Ivor O’Connor

February 16, 2009

La Crosse Battery Charger

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 5:03 am

Rechargeable technology has gotten to the point where you can get almost as much power out of reusable batteries as disposables. Most battery chargers, however, are dumb circuits that simply jam a current through the battery no matter its current state of charge, which can ruin a perfectly good battery. With La Crosse’s BC-900, you can not only monitor the charge on the battery at any given time, you can do a discharge + recharge cycle, or even a full refresh where the battery is discharged and recharged several times in a row. I’ve found the BC-900 can actually revive a battery that was rendered unusable via a less effective charger.

Previously, I owned a Panasonic that worked OK. Though I haven’t done a completely exhaustive search of this space, after reading a lot of reviews and then using it, I really would rate the BC-900 as being one of, if not the best little charger for the money. With mine, I find I can get anywhere between 50 to 100 percent more cycles.

Plus, this unit has selectable charge rates, which allows you to charge batteries quicker if you need them ASAP, like within 15-30 minutes. Doing this does require a lot of current to be jammed through the batteries in a shorter period of time, which stresses them and shortens their lifespan. But it’s helpful to at least have the option of optimizing for speed over longevity.The charger comes with eight batteries (4 AA and 4 AAA) and 4 C and D cell adapters, too, so you get a nice start all in one package.

I’m not sure what’s going on here. This charger is years old. Like five or more. So I’m not sure why it’s just now showing up or returning to the above site. Still it’s one of the best chargers out there. There are problems with it though:

  1. The display looks clear, crisp, and easy to read in the picture. However it’s the worst LCD display I’ve ever seen. You often have to get a magnifying glass, a good light source, and tilt the display at various angles. I doubt it has improved.
  2. Each cell must be programmed separately. It’s difficult because you have to first read the manual, secondly be able to read the display, and thirdly get the timing down correctly. After a few attempts it gets easier to get the mode timing down but still it’s a bit disconcerting. Especially if you have not used it in a few months.
  3. If you have kids you should hide this charger. Otherwise they will attempt to use it on alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries will leak acid. The leaked acid will drip through to the circuit board that controls the charging for that particular cell. And destroy it.
  4. Finally the charger, with it’s different modes, becomes addictive. I’ve labeled all my batteries including details such as when they were purchased, their capacity, the number of charges, etc.. Is this all necessary?

I think I’ll avoid any more chargers until they can be linked in via wi-fi to a google app that can chart out the cells history. Perhaps the cells need to be marked somehow. Perhaps with just a bar code. Better yet with a chip so the cells real history can be globally recorded so bogus vendor claims can be exposed.

Final note. This charger will revitalize dead cells given enough time. Usually. Could take a week or two before the charge takes. The NiMH supposedly do not have memories, according to vendors, but they do. This charger will break the oxidization that causes the memory problems.

Anyways, it’s probably still the best charger money can buy and it’s good to have a link to it.


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