Good NiMH charger for Canadians?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kevins_news, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. kevins_news

    kevins_news Guest

    I've read many discussions on batteries and i'm certain i can find
    some that will suit my needs. Maybe i'll end up with some that peel
    the casing and others that are overly expensive but eventually i'll
    get ones i like. The charger, on the other hand, i don't want to
    have to keep purchasing over and over.

    Are there any easily found chargers readily available for canadians to
    buy? I have heard that the Maha ones are considered one of the best
    and even though their website will let me order from the US it'll end
    up being rather expensive and i don't feel that i need the *best*.
    Just something decent. The maha 204F seems to be a 5 hour charger and
    the 401FS is the quick charger. I assume either would be good if i
    wanted to go the expensive route.

    I'd like a charger that takes anywhere from 1 to 6 hours for a full
    charge. Doesn't cook the batteries. And is smart enough that i can
    put batteries of any charge level (nearly full or nearly empty) in it
    for 8 hours overnight and take them out in the morning without this
    being bad for the batteries in any way.

    Somethign like this looks nice and cheap but i worry it isn't really
    "smart" and won't be able to just tricklecharge nearly full batteries.
    Do i want to make sure the charger says it supports voltage checking
    (delta V) to ensure it's a "smart" charger?
    http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applicati...ails.asp?EdpNo=134563&Sku=D135-1014&CatId=516

    Other options would be like this panasonic but i don't know if it
    trickle charges either.
    http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/pr...id=10026&logon=&langid=EN&dept=14&WLBS=fsweb5

    So can anyone suggest a charger that i could easily find up here
    either through retail stores or canadian online site? Any help
    appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
    kevins_news, Aug 12, 2003
    #1
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  2. kevins_news

    Mikey Guest

    Mikey, Aug 12, 2003
    #2
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  3. I also reccomend Maha.

    I had one for over 3 years , 204F, it works great.

    The place I got it from is in the USA;

    Thomas Distributing

    http://www.nimhbattery.com/index.htm

    They ship to Canada and their service is quite fast.

    Best regards from Montreal

    Robert
     
    Robert Charron, Aug 12, 2003
    #3
  4. kevins_news

    gr Guest

    The Maha chargers don't do all sizes of batteries, though. I bought an
    AccuPower charger
    http://www.nimhbattery.com/ap-accupower20.htm
    from Thomas Distributing. Is does just about anything you can think of: AAA,
    AA, C, D, 9v, and it can charge any combo of NiCad, NiMH, and rechargable
    alkalines.

    If you only want to charge AAs and AAAs, though, the Maha charger is about
    half the price. Does the Maha charger use separate charging for all 4
    batteries though? i.e., Will it make sure each battery is fully charged, if
    they all start out at different levels?

    Seconded. They will ship US Mail (through Canada Post), which means you only
    pay $5 customs broker fee, and not the rip-off UPS fees. It's probably
    cheaper buying things like this in the U.S., now that the Canadian dollar is
    up.
     
    gr, Aug 12, 2003
    #4
  5. No. The Maha has two separate charge control circuits, each of which
    charges 2 cells in series. Those two cells should be a pair, having
    the same capacity and having been discharged together so they need the
    same amount of charge put back in.

    So you can charge a set of 4, or two sets of 2, but you can't charge 1
    cell or 3 cells, or just a random collection of 2 or 4 cells.

    I recently found the Panasonic BQ-390. It will charge 4 AAs or 2 AAAs.
    It's a fast charger with individual charge control for each cell. The
    charge rate is 550 mA, so it could take up to 4 hours for the
    highest-capacity NiMH AAs (similar to the Maha). It's a small
    single-unit charger with a 2-blade US-style plug that flips out of the
    back; there's no "wall wart" power supply. And it operates from 100-240 V
    so you can use it anywhere with the appropriate plug adapter.

    The only negative thing I can say is that there is just one "charging"
    LED that changes from flashing to steady when *all* cells are charged.
    You can't tell when individual cells are done, nor does it seem to have
    any way of warning you about bad cells like the Rayovac 1-hr charger
    does.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 12, 2003
    #5
  6. kevins_news

    gr Guest

    Hmmm... that's not very good. I wouldn't use a charger like that as my
    primary charger. I've got a backup Kodak charger that works like that, which
    is very compact and makes a good travel charger. (Actually, it will charge
    single cells, but not if you charge more than 2 batteries at a time.)
     
    gr, Aug 12, 2003
    #6
  7. kevins_news

    kevins_news Guest

    Does it have a trickle charge for the batteries once they're finished?

    And i assume that with this BQ-390, and any charger that can tell when
    a battery is charged, it's ok to put in batteries that may be 95%
    charged just to top them up before going on a photo shoot?

    If so... then this one sound quite good. Hey... turns out it's one of
    the ones i linked to in my original post.
    I finally found the rayovac one. It's the same price as this
    panasonic but doesn't include any batteries with it.

    Sigh.... I'm the only person i know who can do detailed hunt and
    comparison shopping just for a battery charger :)

    Kevin
     
    kevins_news, Aug 12, 2003
    #7
  8. kevins_news

    Kevin Guest

    Looks like this Panasonic charger is the best buy around for me. Like
    you said, the only negative seems to be that it doesn't have separate
    LEDs for each cell, but at least it is charging each separately.
    Every other charger i can find either only charges pairs or, like the
    Rayovac, doesn't operate at international voltages. I need this
    charger for a trip to scotland and getting the Panasonic will help me
    avoid having to buy a converter since i already have some plug
    adapters.

    Thanks to all for the replies.

    Kevin
     
    Kevin, Aug 13, 2003
    #8
  9. And, in fact, it is *only* safe to do this with a single-cell
    flashlight. With two or more cells, one cell will always reach zero volts
    first and the energy still remaining in the other cell(s) will continue
    to cause current to flow. This begins charging the weakest cell "in
    reverse", which will damage it.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 13, 2003
    #9
  10. kevins_news

    Mark M Guest

    That's fairly easy to check...
    Simply put a single cell into the charger, and see if it begins the cycle.
    If it only charges two or four batteries together, the circuit won't be
    completed with a single battery in place. This should indicate whether it
    tracks each battery individually, since if it charges a single cell, it must
    have the circuitry to handle that small electrical loop.
     
    Mark M, Aug 14, 2003
    #10
  11. I took another look at it today. It's the Kodak K2000. On the plus
    side, it does monitor each cell individually. However, it only operates
    from 100-120 V, so it's not suitable for use in much of the world.

    I see Kodak also has the K-6000, which is multi-voltage. I've only seen
    it on a web page, not in person.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 14, 2003
    #11
  12. You're writing nonsense.

    In *normal* use, the current flow during charging is the reverse of the
    current flow during discharge. This is healthy. In reverse charging,
    current continues to flow in the *discharge* direction after the battery
    reaches a terminal voltage of zero volts. The battery can actually
    start developing a reversed voltage, with the "positive" terminal being
    more negative. The current doesn't reverse direction, but the terminal
    polarity is reversed.

    Also, in a two-cell flashlight, the two cells are in series. That means
    that exactly the same current flows in both cells. The higher capacity
    cell does not discharge at a higher rate than the other one because
    there is no current path that does not flow through both cells.

    If the two cells were wired in parallel with the bulb connected across
    the parallel pair, then what you wrote would make sense. Both cells
    would reach zero volts at the same time. But flashlights simply *are
    not* wired with the batteries in parallel.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 14, 2003
    #12
  13. Good question. Does it say anything on the packaging?

    One clue is that the charger will charge a single cell inserted into any
    one of the 4 AA positions. With a series charger (like the Maha 204F),
    nothing happens unless there are two cells inserted into one "side" of
    the charger, which completes the circuit.

    There are also chargers that charge two or four cells in parallel.
    These also operate with just one cell inserted. However, you can
    identify this sort of charger because both positive and negative
    terminals of the two (four) adjacent cell positions are electrically
    shorted together when measured with an ohmmeter. Another clue is that
    a single cell inserted into one charger "side" will take less time to
    charge that two cells inserted together. I have an Epson charger with
    two groups of two AA positions in parallel (no AAA support), and a
    Radio Shack charger with four positions in parallel. The latter has
    firmware that tries to guess the correct charge current, which is quite
    an accomplishment since the battery chamber may contain anything from
    one single AAA cell to four C or D cells in parallel.

    In the Panasonic, the negative terminals are all common, but the four
    AA positive terminals are all individual. (The AAA positive terminals
    are tied to the AA positive terminal in the cell immediately to the
    left). The Panasonic has only one charge indicator light, so I can't
    tell when individual batteries are done, but it seems that it *must*
    have four individual circuits.
    I don't think so. Definitely avoid alkalines. The charge rate is low
    enough that the charger might handle NiCds OK, but I haven't tried that.
    (I doubt if I still have any NiCds in decent shape anyway; they sit
    around unused these days).

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 14, 2003
    #13
  14. kevins_news

    Mr. Chouff Guest

    The following stores in the greater Vancouver area sell Maha batteries.

    604-737-8463 Vancouver

    604-278-7937 Richmond

    604-737-6839 Vancouver
     
    Mr. Chouff, Aug 15, 2003
    #14
  15. And what are these places?

    There's also Burnaby Radio on East Hastings. www.burnabyradio.com

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Aug 16, 2003
    #15
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