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Old 2007.02.19, 12:23 PM   #1
arch2b
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Lacrosse BC-900 Alpha Power Battery Charger

Lacrosse BC-900 Alpha Power Battery Charger

-Works with all NiCd and NiMH “AA” and “AAA” Rechargeable Batteries
A-ll Modes Automatically Default to 200mA Charge (the optimal setting for prolonging battery life)
-Charge Both “AA” & “AAA” Rechargeable Batteries Simultaneously
-Overheat Detection to Protect Over-Charging
-Tons of Accessories Included
-Dimensions:
Charger: 3.0" x 5.1" x 1.5"

Features:

-Works with all NiCd and NiMH “AA” and “AAA” Rechargeable Batteries
-LCD shows capacity for each battery when charging is complete
-Charges AA & AAA rechargeable batteries simultaneously
-Will not charge defective batteries
-Select different charging current for each channel
-Automatically switches to trickle charge when charging is complete to ensure maximum battery capacity
-Automatically defaults to 200mA charge (the optimal setting for prolonging battery life)
-Overheat detection to protect over-charging
-7 Easy to Use Function Keys
-Charge Mode (charging current)
-Discharge Mode (discharging current)
-Refresh Mode (time elapsed)
-Test Mode (accumulated capacity)
-Included Accessories:

4-”AA” NiMH 1.2v Batteries
4-”AAA” NiMH 1.2v Batteries
Durable Nylon Travel Bag
AC Power Adapter
4-”C” Size Battery Adapters
4-”D” Size Battery Adapters

Specifications:

Charges Battery Types:
AA & AAA NiCd and NiMH

Input Voltage for AC/DC Adapter:
100-240 VAC

Charging Current Range:
200 mA - 1800 mA

manual



Attached Images
File Type: jpg La Crosse BC-900.jpg (82.9 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg La Crosse BC-900 Specifications.jpg (92.6 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by arch2b; 2007.02.19 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 2007.02.19, 06:13 PM   #2
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The data I read listed the default charge rate at 200mA. Meaning that if you just put your batteries in the charger and do not program a charge rate for each battery it defaults to a 200 mA charge rate.

Can anyone who has one confirm or clarify this?
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Old 2007.02.19, 06:22 PM   #3
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yes, if i place cells in and do not select a charge rate, it will charge at 200ma
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Old 2007.02.19, 10:29 PM   #4
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Charge Rate...

For you guys with the LaCrosse that swear by it...

What are you charging at?

1000 - charge? Seems to give the most volts (1.49v on my intelects)

And do you use the discharge/charge setting, or just charge for every day use?

Thanks
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Old 2007.02.19, 10:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rharris
For you guys with the LaCrosse that swear by it...

What are you charging at?

1000 - charge? Seems to give the most volts (1.49v on my intelects)

And do you use the discharge/charge setting, or just charge for every day use?

Thanks
Good questions. I just got one of these chargers today along with some new batteries. I haven't used either yet. Is it safe to use the 1800mAh setting on AAA Intellects? That would be about 2C and should only take about 30 minutes, correct?

Any recommendations on conditioning new batteries?
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Old 2007.02.19, 11:07 PM   #6
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The most reliable and definative sources agree that the optimum charge rate for AA & AAA NiMH batteries is between .5C and 1C. Higher rates tend to get the batteries quite hot. Heat is the enemy and can cause perminant damage to your battery. I have had Intellect AAA batteries that got hot enough to bulge the flat negative end so it would no longer fit in my Mini-Z when charged on a Duracell 30 min. charger that produces a charge rate of 2C. Imagine the internal pressure necessary to bulge the end of the battery. Imagine the tiny internal seperators being distorted. Can't be good. The smaller the battery the more fragile it is and AAA batteries are pretty small.
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Old 2007.02.19, 11:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuter
The most reliable and definative sources agree that the optimum charge rate for AA & AAA NiMH batteries is between .5C and 1C. Higher rates tend to get the batteries quite hot. Heat is the enemy and can cause perminant damage to your battery. I have had Intellect AAA batteries that got hot enough to bulge the flat negative end so it would no longer fit in my Mini-Z when charged on a Duracell 30 min. charger that produces a charge rate of 2C. Imagine the internal pressure necessary to bulge the end of the battery. Imagine the tiny internal seperators being distorted. Can't be good. The smaller the battery the more fragile it is and AAA batteries are pretty small.
Thanks for the warning. I guess I'll stick to 1000mAh or less.
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Old 2007.02.20, 04:07 PM   #8
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Ok, so to put things into layman's terms...

For racing, I want punch. Punch = Volts rite? So the cell is rated at 1.2, I'm assuming that's an average because a dry cell is usually rated at 1.5.

I've read in other threads that the higher the charge rate the more punch. So I'm assuming that means the higher the charge rate, the more volts.

I've been playing with this charger for a few weeks now, my cells are all over the place. For the most part, my Intellects(rated at 1.2v and 750mAh) range from 1.49 all the way down to 1.33. The mAh goes from 880 down to 520, and volt output is not related to mAh ratings. So for example, I can have a cell show 1.38v with 800mah, and another cell with 1.49 and only 500mAh.

Two questions:

1. Is my assumption above correct, that punch comes from volts?
2. Is the charger accurate and my cells are this inconsistent? Or is the charger's meeter not all that accurate?
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Old 2007.02.20, 04:47 PM   #9
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I picked up one of these as well. I have been busy the last few weeks refreshing all of my batteries. Good stuff.
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Old 2007.02.20, 09:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rharris
Ok, so to put things into layman's terms...

For racing, I want punch. Punch = Volts rite? So the cell is rated at 1.2, I'm assuming that's an average because a dry cell is usually rated at 1.5.

I've read in other threads that the higher the charge rate the more punch. So I'm assuming that means the higher the charge rate, the more volts.

I've been playing with this charger for a few weeks now, my cells are all over the place. For the most part, my Intellects(rated at 1.2v and 750mAh) range from 1.49 all the way down to 1.33. The mAh goes from 880 down to 520, and volt output is not related to mAh ratings. So for example, I can have a cell show 1.38v with 800mah, and another cell with 1.49 and only 500mAh.

Two questions:

1. Is my assumption above correct, that punch comes from volts?
2. Is the charger accurate and my cells are this inconsistent? Or is the charger's meeter not all that accurate?
I just spent the last hour composing a reply but when I went to "preview post" my reply disappeared. Grrrrrrrr!!! I'll try again.


It is a very frustrating issue isn't it. I have been looking into battery performance issues for months now but have been unable to get definative answers to a number of questions, but I think we are getting closer. I'll share some things I've learned and some things I suspect here and ramble a bit for what it's worth.

I have found that authorities pretty much agree on the optimum charge rate for battery health and longevity is between .5C and 1C. There is endless real world data from commercial users, hospitals, military ect. proving it. The problem is that everything is directed at getting the longest reliable use out of the batteries. Many of us on the other hand would be willing to trade longevity for a bit more power short term..... It may be, that good battery health and maximum battery capacity will also yield the most punch. I don't know.

Our AAA's are rated at 1.2 Volts. It is common that new well formed/conditioned batteries will top off at 20% over the rating. I use intellects and Kodaks. They top out at between 1.43 - 1.49 Volts. About a dozen sets in all. Pretty consistant.

I don't think that the V. top off point is an indicator of performance/punch.

Charge rates above 1C can damage the cells by distorting the seperators which can even produce a short within the battery. The high charge rates can also increase the batteries internal resistance leading to restricted current flow. Even reduce the batteries capacity. These bad things can and will happen to our batteries if we charge at 2C or 3C. How can high rate charging produce more power when it causes so much damage to our batteries? Battery University.com has some great information about these issues in Part 2 BU31 & BU32. Take a look and let me know what you think.

If you are looking at the mAh displayed for each battery after charging they will vary because each battery may have had a different starting point. If these are old batteries, they may may be showing damage caused by overcharging or charging at a high C rate. If they are new batteries I can't explain it and would suspect the charger. On the MH-C9000 there is a discharge function that discharges the battery to 1V (99% depleted) and shuts off. Each batteries true capacity is saved on the display. Looking at the BC-900 there appears to be a similar function called "Accumulated capacity" that charges/discharges/recharges and saves the batteries capacity after discharge on the display for viewing. I don"t have one, let me know how that function works for you and how the batteries test out if you would.

THE GOOD NEWS

For the first time we now have chargers that can tell us about our batteries health and capacity!!!!! We can now start out with a few sets of new batteries, put them in sets and individually number them. If we charge each set at a different C rate, and monitor each batteries capacity, voltage ect. Over time we should be able to answer our own questions. I find this kind of exciting. How about you?
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Old 2007.02.20, 09:18 PM   #11
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Very good information! I'm looking forward to putting one or two of these chargers in my pit box.
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Old 2007.02.21, 01:02 AM   #12
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I just recieved my BC-900 yesterday. It's no 15min charger so get that out of your head to start LOL. I found it a little confusing at first. The worst part is the wait........and wait.......and wait......and wait. For one set of batteries I put them in test mode. It took proabable 5 hours total and in the end it was still a little confusing because none of them said full. I assume that the reading at the end was what I was suppose to be paying attention to.

Now don't take this as a negative reply to the product. As shuter said "GOOD NEWS", I can now condition batteries and check total capacity and such. It may take a few days to do all my batteries but in the end I will know exactly how each battery is doing.

I think this is a must for those who race competatively and especially for those who plan on running endurance races.

So what's my plan for this little sucker? This one will stay home and the 15min chargers will stayin the pit box. I'll condition the batteries prior to race day and charge them on the 15min. charger at the track. I believe if I can make an old battery new a days worth of 15min. charging won't hurt.

Thanks for all the helpful info guys!

-Byebye
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Old 2007.02.21, 02:01 AM   #13
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byebye - If you want to use the BC-900 at the track, use the "Charge" mode. Set the rate at 1000. The charge will take around 30 min or less. Carry it around for bit in the pit box. Use it to test the volt output on your cells after you take them off the 15min charger.

shutter - volts = more punch. Read BatteryUniversity.com BU48. Awesome site for info by the way... thanks.

I read thru a ton of stuff out on that site. I'm glad I picked up this charger, it does things I didn't know I needed to do.

Here's the simple outline:

1. Deep cycle nickel-cadmium every 1 to 2 months and nickel-metal-hydride every 3 months. Discharge and recharge on the BC-900 should do the trick.
2. Do not discharge the battery before each recharge. This puts undue stress on the battery.
3. Charge your cells at whatever rate gives you the highest volts.
4. When the capacity drops below 20%, toss them in the trash.

Side bar... Ever wonder why people say IC3's have more punch? Test them. They come out of the charger hot at 1.53 Ten min later, they will be 1.46.

My $0.02... if you don't have a BC-900, or a MH-c9000, buy one. Just knowing what your cells are doing is a big eye opener. It's cheaper then a discharge tray, a charge tray, and an ICE ( a really cool charger by the way), and they are allot simpler to use. Less stuff in the pit box too.

And like spoon said... it's fun to tinker with this stuff.
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Old 2007.02.21, 02:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byebye
I just recieved my BC-900 yesterday. It's no 15min charger so get that out of your head to start LOL. I found it a little confusing at first. The worst part is the wait........and wait.......and wait......and wait. For one set of batteries I put them in test mode. It took proabable 5 hours total and in the end it was still a little confusing because none of them said full. I assume that the reading at the end was what I was suppose to be paying attention to.

Now don't take this as a negative reply to the product. As shuter said "GOOD NEWS", I can now condition batteries and check total capacity and such. It may take a few days to do all my batteries but in the end I will know exactly how each battery is doing.

I think this is a must for those who race competatively and especially for those who plan on running endurance races.



So what's my plan for this little sucker? This one will stay home and the 15min chargers will stayin the pit box. I'll condition the batteries prior to race day and charge them on the 15min. charger at the track. I believe if I can make an old battery new a days worth of 15min. charging won't hurt.

Thanks for all the helpful info guys!

-Byebye
HE HE You made me smile. I am currently forming some new batteries on a MH-C9000 using the break in function. It takes about 36 hours!!!! Glad it only has to be done once.

Would you consider taking a new set of batteries and forming/conditioning them and then charging them at a rate between .5C and 1C only and alternating them with your other race batteries to evaluate comparative power/punch? I would love to hear what you think of the results. If you are using them at least once every two weeks do not deep discharge them. Just charge, let them rest a half hour to stabilize and use. Race them them as many times as you want for up to three months and let us know the results.
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Old 2007.02.21, 02:23 AM   #15
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Thanks for the advice rharris. I'll consider bringing it. Only question though is on the charger itself it says to only use the ac/dc adapter that came with the charger. Will I be okay if I wire up 3v from my pitbox? In the states it's not a big deal but here I don't want to have to lug a transformer.

-Byebye
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