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Customer Review

97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would be a great mobile charger - except for one flaw, August 14, 2009
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This review is from: Duracell Go Mobile Charger / Rechargeable / includes car adaptor and 2 AA / 2 AAA precharged, rechargeable batteries, (Electronics)
The Duracell Go Mobile Charger CEF26 sounds like an ideal solution for recharging AA/AAA cells on the road. It accepts either universal AC (100-240V) or 12V from car battery, and it recharges cells in just around one hour. Note that many other so called 'one hour' charger usually require at least 2 hours when charging 4 cells. But this Duracell Go Mobile charger charges at the same current of 2.3A (for AA) or 0.98A (for AAA) whether you put in 2 or 4 cells. That's why it takes less than one hour to fully recharge those included 2000mAh Duracell Pre Charged AA cells.

Unfortunately, there is a major design flaw with this charger: it charges in pairs only. That is, you can only recharge either 2 or 4 cells, and you cannot group AA and AAA in a pair.

Why is charging NiMH cells in pairs a very bad idea? Suppose you have one cell that is only partially discharged, and another one that is fully discharged. When you charge those two as a pair in this charger, the charging process will terminate as soon as the first cell is full (signaled by a negative dV/dt in the combined voltage). But the second cell is still half empty at this point. Naturally, when you use those two cells together in an appliance, the power will run out much sooner.

Then there's always the problem when your appliance requires either one or three cells. Now you are left with one drained cell that you cannot charge. If you try to charge a drained cell in series with a full one, you're end up with the above situation again.

If you always use identical NiMH cells in pairs, and you never mix up cells from different appliances, then the Go Mobile Charger is still worth considering. For the rest of us, however, the Duracell Mobile Charger CEF23DX4N may be a better choice. It charges cells individually (but at a lower current of 550mA), has four status indicator lights, and even doubles as an USB power source.

[Update on Oct 8, 2010]:
Duracell has discontinued the excellent CEF23 charger (at least in the US) last year. So prices for the dwindling inventory have skyrocketed.
- If you just need an inexpensive 2-cell charger that can handle individual cell, consider the Sanyo eneloop MDR02.
- If you need a good 4-cell charger that can operate from 12V cigarette lighter adapter, consider the Targus LCD2700 with LCD Display
- If you need an advanced charger that can operate from 12V CLA, consider the La Crosse Technology BC500
- If you need a good 4-cell charger that can operate from 12V CLA _and_ can power an USB port using internal batteries... Sorry! Your best hope is to look for an international version of CEF23, such as the CEF23AU.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 31, 2011 10:05:54 AM PDT
Sandlapper says:
NLee, I really appreciate your professional reviews of chargers and batteries. This was an impulse clearance buy at Staples for under thirteen dollars. I already own the La Crosse BC-9009 charger kit. Is this a good buy, considering the price and included pre-charged batteries and car adapter?

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2011 10:34:35 AM PDT
Sandlapper,
For $13 this Duracell charger package is a great buy (I paid over $30 at the time of my review). Especially since you already have the excellent BC-9009, you can use it to handle odd number of cells, and to re-balance your cells once in a while.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2011 1:08:29 PM PDT
Sandlapper says:
NLee, thanks for affirming my purchase. Can you provide any more technical details about this charger? Also, what about it being a one-hour charger? As I recall, in other posts you advised against that type.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2011 6:04:06 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2011 6:06:25 AM PDT
Sandlapper,
I don't have any technical details outside of what was presented in my review (charging at 2.3A in pairs).

The Go Mobile is meant as a travel charger, or when you need to recharge in a hurry. Using an 1-hour charger once in a while is not such a terrible thing. But for daily use, I recomment using the BC-9009 at the following charging current:
- For AA: 500-700mA
- For AAA: 200-500mA

Posted on Apr 3, 2012 7:49:58 PM PDT
@teresalo says:
Good news. I found the Canadian version -- Duracell Mobile Charger (CEF23DX4N) -- at BestBuy.

Since the plugs are the same in Canada and the U.S., it might be worth it to buy this one instead of the Australian version.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 3, 2012 8:16:37 PM PDT
Teresa,
Good for you! And thanks for the pointer.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2012 3:07:40 PM PDT
@teresalo says:
I do have a quick question. I just picked up the charger and the AAA batteries included are 800mAh DX2400 NiMH 1.2V while the AA batteries included are 2000mAh DX1500 NiMH 1.2V.

I need to buy a few more batteries, and the comment under the ones at Walmart (see www.walmart.com/ip/Duracell-Pre-charged-Rechargeable-NiMH-Batteries-AAA-4ct/14301870) says the AAA are now 1000mAh. Are these OK?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2012 8:00:28 PM PDT
Teresa,
My guess is that the Walmart reviewer confused the ordinary NiMH AAA cells (1000mAh) with PreCharged NiMH cells (800mAh). I will definitely stick with PreCharged type.

Posted on Jan 21, 2013 7:08:15 PM PST
jj2me says:
Just an anecdotal observation about powering a USB port using internal batteries using the CEF23AU:

During Hurricane Sandy (without power for 8 days), I tried powering a cellphone via the USB port on each of my two CEF23AUs. Both failed to provide power, using NiMH batteries, then also using rechargeable alkalines, and then also using regular alkalines. I'm not sure whether I tried all types of batteries in both chargers. I switched from the cell phone to another device (I forget which), and same results, i.e., the devices did not show their usual indication of being charged.

Maybe both mine are defective, or maybe user error somehow, I don't know.

P.S. Thanks for your selfless service on battery chargers, NLee. Now if only there were some expert like you for washers or cars or ...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2013 8:04:45 PM PST
@teresalo says:
You didn't say what you meant by "tried powering" but the first time I did it, it "didn't work" either until my 11 year old said, "Geez Mom, you have to press the button between the charging light symbol and the USB symbol."
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