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Old Jun 19, 2005, 4:19 AM   #1
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I currently have several 2300mAh Lenmars which are junk in the camera (but work fine in a radio / CD player / cassette player / etc), four 2000mAh Panasonics which are ok, and several 1800mAh (Duracell, I think - labeled DynaCharge) cells which I don't normally use in camera, but will use in a pinch. I think battery life is quite short, though.

So... I was thinking about picking up some (at least 8 or 12, maybe 16 or more depending on price) 2500mAh batteries. Any ideas on which ones (preferably available on ebay or from a local store for preferably < $10 / 4) would be most likely to be good ones (like name brands as opposed to offshoots)?

Also, I currently am using a Radio Shack charger, cat. no. 23-422. Should I forego getting better batteries and get a better charger instead? I like the fact that it's able to charge 8 batteries at a time, and am not willing to give up that capacity on a main-charger replacement (if I could charge 12 or more at the same time, it'd be nice). A couple things I don't like about my RS charger, though, include you have to charge them in banks of 2 cells (I want to be able to put differing (brands, capacity, charge level) cells in simultaneously and have it charge them), and you can only charge AA or AAA, not both (I want to do both).

Also, is there a good very fast charger (one that plugs directly into the wall, probably) that works with most major brands of batteries? I'd also like something (maybe one that only takes up to 4 AA or AAA at a time) for panic mode -- I'm somewhere and my batteries are all dead and I need to take pictures IN A FEW MINUTES (actually I wanted to say NOW but there's no way I currently know of that batteries can go from 0.000 volts, 0.000 amps to fully charged in 0.000 seconds.

So.... get better batteries, OR, get a better charger? And good super-fast wall charger for panic times?
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 8:10 AM   #2
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Well, you asked for suggestions of battery brands, well I can definitively suggest Powerex, I've got2 sets of 2300mAh which have been consistently giving me over 400 shots with my A95.

But it may not be the batteries the problems. How old is that radio-shack charger ? How long does it take to charge 4 2000 or 2300 mAh batteries ?

I definitively can't recommend any super-fast chargers because they could damage the cells. I can't recommend any super-slow chargers because they could damage the cells. My recommendation goes to the Maha C204W charger, it charges 4x 2000mAh batteries in 2 hours and afterwards it does trickle charge. It also has a rejuveneration option to bring back old cells to life.

Just to make sure... do you FULLY discharge your NiMH batteries ? or do you just wait til they die in your camera to recharge them ? I suggest you do the latter, because it can damage the cells if you discharge them below a certain level, something the camera will not do.

There are other good chargers besides the Maha I suggested(Maha is the same company as Powerex by the way), there is the Lightning Pack 4000N from ripvan100(or is it ripvan1000), the Maha C401FS and the LaCrosse BC-900. I can't recommend those since I have never used them, but from what others have said, they are very good ones. They will charge 4 cells at a time, AA or AAA and they will do it "fast" without damaging the cells.
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 11:47 AM   #3
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Your problem may be the charger you're using. I'm using Energizer batteries and was using the Energizer full sized charger, thinking it would be better.

Battery performance seemed to be lacking, so I blamed the batteries. More intense research show that the charger was the problem. It was a time-based charger, meaning the full charge rate would only be for 3-5 hours, depending on battery type and size. Current X time showed me the batteries were not being fully charged.

I have a Rayovac PS3 charger. This charger will fully charge my batteries and it still has a 12 hour safety shutoff. It can charge AAA's through to D's and 9 Volt cells. It's capacity is 8 AAA's / AA's. However the time to fully charge them is double. 2500mA cells would take about 5 hours for 4 cells.

There are better more expensive chargers, but this one is a general purpose charger as it will charge NiCd, Ni-metal, and rechargeable alkaline batteries..
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Old Jun 19, 2005, 12:52 PM   #4
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About batteries, the best cells you can get IMO are made by Sanyo. The new Sanyo 2500 mAh ones are very good indeed. You can get them branded as Energizer as well.

My recommendation for a charger is Lenmar Mach1 Gamma. This is the only charger that I've used that can recharge quickly (about 1.5 hours for high capacity cells) without overheating. To me this charger is a real winner. I've been using one for over a year with very good results.
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Old Jun 22, 2005, 4:41 PM   #5
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Ok... I was wondering.. for the times when I need the batteries right away should I get the Rayovac 15-min charger and a couple sets of those?

Or, is there one that charges 2500mAh batteries in < 1 hour that works with any brand of cells?

I'm wondering if I should get a charger instead of batteries? What's something decent that's inexpensive, and will charge at least 8 2300mAh batteries in < 6 hours from totally dead to totally full, and can charge different sizes (AA/AA AND 2300/1800 or 850mAh) at the same time? I don't want a charger that requires the batteries to be inserted in batches of two.
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Old Jun 23, 2005, 12:43 AM   #6
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The Rayovac PS3 will fit the generic charger job, except charging 8 2500 mA cells would take about 10 hours as current is divided in half as two batteries would be charged per charging compartment. You can use any brand of batteries with this charger. You can charge 4 different pairs, or 4 different singles. Each compartment charges separately.

The Rayovac, I've read, does work, but the batteries do get very hot. You also have to use Rayovac's special 15 minute batteries to achieve the short charging time. Any other brand of batteries switches the charger into an over-night mode.

Rayovac's PS3 and 15 minutes charger should be available locally wherever you are (Walmart), while the other "smarter " chargers will require you to order them.

I think if you need a fresh set of batteries immediately, you can just leave a set in the PS3 since it will trickle charge the batteries until you need them. Most newer chargers will trickle charge.

You could just get two charges so you can charge 8 cells in 5 hours. It all depends on how much you can or are willing to spend.

A charger that will work in your vehicle might be an option for you also. These usually are not hard on your vehicle's battery.
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Old Jun 23, 2005, 11:26 PM   #7
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I noticed the battery shootout on imaging resource. Would that be a good way to determine what batteries are good ones to get if I decide to replace what I have now?

Also, if I decide that replacing my charger is in order, where can I read some reviews of some chargers? I'd really like to keep my costs down to not much more than whatever I paid for the Radio Shack 23-422, but, if the charger...

can take at least 8 to 12 or more AA/AAA batteries (4 to 6 or more C/D)
has an LCD info display with the same (or more) features as the LaCrosse B-900
can charge rechargeable alkaline and nimh (and maybe nicd) batteries at the same time without having to have two of the same type/size/brand/capacity/charge level inserted simultaneously
has a conditioner mode (or whatever it's called that would discharge then charge them / rejuvenate them I guess), as well as a test mode, and a capacity meter
has selectable charging current ranging anywhere from 8 hours total for when it's full of AAA cells that just came out of my camera, to 15 minutes (maybe 30) when charging D cells that won't light my flashlight.

In that case, I might be able to spend $40 to $50 for one.

Otherwise... what's a good deal on something that works well with high-capacity batteries (I'm willing to give up C and D cell charging for now, but would like something that's fairly quick and thorough, and takes at least 8 simultaneously without having to insert them in groups of 2 or more)
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 2:53 AM   #8
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In desperation I picked up 8 energizer 2500mAh cells. Will see how well they work.
I also saw a $2something energizer 15 min 4 cell charger that comes with 4 2200mAh cells, thought about it, and decided to pass on it for now.

However, it is quite evident to me that I will be needing a better charger than my Radio Shack one.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 5:10 AM   #9
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blr has given very valid advice, and so have others about batteries & chargers.

Especially the Sanyo 2500mah cells. I can verify that.

I have a collection of cells with branded capacities. But does one know if
the capacities are true? Not really.

Recently I purchased the LaCrosse BC-900 charger. This charger does many
things. Apart from the usual charge/discharge function, it will test the cells
individually & display the mah capacity on a LCD display.

It was surprising. A dozen Powerex 2200 cells that I had considered good
gave results from 1750 to 2490 mah.

But the 8 Sanyo 2500 cells purchased recently tested from 2570 to 2850 mah.
A set of camera cells is only as good as the weakest cell. Knowing the actual
capacity of cells, allows one to sort the cells into sets of similar capacities.

Anyway, Pianoplayer, you now have the Energizer cells, which as blr states
are rebranded Sanyo's. As you comment. It's time to get a better charger.
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