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Thread: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

  1. #1

    Default New Panasonic extra-smart charger




    Not sure if this is one of the benefits of having acquired Sanyo's Battery division but I was at a sister company of "Best Buy" (Future Shop in Canada) and came across the Panasonic BQ-C01 Charger (
    BQ-C01AKM40). This is the ad copy on the back of the package:

    These 4 "AA" cells are the next generation of Ni-MH batteries that can be charged up to 1,200 times. These batteries can be charged and stored for 365 days and still retain 80% of their charge. The Intelligent Charger adjusts the charge rate based on each cells existing power level, ensuring an optimum charge every time.


    Mfr. Part Number: BQ-C01AKM40
    More Information
    Panasonic introduces the intelligent charging system, which optimizes battery performance with built in safety features.

    The microprocessor controlled charger checks the condition of each battery and indicates if it is ready to use or needs to be charged. Built in sensors prevent overcharging and extending battery life.

    The Safety features include Alkaline, reverse polarity, and bad cell detection. Also auto shut off and built in temperature control shuts off if batteries become too hot.
    The package comes with Evolta batteries that have a similar number of recharge cycles as the 2nd generation eneloops...Sanyo cross-polination, I suppose...

    The interesting (and contentious) claim is the variable charge rate based upon each cells power level. Some early adopters in this forum may be the first to comment after a test drive.

    This item is so new that it does not appear on the Panasonic web site. Could be that the unit is being "test marketed" in my city ?

    PeAK
    Last edited by PeAK; 12-03-2009 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Hhhhmmm interesting!
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    What city you in?

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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by PeAK View Post
    Not sure if this is one of the benefits of having acquired Sanyo's Battery division
    It's possible, but seems too early.

    Panasonic and Yuasa-Delta co-developed the alternate LSD technology that is the basis of the Panasonic R2, Rayovac Hybrid/4.0, and some others. They may be able to incorporate Sanyo technology into their designs.

    Sanyo has to sell of it's Eneloop factory in order for Panasonic to acquire them.
    Sanyo will still be the brains behind the batteries, even though Fujitsu will be manufacturing them and selling them back to Sanyo.

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    I didn't realize Panasonic had acquired Sanyo's battery division. I hope Panasonic doesn't dump the Eneloop technology in favor of their own.

    If this charger really does vary the charge rate based on each individual cell's power level that would be impressive.

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Wait, so what is Sanyo doing these days?

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    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Well, Sanyo just began shipping a New, Improved version of Eneloops.

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by GarageBoy View Post
    Wait, so what is Sanyo doing these days?
    Sanyo just recently sold their manufacturing plant to Panasonic.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Conan View Post
    Sanyo just recently sold their manufacturing plant to Panasonic.
    I'd like to read more about the economics of that ... why would Sanyo sell off their manufacturing at this time?

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    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    About the charger itself, all I can say is the cells are situated waaaay too close together for all but the most advanced charging algorithm (if it even exists).

    It all boils down to what sells, and what is more convenient. Which sounds better, a vinyl LP or a CD? (Don't get me started! ) Yes, I own mostly CDs, but.....

    Good luck, Sanyo/Panasonic!

    Dave

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by bill_n_opus View Post
    I'd like to read more about the economics of that ... why would Sanyo sell off their manufacturing at this time?
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...d.php?t=250114
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    It'd be good to get more information on this. I spent all morning trying to find a decent travel charger here in Houston without success.

    My definition of decent: individual circuits, 1-4 cells, 2-4 hr charge times, worldwide voltage, small, light-weight.

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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by OpenGuy View Post
    It'd be good to get more information on this. I spent all morning trying to find a decent travel charger here in Houston without success.

    My definition of decent: individual circuits, 1-4 cells, 2-4 hr charge times, worldwide voltage, small, light-weight.
    You will find it difficult to meet that requirement in a B&M store. The chargers I have found that are small and lightweight and offer fast charging tend to make the batteries too hot. Part of the heat problem is having the power supply integrated in the unit and close to the batteries (the closeness being inevitable with everything squeezed into a small case).

    If there is a Batteries Plus near you I think they carry some Maha chargers. You could look at the C401FS for instance, except that it does not have worldwide voltage. It uses an external 12 V 1 A power supply and you need to buy a different adapter according to the local voltage (or get the special worldwide adapter that Maha sells).

    My favorite travel charger is the Duracell Power Gauge -- long discontinued, but old new stock can possibly still be found in Big Lots. Its main disadvantage is that it does not terminate charge very reliably with AAA cells (but it does AA cells perfectly).

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Well nothing new or amazing AFAIK, it does what every good charger should do, it checks every channel and stops charging when a battery is full. Most cheap chargers charge batteries in pairs, so you must allways watch out you put the right pair in the charger...

    So the only "revolution" is that normal chargers adjust their charging to a pair of batteries, while this one adjusts it to every single battery. Lots of chargers out there do that.

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by T0RN4D0 View Post
    Well nothing new or amazing AFAIK, it does what every good charger should do, it checks every channel and stops charging when a battery is full. Most cheap chargers charge batteries in pairs, so you must allways watch out you put the right pair in the charger...

    So the only "revolution" is that normal chargers adjust their charging to a pair of batteries, while this one adjusts it to every single battery. Lots of chargers out there do that.
    To my understanding the "variable charge-rate" means variable mAh. Currently all chargers have a fixed or "user-adjustable" charge rate. This one looks like it's automatic.
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Panasonic have always been my favorite batteries since I used to run them in my R/C cars back in the 80's. Those old Ni-cad AA's seemed to last forever. I'm definitely looking into these.
    ampdude

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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    If there is a Batteries Plus near you I think they carry some Maha chargers.
    Thanks. The one near me has the Maha MH-C9000, which is a very fine charger (I have one), but alas it's not what I was looking for.

    The only travel charger they had was a "Nuon" 1 hour charger. I hadn't heard of them before, and there was none/little information about the charger on the pack, so I kept looking. I still can't find out anything about them on the web, so I'm glad I passed them up.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    I think thats just marketing talking, i very much doubt that it has any special current changing alghoritms.

  19. #19

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by PeAK View Post
    The Intelligent Charger adjusts the charge rate based on each cells existing power level, ensuring an optimum charge every time.
    PeAK
    Hmmm, what exactly are they referring, to, charge current ?
    Usually, intelligent chargers monitor the voltage change. If the charger does not keep the current constant, monitoring the voltage probably gets complicated.

    Other than that, IMHO the optimal charging current does not depend on the "power level" or discharge status.

    So, overall, I clearly don't see any benefit and would agree with some other's, that the text seems more "marketing" than "technically" driven.
    Regards, Alex
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Hello Alex,

    I may have to disagree with you...

    We will have to find one of these chargers and check it out. It may be simply marketing, but if they do incorporate variable charging rates, this could have the possibility of being a very advanced charger.

    The Schulze chargers have a mode that use variable charging rates. The charger checks the internal resistance of the cell (battery) and adjusts the charging rate accordingly. As the charge nears completeness, the internal resistance increases, and the charging rate is lowered to keep the cells from heating up. It takes a little more time to charge this way, but you end up with a very complete charge and cool cells.

    The downside to this is that people would now have a way to charge crap cells with minimal heating, and would probably keep them around much longer...

    Tom
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    Flashaholic* Black Rose's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Henry's, a Canadian Photo/Video gear chain, is now carrying this charger as well.

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Couldn't this just be a simple CV charger with a set voltage termination? That would explain the variable current and also, how the cells could be placed so close together, as they wouldn't get hot near termination. So much for "fully" charged cells though.

    Dave

  23. #23

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    Couldn't this just be a simple CV charger with a set voltage termination? That would explain the variable current and also, how the cells could be placed so close together, as they wouldn't get hot near termination. So much for "fully" charged cells though.

    Dave
    I think you are correct or close to the truth but would expect that the current be limited at lower voltages: A pure/ideal voltage source could put out huge currents into a discharged battery. It would be very similar to modern day Lithium-Ion chargers but with a different output voltage. Because most of the heating occurs toward the end of the charge, I wouln't be surprise if another lower current limit kicked in once the voltage neared 1.4V. In some ways it would be similar to what the Maha C-9000 has adopted...it be interesting to test one

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    Flashaholic* 45/70's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Don't get me wrong PeAK, I'm by no means any kind of an electronics expert. I do know however, that NiCd and to some extent NiMH cells, can take rather large doses of current at the beginning of the charge. I just thought, I guess because of the general appearance of this charger, that it may use some sort of CV algorithm, rather than some ground breaking revolution.

    It's interesting that Panasonic makes no mention of this charger on their website. This suggests to me, that it's probably made by someone else. I would think if it was a mover and a shaker, that Panasonic would at least make some mention of it. Looks to me like the marketing department has control over this one.

    Dave

  25. #25

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverFox View Post
    ...
    We will have to find one of these chargers and check it out. It may be simply marketing, but if they do incorporate variable charging rates, this could have the possibility of being a very advanced charger.

    The Schulze chargers have a mode that use variable charging rates. The charger checks the internal resistance of the cell (battery) and adjusts the charging rate accordingly. As the charge nears completeness, the internal resistance increases, and the charging rate is lowered to keep the cells from heating up. It takes a little more time to charge this way, but you end up with a very complete charge and cool cells.
    ...
    Tom
    Hi Tom, interesting, I wasn't aware of that.

    Just measuring the voltage increase during constant current would probably not be sufficient, though, because AFAIK with the increase of the charge not only the resistance increase but also the internal voltage of the cell. So the charger would really have to measure the resistance by drawing at least two different currents from the cell.

    Hopefully somebody will be able to test the charger.
    Regards, Alex
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    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by OpenGuy View Post
    It'd be good to get more information on this. I spent all morning trying to find a decent travel charger here in Houston without success.

    My definition of decent: individual circuits, 1-4 cells, 2-4 hr charge times, worldwide voltage, small, light-weight.
    Except for the charge times, those were my requirements for traveling in Europe. The charger I finally settled on after trying a few of the small Maha units is the Sony BCG-34HRMF. Available on Amazon, Thomas Distributing, and other sites. Ensure that you purchase the version with the LCD indication per channel. Otherwise any mixture of 1-4 AA or AAA cells is allowed. charge/discharge(Refresh), Charge rate of 1050ma for 2xAA or 525ma for 4xAA. Charger rate of 640ma for 2xAA or 320ma for 4xAA. Internal power supply and with separable power cord similar to a laptop power cord. Very compact!

    I did check the "fullness of charge", MAH capacity, after charging AA Imedions on the BC-700/900 Maha C9000 and this Sony charger. I used the BC-700/900 or Maha C9000 to test MAH capacity. All 3 MAH capacities were acceptably close given the differences in testing algorithyms for MAH capacity readings between the C9000 and the BC-700/900.

    These chargers have survived several traveling years among some dozen family, extended family or acquaintances - all non-flashaholics. They just want to charge their batteries and use them in any country. About the only quibble I have with the little Sony charger is that 4 cells get a bit warm towards the end of charge, but that is to be expected for any faster rate charger that packs 4 cells together that close.

  27. #27

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by OpenGuy View Post
    It'd be good to get more information on this. I spent all morning trying to find a decent travel charger here in Houston without success.

    My definition of decent: individual circuits, 1-4 cells, 2-4 hr charge times, worldwide voltage, small, light-weight.
    Add Meijer to your decent list. They have the BC-905a...here are the specs.

  28. #28

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Hi!

    I just bought this charger and wanted to share with you the instructions that comes with it! At first I wanted the energizer CHDC8 for the Delta V shut off and was only 20$. Don't know if this one have that feature because can't find any information about it...


  29. #29

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    So now i've tested the BQ-C01 and it seems to have delta v shut off. And it detect the remaining power of each battery very well!

    I tried 4 batteries at the same time, first was fully charged, second about 3/4 charged, third needed full recharge and the last was totally dead.

    So when I plug it in the AC the lights flash rapidly and it takes 2 secs to detect the remaining charge. LED of the first and second one pulse rapidly (indicate that it's almost fully charged but continue to be charged), third pulse slowly (indicate that it's being charged) and the last one no light at all, was detected to be dead.

    After 15 minutes the first one got a steady green light indicating it's full and nothing changed for the other one.

    Very happy with it and mostly because I can charge only 1 battery if I want or I can put a 2000mAh and a 2450mAh because he can detect each battery separately.

  30. #30

    Default Re: New Panasonic extra-smart charger

    Quote Originally Posted by http View Post
    Hi!

    I just bought this charger and wanted to share with you the instructions that comes with it! At first I wanted the energizer CHDC8 for the Delta V shut off and was only 20$. Don't know if this one have that feature because can't find any information about it...
    Quote Originally Posted by http View Post
    So now i've tested the BQ-C01 and it seems to have delta v shut off. And it detect the remaining power of each battery very well!

    I tried 4 batteries at the same time, first was fully charged, second about 3/4 charged, third needed full recharge and the last was totally dead.

    So when I plug it in the AC the lights flash rapidly and it takes 2 secs to detect the remaining charge. LED of the first and second one pulse rapidly (indicate that it's almost fully charged but continue to be charged), third pulse slowly (indicate that it's being charged) and the last one no light at all, was detected to be dead.

    After 15 minutes the first one got a steady green light indicating it's full and nothing changed for the other one.

    Very happy with it and mostly because I can charge only 1 battery if I want or I can put a 2000mAh and a 2450mAh because he can detect each battery separately.
    Thanks for the feedback. I think that with the problems with smart chargers terminating on a full charger, introducing a feature were that batteries are nearly full would be useful for batteries like the Energizer 2500 and for those who rather top up for more cycles.


    Above is a condensed section from the http's pic of the instructions posted earlier:
    "A double pulse rate means the batteries
    are ready to use, however, they may not be
    fully charged. The double pulse rate will
    continue as the batteries are charging..."
    The chart below from Buchmann's site shows the cell voltage, temperature and internal pressure of the battery versus the fullness of charge.


    So it seems as voltage (as used in the Maha C9000) and the magic 1.47V/cell number is being used as a indicator of the fullness of charge.

    ...chargers have just gotten smarter...at least the ones with one LED per battery!!!
    Last edited by PeAK; 02-08-2010 at 08:19 AM.

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