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Old Jan 9, 2006, 8:48 PM   #1
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1/9/2006

Many of you are familiar with the La Crosse BC-900 charger. It has a lot of excellent features and has been highly recommended by myself, and others.

In the last month, there have been several reports of meltdowns with this charger. At first I thought it had to do with charging high capacity cells at a low charge rate. Several have reported their chargers and cells melting together when charging Energizer 2500 mAh cells at 200 mA. However, I just recently became aware of another melt down involving Sanyo 2500 mAh cells in the test mode charging at 1000 mA and discharging at 500 mA.

I have been in touch with La Crosse and have discovered that the high temperature shut down on the BC-900 is set for 160 F. It seems that once the outside case of the cell gets to 160 F, there is some momentum left and the cells continue to heat up resulting in a melted case.

The other problem is that the BC-900 does not completely stop the charge in the event of high temperatures. It shuts the charge down until the cell cools off, then resumes charging again.

I have instructed people to keep a watchful eye on their battery charging, and to keep combustibles away. As a result, there have been no reports of loss of property (other than chargers and cells).

I have had no problems with my charger, but in light of the recent reports, I feel a word of caution is advised.

If you have any problems, you can contact La Crosse at 888-211-1923.

Tom
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 11:56 AM   #2
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Thanks for the warning.

I noticed this temperature behavior. 2 of 4 AAAs were "overheated" and while the unit stopped charging those two slots, the whole unit was very warm.

I guess the chargers don't have a shutdown safety like other applicances.
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 4:02 PM   #3
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Hello Webapprentice,

La Crosse does not seem to be aware of these overheating issues. Would you please call them at 888-211-1923 and let them know that you have had some batteries heat up on you.

It sounds like your unit is operating properly. It stopped charging when the cells got hot, but it would be nice if you could mention what you observed to them.

Thanks.

Tom
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 10:11 PM   #4
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Unfortunately, after the batteries and the unit was hot, the unit's firmware started messing up. Under normal operation, you're supposed to set the mode within 5 seconds after plugging the unit into the outlet. I was able to hit the mode button in the middle of charging and then it blinked immediately. I think either the heat messed up the unit or I shorted it with static electricity (it's dry where I am).

And it's out of warranty... doh

I'll look into calling them.
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Old Feb 5, 2006, 5:01 PM   #5
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SilverFoxCPF wrote:
Quote:
1/9/2006

Many of you are familiar with the La Crosse BC-900 charger. It has a lot of excellent features and has been highly recommended by myself, and others.

In the last month, there have been several reports of meltdowns with this charger. At first I thought it had to do with charging high capacity cells at a low charge rate. Several have reported their chargers and cells melting together when charging Energizer 2500 mAh cells at 200 mA. However, I just recently became aware of another melt down involving Sanyo 2500 mAh cells in the test mode charging at 1000 mA and discharging at 500 mA.

I have been in touch with La Crosse and have discovered that the high temperature shut down on the BC-900 is set for 160 F. It seems that once the outside case of the cell gets to 160 F, there is some momentum left and the cells continue to heat up resulting in a melted case.

The other problem is that the BC-900 does not completely stop the charge in the event of high temperatures. It shuts the charge down until the cell cools off, then resumes charging again.

I have instructed people to keep a watchful eye on their battery charging, and to keep combustibles away. As a result, there have been no reports of loss of property (other than chargers and cells).

I have had no problems with my charger, but in light of the recent reports, I feel a word of caution is advised.

If you have any problems, you can contact La Crosse at 888-211-1923.

Tom
I charged my 2500 mAh Powerex and Energizer batteriess @ 200 mAh, and discharged/recharged them using the 500/1000 mAh setting. They seemed to get a little hot when charging @ 1000 mAh, but not to the point where they'd cause a meltdown. Sofar, I'm very impressed with the charger. I will keep an eye out for theproblems you've described.
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 1:40 PM   #6
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Hi,

Is there anymore info on this? I am looking for a good charger and was close to jumping on this one, but I've read a couple of things that could change my mind. I am also considering the Powerex MH-C204W. Any thoughts anyone would like to offer would be appreciated...



Thanks,

Randy
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 4:59 PM   #7
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Hello Randy,

The new BC-900 chargers are running V33 firmware and it seems to shut things down at a lower temperature.

The older chargers (V 32) seem to only have problems when the heat sink compound is not providing a good path to the temperature sensor. When the charger can not sense the battery temperature, it does not shut down properly.

I have not heard of any more melt downs, so I would assume that the new chargers have better quality control and La Crosse is making sure that the heat sink compound is being properly applied.

I think it is a great charger, and recommend it. However, if you get one, keep an eye on it when charging brand new batteries.

Tom
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 7:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input, Tom. Would it be safe to say that you would recommend the La Crosse over the PowerexMaha I mentioned, given the current deals at Thomas Distributing (which seems like the best place to buy)? I am a bit of a rookie with this stuff and am not sure how much versatility I might need, etc.

Thanks again,

Randy




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Old Mar 31, 2006, 4:05 PM   #9
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Hello Randy,

I believe independent channel charging is better than charging batteries in pairs. This means that given the choice of the Maha 201 vs the BC-900, I would recommend the BC-900.

If you also have some C and D NiMh batteries to charge, you should check out the Maha C808M. There is also an AAA and AA version of the 808, and they are both very nice chargers. They do a good job of charging, have a discharge function, and won't cook your batteries if you happen to leave them in the charger for long periods of time.

On the other hand, if you are interested in finding out if the label on the battery is close to what the battery can actually supply, the BC-900 does offer the ability to compare some actual numbers.

Tom
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 7:53 PM   #10
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Hi SilverFoxCPF -

From your various posts, I see that you have quite some experience with NiMH batteries and chargers! I am also looking for batteries and a charger. Please take a look at my post below. Any tips would be appreciated.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=51
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