When I started standardizing on the size batteries I was going to concentrate on I knew I had to have layered recharging capabilities. More simply put, I had to have multiple ways to recharge batteries that I would use during emergencies, disasters and especially grid-down.
But remember, you may still have AC power during some of those events. Also, there is normal training activities to consider. Recharging with AC power would still be the primary method. I was also covering the extreme of grid-down with solar recharging units. But I had to cover the other end of the preparedness spectrum via AC power.
But you know me by now…redundancy. As I was researching all the different chargers out there I would hear some really ugly things about some of the brands. Primarily the main complaint was the over-heating of batteries and fire. Yeah, fire. Fire from over-heating the batteries to the point they would catch on fire. Not a good situation by any description.
Here was the mission description –
The ability to charge a wide brand variety of AA & AAA rechargeable batteries via 120vAC and 12vDC power.
Requirements & Restrictions:
- Must have a safety timer on the charger to turn-off the charging process to prevent batteries from over-heating to the point of catching fire.
- Must be able to handle both AA and AAA batteries.
- Must be able to utilize 120vAC and 12vDC power sources without external inverter or transformer.
- Should be able to handle a mix of batteries, sizes and conditions, in the same tray during the same charging cycle.
- Should have the ability to assess and monitor battery condition and charge status and adjust or cease charging cycle as needed.
- Should have the ability to deep discharge batteries and to fully charge them in an automated cycle.
After about 10 hours of researching I continued to come up with the same unit that rated out the highest…HiTech. I made the purchase.
Here are my thoughts as we result of testing:
- I like that is holds 10 AA or AAA batteries.
- I like that is assess the state of charge (SoC) for each battery individually, you don’t have to “pair-up” batteries, have them all the same, or even have all the banks filled. The charger can also detect and charge both Ni-Cd and Ni-MH battery types.
- There are multiple charge rates and a microprocessor analyzes each battery and sets the appropriate charge rate for that battery. This feature really helps prevent damage to the battery and maximizes depth of charge (DoC).
- When an individual battery is at full SoC, the charger shuts off the charging cycle for that specific battery.
- The charger unit does safety that turns off the charger after a specific length of time.
- It has the ability to charge from 12vDC power source.
So I really like this battery charger! I didn’t get my hands on a lot of different chargers to test them against each other. I don’t have that kind of money. But all my research was proven to be spot on when I did the testing of the unit that I purchased. I am pleased with it.
Couple parting thoughts:
- The batteries will get warm.
- If you are charging 10 batteries at a time, it will take 8 – 13 hours to charge them. Fewer batteries to charge, less time to charge.
- It does take some time for the charger to recognize exactly how charged an individual battery is. So you could take a freshly charged battery and it might take 1 – 4 hours for the charger to show a green light that the battery is charged. It could be that the microprocessor is reading the battery and performing a trickle charge to top it off. Just not sure.
If you are looking for a great little battery charging unit with a mission similar to mine, then I would recommend this unit. I bought it, I use it, and I like it. Buy it !
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