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Make sure you get the package with newer 'Value Charger' Feb 15, 2010
By NLee the Engineer
This package (Duracell Value Charger, 4 Rechargeable AA NiMH Batteries) contains the Duracell CEF14NC charger, and four Duracell DX1500 Pre Charged AA cells (2000mAh).
Duracell pre charged cells are either rebranded Sanyo eneloop ('white top') or Rayovac Hybrid ('black top') cells. Both are good values, but there is no way to know which version you are going to receive.
The Duracell 'Value Charger' has been updated recently, although it is still called 'CEF14NC'. The old model is black and shaped like a sea shell, with batteries in slightly fanning-out positions. The new one is gray and more rectangular. It offers several improvements over the previous version:
- It accepts 100-240V universal AC input (instead of just 120V AC)
- It can charge up to 4 AAA cells (instead of just 2 AAA)
The charging current is same as before: 360mA when charging AA cells, 180mA for AAA cells. That means it take about 6-7 hours to recharge a pair of exhausted AA cells.
One remaining drawback with this charger is that it still charges in pairs. That is, either 2 or 4 cells. This is very inconvenient when you have appliance that requires either 1 or 3 cells. Now you're left with one cell that you cannot charge. If you try to charge one exhausted cell together with one that is full, then the second cell will be over-charged (becuase the charger only stops when the combined voltage of two cells is high enough). NiMH cells are fairly robust, so they are unlikely to burst or leak when over-charged occasionally. But over-charging is very bad for battery lifespan in the long run.
The product image for this page still shows the old 'value charger'. Once again, there's no telling which version you'll actually receive. For about the same cost (as of this writing), I recommend buying the Duracell Pre Charged Rechargeable Nimh Batteries Combo. It contains the new CEF14NC charger, plus four Pre-Charged AA and four AAA cells. If you need to charge odd number of cells occasionally, then I recommend buying the Sanyo Eneloop 2 Pack AA NiMH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries w/ Charger in addition to this one. It contains a compact charger 'MDR02' that can handle 1-2 cells, and it recharges much faster.