Let's settle this once and for all...
What are the best AA NiMH chargers out there for:
- prolonging the life of the batteries
- charging quickly
- nothing else
closed as off topic by Jay Lance Photography, NickM, Itai, John Cavan♦, jrista♦ May 28 '11 at 6:05
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Not sure that this belongs on the photography site, but personally I'm a fan of the La Crosse charger (BC-9009 or BC-700). It charges each individual battery, offers a basic recharge, a discharge for prolonging the life, and a refresh for restoring old batteries or getting new ones up to their peak (it runs it through multiple discharge/recharge cycles). If you have a bad battery, it will tell you which one. It also lets you adjust the current to charge faster, but I personally charge everything at the slowest rate (there's a lot of debate on what's best).
Only downside I've experienced is that a completely dead battery takes a bit of work to get it to charge (the charger doesn't detect it). The trick is to unplug it and short the positive terminal with a neighboring battery for 30 seconds using a paper clip, which will give it just enough charge to be detected.