With the plentiful choices of battery chargers for NiMH batteries, I wasn't satisfied with the store bought chargers such as Energizer and Panasonic. I came across the La Crosse Technology BC-900 charger in several places during my daily technology blog readings and the charger looked really intriguing. The charger has tons of features, some of which include separate LCD display which can show unique information for each battery, 4 different modes (charge, discharge, test and refresh), and the ability to perform separate tasks in each slot. The charger only takes in AA and AAA battery types as 9V batteries are not a concern for me, it was perfect for my needs. The package also included a travel bag to hold the charger and all the accessories that come with it. The extras include four 2600mAh AA batteries, four 1000mAh AAA batteries, four C size and four D size battery adapters (to be used with the AA batteries).
The usability of this charger is fairly simple with a short read of the manual to view the features that the product offers. When performing tasks, the current rate can be adjusted such that faster charge and discharge rates are available if you want the cycle to be completed sooner. The charge rates range from 200mA to 1800mA (6 rates total) and the discharge rates range from 100mA to 500mA (4 modes) and then the subsequent charge cycle doubles the current.
Test mode is able to estimate the capacity in mAh or Ah of a battery by doing a charge, discharge, charge cycle. This allows the user to view if the capacity still achieves the ball park figure the manufacturer rates on their batteries. This helped me find a single AA battery from a pack of four that has dropped its capacity from 2300mAh to 1300mAh. Instead of disposing this battery, I used the refresh mode which recalibrates the battery. Note that this mode is quite slow but constant monitoring is not required of the charger. This improved the usability of this battery and is quite a useful feature to at least try before disposing useless rechargeable NiMH batteries.
In conclusion, this charger is very sophisticated and provides a plethora of features that regular chargers do not provide. Another suggested charger one may try out is the Maha MH-C9000 which is just as, if not more capable than the BC900. The main difference is that the Maha is quite a bit larger than the La Crosses’ as well as having a very bright back light that does not turn off.
I would fully recommend this charger for users that are constantly using rechargeable batteries such as wireless video game controllers (Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii) or for photographers, essentially anyone that requires rechargeable batteries.
Note: The charger was purchased at www.thomas-distributing.com which is great for North American customers (US and Canada). Great experience with them.