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Chargers and Batteries


BGunner01
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Yes, I know that the MAHA Charger and PowerEx 2700 NiMH batteries from Thomas Distributing are arguably an unbeatable combination for geocaching and other devices. In fact I have the MAHA charger and several PowerEx batteries that are nearly 3 years old and still going strong.

 

However, being the somewhat geeky person I am, I wanted more information and options on my charger (such as digital display, selectable charge/discharge rates, and battery "test" and "conditioning" mode) so I decided to try a LaCrosse Technology BC-900 and have found that I really like it too. LaCrosse Technology is a major "atomic clock" manufacturer.

 

The BC-900 is a little pricey if you pay full retail, but I found a new one on Amazon.com for around $40 and the package includes (4) 2400 mah NiMH batteries, a nicely sewn nylon carrying case, power adapter, and some plastic C-size/D-size adapters where, in an emergency, you can use AA batteries in devices that use other-than-AA batteries.

 

I use the MAHA charger most of the time, but if I want to check batteries to see if they're worth keeping or not, the BC-900 works great. Also, the BC-900's selectable charge will charge from 200 up to 1000 ma rate (for multiple batteries) or up to 1800 ma (for a single battery). You'd have to be in a real hurry to heat up a battery that much.

 

Just thought I'd post this because I didn't see any other posts that mentioned this particular charger and maybe someone else has some feedback regarding what they think of this unit or another one that they use. :laughing:

Edited by BGunner01
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Nope, no feedback here, but I appreciate the topic because I am in the process of looking into rechargeable batteries and this gives me some good info...haven't looked into rechargeable batteries for years.

Did a lot of research, owner opinions included, before deciding on the Sony 34 HE4 Worldwide charger.

Works here and oveseas, is a smart charger, remains cool, can charge 4 AA or AAA or a mix of em.. It comes with 4 NIMH 2500s. I like it very much and consider it a bargain on Amazon where I picked it up at 22.95. Probably lower on ebay.

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OMG! Does that Lacrosse charger show amps available in each battery as it charges???

 

I MUST have one.

 

"It shows amps available for each battery when charging is complete." So if your amps are declining, so is the battery. So it tells you when to replace the battery basically. OMG OMG OMG!

Edited by chuckr30
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I have really liked my Energizer 15-minute charger, which I got at Target for about $25.00 with four 2500 mA batteries.

 

However, I have discovered those batteries don't hold a charge very long when they are sitting in my pack. It only takes 15 minutes to get a fully-charged battery that lasts more than 12 hours in my GPSr, but if the batteries have been sitting for a while . . . well, let's just say, I've learned to not let them sit for weeks without recharging them . . . :laughing:

 

The Energizer batteries sure work a lot better than the Off-brand rechargeables I started out with.

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OMG! Does that Lacrosse charger show amps available in each battery as it charges???

 

I MUST have one.

 

"It shows amps available for each battery when charging is complete." So if your amps are declining, so is the battery. So it tells you when to replace the battery basically. OMG OMG OMG!

 

that sounds fantastically geeky. :laughing: I would love one but I just bought 2 "regular" chargers this winter.

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so I decided to try a LaCrosse Technology BC-900 and have found that I really like it too. LaCrosse Technology is a major "atomic clock" manufacturer.

 

I've been looking for a good quality charger and this appears to fit the bill. Looking at the Amazon.com ratings I do have concerns about it catching on fire as several people reported, but hopefully the newer version has addressed this.

 

Right now I have an inexpensive Panasonic quick charger, but I understand that the quick chargers are murder on battery life.

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Brother, you lost me at MAHA. :D

My charger is an el-cheapo Energizer thingy. No digital anything. Just a single green LED. It works.

thats what I have saves me a little cash as Im not running to Wally world to pick up batteries and I also use it for my camera, but this lacrosse charger is very interesting

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I have the BC-900 and love it. Yes, as asked, it does show the current accumulated charge on each cell as it charges. It is very nice to know when you put 3.5AH into a 2.5AH battery that it is time to replace it, or just to get a feel for how far into the charge you are (if you are doing a discharge cycle, for example). Using this feature and the battery conditioning mode, I ran through several cycles on all my batteries when I got the charger to weed out the bad ones that were killing my battery life when used in sets.

 

The automated discharge/charge cycle is used often by me, as it allows you to put in some partially large batteries and not have to worry that you will damage them via developing a memory. Also, since each battery is charged independently, you can charge all those lonely batteries from your 3 cell devices.

 

Being able to set the charge or discharge current to one of several presets is another very nice feature. I most often charge at 0.1C to preserve battery life while still doing a full charge in half a day, but it is nice to be able to push it up to a less conservative 0.5C or higher when needed.

 

I live in Australia and got mine from an online shop in Singapore for a decent price. This is one purchase that I have never regretted.

Edited by fehrgo
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so I decided to try a LaCrosse Technology BC-900 and have found that I really like it too. LaCrosse Technology is a major "atomic clock" manufacturer.

 

 

Right now I have an inexpensive Panasonic quick charger, but I understand that the quick chargers are murder on battery life.

Not that I can tell, two years and at least 300-400 chargings and my original Engergizers will still last all day and into the night.

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I went the other way...low tech. I have a solar powered sidewalk light that I modified for use as a battery charger. I disabled the discharge circuit so that it doesn't drain the battery after dark every night and removed all the plastic parts except for the top bit that holds the solar cell and the battery holder.

 

Cost to build $5, cost to use, $0, charges two batteries ata time, works in every country.

 

AK

Edited by ar_kayaker
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Around here my solar walk lights seldom work in the winter for more than an hour or so in the evenings because we simply don't get enough sunlight during the day to charge them. I boughht an extra charger and batteries just so I can charge them and swap for the ones the solar charger doesn't charge.

In the summer the lights work great and will still be burning when I get up for work in the mornings but it takes a full day to charge them so it isn't fast by any means.. Be a poor charger for areas with lots of cloud cover like Indiana in the winter but very good in sunny areas when you can keep a pair charged all the time.

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Back up the truck.

 

"Catch on fire"?

 

Early on there were some poorly substantiated stories about a few melted chargers. There were also earlier problems with the units resetting when you would put in or take out a cell part way through another cell charging/discharging. These chargers have been out for several years and gone through several hardware revisions. Any time I see a thread regarding a charger melting/burning, I do have to wonder if the fault is the charger, or the batteries that were being charged. Pump 1.8 amps through a punctured or otherwise damaged battery, and you'll see flames.

 

The BC-900 does have the battery check feature when you first put them in the charger, to prevent it from charging batteries that are shorted or otherwise defective. I'm not certain what type of tests it runs prior to charging, but am fairly certain it is designed to reduce fire risk.

 

Google "LiPo fire" some time if you want to see why charging any damaged battery can be a bad idea (especially, but not limited to, the newer lithium cells).

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The MAHA charger I mentioned in my original topic post was the basic workhorse Model MH-C204F. Since starting the topic I ventured over to Thomas Distributing's website and found that MAHA also has a relatively new advanced charger/analyzer - Model MH-C9000.

 

I decided to get the new MAHA charger and a few of the 2700 mAh PowerEx batteries for my GPSR, digital camera, and radio control devices. As much as I like my LaCrosse charger, I must say that I like the MAHA even better. In the vernacular of my youngest daughter - "It Rocks!" – as do the PowerEx batteries.

 

Both are great chargers, but the MAHA model surpasses the LaCrosse model in several aspects: larger, easier-to-read backlit display (the LaCrosse isn't backlit and the display lettering is smaller); easier to maneuver through the menus; batteries spaced further apart for better air circulation; case has a retractable wire bail on the bottom to raise rear of the unit for easier reading (similar to a computer keyboard); three year warranty vs. a one year warranty (this is a big deal for me). When charging batteries overnight, the display is so bright that it actually provides a soft "night light" glow in our kitchen.

 

All told, I just really like this charger and highly recommend it. I can't envision my ever needing any other one. Anyone interested in purchasing a slightly used LaCrosse charger? Hey – I only own one GPSR though. :cool:

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That sounds very cool . . . do you have pictures?

 

How long does it take to charge a pair of NiMH batteries?

 

I can take some pictures, but there isn't much to see, just the top part of the sidewalk light. The changes are all on the circuit card and mostly involve removing the light level sensing/switching circuit that make the light come on at night. To charge batteries you really only need the solar cell, that battery holder, and a diode to prevent the batteries from leaking back through the solar cell after dark. I kept the unit in the sidewalk light assemby just so it would have an easy to handle case.

 

Around here it has never taken more than one day of sunlight to charge a pair of batteries, even in winter, but even if it did I don't generally use my GPSr enough consecutive hours to use up a set in one day. With the NiMH batteries I usually get about 12 hours of use in my 60cx and that adds up to a full weekend of caching most of the time.

 

AK

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Both are great chargers, but the MAHA model surpasses the LaCrosse model in several aspects: larger, easier-to-read backlit display (the LaCrosse isn't backlit and the display lettering is smaller); ...

When charging batteries overnight, the display is so bright that it actually provides a soft "night light" glow in our kitchen.

 

Interesting, I decided against the MAHA mainly due to its larger size and the fact it was back lit. I travel with mine, and never need to charge more than 4 AA at a time, so the smaller size and footprint in my suitcase is a plus for me. Also, I hate it when things are needlessly back lit with no way of turning off the light source. I like my rooms dark at night. It all comes down to personal preference.

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