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#1 m.eppoliti

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 04:09 PM

I need some suggestions for re-chargeable batteries. I'm currently using ansmann and I'm not happy with the size of the charger and battery performance. Any suggestions are appreciated.

#2 Balrog

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:19 AM

Whilst they are not all equal, most batteries should give a good enough performance. I suspect your rechargeables are suffering from the memory effect and need to be conditioned to restore them to full capacity.

I can't praise the La Crosse BC-700 charger highly enough for automatically doing this and keeping your batteries in tip top condition. It is fully electronically controlled and has individual LCDs to tell you what is happening to each of the 4 batteries.
There are 3 selectable charge rates and 4 modes of operation. The charge mode just does what it says. The discharge mode discharges then fully recharges. The refresh mode performs the discharge mode multiple times measuring the capacity at each cycle and repeats it until there is no further increase in the battery capacity - expect this to take a couple of days. Finally the test mode measures the battery capacity.
Not only that but it does this individually for each cell, conditioning each according to it's needs so if your set of 4 has somehow got out of synch, it stands a good chance of bringing them back to a matched condition - failing that it will at least identify a dodgy cell.

All that said, I wouldn't want to travel with it; the charger is light but the power brick that plugs into it is not.

With all my batteries pre-prepared to top condition, I take a GP M510 travel charger. It will quick charge 4 AA cells, weighs 90g (3.5 oz) and comes with US, Euro and UK snap in plugs (like the Ike strobe chargers)

As far as batteries are concerned, Ansmann are fine but the newer LSD NiMH cells such as Eneloop have a lower self discharge rate and stay fresh for longer, the down side being that they are not available in the higher capacities.

Edited by Balrog, 11 November 2010 - 02:37 AM.


#3 bvanant

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 11:56 AM

I need some suggestions for re-chargeable batteries. I'm currently using ansmann and I'm not happy with the size of the charger and battery performance. Any suggestions are appreciated.

For home use, I strongly agree with the LaCrosse recommendation for chargers and I always take at least one and sometimes 2 on a trip since they are much kinder to batteries. Alternately, I use the Maha world charger, 4AA but only in pairs. They work everywhere independent of current and voltage.
For batteries, I would recommend the Ansmann 2400 mAh low internal discharge batteries as they seem to have the most capacity for things like strobes at the moment.

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#4 ChrigelKarrer

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 10:13 AM

I use with good results SANYO Eneloop rechargeable batteries on my strobe.
The good thing is that the hold the charge for a long time while NC Batteries loose loose their charge
while you don't dive.


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#5 Timmoranuk

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 11:33 AM

Whilst they are not all equal, most batteries should give a good enough performance. I suspect your rechargeables are suffering from the memory effect and need to be conditioned to restore them to full capacity.

I can't praise the La Crosse BC-700 charger highly enough for automatically doing this and keeping your batteries in tip top condition. It is fully electronically controlled and has individual LCDs to tell you what is happening to each of the 4 batteries.
There are 3 selectable charge rates and 4 modes of operation. The charge mode just does what it says. The discharge mode discharges then fully recharges. The refresh mode performs the discharge mode multiple times measuring the capacity at each cycle and repeats it until there is no further increase in the battery capacity - expect this to take a couple of days. Finally the test mode measures the battery capacity.
Not only that but it does this individually for each cell, conditioning each according to it's needs so if your set of 4 has somehow got out of synch, it stands a good chance of bringing them back to a matched condition - failing that it will at least identify a dodgy cell.

All that said, I wouldn't want to travel with it; the charger is light but the power brick that plugs into it is not.

With all my batteries pre-prepared to top condition, I take a GP M510 travel charger. It will quick charge 4 AA cells, weighs 90g (3.5 oz) and comes with US, Euro and UK snap in plugs (like the Ike strobe chargers)

As far as batteries are concerned, Ansmann are fine but the newer LSD NiMH cells such as Eneloop have a lower self discharge rate and stay fresh for longer, the down side being that they are not available in the higher capacities.


I'm fascinated by the charger you recommend.

It seems like it covers all the bases insofar of quick charging, battery maintenance and analysis. Noting what you say about the weight of the charger, this ( http://www.maplin.co...?ModuleNo=45798 ) may be a useful alternative for travelling.

I get a 100% charge on (partially discharged) 2500 mhr NiMh (Maplin brand) cells inside of 15 minutes but its a 'quick and dirty charger'. However, I'm still using the same batteries four years later so it dosn't seem to harm them. Periodically I check them with a pulse load tester ( http://www.calumetph...uk/item/CJ0180/ ) and bin one or two...

Thanks for the heads up :-)
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#6 Balrog

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 01:10 PM

I'm fascinated by the charger you recommend.

It seems like it covers all the bases insofar of quick charging, battery maintenance and analysis. Noting what you say about the weight of the charger, this ( http://www.maplin.co...?ModuleNo=45798 ) may be a useful alternative for travelling.

I get a 100% charge on (partially discharged) 2500 mhr NiMh (Maplin brand) cells inside of 15 minutes but its a 'quick and dirty charger'. However, I'm still using the same batteries four years later so it dosn't seem to harm them. Periodically I check them with a pulse load tester ( http://www.calumetph...uk/item/CJ0180/ ) and bin one or two...

Thanks for the heads up :-)


Wow a 1700ma charge rate. We've all been there wanting to quickly pump some juice into our batteries and when it comes to missing the boat or being kind to our cells, there's no contest. Thanks, think I might have to get one of these. What does it weigh?

I bet you could roast chestnuts on those cells though.

#7 Timmoranuk

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 02:39 PM

Its a travel friendly weight, with interchangable power adapters too. Recognising that the charge rate creates a lot of heat, this charger is equpped with a cooling fan which sucks ambient air across the batteries. IMO, look no further for a travel friendly charger...
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#8 Timmoranuk

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 05:53 AM

Whilst they are not all equal, most batteries should give a good enough performance. I suspect your rechargeables are suffering from the memory effect and need to be conditioned to restore them to full capacity.

I can't praise the La Crosse BC-700 charger highly enough for automatically doing this and keeping your batteries in tip top condition. It is fully electronically controlled and has individual LCDs to tell you what is happening to each of the 4 batteries.
There are 3 selectable charge rates and 4 modes of operation. The charge mode just does what it says. The discharge mode discharges then fully recharges. The refresh mode performs the discharge mode multiple times measuring the capacity at each cycle and repeats it until there is no further increase in the battery capacity - expect this to take a couple of days. Finally the test mode measures the battery capacity.
Not only that but it does this individually for each cell, conditioning each according to it's needs so if your set of 4 has somehow got out of synch, it stands a good chance of bringing them back to a matched condition - failing that it will at least identify a dodgy cell.

All that said, I wouldn't want to travel with it; the charger is light but the power brick that plugs into it is not.

With all my batteries pre-prepared to top condition, I take a GP M510 travel charger. It will quick charge 4 AA cells, weighs 90g (3.5 oz) and comes with US, Euro and UK snap in plugs (like the Ike strobe chargers)

As far as batteries are concerned, Ansmann are fine but the newer LSD NiMH cells such as Eneloop have a lower self discharge rate and stay fresh for longer, the down side being that they are not available in the higher capacities.


I just acquired one from Amazon (http://www.amazon.co...90347468&sr=8-1). Very impressive! The supplied (European 2-pin) power charger was not massive and is very travel friendly.
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#9 Balrog

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 11:29 AM

Good stuff.
So a couple of happy weeks ahead going through all your batteries then.
Remember to set the charge rate before the function. You can't change it afterwards.

Tim

#10 Timmoranuk

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:10 AM

Good stuff.
So a couple of happy weeks ahead going through all your batteries then.
Remember to set the charge rate before the function. You can't change it afterwards.

Tim


Tim, may I have the benefit of your advice please? I've set the BC-700 to refresh however the manual does not specify how to identify when this process is complete, only that "this process may take several days". Does the charger give an indication or do you have another idea?

Thanks, (another) Tim
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#11 bvanant

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:24 AM

Tim, may I have the benefit of your advice please? I've set the BC-700 to refresh however the manual does not specify how to identify when this process is complete, only that "this process may take several days". Does the charger give an indication or do you have another idea?

Thanks, (another) Tim


The BC-900/700's Discharge/Refresh function works like this:
(1) Start with a full discharge of the cell down to 0.9V. Report the capacity (mAh) as it goes.
(2) Fully recharge the cell. Capacity number remains frozen from end of previous discharge
(3) Fully discharge the cell again. Capacity number is only updated in the end _if_ it is greater than that from the previous discharge cycle
(4) Repeat (2) and (3) until the capacity number stopped improving, or up to 20 cycles max.

For cells in good condition, the Refresh operation typically finishes in 3-4 cycles.

Timer reading is always the elapsed time for the present charge/discharge cycle. For most good batteries this can take 4 hours or so. There is no real indication that things are moving or not except for the timer readings.
Bill

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#12 Timmoranuk

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:16 PM

Thanks Bill. So a 24 hour soak on 'refresh' should cover all the bases then. Mmmm... That'll be 24 days days then at four AA's every day... Maybe its not a great idea to have two u/w photogs in the same household!

Edited by Timmoranuk, 24 November 2010 - 12:20 PM.

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#13 bvanant

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 03:37 PM

Thanks Bill. So a 24 hour soak on 'refresh' should cover all the bases then. Mmmm... That'll be 24 days days then at four AA's every day... Maybe its not a great idea to have two u/w photogs in the same household!

I would be really surprised if most of your batteries needed refresh. I would charge them at low power (200 mA) and see the voltage and capacity. If they are 1.46 or 1.47 V and full capacity charged that way I wouldn't go to the trouble of a refresh. I only use refresh if I can't get a battery to behave well after a couple of charge cycles.

Bill

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#14 Balrog

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 12:47 AM

Tim, may I have the benefit of your advice please? I've set the BC-700 to refresh however the manual does not specify how to identify when this process is complete, only that "this process may take several days". Does the charger give an indication or do you have another idea?

Thanks, (another) Tim

Hi Tim

To specifically answer your question, if you leave the LCD showing capacity it will display 'Full' when the refresh cycles are complete. Pressing the Display button and cycling round back to capacity will briefly show you the achieved capacity before it changes back to reading 'Full'

A number of my older battery sets have shown a good 3-400mAh improvement and it's surprising what it will do to condition a new set too. You will also get to know the true capacity rather than the often over inflated manufacturer's claims

I have to admit that when I first got the charger I went through my sets using the 500mA charge rate. - halves the time. Then did them again at 200mA before my next trip.

#15 Timmoranuk

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 02:43 AM

Thanks for that Bill and Tim.

I'm starting with my oldest Maplin 2500 mAh AA cells and after the first 24 hour refresh the BC-700 did not display 'full' so I guess this group of cells (12 x 4 AAs) are going to take some work... But hey, these cells cost about 18.00 for eight (presently on promotion at Maplin for 12.99) so if some lengthy refresh cycles improves their life and performance, that's real nice and a darn sight cheaper than buying new!

With the Maplin 30 minute fast charger for day to day charging, the Calumet pulse load tester for evaluating condition 'on the fly', the BC-700 for periodic maintenance and 24 numbered sets of AA cells I may risk becoming Wetpixel's battery nurd. LOL.

Thanks guys, Tim
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#16 Balrog

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 01:32 PM

Thanks for that Bill and Tim.

I'm starting with my oldest Maplin 2500 mAh AA cells and after the first 24 hour refresh the BC-700 did not display 'full' so I guess this group of cells (12 x 4 AAs) are going to take some work... But hey, these cells cost about 18.00 for eight (presently on promotion at Maplin for 12.99) so if some lengthy refresh cycles improves their life and performance, that's real nice and a darn sight cheaper than buying new!

With the Maplin 30 minute fast charger for day to day charging, the Calumet pulse load tester for evaluating condition 'on the fly', the BC-700 for periodic maintenance and 24 numbered sets of AA cells I may risk becoming Wetpixel's battery nurd. LOL.

Thanks guys, Tim


:eek: 24 sets of batteries. What do you do with them all - or shouldn't I ask lol

If you don't have them already might I suggest a few of these plastic cases http://cgi.ebay.co.u...=item4aa668c952

#17 bvanant

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 04:49 PM

For storage and travel, I use the Delkin 8-battery carriers and I label them for charged or used state of the battery.
Posted Image

They are about $4 from Thomas, totally indestructable (so far) and how can you resist a battery box that has webbed feet.
Posted Image

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#18 Timmoranuk

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 06:23 AM

:eek: 24 sets of batteries. What do you do with them all - or shouldn't I ask lol

If you don't have them already might I suggest a few of these plastic cases http://cgi.ebay.co.u...=item4aa668c952


All our kit; dive lamps, focus lamps, strobes are AA powered so out of 48 AA each there's just a handfull of 'spares' if we're using all the kit, say on a deep wreck photog dive.

For storage we use: http://www.sistemapl...#/details/13/45. The larger of the two o-ring protected boxes takes 24 AAs and costs a couple of quid.

Cheers, Tim
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#19 bvanant

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:22 PM

I need some suggestions for re-chargeable batteries. I'm currently using ansmann and I'm not happy with the size of the charger and battery performance. Any suggestions are appreciated.

A bit of shameless promotion here, but there is a review of almost all of the available AA rechargeable batteries at

http://www.uwphotogr...ies-for-strobes

Take a look.
Thanks
Bill

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#20 Balrog

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 01:09 AM

Some good work there Bill with very interesting results.

So LSD NiMH cells are a no-brainer for higher discharge rate use, despite their apparently lower nominal capacity.