Is it worth it buying an expensive charger?

bullpup

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I am a casual user but would like to use NiMh bateries. Is it worth the more expensive chargers for the casual user or will the one that came with my energizers in sams club be fine? TIA
 

Pellidon

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It depends on the charger that came in your kit. Some are simple timer chargers that will either cook batteries or not charge them to the proper level. The major players that show up in a local store, Ray-O-Vac, Energizer, and Duracell have units in this range.

They also have better units that are "smart". They can measure the voltage and stop the charging when the cell is almost full. Then they switch to a trickle charge to top them off. These are the 15 or 30 minute chargers.

Most of the better chargers can charge one cell or up to four. That is good if you have a device that takes three cells or some odd number.

I use the Energizer 15 minute charger most of the time. I also have a 15 minute Ray-O-Vac that is the tear drop shaped unit that can do individual cells. It doesn't seem to do a bad job either. Of course I also have some of the higher end units as well. One of the pitfalls of getting into a site like this for "casual use information" :)

One thing I do is place a small fan to blow more air on the cells while charging. Can't have enough air flow in my opinion. I rigged up a computer fan to a wall wart to gently blow on the charger.
 

Eugene

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I've bought a few of the regular chargers in the stores and notices that they all get the batteries too hot for comfort and I found a web site where someone tested a few and one I had only charged the batteries to 75% capacity according to his tests.
While you can buy chargers costing $100 or more,I went middle and bought a $40 Maha charger, as it charges to %98 and %99 depending on if its charging fast or slow (1 hour or 4 hours). I have more than that in batteries so I figure making them last a long time with a decent charger will save in the long run.
 

bill_n_opus

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Define "casual user" and "expensive"

Subjective terms require further explanation so that we can give you a better idea on perhaps what you may want to consider.

However, in life, usually it's worth it to get a certain level of quality and performance, usually a level that won't break the bank ... and then apply this logic to the specific area you're looking at, this case being a charger.

If you're truly a "casual" user and all you want is to charge some batteries ... and you usually don't require any kind of quick charging - just need batteries charged - then i'd just hit Costco or something and pick up a decent package. It will do the trick nicely.

However, if you want some control over the speed and quality of a charge (or you think that you wil eventually lead towards that) then you may want to just invest a little bit more in a nice charging system like a LaCrosse BC-900 and be done with it.
 

Chinook

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bill_n_opus said:
Define "casual user" and "expensive"
..............
However, if you want some control over the speed and quality of a charge (or you think that you wil eventually lead towards that) then you may want to just invest a little bit more in a nice charging system like a LaCrosse BC-900 and be done with it.

Actually, isn't that the beginning rather than the end of it?
 

LuxLuthor

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I have tried to get by for a couple of years with relatively cheap battery chargers, including the universal fast chargers. The more I learn about proper battery care, and the more electronic things I have accumulated, it is finally time to invest in a quality charger.

I just got this Hyperion (HP-EOS1210) Lipo/Nimh/Nicad Charger & Pyramid (PK12PS) 10A Power Supply.

Maybe I went overboard, but it's sort of a choice you seem to move towards as you learn more and more about proper battery care.
 

VidPro

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bullpup said:
I am a casual user but would like to use NiMh bateries. Is it worth the more expensive chargers for the casual user or will the one that came with my energizers in sams club be fine? TIA
i can think of a few reasons, for a better charger TYPE, not nessisarily a 300$ rolls royce of chargers.

Some cheap chargers only do 2 or 4 in SERIES, individual channels is MUCH better.

anything that provides you stats, can be usefull IF the battery puts your butt on the line. so knowing ABOUT how well the battery is working, IF you would ruin a job, a competition, a situation, a life over it.
 

bullpup

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ThAnks everyone. I orderd the BC-900 from Amazon. Hopefully it is the new software version and a step up from my energizer 8 hour charger. I have always had bad luckwith rechargables dying on my and going dead real quick.
 

coppertrail

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+1 on the fan rigged up to a wall wart, I did the same a couple weeks ago, and it works great!
 

LuxLuthor

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It depends on how many batteries, and the type...and also if you have any in packs, etc. before you need to consider a better charger.

I sort of took the plunge when I realized that I have 100-150 batteries of NiMH, NiCad, Li-Ion, and packs of NiMH & Li-Ion. None of my NiMH had been treated with a proper "forming charge," I was not storing my Li-Ion at a 60% charge left on them, and using Alin's Universal chargers, I had not cycled them, etc.

The real turning point however, was the 24 NiMH 2/3A cells in a pack that are used to light up my 747 Aircraft Landing Spotlight....there was just no way I could manage taking proper care of it without a quality & versatile charger.
 

SilverFox

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Hello LuxLuthor,

It looks like you got a pretty nice charger. You will have to keep us informed as to how it works out and how you like it.

Tom
 

mdocod

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Hopefully it is the new software version and a step up from my energizer 8 hour charger. I have always had bad luckwith rechargables dying on my and going dead real quick.

might be related to the cells in that case... I have terrible luck with my energizer cells, they self-discharge to a useless level in less than a week.
 

etc

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I got a cheap Vanson "smart" charger for 25 tokens and am most pleased with it. It can only do 4 cells at a time, but can do AAA through D size, and 9V also. D supposedly takes two cycles.

Totally do not see what a more expensive charger would offer me that I don't already have.

Awesome tool.
 

LuxLuthor

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SilverFox said:
Hello LuxLuthor,

It looks like you got a pretty nice charger. You will have to keep us informed as to how it works out and how you like it.

Tom

Tom, it is amazing how much this little box does....Li-Ion, NiMH, NiCad, that 24 cell Aircraft Landing Spotlight pack. It is doing everything I have thrown at it. I'm not sure how to give you useful feedback, except that you can download the instructions here.
 

Sub_Umbra

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It makes sense to me to use the best chargers I can afford.

Here is my reality map:

  • If I needed cells for very demanding applications like incan mods I'd have to spend a bunch on top of the line NiMH cells and at the high end, NiMH cells are expensive. If that is what I needed (I don't) I would want the best charger I could afford. It would seem foolish to spend top dollar on cells and then skimp on a charger that may not charge them to their full potential and perhaps reduce the number of usable cycles I could get out of those pricey cells. Saving money that way doesn't sound like much of a savings in the long run -- and the long run is something I think about when investing in a rechargable system.

  • Since none of my rechargable needs are very demanding I buy cheeper NiMH cells like Powerizers, which may be had for less than half the price of the higher priced spreads. It seems unrealistic to think that the best way to get the most out of a cheap set of cells would be to care for them with a cheap charger. The last thing I want to do is magnify the weaknesses of my cheap cells by repeatedly servicing them with a charger that has no chance of getting the most out of any cells.
NiMH and NiCad cells usually die The Death of a Thousand Cuts. We unknowingly abuse them in our devices and in the way we charge them and in the way we store them -- a couple percent here, a couple percent there -- it goes on all the time, no matter how careful we are -- chipping away at how many charge cycles we get out of them. That's not counting the things that happen to our cells that are so bad that we notice... I never expect to get the advertized 1,000 cycles from NiCads or the 500 from NiMH. I just want as much as I can get.

For me, I can't see any scenario where a cheaper charger even has a chance of giving me either more cycles or better reliability. On the plus side, I just started charging Eneloops and I didn't have to upgrade anything.

Aside from the Eneloops I'm currently charging over 120 low priced NiMH and generic NiCad cells and I have gotten my money's worth out of them with very few complaints.

Just my reality map. YMMV.
 
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WildChild

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This is my NiMH family:

nimhle1.jpg


I also have 2 more Vapextech AAA (medium performances) 4 AAA Eneloop and 4 Energizer 2500 made in China.

For the chargers, I think those two are great. The Energizer does a great job in charging fast and not heating too much cells. I use it mostly for completely discharged cells. I got two cells leak in it but every time, they heated much and they were not yet half discharged. So I guess it missed the termination signal on those. If they are fully discharged, I never noticed any overheating on cells. I paid $80 CAD (I know, everything is expensive in Canada...) for this one.

If I need to top-off cells, I usually use the slower Sanyo charger. I never had any problem with it and many here (SilverFox, chevrofreak) tested it and gave it a good note. It's unclear if it's a 2 or 4 channels charger based on SilverFox tests but it can charge 1 or 3 cells. I paid $23CAD for this one, including 4 Sanyo AA 2500 mAh.

As for the cells, I have not yet tested enough to know what to think. Based of my day to day use, with these chargers, I got a lot of Energizer 2500 fail with high-self discharge, some Duracell 2300 mAh have been replaced by 2650 mAh cells that have yet to fail with high self-discharge but they don't have many cycles, they are also very well matched (bought 4 different packs and they are all matched correctly), the Energizer 2500 made in China I got in replacement of the defective ones made in Japan are crap (very unbalanced capacity between cells, fair self-discharge - higher than usual but not as high as defective Energizer/Sanyo/Duracell that self-discharge in 3 days - I use them in my XBOX 360 controller so I don't fear any overdischarge and since the controller has a very low drain, I also don't notice the higher self-discharge), all the Sanyo 2500 and 900 mAh (not Eneloop) I have have yet to develop any problem, the Energizer 2200 mAh came with the Energizer 15 minutes charger and are good performers, the Duracell 1800 mAh I got with a Duracell charger I gave to my sister are good performers and well matched, the Vapextech AAA are good performers but not excellent and they were cheap, voltage sag more on load than any other AAA cell I have and 1 leaked while charging in the 15 minutes charger before being half-discharged, finally, I tend to replace every dying cell with Eneloop. All Eneloop pack I received were around 6-7 months old and 3 months old. Voltage between cells in every packs was perfectly matched and stay matched between every charges, very good performers!
 

Eugene

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I just took a look at my spreadsheet and just this year I have bought over $75 worth of eneloops so I figure the $39.99 I spent on a decent charger is worth it.
 

LuxLuthor

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So far, this Hyperion is working great with all the Li-Ion, NiCad, NiMH batteries and packs I have thrown at it. It has an AUTO setting for NiCad & NiMH if you don't want to manually set it. But now I can finally cycle and condition my packs. Just finished cycling that 9 pack of Intellect 2/3A 1400 mAh cells in FiveMega's battery holder. It has a bunch of memory slots where you can set it up for a given pack and reuse the settings next time (although I will double check everything before I start it).

I'm not really sure how it is different from the Triton or Shultze chargers.

Note the Pyramid 12V Power Supply which has a 250W power requirement which I have plugged into a 650 VA APC UPS for any power spikes or failures. (I actually only needed a 500 VA to get the 300Watts for this Pyramid....60% x 500 VA = 300W....but I had this one handy.)

Those red/black battery magnet leads were made for me by Mad MaxaBeam and work a lot better than the other brand being sold in the GB without any insulation.

Here is a larger (650K 1700x2200) higher resolution version of image below.

Hyperion_small.jpg
 
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