Companies sell fast chargers and slow chargers to address the consumer's often contradictory demands. Which one you buy depends upon your priorities. Or you buy both and use the one that suits your needs at the time. (The Ni-MH market has grown enough to allow some companies to sell programmable chargers. One unit to rule them all. However, that requires the consumer to RTFM. Let's save that discussion for another time.)
PowerGenix markets their fast charger as the "1 Hour Quick Charger". 1 or 2 AA's @ 1500 mA, 3 or 4 AA's @ 750 mA, 1 or 2 AAA's @ 700 mA. The manual says it will charge individual batteries but they "should be charged in pairs for optimal performance."
PowerGenix markets their slow charger as the "5 Hr. Fast Charger". 2 or 4 AA's @ 300 mA or 2 AAA's @ 100 mA. The manual says "batteries can olny (sic) be charged in pairs."
PowerGenix does not use the word 'slow' in their marketing, yet. Maybe they are saving it for a 12 hour charger.
Historically, a fast charger will have your batteries ready for use much more quickly at the expense of life cycles and a slow charger will allow your batteries to be discharged and recharged many more times (life cycle) at the expense of instant gratification. It really does depend on your priorities.
Ni-Zn technology has been around for awhile. The consumer market is in its infancy. We are the early adopters (aka guinea pigs).
Does any one know why Powergenix offers two chargers, the 1 hour and the 3-5 hour, at the same price? One site even calls the 3-5 hour one the new "coming soon" model. Seems the 3-5 hr one would be unnecessary.
Wade gave a very good summry above. I just like to add the following comment:
The penalty in battery lifespan is most severe when charging NiMH cells at current greater than 1C. For example, '15-min' (4C) or '30-minute' (2C) chargers are very bad for battery lifspan. Bewteen '2-hour' (0.5C) and '5-hour' (0.2C) chargers, the impact is negligible.
According to spec sheet for Rayovac 1800mAh NiMH AA cell: if a cell is slow-charged at 0.1C, its capacity will drop by 5% after 200 cycles. But if the cell is fast-charged at 1C, then the capacity will drop by 10% after 200 cycles (discharge rate=1C in both cases). The difference is small enough, so it is fine to choose an 1-hour charger to save some time.
On the other hand, the PowerGenix '1-hour' charger (which is actually a '2.5-hour' charger when you charge 4 cells) is a much better value than the '5-hour' charger. The real reason is that the latter can only charge in pairs. So if you start with two cells with different amount of charge in them, then either one will be over-charged, or the other one will be under-charged. The prices for those two packages are nearly the same, so pick the one with the better charger.
yes you can use them in your Wii remote !! 1.6V is the starting point not like other NiMH which starts at 1.2V and goes down from there. Any high drain device will love the extra voltage- Most product has internal circuitry to regulate operation within this voltage range then as capacity and Voltage drain you lose the ability to operate the particular device. If you use the Wii remote alot you should charge after 30 days or when needed. Check the website if you have more questions - www.powergenix.com