Best Inexpensive NiMH Charger?

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Photons Away
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Best Inexpensive NiMH Charger?

Hi

After having studied all about LiIon batteries and chargers and flashlights and coming to the conclusion that the XTAR VP2 is a great LiIon charger now what is needed is a good NiMH charger. Something under about $15.00 USD is desired if possible.

Of course good things cost money and it is not expected to get the best for very little but what is recommended these days for a decent NiMH charger? A "quick" or "fast" charger is not desired. One that would be gentle to the batteries is wanted. By the way-the batteries to be purchased probably will be some mid/high quality batteries like the Tenergy or Eneloop PROs or Accupower. This has not yet been decided.

The AccuPower IQ-328 was being considered but it seems several people said better could be had for less but did not mention which one(s). What about the Eneloop chargers or the Panasonic chargers?

 

Thank you

mattheww
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You haven’t mentioned what size NiMh cells you want to charge. Presumably they are AA or AAA. The IQ-328 is a much more ‘flexible’ charger than the Eneloop or Panasonic Chargers, and also provides useful information about battery capacity and has the ability to ‘cycle’ batteries as well. For the money it is hard to do any better than the IQ-328.

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I’m using a digipower TC U450 it charges 1 or 2 NiMh batteries at a time with 600 miliamps in each channel. It also claims to be able to charge 14500 Lion though I haven’t tried it yet. This is the maximum length. I believe it will charge 16340 batteries also and I’m shopping for a laser pointer. It is a good charger if you don’t need the larger batteries.

Iker
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mattheww wrote:
For the money it is hard to do any better than the IQ-328.

+1 although slightly over your budget. I have a clone of the same model and very happy with it. But If I were in the market I would consider this other one, closer to your budget. See review here and here

Photons Away
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Sorry - forgot to mention it but yes - AA and AAA only will be recharged.

Thank you for the ideas so far. Anyone else with any opinions?

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Eneloop has one model of smart charger that i know of, its sold with 4AA batteries, but you have to make sure your not buying the more common dumb charger version.

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tryps
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Opus BM100 would be a good option if you could get it cheap, it was 20$ last time I looked
http://lygte-info.dk/review/Review%20Charger%20Opus%20BM100%20UK.html

MountainKing
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For $12 the 2014 i2 nitecore can be had at gearbest shipped. There is a coupon in their sale thread. I bought 2 of those for friends.

Never ever forget and forgive. Niwal**er new kid on the block trying to act tough.
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/24847
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DINODIRECTSCAM COMPANY. DO NOT BUY
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/11324?page=2#comment-254983

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i2 above, or add a couple bucks for an i4 from what Ive read. Otherwise the Eneloop smart charger is good too and comes with a bonus 4 batteries (I went this way).

Photons Away
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I wish the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD did not cost more than the VP2. Also Panasonic has no page with NiMH chargers all on one page except the eneloop-marked chargers are on one page but Panasonic makes many additional chargers for AA/AAA NiMH.

I had read the IQ-328 did have a few negative comments somewhere as well.

Iker
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Photons Away wrote:

I wish the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD did not cost more than the VP2. Also Panasonic has no page with NiMH chargers all on one page except the eneloop-marked chargers are on one page but Panasonic makes many additional chargers for AA/AAA NiMH.

I had read the IQ-328 did have a few negative comments somewhere as well.

Well, wish granted because it does not. It is just 27$ without coupon, about 10 $ over your budget. Anyway I am confused with the comparison now because vp2 is for li-ion and you asked for nihm. According to the shan review linked above, the shan
Is the best bang for the buck that you can get, not only charger but also analyzer and able to refresh. Second best would be the opus BM100, 5$ over your initial budget.

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I am a big fan of the simple nitecore chargers and sometimes use them myself for nimh charging but I wouldn’t recommend I2/i4 for nimh charging because it seems to work nonstandard and not optimal…

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Werner wrote:
I am a big fan of the simple nitecore chargers and sometimes use them myself for nimh charging but I wouldn’t recommend I2/i4 for nimh charging because it seems to work nonstandard and not optimal…

I believe HKJ determined they don’t use a delta V charging algorithm so they work but not quite properly

Edit: This is the eneloop with smart charger, the charger looks the same as the non smart but says advanced, it should be available in other countries as well
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2_1249_747&item_id...

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The current eneloop chargers are the BQ-CC16, BQ-CC17 & the BQ-CC18. Only the BQ-CC-16 is a smart charger out of these three. It seems there used to be many older but discontinued eneloop chargers.

The Nitecore D2 or D4 chargers are very nice looking but as HKJ did point out they are not so good for charging/servicing NiMH batteries.

The XTAR VP2 was mentioned because it could give someone an idea of the type of charger we were interested in (for NiMH/NiCads) as opposed to say a hobby charger, a basic cheapo charger, an 8-port charger or something like the BT-C3400 charger for example. So the point was that for LiIons we chose the VP2 and for NiMHs we were hoping for something sort of like it only for NiMH batteries as far as functionality and features.

The Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD is ugly and the display looks even worse. This probably means we are vain to the degree we wish for something that looks good as well as works well but we are not willing to give up accuracy and certain basic features for the sake of looks though. If only the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD looked like an XTAR or a Nitecore then the deal would have been done long ago. Laughing

The BM100 is sort of old by now and the newer unit (BC-T3400) is still an alpha or beta item in its developement as far as we are concerned.

So...spending more money seems likely now. Who ever thought that a NiMH/NiCad charger would cost more than a LiIon charger with similar features?

So......anyone know of a unit that looks like an XTAR or Nitecore-type charger in the case and display but functions like the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD with its accuracy and quality?

Thank you all so far. The end is near!

 

 

 

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the eneloop “pro” model that is black and has LEDs appears to be the one with independent channels and a low rate. tenergy makes a 2-bay independent channel charger that is pretty much an overnight charger TN153. I have a lacrosse bc700 but it’s now going for about $40. I have a tenergy charger for the rcr123’s and it has been flawless so I might consider the tn153 unless other people have had bad experiences. IMO because nimh are now LSD, fast charge rates aren’t really necessary unless you are running huge power packs for some reason like photography and fast charge rates aren’t supposed to be good for cells

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Photons Away
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Again the eneloop 17 is not even advertised as a smart charger. It uses time as a terminator. Only the 16 above it is a smart charger according to Panasonic. No smart charger=no thanks. Frown

Having just spent some additional hours researching, HKJ tested the Basen S2 and it almost came out on top but it seems the Nitecore D2/D4 might take first place for us.

It is pretty frustrating that Panasonic has no page for their chargers except the three on the eneloop page. Panasonic makes several other chargers but scattered all over the place and not even searchable or findable on their own website.

The Sony's were looked at as well (not that they were all on the same page either). Frown

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Iker
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Photons Away wrote:

The Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD is ugly and the display looks even worse. This probably means we are vain to the degree we wish for something that looks good as well as works well but we are not willing to give up accuracy and certain basic features for the sake of looks though. If only the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD looked like an XTAR or a Nitecore then the deal would have been done long ago. Laughing

The BM100 is sort of old by now and the newer unit (BC-T3400) is still an alpha or beta item in its developement as far as we are concerned.

So…spending more money seems likely now. Who ever thought that a NiMH/NiCad charger would cost more than a LiIon charger with similar features?

I find the traslucent Shan about as sexy as a battery charger can get, the next step would be the Technoline/Lacrosse/other brands clones. I have a technoline BC700 charger/analyzer that can be found for about 25$, with similar functions, and in my hands is an excellent charger. It may be not as fashion as you need, or not new enough, but you can always place it in a drawer. Normally, on battery chargers, good models stick around for years with minor design changes. In any case, if you need simple and pretty you might consider the Apple charger. It is an extremely simple thing and quite sexy, and it does not perform bad at all. Only charges 2 batteries at a time and no advanced options like the more functional models that we recommended, for 30$ (with six Appleloops included).

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Iker wrote:
Photons Away wrote:

The Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD is ugly and the display looks even worse. This probably means we are vain to the degree we wish for something that looks good as well as works well but we are not willing to give up accuracy and certain basic features for the sake of looks though. If only the Angeleyes/Shan SH-168DLCD looked like an XTAR or a Nitecore then the deal would have been done long ago. Laughing

The BM100 is sort of old by now and the newer unit (BC-T3400) is still an alpha or beta item in its developement as far as we are concerned.

So…spending more money seems likely now. Who ever thought that a NiMH/NiCad charger would cost more than a LiIon charger with similar features?

I find the traslucent Shan about as sexy as a battery charger can get, the next step would be the Technoline/Lacrosse/other brands clones. I have a technoline BC700 charger/analyzer that can be found for about 25$, with similar functions, and in my hands is an excellent charger. It may be not as fashion as you need, or not new enough, but you can always place it in a drawer. Normally, on battery chargers, good models stick around for years with minor design changes. In any case, if you need simple and pretty you might consider the Apple charger. It is an extremely simple thing and quite sexy, and it does not perform bad at all. Only charges 2 batteries at a time and no advanced options like the more functional models that we recommended, for 30$ (with six Appleloops included).


I’ll never understand this obsession with stylish appearances, its a charger, as long as its not hideous or covered in gargoyles who cares.

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

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Iker
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Photons Away wrote:

So…spending more money seems likely now. Who ever thought that a NiMH/NiCad charger would cost more than a LiIon charger with similar features?

Well, if you are willing to spend then you can consider the 35-40$ Maha powerex MH-C9000, with a very nice display and for many a gold standard of NiHM chargers. And if you are in for the ferrari, have a look at this cool skyRC (about 60$) with a supercool phone app to monitor the charge by bluetooth where you can almost see the electrons pumping into the battery :bigsmile:

Above you said that you decided for a nitecore D4, that is a good charger for Li-ion that can charge HIHM but not a dedicated NIHM.

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If I were to buy a charger that only needed to charge AA and AAAs, I would probably go for the Voltcraft/Lacrosse, as its just nice to have those extra options over a standard panasonic charger.

BTW

Most Panasonic chargers in Japan are smart chargers!

This is a copy from the eneloop 2005-2014 info thread:
(these chargers are currently on the market)

 BQ-CC11BQ-CC21BG-CC22BQ-CC23BQ-CC24BQ-CC25
Battery fitment4 cells4 cells4 cells2 cells2 cells4+2*1
AAA1-41-41-41-21-21-4
AA1-41-41-41-21-21-4
C-----1-4
D-----1-4
9V*1-----1-2
       
Smart chargeSmartSmartSmartSmart-(timer)-
       
Charge time      
Fast charge*2 1-2 AA2 hours2 hours4 hours4 hours*36 hours
normal charge4 hours4 hours8 hours8 hours7 hours6 hours
       
Zero Power consumption *4yes - - - - -
       
Voltage100-240100-240100-240100-240100-240100-240

*1 BQ-C25 is a multi battery charger, and can charge 9V batteries, 2 in total.

*2 Fast charging can only be done with 2 cells. and not with 4 at the same time.

*3 the BQ-CC24 is a timer based charger especially for eneloop Lite, therefore its not recommended to use with standard eneloops.

 *4 zero power consumption is that the charger will use less than 0.005 watt when not in use, according to IEC62301 it qualifies for Zero Power Consumption. 

PDF info link

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I have the lacrosse bc-700. it’s about $40 but price fluctuates and mine is a little over 5yrs old without any problems. otherwise my advice is find one with independent channels and the lowest rate you can find. you could even try the tenergy tn-153 for about $6 shipped unless other users had a bad experience

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joel95ex wrote:
I have the lacrosse bc-700. it’s about $40 but price fluctuates and mine is a little over 5yrs old without any problems. otherwise my advice is find one with independent channels and the lowest rate you can find. you could even try the tenergy tn-153 for about $6 shipped unless other users had a bad experience

My Bc700 is two years old and the power supply went but was replaced under warranty (its not made by lacrosse so its not their fault). The charger has also done fine, and i bet i have recharged 500 times or more since i got it (camera, GPS, flashlight, and so on)

The Journal of Alternative Facts TM

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After having just had a look at the reviews on Amazon for the La Crosse chargers it seems the La Crosse company has atrocious customer service. Also the price is too high for their chargers for their quality level.

It was about to be the Nitecore D4 but if our patience can hold out for just a while longer it seems there may be a new charger released soon by one of the main-line companies. If the D4 had a provision for 4.35v then maybe. It might still win anyway.  We shall keep you posted. Laughing

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Photons Away wrote:
The current eneloop chargers are the BQ-CC16, BQ-CC17 & the BQ-CC18. Only the BQ-CC-16 is a smart charger out of these three.

BQ-CC17 is suppose to be smart / delta-V termination.
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ChibiM - the link for the BLF eneloop info leads to a page not found.

 Halo - I see on the product page it says for the 17:

"Charging control  TΔ  /Timer" as well as "...individual management - delta V control."

Is not the "TΔ" referring to the time function? Is the "delta V control" only for discerning the fact of different batteries in different slots?

The Flashlight Wiki page says the BQ CC17 cannot measure cell capacity.

On this Amazon review page the first post on the page from "Usability" just in the paragraphs after the

*** UPDATE (22nd June 2014) ***

toward the bottom of the post says that the BQ-CC17 could not charge a couple of older batteries he had since it did not seem to detect their presence but the La Crosse BC-700 had no problem charging them.This would seem to be a function of whether a charger is smart or not.

A charger must have two features in order to be called "Smart" as far as I can tell. One is that it must sense the battery type and make some decisions on its own. The second is the charger must intelligently determine the proper charge termination time by other than a timer.

I am all ready to be corrected if anyone can contribute to my early education about these things Laughing

It seems we need an authoritative definition of a "smart charger" upon which we can agree.

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Additional research has found another gem. Has anyone heard of the Panasonic BQ-CC15? Just look at this:

It charges AAA, AA, C, D & 9 volt and it can take 4 Ds at a time! More technical information is on this ebay page.

It may be a little larger than most but size is not important for us. Have a look at the tech specs on the ebay page and see if the charging current is agreeable for you all.

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I believe the T delta(I’m on simple editor because I don’t know how to post links in advanced and can’t understand that anchor thing Silly )is temperature change.As full charge is reached,the cell temp increases and detecting this is one method.Panasonic gives the charge control as;

  1. BQ18:timer cut – dumb
  2. BQ17:Tdelta/timer – semi smart
  3. BQ16:smart charge 1/-deltaV/timer – smart, they call it peak cut control.

BTW does anyone know if a Ni-MH equivalent of the TP4056 charging board exists?

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Billy X - Thank you. So which is the best way to terminate a NiMH battery in a charger ideally? I have been reading too many things lately and must have need for a refresher course!

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Smart just means it actually detects when the battery is full instead of just charging on a timer only. Its harder the detect full charge with ni-mh than li-ion. Sometimes the charger can actually miss the change in the battery that indicates full charge (delta V) in which case the charger would use temperature (if it has a sensor) or just a dumb timer as the charge termination backup.  Extra features would be measuring capacity and a refresh function.

Photons Away wrote:

Halo - I see on the product page it says for the 17:

"Charging control  TΔ  /Timer" as well as "...individual management - delta V control."

Is not the "TΔ" referring to the time function? Is the "delta V control" only for discerning the fact of different batteries in different slots?

DeltaV (aka ΔV) is the usual smart full charge detection / termination of charge.

As Billy X said TΔ is temperature delta. A temperature based smart method of full charge detection / termination of charge.

The BQ CC17 table listing "Charging control: TΔ  /Timer" looks like an error to me. Should have also included ΔV since the description says it uses deltaV.

BQ CC16 is also smart but faster.

Photons Away wrote:
The Flashlight Wiki page says the BQ CC17 cannot measure cell capacity.

It has no display to show capacity. Measuring capacity is not needed for full charge detection / termination of charge.

Photons Away wrote:
On this Amazon review page the first post on the page from "Usability" just in the paragraphs after the

*** UPDATE (22nd June 2014) ***

toward the bottom of the post says that the BQ-CC17 could not charge a couple of older batteries he had since it did not seem to detect their presence but the La Crosse BC-700 had no problem charging them.

Its not ideal that it refused to charge them but he did say they were old enough to be from pre-eneloop days. Old, worn batteries will look different to a charger. Some do refuse to charge them. It may be that the charger can no longer be sure they are ni-mh, impedance too high.

 

 

 

Billy X wrote:
BTW does anyone know if a Ni-MH equivalent of the TP4056 charging board exists?

Do you mean cheap but good like the original TP4056? Nothing cheap since all the smart ΔV ni-mh charger chips are a few times more expensive than li-ion chips. They may never get to be as cheap since ΔV just seems harder to do.

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