Thomas Dist BC900 charger issues?

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ka3jjz

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I bought this little unit, along with a couple of Maha 2700 Powerex packs, thinking I could at least keep my 396 happy, along with a few other items I use AA cells in, such as an old portable radio I keep in my office. I had read the MT article, and bought it largely on that article's mention of its flexibility and performance.

Unfortunately it hasn't been that way for me. I had done a refresh and recharge on one pack, and after several attempts, finally got one to work right. I ran them down and went to redo the procedure.

It's been a royal pain. I can't get anything to work on this charger. Every rate I try simply never ever completes, even after 14 hours. My recent attempt set the rate at 500 mah and they still never finished. In fact, the charger read 2.71 ah on the capacity, and never read full (I think they are actually rated for 2.8 ah). They were still barely warm to the touch, so they weren't, I believe, overcharged - which as we all know is a sure way to kill a rechargeable battery.

This is revolting. I can see a cell out a pack going bad, but never the entire pack. I'm just about ready to throw this out (the warranty expired a while back). The instruction sheet that comes with it was unreadable - thank heaven there's a PDF file on the website.

Anyone else experience this? What a rotten development....73 Mike
 

k2ns

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LaCrosse BC-900 Charger

I bought a LaCrosse BC-900 charger about a month ago from Thomas Distributing, and I couldn't be happier with it. I have at least 30 "AA" batteries that I charge with it, and I have never had a problem. Did you try and charge the 4 "AA" LaCrosse batteries that came with it ??? I have used those 4, 8 Sanyo Eneloops, 4 Ray-O-Vacs, 4 Energizers, 8 Duracells, and the 3 GP's that came with my 396. They all take between 6 and 10 hours at a 200 Milliamp rate of charge, and none of them has ever not completed a charge.

Try the 4 "AA's" or the 4 "AAA's" that came with the charger and see how long it takes to charge them, and if they complete a charge cycle. Mine came with 2 instruction booklets that were perfectly readable, not an unreadable sheet.


RON
 

slicerwizard

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My recent attempt set the rate at 500 mah and they still never finished. In fact, the charger read 2.71 ah on the capacity, and never read full (I think they are actually rated for 2.8 ah). They were still barely warm to the touch, so they weren't, I believe, overcharged
I have two questions - first, what is a 500 mah "rate"? I ask because mAh isn't a rate, it's a capacity.

And second, if I understand correctly (which maybe I don't, since I don't have one of those chargers), you told the charger it was charging 500 mAh cells when in fact they're closer to 2800 mAh? If so, no wonder it was taking so long.
 

Grog

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I have two questions - first, what is a 500 mah "rate"? I ask because mAh isn't a rate, it's a capacity.

And second, if I understand correctly (which maybe I don't, since I don't have one of those chargers), you told the charger it was charging 500 mAh cells when in fact they're closer to 2800 mAh? If so, no wonder it was taking so long.

I am pretty sure he set the charger to charge at the 500ma rate, as to not overheat the batteries by charging too fast.
 

ka3jjz

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Grog has it right. As mentioned before, overheating - which can happen if you try to recharge/cycle a battery too fast - is a real quick way to shorten battery life.

I'm going to try the batteries that came with the 900. It's certainly possible I got a bum unit that can't recharge these hi-cap cells very well. It's still rather frustrating to buy a unit and it simply doesn't seem to work as advertised 73 Mike
 

KC0QNB

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Use the 200 ma setting and see what happens, let it run and do its thing, there was another thread not long about the powerex charger, wonder how that turned out?
 

Patch42

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I've read that newer batteries are designed for use in fast chargers. (Not the super-fast 15 minute kind. More like the 1-2 hour kind.) With too low a charge rate the batteries will not go through the normal voltage change when they reach full capacity. Without this delta-V signal to the charger, it will assume the batteries aren't full and just keep on charging.

Rather than going with a slower charge rate, you might try a faster rate. I'd try 1000mA for starters. That's still less than 0.5C for your batteries, so it won't damage them.
 

ka3jjz

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Well I tried cycling the batteries that came with the scanner - at a 500 mah rate - and it almost cooked them. 5 hours and they still weren't recharged, and were very hot to the touch.

At a lower rate the ones I've tried so far simply never recharge - even after almost a full day. Ridiculous.

This is going out the door. As soon as I clear up some rather big bills, I'll be looking for another charger. Anyone hear anything about this new Maha charger - I think it's called the C9000?

73 Mike
 

n2mdk

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Contact Thomas or Maha and tell them the problem, sounds like you might have a bad charger. I use the same charger and the Powerex 2800maH and never have had a problem. I have charged them at 500ma, 1000ma, and 1400ma and it works fine in all those settings. The only problem I have ever had were with some bargain eBay AAA cells. It works fine as well with the GP batteries that came with my Uniden Radios and the Imedion AAA cells.
 

hiegtx

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Well I tried cycling the batteries that came with the scanner - at a 500 mah rate - and it almost cooked them. 5 hours and they still weren't recharged, and were very hot to the touch.

At a lower rate the ones I've tried so far simply never recharge - even after almost a full day. Ridiculous.

This is going out the door. As soon as I clear up some rather big bills, I'll be looking for another charger. Anyone hear anything about this new Maha charger - I think it's called the C9000?

73 Mike
Mike,
I have both the BC900 (LaCrosse) charger, and the Maha C9000. Both work very well for me, with a variety of battery capacities. Your BC900 must be defective, as I have never had any overheating problems. The majority of the other comments I've seen on the C9000 have been positive, with a few that did not like it (there's always a few).
 

ka3jjz

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Since the warranty expired, there's no sense in returning it. I will look into the Maha unit - for now, I guess I'll keep my eye out for some inexpensive hi-caps that also have a charger. I'm pretty tapped out for now, money wise, dammit.

73 Mike
 

hiegtx

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It would not hurt to at least contact Thomas, mentioning that you bought the unit based on glowing reviews of it & of Thomas. See if they'll intercede with LaCrosse to either refund it, or replace it with one that works correctly. Mine works very well. Something is obviously wrong with your's. It's overcharging, and causing the batteries to overheat, and from your description, the charge sensor is not adjusting to cell condition.

I know the tapped out feeling. Just had to drop a chunk of change into ac repairs.
 

Patch42

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Since the warranty expired, there's no sense in returning it.
It can't hurt to contact LaCrosse and tell them about the problem. The worst they can do is say, "No."

I bought a LaCrosse radio controlled wall clock. At the time change a year ago in the spring, right after the flip to the new daylight shifting time plan, I noticed the clock didn't automatically change. At first I figured it might have just missed the signal that day and didn't worry about it. Three weeks later it shifted, just as it should have according to the old plan. In the fall it shifted too early, again according to the old plan.

I emailed tech support at LaCrosse to find out if this was normal for the model I had. They asked me to give them some numbers from inside the battery compartment and for my address. I replied with what they asked. Didn't hear another word from them. That is until a couple weeks later when a brand new wall clock showed up on my door. I'd had the original clock for well over a year, long past the end of its warranty period. They didn't even ask for the old clock back. (They did ask that I destroy it.)

I obviously can't say they'll treat your charger issue in a similar manner, but it's worth asking.
 
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