min Rayovac IC3, high-current type like KAN or CBP1650ma NiMH's?

    I am wondering how well these new 15min chargers do at such quick charge rates.

    2. I'll assume you have read these items, but for reference purposes:

    Initial post to The SF M6-R: a regulated rechargeable SF M6 thread

    [ QUOTE ]
    js states:"There are two especially nice things about the 712. One is that it is a zero delta V peak detect circuit, which means that if for some reason it fails to detect end of charge the first time, it has an infinite number of chances after that. The negative delta V circuit, on the other hand, will wait until it sees a voltage drop, so it only has one chance. The other nice thing about the 712 is that it switches over to a gentle C/16 slow charge after the completion of fast charging, and will thus equalize all the cells if they need it, and will maintain the battery pack at full charge until you go to use it. Even so, the current is not low enough to allow you to leave the pack connected to the charger 24/7, and it should be removed after no longer than several hours of trickle charging."

    [/ QUOTE ]

    This does not make to much sense to me, if the 712 based charger could 'maintain...until you go to use it', then why should it be removed after no longer than several hours of trickle?

    But here on imaging-resource.com, The Great Battery Shootout!, by Dave Etchellsthe author recommends longer trickle to top off, and that different chargers do better than others. And here we have a problem with making generalizations, I think.

    [ QUOTE ]

    For now, my standard recommendation is still the Maha C204 charger, with one or two Maha 2A4 trickle-charge units to "top off" the batteries for those of you who absolutely must have the last possible iota of juice crammed into your batteries.

    / / /

    (The problem is that charger behavior seems to vary a fair bit with the cells being charged. Completeness of charge seems to be fairly consistent across multiple battery models, but temperature profiles are all over the map. A charger that seems to overheat one brand/model of battery does just fine on others. On the other hand, an otherwise well-behaved charger will overheat one particular brand/model of cell. Some chargers do seem to be "hotter" or "cooler" than others, but it's tough to develop the level of objective quantification I like to see in my reviews.)

    [/ QUOTE ]
    So I wonder just how accurate this data will be if you only use the Vanson (meaning it should be good for those who have a Vanson, but could be all off for those who don't have it...noting the author of this test, only compared a small sample of chargers for completeness of charge).


    3. We know that the RC style chargers use different charging algorithms, as well as having adjustable negative delta V capabilities---which could affect completeness of charge; and sometimes software updates with corrected/newer algorithms are issued. Perhaps this is what accounts for differences between them all. Any chance you would be testing batteries charged by one of these RC style chargers, maybe someone could loan you a Triton for this?


    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]

    5. I had planned to buy the 4-cell independent, w/LCD status for each, channel Uniross 15min charger/battery system. While they are now selling Uniross batteries that are supposed to be 'designed' for 15min charging, a year ago they were doing prepress on how there would be a Uniross 15min charger that would charge any NiMH, much like Energizer is now claiming of their new 15min charger.

    The big CES in Las Vegas starts tomorrow (Jan 6.) so I am waiting on purchase of new cells, in anticipation or just in case of some announcement.

    Edit: note to self, triple check posts before posting when sick with cold virus, brain not working [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img], Corrected link to imaging-resource.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Bill,

    I would love to compare the Triton.

    I would also ask you for some general set up guidelines. I believe I could spend a whole week and still not explore all of the Triton options.

    Thanks,

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Tom,

    First, thanks for doing all this testing. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

    Next, keep in mind that charging a cell is not a linear process and different chargers may be set to different levels of "full" for when the little green light comes on.

    Getting the majority of the charge into the cell is the relatively easy and quick part. It's the getting that last 5% or 10% or 25% that takes longer. IIRC, another charger 'shoot-out' comparison showed that it took about 24 hours on low/trickle to get the cells to nearly 100% charge, but 80+% could be done in one or two hours or so.

    Ah, here is the link to a Charger comparison

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Udaman,

    I am open to testing a wide variety of chargers and AA cells, I just don't want to have to purchase them. This is why I would like to "borrow" from fellow CPF'ers.

    I am curious about the 15 minute chargers as well. I have to think that they do not completely charge the cells, but perhaps 80-90% is adequate.

    I have spent nearly 2 years getting to know my Vanson and feel very confident in it's ability. I offer it as a benchmark comparison simply because it is what I have. I believe there are a variety of chargers that will work well, and also know that there are differences between brands and between similar models of the same brand.

    The same variability extends to the cells as well.

    There are a lot of considerations that go into purchasing a charger. I would mostly be focusing on how to get a "complete" charge for each individual charger. I will measure this by a constant current discharge of the cell after charging.

    The Uniross charger looks interesting as well. Any idea on what the capacity of their cells are?

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Mike,

    Excellent article. Perhaps all we have to do is to leave the cells on charge for 24 hours and go with that...

    The heat issue is also something I have been thinking about.

    I believe we could add to his results by offering a wider variety of chargers to compare. I think among the people here, we should be able to come up with 15-20 different chargers to check out.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Cool! I just ordered some Maha 2A4 chargers to charge/keep some cells.

    Someday I will find my CCrane QC in all that mess at the storage place!

    But I have two cheapy wall chargers that I really don't trust right now available...

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Well my two favorite chargers are the Vanson and the 401 (slow mode). So I would be interested to see how they rate after they say the battery is "full" and then again after 24 hours. I have a feeling after 24 hours they would be very close to the same results, but fresh out of the charger would be interesting as well.

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Here is a good discussion of Nickel battery charging schemes:

    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-11.htm

    And here is a good discussion of Lithium Ion charging schemes:

    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-12.htm

    A lot will depend on when the particular charger decides it is time to turn on the "Charged" light.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    I have this Titanium TG1000 charger which is from the same manufacturer as Tom's(Silverfox) Titanium charger.

    I also have a Sony BCG-34HNB2 1-hour charger.
    And a Triton charger if my friend let me have it back [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon23.gif[/img]

    I will be getting a Maha C401FS in a week or so because the $%^@#$#^ intelligent Titanium TG1000 charger keep shutting down when I load it with high capacity 2300mah cells. At first I have to put a fan(the batteries are not hot, just slightly warm) beside it so it won't shutdown. In the end, I drill numerous holes around the case where the electronics are. It did fix the problem but it still shutdown ocassionally. It seems to be stable with 2 cells. The TG1000 never have any problem with lower <2300mah capacity cells.

    So I will also do a charger comparism in the near future.

    -vince.

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    I have just finished testing the Maha C-401FS. In slow mode it did very well. In fast mode the batteries got very hot and I noticed an inconsistency between slots.

    See the first post for details and graphs.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Nice! I know you don't want to test them all in overnight, but I am still curious [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img] For me i't just the 1HU and the 401 in slow. Again I bet they would be fully charged and very very close.

    Hey maybe just let one of them do an overnight and throw it in the chart just so we know what a full charge looks like?

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Tom did you have the cover off on the 401 in fast mode? I would assume yes, but just checking.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    I just had yet another thought; did you by chance time them from in to green? I know, I know, I am horrible and making you work way too much, if you didn't time it don't worry about it.

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Brock,

    First let me thank you for letting me borrow your charger(s). [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I did have the cover open during the fast charge.

    I believe the issue of charge time would be related to the capacity of the cell being charged. For this reason, I have chosen not to measure that.

    However, just for you, I will set a timer and check it out. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    I narrowed the focus of this test to check what the various charger manufacturers thought was a "full charge" this is why I am testing when the green light comes on. I will put a graph up of the Vanson and the C-401FS after 24 hours. I believe they should come out the same. Previous tests done by others indicates that after 24 hours (with the exception of one model of a Sony charger) all of the cells equalized out at full capacity.

    Tom

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    [ QUOTE ]
    However, just for you, I will set a timer and check it out. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Don't run a special one just for me, just if you happen to run anymore. I already feel special enough [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Brock,

    The green light comes on in about 7 hours on the Maha C-401FS in slow, and in about 5 1/2 hours on the Vanson BC-1HU.

    I will post the results of the "24 hour" charge later.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    [ QUOTE ]
    SilverFox said:
    Hello Brock,

    The green light comes on in about 7 hours on the Maha C-401FS in slow, and in about 5 1/2 hours on the Vanson BC-1HU.

    I will post the results of the "24 hour" charge later.

    Tom

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Tom:

    The C401FS charges at 300ma is slow, 7x300=2100. Isn't that about right? What's the charge rate on the Vanson?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Bill,

    The charge rate on the Vanson is 500 ma/h. That doesn't work out the same, but perhaps the Vanson put a little extra in...

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Brock,

    I have added the results from the Maha and Vanson after letting the battery charge for 24 hours. The Maha was almost exactually the same as when the green light came on. The Vanson picked up a little bit extra capacity.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Update:

    I have added the results from the CCrane KC-983 Quick Charger. It seems to do a good job as well.

    I forgot to add, Thanks Brock for letting me borrow this charger.

    Tom

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Tom,

    Your efforts here have been great. It's really helpful for lots of us in choosing a good charger! Thank you for the time you've been putting into all this.
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

    I've been using the Rayovac IC3 15-minute charger (both the 4 channel regular version and the 2 channel "travel" version) for a while now, and have been quite pleased with this system. In fact, it's what finally brought me into the NiMH world, because now I can give my cells a quick freshening minutes before I'm ready to go out the door. That's a very appealing capability! I would be interested in seeing how these chargers and their associated cells stack up against the others.

    A couple notes on the IC3 system: one is that it supposedly trickle charges non-IC3 cells, so it can charge pretty much anything but only the IC3's in 15 minutes. Also, the AA cells are rated at 2000mAh... I have a hunch that they're actually higher capacity cells and have been de-rated based on the capacity that's achieved in that 15 minute recharge interval... no hard evidence of this, it's just a suspicion. I'd love to find out if this is really true!

    In other chargers, I've also been using the Energizer 30 minute charger, which supposedly can charge any brand in 30 minutes or so. Would love to see how that one fares! My guess would be that it would do a better job than the Energizer 15 minute unit, and probably lead to longer cell life overall based on decreased heat generation within the cells. But maybe the testing would turn up some surprises! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    I'd LOVE to see how the Triton does in charging various types of cells. If it's really the star performer that it's reputed to be, I might drop the cash to get one! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img]

    Finally, what about that new charger that JSBurly has started selling? The feature set looks great! I'd like to see that one put through its paces, too.

    Sorry to give you so much more work here! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon15.gif[/img] But believe me; your efforts are MUCH appreciated.

    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif[/img]

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Hello Scott,

    I have someone sending me an Energizer charger, but do not have any of the IC3 systems. I have a bit of a problem with them. You have to use special cells to get the best performance. I have tried to eliminate that variable by using the same cells for every test. If you want to let me "borrow" your Ray O Vac, I would be happy to evaluate it with my Titanium 2400 cells. I could probably do a run with the IC3 cells also for a rough comparison.

    The Triton and La Crosse BC-900 chargers are in the process of being evaluated. These chargers have too many features for me to cover them all, so I am narrowing my focus to their ability to charge a cell and how complete the charge is when they switch from charge to trickle.

    The Triton has a lot more flexibility and seems to be a solid unit. My only complaint (in my limited time with it - it belongs to BWaites and he is letting me borrow it) is that it is conservative when charging Li-Ion cells and packs. It terminates the charge at 4.1 volts. The difference is that the capacity of the cell is reduced. I have shown better than 30% more capacity in a cell when charging it to 4.2 volts rather than 4.1 volts. On the up side, the cells charged to 4.2 volts are good for about 500 cycles where those charged to 4.1 volts are good for 1500 cycles. The question is Which would you rather have, capacity or cycles?

    Bill thinks there may be an upgrade that will improve the Triton Li-Ion charging algorithm, but we are not sure about that.

    For NiCd, NiMh, and Lead Acid batteries and packs, the Triton is most excellent. I think I may get one for myself.

    One other thing, the Triton cooling fan is a bit noisy in an "office" setting. No problems in the workshop, but you notice it when everything is quiet.

    Tom

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Charger Comparison

    Tom, the only problem with me sending you my IC3 charger is that I use it quite a bit! Between that and shipping costs, it would almost be easier simply to buy you a brand new one, or forward the money to you to purchase one yourself at your local Walmart. I'd suggest the 4 channel model rather than the travel model, only because I'm guessing the electronics might be marginally better. (Just a gut feeling, with nothing to support it.)
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/icon3.gif[/img]

    Hey all my CPF brethren! Anyone want to pitch in to fund SilverFox buying an IC3 charger for testing purposes? I think they cost about $20 and come with a pair of IC3 AA NiMH cells. Maybe he could sell the charger on B/S/T when testing is complete and donate the funds to CPF.

    Any takers? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thinking.gif[/img]

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