Run a TEST (Charge/Discharge/Charge) operation on your new batteries, using 700mA charging current. - If the capacity number you see at the end is within 10% of the rated value, no further action is required. - If the capacity is significantly lower, run them through the REFRESH operation, at 350mA/700mA (discharge/charger) currents.
Do NOT use the default setting of 100mA/200mA for refreshing AA cells, because then it will take about 1 week for the REFRESH operation to complete.
For routine charging of AA cells, use either 500mA or 700mA. Charging AA at 200mA does NOT give your batteries any noticeably longer lifespan.
@Pieter Kruger: "If I buy new AA batteries, which charge mode would be the best?"
Many new rechargeable NiCD and NiMH cells benefit from a 'Forming Charge' - 0.1C for 16 hours, where C is the rated Capacity of the cell (i.e. 2000mAh for an Eneloop AA; 800mAh for an Eneloop AAA). Owners of the Maha MH-C9000 use the 'Break-In' Function to accomplish this.
La Crosse BC-700/900/9009 owners can attempt to simulate this with a 200/100mA TEST, although the charger may terminate on -Delta-V before 16 hours elapse.
Skipping this step doesn't seem to make too much of a difference with Eneloops (better quality control) than with other brands of cells.
I own 4 Kodak batteries rated as "up to 2400mAh". I have been able to charge all of them to at least 2500mAh, and one of them even went to 2530mAh. These batteries are amazing, and consistently reach a higher charge level that the stated rated capacity.
Siffert and Pieter, The 'mAh' number shown by BC-700 during charging is the amount of charge (current * time) going INTO the cell, not what is actually stored by the cell. Beacuse the energy conversion is not 100% efficient, you always need to pump in more energy, especially if the cell is too old or is leaky. So a large mAh number shown at the end of charging is actually a BAD thing!
To find out the true capacity of a cell, you have to use either the 'Charge/Test' function or the 'Discharge/Refresh' function. You may soon find out that those old '2400mAh' Kodak cells are not that amazing.
After spending considerable time reading and learning about rechargeable batteries, eneloops, and chargers, with NEW ENELOOPS I have decided to forego the instruction manual for the BC-700, which recommends 5-10 regular charges and discharges (under load-e.g., using devices-no mention of which kinds of NiMH) as too much of a PITA.
Since the eneloop website makes it clear there is no memory effect with eneloops, with NEW ENELOOPS, NLee, I just plan to run REFRESH mode clear out of the box. My reasoning is as follows:
Batteries are not at full charge out of the box; there is little doubt the batteries are in fine shape, and will eventually operate at full capacity, and by charging and discharging those batteries pursuant to REFRESH, I should be good to go; by running REFRESH it will give a 'jump start' at getting the batteries to run at their potential, and I will not have to worry or be concerned about how many times I need to recharge and then run under usual loads. Moreover, running REFRESH at the outset will let me know about a battery's total capacity just as well as running TEST, am I not correct?
I figure why run TEST first and then face the possibility of having to run REFRESH thereafter when the batteries will likely benefit more from running REFRESH in the first place.
Thereafter, I just plan on charging them and absent any other cause, will just run REFRESH every 6 months or so.
I plan to run REFRESH for AA at 350/700 discharge/charge, and for AAA I haven't decided yet with new batteries whether to run at 100/200 or 250/500.
Also, by running REFRESH an overcharge is less likely (unless I have just removed them from the box), because I don't want to run the risks of running TEST when the batteries I insert may actually be fully charged because I don't keep full charge records on them. I only segregate cells that have similar recorded capacities.