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Energizer CHDC-CA Compact AA/AAA NiMH Battery Charger Review

Looking through low-priced battery chargers, I decided to go with a brand-name charger. I narrowed the choice down to either a Duracell or Energizer charger, both around the $25-30 mark. Both included NiMH batteries, but the Energizer had batteries with a higher capacity rating, so I went with it. After a few months of usage, I have one statement that sums up my thoughts on this thing…

energizer charger2.jpg

What a piece of junk.

First, this being a review, some basic info about the charger:

  • It comes with 4 x 2500 mAH AA batteries. It can charge AA or AAA NiMH batteries.
  • The tray that holds the batteries can be slid closed, or “compacted” to make it easier for travel
  • It charges 2500 mAH AA cells in about 8 hours.
  • It offers reverse polarity protection.
  • Includes a built-in safety timer.

 

Now there was at least a little thought put into the charger. It’s meant to carry easily for travel, and it does. The AC-outlet prongs flip up into the charger, and the battery tray slides shut to make it one of the smallest, easiest to carry chargers around. It’s quite slim as well. You could probably put it in your pocket when not in use if you wanted to.

But there are bad points… First of all, you might have to wiggle the batteries a bit within the charger to get a good connection. It’s very easy to get the batteries in “most of the way”, but not enough to make contact. You could easily end up charging some batteries and not others.

The next problem is that you can’t charge only 1 battery. You need at least 2 in the charger for it to operate. Not a big deal, since most devices use 2 batteries anyway, but if you have a 1-battery device, plan on carrying a 2nd battery if you plan on doing any charging.

The biggest problem however, is the method of charging. NiMH batteries can not absorb overcharge. Therefore, an NiMH battery charger is supposed to detect when the battery reaches full charge, and then either cut the charge, or reduce it to a trickle charge.

Unfortunately, Energizer has apparantly decided that rather than to bother detecting when the batteries are fully charged, they would instead charge the batteries for about 8 hours, regardless of the battery charge, and then shut off the charger automatically after those 8 hours.
This is a problem. It’s a problem, because it’s not the way you’re supposed to charge NiMH batteries. It’s great if your batteries do happen to hit full charge at the 8 hour mark, but the big problem occurs when your batteries take less time to charge.

Q: What happens if your NiMH batteries are fully charged in 3 hours, but the charger applies full charge to them for 8?

A: Your batteries literally cook for the extra 5 hours.

Yes, there’s a reason that NiMH chargers are supposed to include complex detection circuitry and then cut off or reduce the charge – it’s because if they don’t, the batteries just heat up, and start to fry. This (as you might expect) reduces the life of the batteries.

As it turns out, when charging batteries, I was finding that the batteries in the Energizer charger would end up scorching hot before the end – my first indication that something wasn’t right, and what led me to investigate further.

What will make things worse for owners of this charger is when someone is in the situation where they have batteries, they can’t remember if they’re fully charged or not, so they put them in the charger overnight anyway. If the batteries are already fully charged (or almost fully charged), they’re going to be baking for the entire 8 hours. Not a good thing.

In short, I’d probably be just as comfortable with a no-name brand charger as with the Energizer. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if most no-name NiMH chargers worked better, and of course cost less. I would have expected much more from Energizer, but seemingly they’re more concerned about cost than quality. The 8-hour timer is undoubtedly cheaper for them to use than the circuitry they’re supposed to for this kind of charger.

I’d recommend the Energizer Compact Charger only as a charger for travel and use every once in a while. It also wouldn’t be terribly bad for NiCd batteries, which don’t aren’t as susceptible to abuse. I most certainly would not recommend it as your primary NiMH battery charger for day-to-day use however.

  • scorched

    UPDATE: DO NOT USE THAT PACK CHARGER!!!!! I have ruined virtually every set used with that pack charger from Battery Space. The pack charger waits until a large drop in voltage occurs, which winds up DAMAGING them. NIMH will heat up and get overcharged. Just go with the MAHA C808M. I may be forced to go with NiCad AAA, it is hard to get reliable even termination with AAAs, possibly the AAA needed a full 1.0 amp in the AAA slot to give it a stronger end of charge signal instead of just 0.7 Amps

  • Joe

    The 8 hour interval is well chosen because that’s how long it will need to charge weak batteries, which is why you would charge them in the first place. The less recharges, the longer the battery life.

    On the point of partially charged batteries, anyone in the world who doesn’t have a battery tester with a display (say like a ten dollar multimeter form a Paki Superstore) should be bitch-slapped anyway.

    They include an excellent chart to check on your batteries charging, and the only reason it shuts off after 8 hours is that people are too fucking stupid to time it OR pull it out of the gd wall. I mean if your battery is half charged, charge it half the fucking times listed.

  • Scorched

    I believe this pack charger is found at batteryspace and the holders you get somewhere at Wileys Electronics I think, something like minimum order, $10. The alligator clips and plug can be found at Batteryspace too. Well, I bought the 2 new Accupower Evolutions too, to replace that 1 bad C cell out of 9, and alas, the 2 new ones came out much weaker than the other 6. Looks like for anything smaller than a D size, were stuck with Imedions, or the same for AA,AAA, as well as Sanyo eneloop, except they don’t carry the bigger sizes. I hope I helped stir you guys to the right brand. Looks like the Imedions are good. Now if only they matched their D cell capacity to the Accupower Evolutions. I tried the Energizer brand batteries, no luck with them.

  • Scorched

    In case you were wondering what Rayovac charger, it is the gray one that says, charges 3 times as fast. {on the package]After what I have gone thru, it is either go with the Kodak AA batteries, or if you need AAA, either Imedion or Powerex, for critical applications like speakers with deep discharge for C cells, go with the pricy Imedion, for most D size applications, accupower Evolution can be used. Check for battery balance, you still need the battery holder and clip with battery pack charger to balance the cells. {use.9 amp for NIMH C cell, and 1.8 amp setting for hi-capacity d cell] If going with Powerex charger, you may have to manually terminate the charge for the 1st cycle for the Accupower brand and powerex brand so they can be formed, as sometimes they don’t always give that voltage dip due to being too new- or if using AA,AAA, you can use the Rayovac medium speed charger in conjunction with the Powerex charger. The Rayovac medium speed charger and battery pack charger seems to do a better job of forming them before using the Powerex charger. Sad to say, the Walmart and Target stores got rid of all their Kodak rechargeable batteries and only carry junk rechargeables. The Rayovac rechargeables lost their capacity unevenly across the set after only a few charges, and heated up in the professional charger!! If you want quality chargers and batteries, you will need to go online for them.

  • Scorched

    I experienced the same problem with the Radio Shack charger too. It would act right for a few cycles, then the charger would forget that the battery was full. I wound up frying their $80+ set of 8 3000mah rechargeables. They got so hot the wrapper melted!!!Pure junk. I would recommend the Maha charger, but avoid most off brand names as I have found that the charger does not tend to shut off for a full set of those either. I would recommend a battery holder, some alligator clip wires and a battery pack charger to keep them evenly balanced. [doesn’t work for AAA so I would recommend using the medium speed Ravovac charger just for that purpose] Brand does matter.

  • EnerScheisser

    I bought this charger about a year ago and it died after a month. I haven’t had interest to study what’s wrong with it but all I can say that this is a piece of junk. I need to find better quality battery chager and send this back to China.

  • Kidddas

    When the power goes off and on, It starts overcharging and heating batteries for 8 hours.

  • William

    This battery charger never stops charging battery when it’s fully charged and the battery gets hot. I bought another battery charger and it stops charging when it’s fully charged.

    • angee

      Hi William,
      What battery charger did you end up buying that works better?

  • Shon

    I have a bunch of AA and AAA NI-MH batteries. I was charging some batteries in this Energizer CHDC-CA and I noticed the batteries were scorching hot! I have a few differnent model chargers and none of the others have this problem. A search on the internet revealed this thread and the problem that this charger uses an 8 hour timer. It is my opinion that this charger should be thrown away.

  • Bob

    I got mine at Walmart and it lasted for about a year, just long enough I’m stuck with something that doesn’t work. First charger I’ve bought in 40 years that didn’t last nearly forever. I’d say definitely quality issues.

  • Alvin

    after about 3-5 months with the charger (3 sets of them) i didnt have any problems till some one else started charging half charged batters and now none of the batters can be charged from fried charging units because they no longer work simple solution is by another NiMH batter charger with the detection device for a full charge it seems to work & you dont need to worry about the battery acid leaking out of the seals because of an over charge from a faulty design flaw

  • Chamath

    WTH?? This is my 8th pair of Energizer batteries and they died on the same damn charger. This fucking thing cost me almost 35$ in the local store and waddaya know?? I bought a piece of crap with a good name on it. Now I’m switching to GP chargers. I’m never gonna rely on Energizer products again.

  • Davey

    This IS a piece of JUNK. I have 2. I could SMELL burning electronics when charging batteries when I found out that it was baking the EXPENSIVE batteries I just got. 🙁 Pass on this P.O.S.

  • Garry

    Again, I’m forced to conclude much the same as what others have said in this posting. I’ve owned mine for a couple of years, for use with my digi-cam, and with mere moderate use, I’m encountering batteries that one would expect could take additional charges, yet won’t. I do recall after my last usage of the charger, that the batteries in charged mode, did seem oddly warm, and now I cannot get them to charge at all. Disappointing, considering this name-brand item.

  • Jean

    Thanks for these comments. I bought this Energizer item years ago & have only used it mildly to charge batteries for household items. However, my recent purchase of a fabulous new camera that uses AA’s prompted me to learn more about batteries and chargers. These comments convinced me to invest in a new smart charger & to use the Energizer exclusively for old NiMH batteries.

  • toni

    oh man, how come this thing won’t halt the charge.. how do i know if the batteries are fully charged already? isn’t the green LED light supposed to turn off when batts are full?? i’ve always looked up to the name Energizer. i’m about to change my mind.

    • Tony:

      It’s pretty much impossible for you to tell if they’re charged. A multimeter/voltmeter *may* give you an idea, but it’s still not ideal. When the batteries start heating up though it’s usually a good indication that they’re charged :p

  • johnny

    these things are indeed crap. I ruined a set of good batteries because they charged so long they became ‘fat’ and wouldn’t slide into my camera battery holes. LAME!!

    • scorched

      Yup, if a battery gets fat, it’s ruined, take it from me. My pack charger I used for equalization caused the bottom of my battery to bulge out and lose 20-30% capacity!!!

  • Hubert Pham

    Well I purchased the charger and 4 AA battery set a few months ago. I have gone through 4-5 charges on them and the batteries last quite a long time in my digital camera. The batteries do get warm out of the charger, but not as hot as some of the previous reviews say. Overall, I’m pretty satisfied on the performance of the batteries and charger, considering I paid twenty, and throwaway alkalines cost 5-6$ a pop, i’ve gotten my money’s worth.

  • Tracey

    This thing hasn’t worked since I got it! The green light comes on then flickers the whole time as it’s charging. Then once it’s done the batteries have enough of a charge to turn on the camera…..for 5 seconds then it shuts down. The charger is always so hot, I am afraid this piece is going to burn my house down, worse $30 I ever spent, more like $50 because it crapped out my batteries too! Don’t buy these!!!!!

  • Rob Sweet

    Yeah i purchased the same charge used it twice and now the charger is screwed. What kind of guaranteed do these guy offer anyway? Negative marketing can not be good for business.

  • Johnny Franklin

    My batteries are still working and I’m pleased with them but I had a concern last week. After about 12 hours I went to get them off the charger and noticed that the charger was still charging. I didn’t think much about it until I pulled the charger from the plug and realized the batteries were almost too hot to hold. I don’t know if the timing circuit failed or if there was a momentary power failure and the timer restarted. Either way I’m concerned about a fire hazard because the charger does not seem to sense high battery temperature.

  • Ron

    I don’t use my camera very often, I bought this energizer charger with the batteries about 4 months ago. I agree with the majority of the reviews that it is a piece of JUNK !! I charged the batteries only about 3 times, and each time I put the freshly “charged” batteries in my camera, the display immediately flashes low battery!! I called a local Camera store and explained the problem, and the guy I spoke with said that he had heard the same complaint about the Energizer chargers before. He told me that he could sell me a charger with batteries that I would be very happy with. I also tried to return it to Best Buy (where I bought it) and they won’t exchange ANYTHING after about a month after purchase. I wish I had read these reviews before I bought it!! What a WASTE of money!! Ron.

  • Juan

    I bought the same package that the above poster says. i pick it up when visiting Sam’s Club and that junk of bats empty fast, 2 days most. And the charger is very bad, it really don’t cut charging when bats are full. Right now i really dont know which one are charged. Wasted money. I purshased a package like 3 years ago (Panasonic Quick charger BQ-390 /w 2 AA sets) it still working and properly it shutdown when bats are full.

  • Steve

    This is trash. I got the package with 8 AA and 4 AAA, and none of the AA take any charge.

  • Ken

    I have this charger, and just cooked the batteries overnight. The green light never came off. I found your excellent site by trying to find out which two slots I was supposed to use if I wanted to charge only 2 AA batteries, but it’s a moot point now since I will probably junk this charger. Any ideas on what one to buy? Thanks for your help.
    Ken

    • scorched

      The MahaC808M is usually pretty good, though a bit pricey. I would save receipts just in case you get a bad one, but Thomas Distributing was always good to me. They even keep spare adaptors available in case the power supply goes out. There is an ion speed Duracell 8000, but I don’t know if that is just a resurrection of the old 15 minute Duracell chargers that used to cook batteries. I would not recommend a charger that goes faster than 30 minutes. There is an ion speed 4000, and 1000, and 500, but they only charge batteries in pairs. NIMH like individual charging. There is a smaller version of the MahaC808M, which just charges AA and AAAs. Watch the 1st charge, and if you don’t have a fancy Eneloop AAAs, you may want to go with a NiCad 350mah AAA from Harbor Freight, but do check device on how much power drain it puts out before buying, otherwise I would go with the Eneloop AAAs.

  • Erin

    When I first purchased this charger and batteries, I was impressed. However, after just nine months I dumped the batteries because they weren’t holding a charge. Well, I bought new batteries and I have the same problem. I get maybe ten minutes out of them in my digital camera. It has to be the charger. Grrr…However, I don’t have a problem w/ “hot” batteries, but I think that’s because it stops charging after just a few hours.
    I’m so upset because I thought I made a really smart purchase. Why spending literally hundreds on batteries when for about $40, you can get rechargeables that last a long time? Maybe I should just invest in a higher quality charger.

  • Yvon Aspireault

    Hi. having the same trouble with this charger. batteries don’t hold the charge for more then 2 days . it’s fun when you take your camera for a shot. What cant we do get a free deplacement from Energizer­. Never Energizer batteries for me it’s no good.

  • dude

    same as above.. my batteries are no longer good after only 2 years of mild usage.
    from now on will only use it when travel… thought the thin’ had some nice features with the green light and compact design but no. and after readin’ the above review and feedback I know why!

  • gamerunner2001

    I purchased the charger in April, having many of the same problems as already mentioned. Battery conections, getting a good conection with my outlets, hot batteries. I’ve used the Canon CD-4ah charger and was very inpressed, going to cut my losses and find a better system.

  • tony

    I have the same charger. The junk charger cooked all 4 of my batteries. They no longer hold a charge. The batteries only lasted about 10 charge cycles. Crap!

  • Kevin

    I’ve bought the charger and 2 extra sets of batteries. These pathetic batteries will not take or keep a charge. I thought, ok, a bad batch, but the new ones I bought recently are the same. Junk indeed!

  • nsr murty

    This compact energizer battery charger has not been cutting off mains after full charge. secondly batteries are getting hot

  • Darrell

    Interesting article containing some very valid points. However, your negative points don’t necessarily make the charger a “piece of junk”. I’ve been very satified with mine so far, the batteries being used to power a digital SLR camera and off-camera flash unit. With this type of usage, the batteries are not being charged on a daily basis. I use three sets of four batteries which are rotated between use and charging as needed.