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Best way to charge lots of NiMH AAs?

  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 3, 2017 4:24 PM Reply

    I don't want to spend a huge amount but I don't want it to take ages. Should I:


    * Get lots of cheap AA chargers?

    * Get a multi-slot charger (I've seen up to 16 slots)?

    * Get a high current charger and charge a bunch in parallel?

    * Use a balance charger and a bunch of AAs in series?


    @desolder is the last option the best one?


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    post edited by sheepish on 10/3/2017 at 5:49 PM
  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Tuesday, October 3, 2017 11:24 PM Reply

    Obviously I wouldn't know the best way, but a quick check on Amazon showed an 8 bay Bonai charger for $9.99 with a lot of good reviews. 83% 5 star out of 125 reviews. I only checked the first page of reviews though.


    Btw, @ebpDoug just posted yesterday and might reply quicker than desolder who hasn't been posting much lately.


    It might be worth looking at. :)

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Wednesday, October 4, 2017 7:54 AM Reply

    That's interesting. The Bonai charger looks like sku.396339
                            and similar on DX, but it charges cells individually.


    Edit: It's made in China, and has an output in mAh (capacity) not mA (current). "Excellent in All Details"! Why doesn't DX sell it?

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    post edited by sheepish on 10/4/2017 at 7:59 AM
  • desolder Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 1:43 AM Reply

    I'm still around. Don't write me off yet!


    I would stay away from a bunch of cheap NiMH chargers unless you know they have some intelligence to them (delta V, temp sensing, etc). A badly designed charger can fry the cells.


    The multi-slot charger would be great, but for best results you want a fast, smart charger. A dumb, slow charger will work and it will still be safe for the cells, but you'll be waiting 16-24 hrs to charge a fully drained cell.


    I would also stay away from parallel charging of NiMH. It can work if you know both cells are nearly equal in state of charge, but it can be difficult to guarantee this with loose cells, especially if they are non-LSD.


    AFAIK, balance chargers don't exist for NiMH.


    sku.396339 is a slow charger, which is fine and safe for the cells if you don't mind waiting. It appears to charge in pairs (2.4V output), so if you need to charge individual cells then get sku.234602, which is a similar slow & dumb charger but charges individually.


    I personally have sku.6194. It's a fast, smart, individual charger. It only has 4 slots however. So you'd need to buy 4 if you want to charge 16 at a time. But it's WAY faster than the slow, dumb charger so it could probably charge 16 cells faster than a 16 slot slow, dumb charger. You could always buy 4 of them if you need 16 channels...

    What's up with the scrubbed LED driver IC markings?
    What are they trying to hide?

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 4:53 AM Reply

    I really hate chargers like sku.396339 which have to charge in pairs, so the Bonai charger gasbag11 mentioned looks much nicer (but very slow). But I had the thought just now that I could use it for holding cells which I charge in parallel using a SkyRC MC3000 at 3 A per channel, or an iMax B6 like sku.35190 at up to 5 A.


    That Soshine charger looks pretty good. What is its charging current? I can't quite make out the pic. Is it 2 A shared across all four slots? What's the cheapest 4 slot charger on DX which can manage 1 A per slot?


    The cells being charged should all have a very similar state of charge, being used in 6S2P (for a friend) or 10S2P (for me) batteries.

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  • desolder Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 7:12 AM Reply

    Oops I goofed earlier. I actually have the other Soshine charger, sku.6152, which is unfortunately out of stock. But they both output about the same amount of current: 1000mA for 1 or 2 AA, and 500mA for 3 or 4 AA.


    The BT-C2000 (sku.337716) supports 1000mA for all 4 channels. There's a review over at CPF:

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?374976-Test-Review-of-Charger-Opus-BT-C2000



    What's up with the scrubbed LED driver IC markings?
    What are they trying to hide?

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    post edited by desolder on 10/5/2017 at 7:29 AM
  • matrix-neo Moderator Thursday, October 5, 2017 8:23 AM Reply

    @sheepish, i'm surprised, you should know by now you can't buy a cheap charger that won't either fry your cells or take ages to charge!

    but let's say you have a bunch of cheap cells you want charged quickly, on the cheap, get a cheap dumb charger, put in cells(with not too much difference in state of charge), and attach a mains timer, so for e.g 2000mAh cell, you figure each slot puts out around 500mA, set timer for 3-3.5 hours, the charger probably won't have thermal fuses especially if it's a bigger 8 cell or larger model so if a cell goes bad you need to be there to check

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 2:35 PM Reply

    But, but, I shop on DX!


    But seriously, you've pointed out that from (a) gentle, (b) fast, and (c) cheap, I can have two out of three. Maybe I'm too used to my normal 1 A charging.


    If I got five of the Soshine chargers and five power cords locally (which conveniently have USB charging ports half way along them) it wouldn't be too bad a price, and provide pretty reasonable performance and features. And if I don't want all of them I could give them away with some of the "cheap" cells I got.


    Or I could pay almost as much for a rather nice 8 slot 1 A universal charger and future-proof my charging, while being able to charge stuff in my car.

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  • sheepish Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 6:42 PM Reply

    Hm, the Opus BT-C700 is only 60% more than the Soshine charger.

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  • gasbag11 Top 10 Forum Poster Thursday, October 5, 2017 7:48 PM Reply

    On that other site, a lot of the vapers give Xtar and Liitokala chargers very high marks. I've never really checked any of them though.

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