After my faithful Uniross Sprint 30 battery charger finally gave up the ghost in a puff of smoke just after Christmas, I had an urgent need for a replacement fast charger.
I have been using VapexTech high capacity NiMh batteries for a number of years, and have always been pleased with the runtimes that they have given for my high-drain devices, so I decided to purchase their VTE-2000 charger.
The unit works well, and the charging time quoted on the VapexTech website seems accurate, with my high capacity 2700mAh batteries taking slightly longer than the charge time quoted for 2500 mAh batteries of 4.5 hours.
This is an intelligent charger, with the charging state of each battery being individually monitored. Essentially this means that the charger stops charging each battery when it is fully charged, unlike other intelligent chargers on the market, which only monitor a pair of batteries, and will keep pumping the full charge into the pair, even if one of the batteries is fully charged.
This basically means that this charger should look after your batteries and extend their usable life.
When the batteries are inserted and the charger turned on, the charger briefly tests for faulty batteries/reversed polarity and determines the charge state of the inserted cells. Once this has been achieved, the display shows a simple graphic of the cells inserted with a 4 segment charge state indicator for each cell.
Faulty cells are indicated by a flashing fully charged icon for the relevant cell. I have found that this is sometimes caused by dirty terminals causing a poor connection, and so it is worth checking this before binning the battery.
When charging is complete, the battery icons show the full icon, which is static on the screen.
The unit has been put into regular usage since it arrived, and has worked perfectly.
It did however identify a number of my batteries as being faulty. This was rather annoying, as it meant that I needed to buy new cells, but in retrospect is no real surprise, as I’m sure that there have been times that I have run a device until the batteries have been completely discharged.
As no two batteries discharge identically, you get charge reversal when the voltage of a single cell drops to a very low level (where current flowing into the cell with the lowest charge, in the reverse direction) which over time destroys the cell.
This can be avoided by charging regularly and not running the device until it dies completely.
At £14.55 including delivery, this is a smart charger that will not cook your batteries, and I think that it represents very good value for money.