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Charger Recommendations 2021

SYZYGY

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Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
59
hi,

i'm looking for two li-ion charger recommendations meeting separate criteria:

1) gift for friend:
an inexpensive ($20 or less?) one or two slot charger mostly for 18650. bells and whistles like adjustable charge current, storage voltage (~3.7V), etc would be nice, but not necessary. the main requirement is that it's not junk or finicky to use.



2) new charger for myself:
i'm currently using an Opus BT-C3400 V3.1, but i'm wondering what else is out there that could be better, cheaper, or just different.
wish list (features the Opus has that i use):

  • ~4 slots
  • long enough slots for unprotected 21700 (70mm) cell length, but protected 21700 would be a bonus as i think the Opus barely fits unprotected 21700
  • adjustable charge current
  • capacity testing (discharge and then charge back up)
  • charge to storage voltage (~3.7V)
  • display current and voltage while charging (not necessarily at the same time)
if it matters, i'm in the US.
thanks!
 

Cyclops942

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hi i have the maha mh-c9000 which i love i want to get a new charger for hurricane season that does 8-10 aa batteries over the 4 on my wizard between the mh-c8000s and mh-c 980 which would be recommended i love and really need the battery capacity and voltage so i can group my batteries but the 980 does not have a soft charge i heard you can damage the powerx batteries if they charge fast is this true? why im stuck between these 2 chargers as a upgrade to charge more batteries for my emergency scanners
 

Lynx_Arc

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Oct 1, 2004
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Tulsa,OK
hi i have the maha mh-c9000 which i love i want to get a new charger for hurricane season that does 8-10 aa batteries over the 4 on my wizard between the mh-c8000s and mh-c 980 which would be recommended i love and really need the battery capacity and voltage so i can group my batteries but the 980 does not have a soft charge i heard you can damage the powerx batteries if they charge fast is this true? why im stuck between these 2 chargers as a upgrade to charge more batteries for my emergency scanners
Although they do make 8 bay chargers I recommend using 2-4 bay chargers instead as if one fails on you, then the other will still work plus the more batteries on one charger makes for a larger power supply to that one and higher current flowing through it often it means the charge rate when all batteries are inserted is lower.

As for damaging batteries by charging them fast it depends on the charge rate. For nimh 0.5C (or half total capacity in charge rate) is considered recommended. Now I'm not familiar with powerex batteries but that rate should be ok for them. I have a 500ma charger (350ma for AAA) that does fine on my LSD nimh cells for the most part it is 0.25C for AA and less than 0.5C for AAAs. If batteries will charge properly then lower rates can be easier on batteries but some require a higher rate than that to properly detect end up charge. If the end of charge isn't detected properly you can damage batteries if they are allowed to overcharge for a long time.

I currently use 3 of my 4 chargers often.
Duracell Mobile Charger, 4x AA/AAA 350ma/500ma with 12VDC input and 500ma USB output for wall power only (no power bank)
Lacross BC900 Charger, 4x AA/AAA 100ma to 2000ma analyzing, refresh and testing. Can charge any cell but needs about 0.5V to detect a battery present.
Opus BTC100 Charger 1x AA/AAA/C/D and lithium ion up to 21700 in length up to 2000mah I think. Has analyzing and testing and does refresh on nimh chemistries only and power bank feature for lithium ion batteries. Has 12vdc input and micro USB inputs also.

I don't recommend the Lacross charger as there have been serious problems others have had with it that someone who is not familiar with elecronics, batteries, and chargers could be caught off guard with them. My charger has had no issues with it other than some buttons becoming worn out over time from use.
My Duracell mobile charger is a gem but the low charge rate is not for many but when a good cell is put in it and it doesn't go flashing from error or bad cell it charges fine every time. The 12vdc input has it as a standby in a power outage as I have a 12v auto power cord for it.

I strongly recommend having at least one charger that can address each type of battery used that has 12VDC or 5VDC power options and investing in cords/adapters to use it for charging from a vehicle. With a 12/24V USB adapter and a 5VDC or USB input on a charger you can adapt tool batteries to charge things too.
 

Dave_H

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Nov 3, 2009
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589
Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
s if they are allowed to overcharge for a long time.

I currently use 3 of my 4 chargers often.
Duracell Mobile Charger, 4x AA/AAA 350ma/500ma with 12VDC input and 500ma USB output for wall power only (no power bank)



My Duracell mobile charger is a gem but the low charge rate is not for many but when a good cell is put in it and it doesn't go flashing from error or bad cell it charges fine every time. The 12vdc input has it as a standby in a power outage as I have a 12v auto power cord for it.

...a very versatile charger but hasn't been commonly available for a decade or more. Mine circa 2007 was sitting in its package, started using it recently. Seems to be one of Duracell's better products, don't know its equal these days.

It has ac plug for 100-240vac and a 12vdc jack.

As noted, any charging in pairs is not great, has limitations; better with independent slots, and status LED for each as this one does. Slow charge rate is a disadvantage, but works with some cells which are a bit old, but perfectly good for some devices, which fast chargers don't like to charge.

On that note I have 30 minute and 15 minute chargers which I consider too fast and place a lot of stress on the cells; do not recommend these, just that I came upon these cheap and keep them as curiosities, or for emergency use.

Dave
 

Lynx_Arc

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...a very versatile charger but hasn't been commonly available for a decade or more. Mine circa 2007 was sitting in its package, started using it recently. Seems to be one of Duracell's better products, don't know its equal these days.

It has ac plug for 100-240vac and a 12vdc jack.

As noted, any charging in pairs is not great, has limitations; better with independent slots, and status LED for each as this one does. Slow charge rate is a disadvantage, but works with some cells which are a bit old, but perfectly good for some devices, which fast chargers don't like to charge.

On that note I have 30 minute and 15 minute chargers which I consider too fast and place a lot of stress on the cells; do not recommend these, just that I came upon these cheap and keep them as curiosities, or for emergency use.

Dave

I have the Energizer 15 minute chargers and I have Rayovac 1 Hour Chargers also. The Rayovac is a nice charger but one serious limitation is that it has a shut off timer after about 1800mah has been charged it shuts off. It is not a huge issue as you just put it on a separate power strip and when they all show green flip it off for a few seconds then back on and they will charge the rest of the way. It came with a 12V power adapter which was a life saver as in 2007 we had a massive ice storm here that shut down half the state I had no power for almost 5 days and I had a dozen Enerigzer 2300 nimh batteries that with a cheap 3x5mm LED headlamp (3AAA) that I used about an hour the whole time I would use a CCFL Energizer doublebrite 4AA flashlight and a 4AA CCFL lantern I created from an incan lantern and the parts of another doublebrite I got for $3 on clearance. I would run down a set of batteries and take them to my car and the charger was on the dash top I could see it from the window and also when I would go get food and other things I would charge batteries too.
A car charger setup is a must for me, I bought the Duracell Mobile charger (I have 2 of them after they quit selling them on Ebay for $10-$15 each it took me about 6 months to find them at a decent price and I only use one of them now and charge about 90% of my nimh batteries on it, the ones it rejects go into my Lacrosse and usually they are for my less used mediocre lights. After I used to 15 minute charger some I decided it was too harmful to batteries they get very hot and I think I have 2 of them that sit around I need to get rid of.
I don't need 2 Rayovac 1 Hour chargers either one is good enough. I've only kept one in service because the pulse checking of the battery in it is enough to charge it up to be detected by my Lacrosse that is all I use it for. I've seen Lacrosse clones out there but if I were to buy another Charger I am leaning towards an Opus BTC 3100 or 3400 as I have a BTC-100 and like it after I fixed the low ending charge voltage issue (about 0.1v off) even with it off I paid something like $12 for mine and use it primarily for lithium ion batteries. Since it runs the light on the LCD display constantly and I have it in my bedroom I put a piece of cardboard over the display till I picked up a cable adapter and a switch I bought so I can turn off the power to the charger at will even though the transformer remains connected.
The Duracell mobile charger has a 500ma AC powered USB adapter that is marginally useful as todays electronics mostly wants 1A or better.
 

ChrisGarrett

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Feb 2, 2012
Messages
5,611
Location
Miami, Florida
I still have my Rayovac 15 minute IC3 charger, but the specific batteries have long been out of production and time moves on. It was great for my Gateway 2000 RF keyboard and mouse, but that was back in the late 90s and early 00s.

Chris
 

richbuff

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Prescott Az
Vapcell S4 Plus is probably the best value and high quality for money analyzing charger at the moment.
and plenty of power, too.

I bought two 8-bay Xtar VC8 chargers for charging 8 x 18650 cells nice and slow, so as to take it easy on the cells and make them happy so they have a long life. I also have more than a few 4-bay Xtar chargers.

I decided to supplement my collection of Xtar chargers with four Vapcell S4 Plus chargers, so I can charge eight 185650 cells at medium rate with two chargers, and so I can charge four 21700 cells with one charger at moderate rate. No more running around the house to use a charger. I have plenty of chargers in different rooms, upstairs and downstairs.
 

louie

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Joined
Aug 31, 2002
Messages
956
Location
Seattle
I have several 4-slot chargers including the Maha C9000 which works fine, but I have a need for doing 8-AA Eneloops at once for several devices, and don't need to select rates or analyze, and got the Maha C801D. Its soft charge mode is 1000mA, and it seems fine.

The Maha C980 and C800S look to default charge to 1A for AA, which is perfect for AA Eneloops (2000mAh). The C800S soft charge of 500mA would be good for AAA Eneloops, IMO.


hi i have the maha mh-c9000 which i love i want to get a new charger for hurricane season that does 8-10 aa batteries over the 4 on my wizard between the mh-c8000s and mh-c 980 which would be recommended i love and really need the battery capacity and voltage so i can group my batteries but the 980 does not have a soft charge i heard you can damage the powerx batteries if they charge fast is this true? why im stuck between these 2 chargers as a upgrade to charge more batteries for my emergency scanners
 

Dave_H

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Messages
589
Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
Any charger using a fan to cool the cells is likely charging them too fast for their own good, and I avoid them. I believe special cells are required for super fast charging.

There exists an 8-minute charger which is charging AA's at 8A, which is nuts. The wall adapter was 16v at 4A (64W).

With proper sparing and rotation, should normally be no need to charge in such short time. I normally limit charging to not more than a 1-hour rate.

Dave
 

Lynx_Arc

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Tulsa,OK
I think some chargers do need a fan not because it is charging them too fast but because the cells are jammed together with not much space between them which means the two in the middle get hotter than those on the outside. My duracell mobile charger doesn't have this issue because of the low charge rate but when you start charging cells at 1A or more they heat up a lot more when charging than 500ma. If you are charging at 1C then you have even more heat to deal with.
 

Dave_H

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Messages
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Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
I think some chargers do need a fan not because it is charging them too fast but because the cells are jammed together with not much space between them which means the two in the middle get hotter than those on the outside. My duracell mobile charger doesn't have this issue because of the low charge rate but when you start charging cells at 1A or more they heat up a lot more when charging than 500ma. If you are charging at 1C then you have even more heat to deal with.

Yes, that's a problem, cells jammed side by side and they self-heat but also heat up each other.

If I need to charge four cells, sometimes charge two at a time and space them apart. This takes longer and a bit inconvenient but I have developed a routine. Of course that's with a charger which does not charge in pairs, otherwise the two are beside each other.


Dave
 
Last edited:

Lynx_Arc

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Tulsa,OK
Yes, that's a problem, cells jammed side by side and they self-heat but also heat up each other.

If I need to charge four cells, sometimes charge two at a time and space them apart. This takes longer and a bit inconvenient but I have developed a routine. Of course that's with a charger which does not charge in pairs, otherwise the two are beside each other.


Dave

Just charge 4 cells at half the rate of 2 cells and as long as you have a good charger and good cells and are 0.5C or lower in current it will be fine and the reduction in current should reduce the heat generarated. I charged a pair of 2450 Duracell precharged (eneloop pro) a few days ago at 500ma and one cell was giving an error the other completed successfully. I put the cell that gave an error in my lacross and it said it was Full and since I'm using them to power a 2D fan I'm not worried about them being a little flaky as long as it works for a decent length of time. I won't use a "pair" charger if it doesn't have single cell channels I get rid of it as spending more for a good charger will pay for itself in cells being less "damaged" by charging in pairs.
 

larry0101

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Joined
Aug 6, 2021
Messages
1
Regarding new charger for replacing your Opus BT-C3400, you can consider Xtar VC4S. I think it can meet all your expectations.

Lygte has a very very detailed review about this charger, you can read it here.
 

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