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130 of 133 people found the following review helpful
The Technoline BL-700 has to be one of the more capable `intelligent' chargers out there, offering several different charging options - charge, discharge, refresh and test. It holds up to 4 AA or AAA, NiMH and Ni-Cad batteries, the beauty of it being that you can mix and match as you please as each of the charging slots is independent of the others. This means that the charger monitors each slot individually, so that each battery gets the type of charge you select and the duration of charge that it needs.

In terms of its charging functions, the charge setting, as the name suggests, simply charges the batteries, while the discharge setting completely discharges the batteries before charging them, so prolonging their lifespan. The refresh function puts the batteries through 20 full charge/discharge cycles to bring them back to full health, and the test setting charges then discharges them to give a reading on how healthy they are. I've used all but the test setting and can say with certainty that each has its place - the refresh function in particular has been excellent at bringing up batteries I thought were dead.

You can also select the charging current which will vary the charging time but may affect the battery health - it is often said that a slow charge, while taking longer, is better for your batteries. I use mine on the middle setting, which seems to give the best compromise between speed and safety.

In a `dumb' battery charger, the unit charges batteries for a set time, so overcharging is a constant possibility. Being an `intelligent' charger, the BL-700 has both negative delta V charge control (probably better for you to Google it than for me to try, and fail, to explain it) and thermal charge monitoring which will stop the charging process when the batteries are charged. You don't need to set a charging time, just switch the machine on, select the charge type and current, and let the BL-700 do its stuff. All very clever.

That cleverness comes at a price, though, for at first, the array of options available is quite bewildering and the way you have to select the charging type and current you want within 8 seconds of the charger powering on, as there is no `start' button so it begins automatically, is a bit of a nuisance. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes much more intuitive, though never properly intuitive. The LCD screen, unfortunately, isn't backlit so you do need to use the charger in a well-lit area if you want to see what you're doing. I also find the battery slots to be a little close together, so the transfer of heat from one battery to another is a possibility and this could have a negative effect on the cells.

If you're a complete technophobe, or someone who would never use most of the functions the BL-700 has to offer, it perhaps isn't for you. If, on the other hand, you use rechargeable batteries frequently and don't mind using a charger that does absolutely require you to read the manual first, then the BL-700 could well be the best option for you.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 8 June 2011
Before deciding to buy this charger I read the existing reviews and was slightly put off by a number of references to the `8 second' business that seems integral to the functionality of this charger unit. Having bought one of these and lived with it for a while I can see its actually is very clever thinking on the designers part. I can assure anybody that this is one very clever charger and well worth the money, but to get the best out of it, you must invest some time getting your head around the functionality of the charger and rechargeable battery technology (sorry but its true)!

It only charges two battery sizes AA and AAA, but the clever bit is you can charge them in any number or mixture of the two types and even varying capacities within the same type. It as four modes of operation `charge', `discharge', `test' and `refresh'. Even better is that each one of the four batteries can be operating in a different mode. When a single battery is fully charged you can pop-it-out (use a small screwdriver) without unplugging the unit, and pop in another battery and set it up in one of the modes without disturbing the charging mode of the other batteries. That's where the 8secs comes into play. If you mess up no problems just select the battery and reset the mode. The default mode is just to charge at the lowest rate of 200ma.

I did find it the unit seemed to run a little warmish but setting it up on a wire tray solved the problem. I can see that the `refresh' mode could take several days and one must think initially where in the house to plug the unit in so it's not accidentally unplugged by some other family-member! Don't forget when refreshing a single battery the other compartments are available for more normal charging.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2011
I was looking for a battery charger which would treat my batteries better than my old quick charger, for example by treating them individually rather than all together. Well this charger does just that, and it's great if you like playing with gadgets. You can set a charging programme for each individual battery. There is also a useful information display for each battery. I won't repeat everything that it can do because you can look that up elsewhere, such as on other reviews here. For the £30 I paid, it's plasticky and the buttons wobble a bit, but hopefully sturdy enough to last. Make sure you get the UK version which is adapted to fit our sockets. The UK adapter is firmly fixed to two short prongs on the transformer/plug unit and does not stand out from the wall any more than another transformer/plug would. The instructions come in a small book and also a seperate leaflet. Look at the leaflet first because it is more clearly written and easy to follow. When you put the battery or batteries in, you have 8 seconds to select the mode, and then another 8 seconds to set the current you want, wether low, medium, or fast charge, then it starts charging automatically. If you make a mistake you need to take the batteries out and start again. Why could they not have included some sort of start button so you could make all the settings at your leisure and then press 'start'? However don't let this put you off because it is easy to get used to. You can insert and set each battery going in turn. The current you set for the first battery will be the maximum current you can set for the next 3 batteries, so if you want them charging at different rates, you need to set the battery with the highest charge first. The manufacturers blurb states this is for safety reasons, so that you cannot accidentally set a battery on too high a charge whilst setting the current for another battery.
In conclusion this is a great charger which is expensive but will help to revive your old batteries which you may have written off, and will help you to get the best out of your newer batteries so they last longer.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2010
This battery charger is more expensive than a lot of the "cheapies" one sees advertised - however, like most things, you get what you pay for. It does actually inform you of the voltage, capacity, etc of the batteries (in figures) both before and after charging them. Most of the "cheapies" don't do that. Also one can charge either 1, 2, 3, or 4 batteries. I also believe that because it is more expensive, it suggests that it has to be built to last.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2011
Decided to purchase this as a supplement to my Uniross Ultra fast charger.

The charger works as described. I found 2 dud batteries and 3 that held less than 50% of their advertised mAH in my collection. These batteries were always causing me issues. This is one of the gripes of rechargable batteries.

Would have been nice to have the option of a really high charge rate but overall an essential piece of kit for rechargable batteries.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2011
If you have regularly made use of rechargeable batteries for some time, then like me you've probably got a random collection of various sets of batteries and also a selection of chargers that have arrived at some point along the way.

The upshot of this is that other than matching batteries that *look* the same, you really have no clue how healthy they are, what their state of charge is, or any idea how many times they've been used. Couple that with the fact that almost every bog-standard charger just parallel charges whatever you put in it (i.e. all at the same rate, voltage, time etc), and you have recipe for sub-standard battery performance and lifecycle. This is also a common reason why a *set* of freshly charged batteries (remember, they looked the same and were charged together so they're a set right?) unexpectedly dies much faster than you expected.

This charger solves all those problems by treating each battery you put in it individually, and giving it the TLC it deserves and the right amount of charge, for the right time, at the right voltage. This means that if you grab a handful of batteries, you can put them all in together and they will charge just fine. Providing you haven't set the charge current too high (you can pick 200, 500 or 700mA but default is the safe 200ma setting), you can even charged a mixed set of different brands and capacities without issue. Just remember not to mix them together in a single device when in use.

As well as the standard Charge setting, the Discharge option (discharge then fully recharge) is great if you're unsure the last time you used a battery, and the Refresh setting has revitalised batteries that I thought were completely toasted.

Yes it is slightly annoying that you have to make any setting selections (charge type, current etc) within 8 seconds, but that 8 sec 'window' gets restarted each time you press a button, so you don't have to insert batteries and make all you selections within just 8 seconds. Also once you're used to using it, 8 seconds is actually plenty of time.

Basically it works really well and means that you can chuck away all those useless cheapo chargers and their stupid tangled-lead, wall-wart PSUs and get back some valuable draw space AND have properly charged batteries at last.

Highly recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2011
Good points
Works as advertised
Readings fairly accurate (I have other pro chargers and digital Volt/amp meters to confirm the voltages shown etc are good enough for this purpose)
Works with a wide variety of NiCad and NiMh batteries.
Works with any 1 - 4 mixture of AA and AAA batteries
Reasonable design compromises (Max charge rate at 700ma is slower than many ultra-fast chargers but many of those overheat or damage batteries.

Poor Points
The round plug connecting the mains block to the unit has a habit of falling out
The amount of time to hold the current /Mode buttons and the time then allowed for set-up of charge mode and rate needs a little practice/patience
- Far less tricky than my digital watch though :-)
Refuses to deal with completely flat batteries - Shows NULL if volts remaining are much below 1V off load.

General.
I have a large intelligent charger aimed at the radio control model market but it is far from portable and time consuming to charge or test cells individually. I was looking for a portable unit for holiday use that would immediately flag a failing cell out of sets of 2, 4 etc used in GPS's and walkie talkies. One poor cell is of course all you need to mysteriously stop a walkie talkie or GPS etc lasting the day. This unit will display the charge actually delivered on each charge and can be set to test the capacity available on a test discharge too.

I used it to sort through a large box of assorted NiCad and NiMh batteries of many different ages and makes. It soon sorted and where necessary reconditioned these allowing a fair few underachievers to be identified for the recycling box. Others - even some quite old ones - were confirmed as just fine. It also works perfectly with the different chemistry of standard Sanyo Eneloop NiMH batteries and their higher rated XX Eneloop versions.

As mentioned above it just sits there if a really flat battery if inserted. While this is 'fail-safe' it is probably not what you want.
IF SO AT YOUR OWN RISK, ETC ETC AND WEARING FULL DARTH VADER EYE/HAND PROTECTION ETC: Assuming you have another battery/cell that is not completely flat or is part charged you can (away from the charger) connect negative to negative by standing both cells firmly on a metal surface then momentarily touch the two cells positive tips together via the two metal ends of a 13A cartridge fuse. Yes a screwdriver or paper clip 'works' too but that has no safely mechanism if a very high current flows so I'm not suggesting that - ok?). This trick simply recharges the flat battery a few % from the OK battery (just like connecting jump leads to a car) and generally kicks enough charge into the dead cell for the charger to then recognise it when next re-inserted. Sorted. FAQ suggests buying another charger to pre charge very discharged / dead cells. Hmm right !

Finally : The unit Flashes some random number when switched on. The first two numbers are seemingly the safety temporature sensors outputs (not in true degrees but just checking they are connected, then the max charging current 700 then the software version e.g. 36. Another of lifes little mysteries answered :-)

Enjoy recharging and saving the planet :-)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2011
This is simply the best AA/AAA battery charger I have seen/used over the years. It simply does what it says on the tin. Brilliant !! Bit expensive but if you use lot of AA/AAA ni-mh batteries like me then go for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2013
If you put in some batteries, and don't change any settings, then they will charge at a slow (200mA) rate, which causes minimal strain on the batteries and will allow a little more capacity than at the faster settings. If you can charge overnight, this is the best setting. To charge faster, hold down the Current button for a few seconds. If the batteries get hot, you may be causing damage. Just be careful at higher rates with AAA.

AA 2700mAh takes about 13h at 200mA, 5h at 500mA and 3.5h at 700mA
AAA 1000mAh takes about 3.5h at 200mA, 1.5h at 500mA and 1h at 700mA

To Switch mode, hold down the Mode button for a few seconds. Usually Discharge mode is best.
* Charge mode just means it will charge and then leave on trickle mode.
* Discharge mode means it will discharge (at half the charge rate) and then charge.
* Refresh mode will repeatedly discharge & charge until the capacity on your old batteries no longer increases.
* Test mode cycles to test the actual capabilities of the batteries. Consider this as nerd mode for people who don't mind wearing out the batteries to quantify what they can do.

Mode and current needs to be set within 8 seconds of putting batteries in. The charger can support some differences in settings for different batteries, but it's quite complicated, so you may find it easiest to ignore that possibility.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2012
The reason for buying this was because we decided a while back to invest in rechargeable batteries having acquired many, many things that need them. After a while they just kept loosing their charge quickly whilst others were fine. Turns out, like a lot of rechargeables in phones etc, you need to retrain them every so often.

Our old charger was making the batteries very, very hot and getting hot itself - worrying enough not to leave it unattended!

We also have AAs and AAAs and wanted to be able to charge both types at once.

Well I can safely say after a few weeks of use now that it has re-trained all our batteries and they seem to be as good as when we bought them. It's easy to use, flexible, doesn't get hot and all in all I'm very happy with it.

Brilliant.
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