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Old Aug 24, 2006, 11:17 AM   #1
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Well I spent forever and I mean forever choosing the right camera for my wife but then I started reading about chargers and batteries and I was even more confused. I thought it would be a simple task, go to store or online and grab a standard NimH charger but ohhh no. The Sony is nice as it runs a a good price with 2 batteries, I don't think it has a separate circuit for each cell. The C401FS seems to be a big favorite but I am on a budget right now and the best I can do with shipping is 43.99 (with 4 AA's). Now that brings me to the MH-C204F which was supposed to be the old model 4 or 5 years ago but still seems to be going strong. That can be had at $27.25 (with shipping) with 4 Lenmar 2450mah AA'safter that it would be more cost efficient to go to the store for Energizer 2500mah 4 packs. BUT on here I have read reports that the Rayovac 60 min charger was a smart charger with independent charging circuits and cheaper and does a good job. Problem is that model seems to be no longer available, looking at the web site I assume the PS12-B would be the same? I can find no spec on this and only buy.com sell it.



Basically I am finding the battery charger issue a little confusing, I would like to be able to get a good charger that works fast but not lightning fast does not cook my batteries and will be a reliable unit at a great price (that is the hard part)
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Old Aug 24, 2006, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hello Creeduk,

I have been using the TG2800 charger while traveling for some time now. I have been very happy with its performance.

http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp?...amp;ProdID=814

They also offer a package deal with AA and AAA batteries.

http://www.amondotech.com/index.asp?...mp;ProdID=1063

The Titanium AA 2600 mAh cells have been very strong performers andare designed to giveexcellent cycle life.

Tom
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Old Aug 24, 2006, 11:36 PM   #3
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Thanks SilverFox, I will take a look. There are so many things to consider when getting all the accesories. This and then the SD card (stuck between UltraII or Ultra III), what speed, which power rating batteries, the 2000mah, the 2500mah or the 2700's. I am thinking most seem more rated around the 2500 with not a lot of detail out there about ability to charge 2700 to full capacity.
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 1:59 AM   #4
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"I am thinking most seem more rated around the 2500 with not a lot of detail out there about ability to charge 2700 to full capacity."

Creeduk, that is because only Japanase manufactured AA cells have reached the capacity of 2700mAh. Chinese made cells are around 2400 or 2500mAh.

Understand that the battery capacity is independent of the chargers. A smart charger (such as the Maha 401FS) measures the voltage of the batteries, and will continue to charge the cell/s until they are full. A smart charger provides future proofing by not being limited. If Maha release 2900mAh batteries in 9 months time, it will be able to fully charge them as well.

A timer charger povides a set amount of charge over a set time, then stops charging. A time charger will thus not fill newer AA batteries, because it was designed to only charge a particular cell capacity, such as 2000mAh. So if you put 2500 and 2700mAh batteries into such a timer (dumb) charger, it will only charge them to a 2000mAh capacilty. That is just like having a bigger gas tank in your car but only being able to fill it to the 3/4 mark every time. Not so good for driving long distances!

Have a read of http://servaas.com.au/blog/can-any-b...imh-batteries/ for more info.
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 2:02 PM   #5
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Great info servas, My camera takes 4 batteries I am assuming they would deplete at the same rate, if that is the case the C204F smart charger (maha) would work perfect, just need to refresh the batteries every so often. If they deplete different would that charger cause some under and over charge issues? Then it maybe worth $20 more to get the 401FS? I would have to kill about 10 batteries before it mattered though I guess.
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Old Aug 25, 2006, 3:54 PM   #6
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Hello Servaas,

Your comments are pretty much on track, however keep in mind that several of the smart chargers have a safety timer also. If the smart charger misses the end of charge signal, the safety timershuts things down in an effort to minimize the overcharging of the battery.

An example of this is the Vanson Speedy Box. It does a wonderful job of charging batteries and is considered a smart charger. In the years of 1800 - 2000 mAh batteries it was great.

Now that we have higher capacity batteries, it is falling short. The charge rate is low, and the end of charge signal with the newer higher capacity batteries is reduced in magnitude. This sometimes results in a missed end of charge signal and an overcharged battery.

In addition, it has a safety timer set to 5 hours when charging AA batteries. With a charge rate of 500 mA, a completely drained 2500 mAh battery will not be fully charged at the end of the charge cycle. A person charging 2500 mAh batteries on the Speedy Box may not notice any difference in the 2500 mAh cells over 2300 mAh cells.

I happen to think that a safety timer that will shut things down if something goes wrong is a good idea. The problem comes in determining a proper time limit.

Vanson is nice enough to publish their specifications. With other manufacturers you can sometimes get this information by contacting them. If you can't find the information, you need to run some tests and figure it out for yourself.

Another very important consideration is the charge rate. It is generally recommended to charge a NiMh cell at a rate equal to or greater than half its rated capacity. This gives you a strong end of charge signal that the smart charger can use to end the charge. With the 2700 mAh cells, that means charging at 1350 mA. When you charge at rates lower than 0.5 C, you risk missing the end of charge signal. When the charge rate gets low enough, it is recommended to terminate the charge with a timer. The industry standard charge is to charge an empty cellat a rate equal to one tenth of the cells capacity for 16 hours. The problem is what do you do with a cell that is only partially discharged?

Tom
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 12:01 AM   #7
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OK I settled on the Maha 401FS

I was impressed by the titaniums but after shipping it dragged me further than i wanted, the lower model was similar to the C204F but cost more. If I had more budget I probably would have tried the titanium. I scraped together enough dough to grab a 401FS, I have a chance to grab a 204F at a laterdate from someone they have no power pack but the 401 uses the same so I figure the refresh feature may come in hand when I need it and make a back up charger. I nearly grabbed an energizer 15 min some one had a bargain but I missed it and there is so much back and forth on the reliability of the charger/batteries.
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