As you know our flash have the characteristic of using all batteries AA type, and then for us strobist people it is essential to have a charger as you have to recharge the batteries (which are typically very expensive).
Initially I used a battery charger like the ones of Euronics, those super-fast ones. Then I learned that this is exactly the opposite of what is needed to a charger seriously. In fact, if the batteries are charged too quickly they lose performance very quickly, and we realize that when we are using our flashes and after a hundred shots the batteries have died. I then tried a slow charger, and after a long and exhausting search I then found one in an electronics store. But even that had a problem, the circuit was unique, and after putting 4 batteries inside, once one battery is fully charged the circuit is open and the other does not then remain fully charged.
I therefore needed a charger that had 4 separate circuits, one for battery, so that each battery is charged alone and not interrupted prematurely. You have no idea how different the batteries are even if they come from the same set and always loaded all at once. In fact, until today I bought the batteries in sets of 4 and put a stencil on each numbered to distinguish them (the first rechargeable batteries that I have bought all have the stencil 1, the latter four have the stencil 2 and so on), and then I charged them always as a set (1 all together, 2 all together etc.).
My choice then fell on Technoline BC700, a charger that is cheap enough and it really delivers features (in my opinion) spectacular! 4 separate circuits, one for battery, an LCD display that shows you a bit of data, and above the ability to charge also the possibility to discharge the batteries, make the test and make the refresh!
1) Battery charge possible with three currents (200, 500 and 700 mA). It means that if you need a fast charge select 700 mA, otherwise put it on 200 mA and wait a few hours, with a slow charge and therefore optimal.
2) Discharge the batteries with three possible currents (100, 250, and 350 mA).
3) TEST mode: putting the batteries (or even just one, or two, both are on separate circuits, you can do what you want for each battery) in this mode, the charger will have a full charge, a subsequent discharge and then another charge and will determine the remaining capacity. For example for me with four 2000 mAh batteries I found that they stayed from 1600 to 1700 mAh. However, this mode allows you to see if you have a defective battery in the set, because one might have yielded less mAh, and that is where it is useful to REFRESH mode.
4) REFRESH mode: in this mode the charger proceeds to subsequent cycles of charge and discharge up to bring your batteries to the best condition possible, therefore allowing you to retrieve batteries that had been previously charged poorly (the only price for making a refresh is that it might be necessary to leave the charger to act for several days, but okay if you do not hurry ..).
I do not know about you, but for me it was an outstanding buying counting that only costs about thirty Euros .. In 90% of the situations we just use it in charge mode (slow or fast depending on the situation), but sometimes it is interesting to carry out a test of our batteries, so you can understand the state of your batteries and eventually refresh them!
After this short review of the charger Technoline BC700, I say you hello and I announce that as soon as possible it will come a new blog post on the real photo!
See you soon!