Steve Rix

Tech Reviews and Thoughts

7dayshop 808LCD Battery Charger Review

Purchased from 7dayshop
Purchase date: 4/6/2011
Price paid: £7.99

NiMH/NiCad AA/AAA Charger

At £7.99 this has to be one of the cheapest independent channel AA/AAA chargers available.
But how well does this budget charger perform?

Introduction & Features

The 808LCD charger has four individual/independent charging circuits allowing 1-4 AA/AAA Nickel Metal Hydride or Nickel Cadmium cells to be charged at a fixed charge current of 1A over a 240v/120 supply. A 2000mAh AA cell will typically take 2 hours to charge from empty.

Each battery bank has it’s own LCD segment read out showing the charge state of each cell. It is rather crude, but I suppose it is quite useful at a glance.

The display is broken down into 3 segments for each battery:

Bottom segment solid = 50% Charged
Middle segment solid = 75% Charged
Top segment solid = 100% Charged

It is rather crude, but more over the display is annoyingly bright due to a blue back light. In a dark room the combination of light from the LCD segment display and the extremely bright red power LED are quite distracting.

Masking tape or shades might be needed!

The outer case is  constructed fully from plastic but the unit feels pretty solid. The protective cover is useful, ensuring that the battery bay contacts aren’t damaged during transport of the charger. Unlike the photo above; while charging it is wise to raise the battery cover to allow adequate ventilation for the charging cells.

The 808LCD measures only 11.5cm x 6.5cm x 2.5cm with a weight of just 112g (without batteries), this is a very small and compact charger. The size of the unit and it’s wide range of input voltages makes it ideal for use as a travel charger.

Charging

The 808LCD uses Delta-V as a charging and termination method, some manufacturers refer this type of charger as an intelligent charger. This method of charging is regarded as the standard of charging Nickel Metal Hydride and Nickel Cadmium cells reliably, and safely. By incorporating a timer protection, temperature protection, over current protection, defective cell detection and reverse polarity protection translates that it is very unlikely for (at best) a cell to become damaged through over charging, or (at worst!) cause a fire.

Pull up the blue protective cover and insert AA/AAA batteries and the 808LCD charger will immediately start charging, no user interaction is needed at all. When the 808LCD is being powered over 240/120v mains it will charge cells at a current of 1A.

The fixed charging rate of 1A which the 808LCD delivers is recommended for typical AA cells ranging in capacity of 2000mAh upwards. This is fine for AA cells. However, charging AAA cells at a current of 1A isn’t ideal. Charging AAA cells which are typically 700mAh in capacity will result in the 808LCD charging them to full in less than 1 hour, charging at this rate is considered a fast charge. You could argue that charging an AAA cell at this rate will decrease the amount of cycles achievable from a cell. Personally, I would not use the 808LCD charger to charge AAA batteries when the 808LCD is powered by 240v/120v. However when the 808LCD is powered by a USB supply the charging current applied to cells is around 400mA; much more ideal for AAA cells!

Charging performance

I charged up two AA Eneloops using the 808LCD charger and then discharged them at 500mA using the Maha Powerex MH-C9000. I then ran the same test to compare the 808LCD’s charging performance against the Maha Powerex MH-C9000.

As you can see the results are nearly identically. The delta-V charging algorithm in the 808LCD is spot on, allowing the charger to charge cells to their full potential. The charging performance difference between the two chargers in the above test is so minute, it really isn’t worth mentioning and can be explained by other elements; such as ambient temperature. The 808LCD charger is capably of charging cells just as effectively as a charger which costs roughly 6x more.

It’s worth pointing out that the Sanyo Eneloops which I used to conduct the above test are original first run Eneloops which I purchased back in 2006, as you can see they are slightly under performing of the typical 1900mAh-2000mAh range. Still, not bad though for cells which are nearly 6 years old!

Cell temperature during charging

Loading the charger with 4 empty AA cells I measured the below temperatures from the middle of the battery bay.

Start: 22.4c
After 1 hour: 33.3c
After 2 hours: 36.5c
After 2.5 hours: 38.7c

Despite the cells being seated extremely close together, they peak at a very comfortable temperature which is warm to the touch. There are no concerns with excessive heat during charging with the LCD808.

Refresh Mode

The LCD808 has a refresh feature which once initiated will discharge inserted cells at a rate of around 150mA. This is a very slow discharge rate, which isn’t a bad thing at all; it just involves a lot of waiting around! The LCD800 will take around 13 hours to discharge a 2000mAh cell. Once the cell reaches a voltage of 1.0v the LCD808 will automatically end the refresh mode and start the charging mode. Unfortunately it is not possible to independently select cell bays to charge and refresh on the LCD808; it’s either charge or refresh for all 4 charging bays. But what do you expect for an £8 charger!?

Verdict

For £7.99 this is the best AA charger around for the money. With it’s independent charging channels, kind of useful LCD display, decent ability to charge cells to their full potential, good build quality and compact size. It’s a clear choice for users who want a no fuss ‘charge and forget’ AA/AAA charger.

There have been some reports of owners of this charger reporting that their unit has failed. Having owned the 808LCD for 10 months previous to writing this, I have not witnessed any problems.

The good:

  • Independent charging channels.
  • Charges batteries very well (Delta V charging method).
  • Possible to be powered via USB.
  • Compact size.
  • Fantastic value for money.

The not so good:

  • Charges AAA batteries too quickly when powered by mains cable.
  • The information displayed on the LCD segment display is almost not worth having.
  • No fitted USB socket.

Additional Images:

The 'figure of 8' connector input 120v/240v

On the right of the unit is a 4mm socket allowing the unit to be powered by between 5-12v

USB charging cable (limits charging current to around 400mA)

Cigarette lighter charging cable

'Please read the instructions before sue' - Excellent!

 

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