Best NiMh Charger

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superpacker510
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Best NiMh Charger

New to all of this. Want to switch my family over to rechargeables. We almost exclusively use AAA, AA. At first I hoped to get an all in one Li-ion/NiMh charger, but now it seems like the ideal approach maybe to just get an awesome, dedicated NiMh charger. Then, when/if I get a light that takes an Li-ion battery, it will be limited to 1-2 cells and I’ll pick up a 1-2 bay Li-ion charger.

To that end, my primary concerns are safety/user friendly, as it will be used by my whole family. I really like all the features that come on many Xtars and Nitecores:

  • Automatically stops charging when complete.
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Over-charge prevention to protect batteries
  • Overheating prevention through temperature monitoring and optimal heat dissipation design
  • made from fire retardant / flame resistant material

Beyond that, the only other feature I find that would be super helpful is a battery health indicator, letting me know when the battery should be tossed. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by: superpacker510 on 09/12/2017 - 09:05
MiG0
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It looks like Powerex MH-C9000 is what you need.

http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Powerex%20MH-C9000%20UK.html

WalkIntoTheLight
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Although I have some expensive chargers, the chargers that I use most for NiMH cells (Eneloops) are the basic Panasonic charger that is included with the Eneloop kits available at Costco. For example, the BQ-CC17 charger. It does everything in your list, although it is slow (takes a few hours).

4 slots for AA and AAA, individual smart charging, stops reliably, gives indication of poor cells, etc. It’s never failed to give a good charge, and stop when done. There is no trickle current applied after a cell terminates, so you can plug it in and get the charged cells the next morning. Really simple and safe to use.

My expensive chargers, while nice, are much larger and usually a bit more complicated to use. Unless you need something like capacity tests, just use a simple smart charger.

MiG0
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I do not recommend Panasonic charges: in my experience they are unreliable in termination and have no thermal protection. Powerex MH-C9000 is extremely reliable and has individual thermal protection for each cell.

Pete7874
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Also take a look at Opus C2000/C2400:
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Opus%20BT-C2000%20UK.html

I’ve had mine (v2.2) for almost 2 years and it’s been working great.

atbglenn
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MiG0 wrote:
It looks like Powerex MH-C9000 is what you need.

http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Powerex%20MH-C9000%20UK.html

+1. I’ve been rocking with mine for over 6 years. It’s never let me down. Great analyzing charger.

WalkIntoTheLight
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MiG0 wrote:
I do not recommend Panasonic charges: in my experience they are unreliable in termination and have no thermal protection. Powerex MH-C9000 is extremely reliable and has individual thermal protection for each cell.

There are like some poor Panasonic dumb chargers, yes. But the BQ-CC17 I mention uses the change of temperature to terminate the charge (for each individual slot). So, it definitely won’t overheat your cells.

I get your point, though. If you use a cheap charger, you have to make sure it’s a smart charger, and not one of those timed dumb chargers. My advice would be to buy one of those Costco Eneloop packs that include a charger, then look up the model on the Panasonic website to make sure it’s a smart charger.

FWIW, I’ve had expensive chargers miss a termination and overcharge a cell. I’ve never had the BQ-CC17 do that.

Expensive chargers usually use the -dV/dt method to detect end-of-charge. That’s great, when the signal is detectable, but with a low charge current or an older cell, the charger can easily miss it. The simpler dT/dt method used in the BQ-CC17 just terminates the charge when the cell starts to warm up (indicating it is full). That method won’t work for fast charging (because the cells heat up before they are fully charged), but it works for a slow charge.

So, if the OP wants a fast charge, then a more expensive charger is the way to go. If he can wait a few hours (plug it in overnight or during the day), then the BQ-CC17 is perfect.

superpacker510
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Good thoughts. I’m presuming the Panasonic will perform the same with other nimh- amazon basics, energizer, Duracell etc?

atbglenn
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BTW, I have 3 Panasonic BQ-CC17’s I got from Costco. Great reliable chargers, but very slow. Not that’s a bad thing. That said, I still love my C9000 for it’s analyzing/ refreshing/ break-in functions.

Pete7874
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My CC17 sits in a drawer somewhere. I just like all the detail that my other chargers provide, not to mention they can charge quite a bit faster.

WalkIntoTheLight
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superpacker510 wrote:
Good thoughts. I’m presuming the Panasonic will perform the same with other nimh- amazon basics, energizer, Duracell etc?

Yes, any NiMH AA or AAA battery.

WalkIntoTheLight
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BTW, whatever charger you get, try to get one that does not do any “trickle charge” after the main charge is complete. One thing Eneloops (or any low-self-discharge NiMH cell) hate, is to be over-charged. A trickle-charge is designed for NON-low-self-discharge cells. If you do a trickle-charge on a low-self-discharge cell, it will overcharge it. This is reduce it’s life-span and capacity, if you do it regularly.

Hezekiah
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I bought a Foxnovo Digital Battery Charger 4S back in February 2016.

I like that when I put the batteries into the slots, the charger recognizes the Li-ion or Ni-MH/Ni-CD battery automatically and the LCD shows the present voltage and charging capacity.This let’s me see how much capacity I have used after my daily flashlight walk.It helps me know just how much real time I have on high settings on all my flashlights when walking at night.

Being able to discharge and recharge a battery helps me see the real capacity and know the quality of the battery.This is a very valuable feature. It does a great job at rapidly charging many different types of batteries. I normally use the .5a setting.

It comes with a DC 12V Car Adapter but I have never used it.

The ability to turn the beeping sound on or off would be good.

AA Cycler
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Pete7874 wrote:
Also take a look at Opus C2000/C2400:
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Opus%20BT-C2000%20UK.html

I’ve had mine (v2.2) for almost 2 years and it’s been working great.

Yes, I can second that. If you want an analyzing charger then OPUS BT-C2000 is an excellent choice. I have a clone/rebrand – EverActive NC3000 – and I like it. A bit bulky, but it has a reliable internal resistance meter – a very good indicator of battery health.

If you want simple then Panasonic BQ-CC17 is a good choice. It has a battery health indicator as well – solid LED to indicate a good battery, flashing LED to indicate a bad battery. I like the simplicity of BQ-CC17.

Cycle count tests of AA batteries - http://aacycler.com

mattlward
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I bought a C9000 the first year of production and have not looked back. They did replace the unit for a firmware issue somewhere in year 2 and all I had to do was ask for the replacement.

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robk
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Check reviews by HKJ; best quick source of info. I would still recommend the BQ-CC17 charger as being easy, foolproof, and gentle on the batteries. Slow speed is a possible drawback (allow overnight) but it will fill – and not overfill – and there are no settings to mess up. Any Xtar charger for lithiums; I am partial to VC2 (not VC2 plus). These are reasonably priced entries until you get more involved in this stuff.

SoCalTiger
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Yes the BQ-CC17 from the Costco packs like everyone else already said. It’s a no brainer smart charger. If you can hold out until Nov/Dec, those packs at Costco drop to as low as ~$20. A steal since it includes batteries. I own 2 of these packs currently.

Personally, I do not consider it that slow of a charger. It is 4×750mA.

Also, FYI, HKJ has reviewed the BQ-CC17.

flydiver
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Just read HKJ’s review. It is positive, but termination does seem to be dv/dt. He makes no mention of thermal cut-off/termination.

superpacker510
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Not to get too far off topic, but does anyone have any idea if Costco will in fact get Eneloops back in? I’ve seen them before, and once I deiced to some, they were long gone. I’ve been to several, both in FL and GA, and no eneloops, so I just presumed they would not longer carry them.

superpacker510
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Does the bqcc17 tell when a cell is dead / should be replaced?

atbglenn
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superpacker510 wrote:
Does the bqcc17 tell when a cell is dead / should be replaced?

I’m pretty sure it flashes the LED if you try to charge a bad cell. So far I haven’t had an issue with bad cells

WalkIntoTheLight
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atbglenn wrote:
superpacker510 wrote:
Does the bqcc17 tell when a cell is dead / should be replaced?

I’m pretty sure it flashes the LED if you try to charge a bad cell. So far I haven’t had an issue with bad cells

Yes, it will flash if the cell is bad. I get this on some very very old NiMH cells. Basically, it just measures the internal resistance, and if it’s too high it won’t charge the cell. This is also how it detects alkaline batteries, and won’t charge them.

leaftye
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Is the Ikea charger any good? I have one bought in a pinch during a road trip.

The low mode should be lower.

Reviews: Efan IMR18350 700mAh 10.5A, <a href="http://

Truck
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I use Ansmann for my RC needs and thought the quality was excellent. also have the VC4 (xtar) but it is a slow charger, at least for me (usb vs. ac)

ksio89
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Another vote for Panasonic BQ-CC17. It’s a simple and overall a great smart charger. Might be slow, yes, but doesn’t overheat batteries, is easy use to use, does not trickle charge and can detect dead batteries. I don’t think the slow charging is such a big drawback. I just plug it and let it charge batteries overnight or in the morning, before going to work. Have been using it for 10 months, and it’s a rock solid charger.

Serenity
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leaftye wrote:
Is the Ikea charger any good? I have one bought in a pinch during a road trip.

Which one do you mean? HKJ tested 3:
Ikea Ladda YH-990BF
Charger Ikea Vinninge
Charger Ikea Storhögen

I use the first one if I just want to charge some batteries fast (it charges at 1A) and don’t care about analyzing. The batteries do get a bit warm though, so not sure whether it fits the requirements of the OP.

The second one I take on holidays as an emergency charger, but I haven’t needed to use it yet. I wouldn’t use it unless really needed.