Review: "Omnipotent Power" PR-838 AA / AAA 4-channel battery charger

"Omnipotent Power" PR-838 Battery Charger

Reviewer's Overall Rating: ★★★


Supported Battery Sizes: 1 - 4 AA or 1 - 2 AAA
Supported Battery Chemistry: NiMH or NiCAD
Charging Channels: 4 individual
Output Power: 80 - 200 mA
Approximate Price: $5.00
Available at:


  • Very cheap
  • 4 independent charging circuits
  • Automatic shutoff per-battery when charged
  • Low power output is easy on batteries


  • Low power output takes forever to charge batteries
  • Not enough power to run the indicator LEDs with 4 batteries
  • Marginal build quality

Features / Value: ★★★★

I decided to review an obscure, ultra-cheap battery charger that is sold on eBay and other not-so-fine retailers. This model can be found on eBay by searching for certain buzzwords such as "intelligent charger" or "smart charger". The official model name is "PR-838" according to the label on the package and charger, but it is rarely listed as such online. It generally costs less than $5.00. Or you can go for a package deal that throws in a few cheap NiMH batteries for a few dollars more. For the price, I really can't fault this charger. It charges batteries, and it even has four independent charging circuits, which is very rare at this price level. Most of the ultra-cheap chargers support 4 batteries, but they only have two channels, meaning that either 2 or 4 batteries must be inserted to close the circuit and start the charge cycle. That would be less than ideal for me, as I often need to charge just one battery, or even 3 batteries. So the PR-838 is very flexible in this sense. I can charge just 1 AA, or even 1 AAA and 2 AA cells at the same time. Another surprising feature at this price point is the automatic charge detection on a per-battery basis. I'm not sure if it actually shuts off the power or if it reduces it to a trickle, but I have confirmed that when I insert a fully charged battery, the charge lights comes on for an instant and then immediately shuts off. When I insert one fully charged battery and one dead battery, only the dead battery's charge indicator remains lit. So I am giving this charger a better than average 4-star rating for Features / Value.

Build Quality: ★★☆☆☆

Build quality of the PR-838 charger is marginal at best. But I really can't complain too much for the price. I actually received two of these chargers, one of them free because I thought my first one was defective. The reason is that, upon plugging in the charger, the green LED in the middle lights up without inserting the batteries. This is not what the seller's description claimed, and I thought that the green indicator was to indicate that the batteries were charged. It turns out that it simply indicates that the charger is plugged in (duh). However, another more irritating quality issue is apparent. The charger's labeling says "Omnipotent", which means "All-powerful" or "Limitless power". However, Omnicheap though it might be, Omnipotent it is not. Upon inserting 2 batteries, their individual charge indicators glow bright red. Upon inserting 3 batteries, their charge indicators glow dimly. And when the fourth battery is inserted, all the lights go out. Clearly, this means that the charger isn't pulling enough power to charge the batteries and run the indicators at the same time. However, later on in the charging cycle and especially at night, the indicators do glow dimly, just enough to tell when they shut off at full charge. And indeed, this is a very low-power charger; the packaging claims 80 - 200 mA, which I believe. The charger and the batteries remain cool to the touch during the entire charge cycle. I personally find this to be an advantage, as it doesn't fry the batteries by pumping several amps through them like some "quick" chargers do in this price level. Yet, it does need 12 to 15 hours to charge a few Eneloops. Another quality niggle is apparent in the metal battery contact plates, which are nothing less than a shard of cheap sheet metal in a dimple, in which the battery sometimes remains slightly stuck. For the price, I'm not complaining. But real technology aficionados should look elsewhere.

Summary: ★★★

The PR-838 Omnipotent charger is anything but Omnipotent, but it should satisfy the basic needs of a new rechargeable battery user on a budget. 3-stars out of 5.

Do you own the Omnipotent PR-838 charger? If so, please give it your own 5-star rating below!

Nice review, have you though about getting another set of eneloops to have more cells at hand or will that be too much.....another thing that would be nice about that is the rotation of the cells for edc use.

Hi Al, if I bought more cells I would definitely get Eneloops, they are really a proven technology. However, for things that don't matter like the wireless mouse or my wretched old digital camera I use the cheap BTY cells that came with my charger. Since they came practically free with both of my chargers, I now have 12 BTY cells, which are more than enough for my simple needs.

Okay cool......remember i still have that eneloop charger for you. Dont know how much shipping is going to be though.

Hey, thanks for offering Al! I wouldn't want you to spend the money on shipping though, they really scalp you for shipping to destinations down here. I'll wait to see how long these two chargers last me, should be awhile yet. 8)

Okay but if they fail at least you will have a backup one in the Hows your new lappy doing, better then the other one i bet.

Thanks a lot for the offer Al!

Yep, I like the laptop a lot, great battery life. 0:) Just terrible speakers.

Dont worry i use an external set of speakers when i play games just sounds so much better then the ones on the lappy.

Personally, I couldn't wait 15hr - with eneloops anything that takes less than 2hr is doing harm to the cells - Sanyo recommend no more than 950mA charge current. I imagine most LSD cells are the same, but at least Sanyo tells you so. Some people tell you to charge them at up to 2A - but Sanyo ought to know about their own cells better than anyone else.

I have an 8A (15 minute) charger for AAs, but I prefer not to kill them that way. The cycle life of cells treated that way is minimal. The set of 2000mAh Energizers that came with it very, very occasionally get charged in it (usually in the car), but I don't normally need charged cells that fast and I do own more than 50 LSD cells which can be relied upon to work when required.

But it is a truly excellent name for a charger.

I know some chargers have a hard time knowing when to terminate the charge at low charge rates. Is it finishing the batteries at different times? You said it won't charge a battery that is already charged, so it must know something.

It does appear to be metering the charge correctly. For example yesterday when I started writing the review, I put a cheapo BTY and an Eneloop in the charger, both of them totally drained. After about 8 hours or so the BTY's indicator shut off. But the Eneloop was still going more than 12 hours later, but this morning it had also shut off. This seems logical in view of the drastically higher capacity of an Eneloop compared to the BTY cell.

Looks to me that the charger is doing its job, and for the price that you got them for seems well worth it.Cool

Not too bad eh? After all, it's a charger, and it charges my batteries. ;)

I really love the $5 price just can't beat that.

Hi! I found here

Great find.. I hope it has 4 single channel like the one used in this review.

I want to buy this charger for my father and my girlfriend but they don't ship to italy...F%£"()$/)!

Old thread,could be an advantage since I want to know if they have been reliable? Anyone?


I still use mine all the time, so problems so far! :) Definitely a budget success.

Thanks for the reply. Saw budget things were completely absent in the forum and ..........................

Ordained one against abstinence ..