Sunday, April 29, 2012

La Crosse BC-700, BC-900, and BC-1000

For this review I'm going to talk briefly about La Crosse battery chargers.

These chargers are designed to charge AA and AAA NiMH batteries. They are better than standard battery chargers because they have a digital screen to tell you exactly how much energy is going into the batteries. Also, they have several advanced features, such as fully charging and then discharging a battery in order to tell you the battery's true capacity, and they also can repeatedly discharge and then charge a battery to try to bring an old cell back to life.

Additionally, the chargers allow you to select several different charging currents, so that you can charge batteries quickly if you need to, and slowly if you don't need the charge immediately. It's usually best to charge batteries slowly because the batteries will be cooler and thus incur less "loss of life". If you charge batteries too slowly, however, the charger will have a hard time knowing when the cell is full, and might overcharge the battery a little.

I am showing the older La Crosse BC-900. It has been replaced by the (newer and black-in-color) BC-700 and the BC-1000. The real difference between the two (other than cost) is that the 1000 comes with a few batteries, and has more options for fast-charging batteries.

The batteries included with the BC-1000 are not low-self-discharge, which means that they will lose their charge over a few days or weeks of sitting in a drawer.  I highly recommend replacing them with Eneloops or Duracell Pre-Charged (try to get the Japanese duracells with the white band around the top. To be safe, you can order Sanyo Eneloop batteries.)

Because I do not use the included batteries, I recommend getting the cheaper BC-700.  It's an investment that will pay for itself over time by increasing your battery life on rechargeable batteries.


If you are interested, check out the other reviews on this stuff at Amazon.com

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