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Old Oct 2, 2003, 9:09 PM   #1
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Default AA NiMH survey

I am seeing / hearing a lot of talk about AA batteries and how they last etc. People seem to speak highly of NiMH rechargeable batteries and the consensus seems to be that you need to have them in order to use your AA camera in a practical sense. Participants seem to be saying that the higher cap batteries (1800, 2000, 2100, 2200 ma are somewhat better than, say, the 1600s.

I checked these stores in So. Calif: Best Buy, Target, Wall-Mart, Costco. They seem to get you on the chargers because you need one of those to make the system complete in most cases.

I found 2000 ma batts (ROV) at Wallmart for 12.89 I believe.
2100s (Eveready) at Target for 12.99, 1800s (ROV) for 9.99, at Best Buy (Eveready)for 13.99. Didn't see these at Costco at all. Best Buy promotes the 'Monster" brand and they seemed quite expensive by comparison.

Chargers at these stores ranged between 9.99 for a simple one to 24.99 and more for more elaborate ones. I've seen some as high as $49 but they do come with some batteries. WallMart has a 4-batt NiMH (1800s) kit with charger for $16.89.

I was wondering what works best and what others thought.

Can you use any NiMH batt with any charger (if it is designed for NiMH batts)?

10-4-03 Update: I am learning all kinds of things about NiMH batts & chargers here, thanks everyone and keep it coming!
I had suspected that those "super-cooker-chargers" (15-30-min, even 1-hr) might be something to avoid and I am reading here that excess heat is not good for NiMHs (surprise, surprise!).
(I originally started out wanting something "good," not necessarily the best, but very affordable with decent performance).

Reading all this (& visiting the recommended sites) has also helped to explain why, some 12 years earlier, I had so much trouble with AA NiCads when I committed to a charger and about 20 batts which I was using with various hobby items I had then. I became frustrated and eventually lost interest in what I was doing, and I never found the AA NiCad solution to be a very satisfactory one. From what I'm reading, it would appear that the technology has come a long way, it's like doing a Rip Van Winkle. -- Don
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Old Oct 2, 2003, 9:31 PM   #2
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Buy one of these Maha chargers:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_...ha_c401fs.html

and a set of Maha/PowerEx 2000-2300mAh AA cells, you won't be sorry. It's the only one that I use personally for -my- cameras.

-Steve
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Old Oct 2, 2003, 9:58 PM   #3
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The Maha chargers can't be beat, but if you are on a budget and just need a couple of sets of extra batteries and charger, I've been very pleased with the Energizer charger that came with two sets of 1850 maH batteries I bought at Sam's for $20.

As for the interchangeability of NimH batteries, I have had no problems charging Powerex, Eveready and Olympus brands in a Maha charger, an Energizer charger and the Olympus that came with my camera. They charge at different rates, but all combinations have worked fine for me.
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Old Oct 2, 2003, 11:22 PM   #4
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I have the c401fs that Steve refered to. I like it a lot.

If you do need to save money and go with something else, here are to things to serious consider.

Get one which supports both fast and slow charging. Only use the fast when you really need to. Heat shortens the life (not of this charge, but forever) of a battery. Fast charging heats them up... a lot. So only do it when you need to.

Get as many charging/monitoring circuits as possible. That Maha charger has 4 (one for each battery.) That is the ideal situation. You see, the problem is that if you only have 2 (which is not uncommon) then you really must have two equaly depleted batteries together being monitored by the same circuit. If not, one will get slightly overcharged. That isn't good for the battery. The downside is that the more monitoring circuits means higher cost. So don't get 1. It's ok (but a hassle) to get a charger with 2 and one per battery is best.

You can also learn more about the differences between brands here:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/BATTS/BATTS.HTM

The person tested loads of batteries to see which live up to their claims of capacity. Now you can see which ones come close (none actually match their rating!)

Eric
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Old Oct 3, 2003, 12:14 AM   #5
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I've always wondered if the charger that came with my Olympus e-100 camera was of a design that charged all four cells the same, or as in the unit Steve mentioned, charged each cell independently.

Does anyone know the answer?
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Old Oct 4, 2003, 1:04 AM   #6
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Just fyi, a cheaper alternative, walmart has a rayovac charger that individually charges cells for 10$ (it's a slow 16hr charger though). I have a couple of faster chargers that charge in pairs but I jsut use the rayovac unless I am in a hurry.
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Old Oct 4, 2003, 12:38 PM   #7
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Why have those quick rechargers when with a couple of battery packs you are all set?

I mean, even with a 16 hour charger how many packs of batteries is someone going to use on a regular basis to justify switching to a faster charger?
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Old Oct 4, 2003, 1:16 PM   #8
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My camera came with a Sanyo 4 battery charger and I bough a Maha when I ordered spare PowerX batteries from Thomas. Even if I let the Maha trickle for a few hours to top them off I really donít see any appreciable difference between charging in the Sanyo and in the Maha. You donít want to condition NiMH batteries too often and just using them completely in the camera occasionally keeps them working fine. Knowing what I know now I donít think I would have bothered with the Maha upgrade.
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Old Oct 5, 2003, 9:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerjoe
Why have those quick rechargers when with a couple of battery packs you are all set?

I mean, even with a 16 hour charger how many packs of batteries is someone going to use on a regular basis to justify switching to a faster charger?
Actualy I think I have six or seven of the quick charges now. I got six aa, two aaa, two adapters to use aa as c and two adapters for d and the quick charger for 10$US on clearance so it was cheaper to buy the kit with everything than to buy one set of four batteries. I got a couple of them. I later found four hi capacity aa with charger on clearance for 8$US so again I got several. The chargers were basically free (they are panasonic by the way). I use rechargables in everything including my wifes a40 and my a70 which is why I wanted so many sets. I use them in things like my cordless keyboard and mouse, portable cd/mp3 player etc. which use batteries pretty fast so it is pretty handy to haves plenty of spares.
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Old Oct 5, 2003, 3:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
The chargers were basically free
Yep, I have noticed that as well. Buy 4 2100mAh batteries for $22.99cdn or 4 of the same batteries and an 8hour charger for $24.99cdn....hmmmmm let me see. $2cdn more gets me a decently fast backup charger. tough call! :P

I have a Maha 204 as my primary charger and it came with 8 2200mAh batteries. I also have the charger and 4 1700mAh batteries that came with my c750. I recently picked up a set of AAA's for my mouse and wanted another set of 4 AA's for my headlamp for when I go hiking. There where more than a few manuafactures offering 4 high capacity AA's with a decent charger for almost nothing over just the batteries alone. I figure just to have as a backup just incase anything should happen to my Maha it was well worth the whole $2cdn it cost me over just the batteries.
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