Opus Tester Analyzer Battery Charger, 12V, Black
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- Easy to read backlit display Flexibility to setup all channels at once, or to program any channel with any function
- Charge Test Discharge Recondition NiMH and NiCd AA AAA C and D batteries with included C&D adapter
- Four independent channels can be programmed as group or individually
- Second Generation design Version 2, six thermal monitors, 16 bit Delta-Sigma Analog to Digital Converter
- Rugged construction with extensive ventilation for the batteries and charging circuits
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BT-C2000 Battery Charger Charge Test Analyze AA AAA C & D NiMH NiCd Batteries. Easy to read backlit display. Flexibility to setup all channels at once, or to program any channel with any function. Any battery AA AAA C or D. Charge them, Discharge them, Refresh them, Test them. Even internal resistance. This charger does it all with ease. Once you use this charger you will wonder why it took so long to get here, makes other chargers obsolete. Features Four independent channels can be programmed as group or individually. Charge, condition and analyze one to four AA or AAA batteries. Charge, condition and analyze one or two C and D batteries. Charge, condition and analyze NiMH and NiCd rechargeable batteries. Test internal resistance for any 1.5V battery including Alkaline. Easy to read large Backlit LCD display. Digitally displays capacity, voltage, time elapsed and current. Adjustable charging rate from 200 to 1400 mA. (1000 mA max 4 channels) Five modes of operation: Charge; Discharge; Discharge Refresh; Charge Test; Quick Test Negative delta V (-dV) full charge detection. Four independent thermocouples to manage battery temperature. Two independent thermal monitors for the charger circuits. Second Generation optimized charging circuits and firmware. 12V input powered and can be powered by an optional car adapter. Worldwide voltage switching power supply.
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Several months ago, a distributor sent me (unsolicited) two pre-production units of BT-C2000 Battery Charger Tester Analyzer for my feedback. I was reluctant to write this review since it may give people the impression that I'm now accepting free samples for 'honest' reviews. However, since I already spent time playing with this charger, I might as well share my findings for the benefit of others. Just keep in mind that the following observations are based on pre-production models.
I have purchased several advanced battery charger/tester/analyzer in the past 7-8 years, including the La Crosse BC-900,BC-700,BC-500 ,BC1000,Maha MH-C9000,AccuPower IQ-328 and BM200. Unfortunately, they all have either design limitations or features that I miss. The BM200, in particular, looked most promising as it combines the best features between BC1000 and MH-C9000. But it failed to become my ultimate 'go-to' charger due to poor thermal management.
The BT-C2000 Battery Charger Tester Analyzer can be viewed as the 'version 2.0' of BM200. With new firmware and circuit board design, it claims to have solved the thermal problem, and added some useful refinements to the user interface. Here are my findings on this charger:
From the outside, the BT-C2000 looks exactly the same as the BM200. That means it is sized right in-between BC1000 and MH-C9000. The way to distinguish BT-C2000 from BM200 is to check the firmware version. During power up, the leftmost window shows a "2.0" briefly.
The BT-C2000 charger unit is powered by a 12V supply from AC wall unit, similar to that for BM200 and MH-C9000. They all share the same 2.1/5.5mm barrel plug, so I can freely interchange the adapters. The BC1000, on the other hand, requires a 3V supply to operate, so it cannot operate directly from 12V car battery through a cigarette lighter adapter. All AC adapters are designed for 100-240V AC input.
The LCD display is identical to that of the BM200. It has four independent columns, showing the status of all four cells at once. This is much better than the MH-C9000's single-column display, which can only display one parameter of one cell at any one time. The display has a backlight which automatically times out after 10 seconds of inactivity. This is an improvement over both BC1000 (no backlight) and MH-C9000 (backlight stays on).
The default charging current has been increased from 200mA (in BM200 and BC1000) to 400mA. This is a most welcomed change, since the new default current works well for both AA and AAA cells. In contrast, the BC1000's default current of 200mA is too low for AA, while the MH-C9000's default of 1000mA is too high for AAA.
Naturally, you can press the CURRENT button to change all charging currents in 200mA steps (400 -> 600 -> 800 -> 1000 -> 200) before charging starts. When charging only two cells in slot#1 and 4, the charging current can be increased to 1200 or 1400mA. You can also select any one cell using the SLOT button, and adjust its current independently. Unlike the BC1000, you are free to choose current higher than that used by previous cells.
The BT-C2000 shares similar features found in BC1000 and MH-C9000. The operation is controlled by pressing the MODE button:
- REFRESH (called CYCLE in MH-C9000)
- TEST (called ANALYZE in MH-C9000)
In addition, the BT-C2000 added a "QUICK TEST" function, which measures the internal resistance of each cell. This is useful to screen for old cells that have developed high internal resistance. All my good-quality AA NiMH cells (Sanyo eneloop) have resistance around 50 mOhm or less. Some of my old Energizer cells have resistances around hundreds of mOhm. Those can still be used in light-drain appliances such as wireless mice. (The MH-C9000 does an impedance check whenever a cell is inserted, and refuses to charge it if the resistance is too high.)
[DEAD CELL DETECTION]
The BC1000 has a known bug: if the terminal voltage of a depleted cell drops below 0.5V, the charger cannot detect it and the display says `null'. The BT-C2000 has mostly resolved this problem. In my testing, it is able to detect a depleted cell with just 0.1V across. However, in case the cell is over-discharged to 0V or polarity reversal (negative voltage), the display will still say `null'.
The over-heating problem found in BM200 seems to be mostly resolved in BT-C2000. The charger does not suffer from 'thermal hiccup' even when charging 4 cells at 1000mA. However, cells still get rather warm to the touch near the end of charging phase. The MH-C9000, on the other hand, keeps the cells lukewarm when charging at the same current. This is mostly due to its larger case and ventilation space between cells.
So far, I like everything I saw on the BT-C2000 - except for the following problems:
1. The DISCHARGE function is quite useless. It discharges a cell down to 0.9V, and then recharges it back to full automatically. The `mAh' number you see in the end is for the final Charging phase, not for the initial discharge. I rather have the charger stops after the Discharge phase, and preserve the 'mAh' number. This is how the MH-C9000 implements its DISCHARGE function.
[Update: a reader confirmed that DISCHARGE function in the production model works correctly now]
2. During DISCHARGE/REFRESH operation, the 'mAh' reading from previous Discharge phase is not preserved. Instead, it shows the accumulated charge during the present Charge phase, which is useless information. This makes it impossible for me to measure the remaining charge in a cell, which is vital for my long-term battery self-discharge rate measurement. (The BC1000 preserves the 'mAh' reading from the previous Discharge phase, so I have a few hours to record the data)
3. I tried to charge two C cells through the C/D-to-AA adapters in slots #1 and 4. Although I can select the highest current of '1400mA', the actual current I observed varies all over the place between 900mA and 1200mA. Apparently, the extra resistance introduced by the adapter makes it difficult for the charger to regulate at higher current.
I must stress again that my observations are based on pre-production models. It is possible that the final model may have addressed those issues.
With the exception of the issues mentioned above, I consider the BT-C2000 to be the best advanced charger/analyzer I have found. Once those issues are resolved (hopefully through firmware update), it could become my ultimate 'go-to' charger for battery testing as well as daily charging. Maybe by then, I can finally get rid of the other half a dozen advanced chargers that I own. In the meantime, I will hang on to my BC1000 and MH-C9000.
[Update on May 14, 2014]
There seems to be a lot of confusions about the DISCHARGE function. For the final production model, DISCHARGE is supposed to stop right after cell voltage has dropped to 0.9V. But apparently, some people received older models which recharge automatically after Discharge is done (same as my pre-production model). Both models display firmware version 2.0 during power up.
I strongly suggest people should look for the latest BT-C2000 Battery Charger Tester Analyzer with firmware v2.1. It made several improvements that I like. See my review on it for details.
First impression, this Opus BT-C2000 is a very complete charger/analyzer and is easy to use. I got interested by this charger because it advertised the capability to charge/analyze cells up to 20,000mAh and has C/D cells adapters included in the box. I use high capacity C/D cells, so this looked like the right charger to get the job done. I’ve seen review of C/D cells adapters for other charger which do not fit/clip well in chargers, but the Opus ones are tight are work well. It does handle the C/D cell like any other cells, except for resistance checks (the adapters add resistance leading to wrong readings…)
The charger has thermal sensors for both the batteries and the unit itself. Info from the user manual, (I don’t have the tools to verify…), if it detects a temperature of 60deg on a cell, it will pause the on-going operation to let the cell cool down. If it detects a temperature of 70deg in the unit, it will also pause the operation to allow cooling down. This is very nice to prevent damaging the cells or the unit.
From an analysis I’ve read, the charge is gentle and seems to give a very nice and delicate finish, adjusting the charge rate toward the end. This good technical analysis can be read on candlepowerforums dot com. I would recommend googling it if interested in more technical details (simple google search “Opus BT-C2000 review”).
Once the charge is completed, it goes to a 10 to 15mA rate (seems to be depending of the type of cell being charged), just to maintain its level (I would still not leave the cells there for long periods...).
The charge function is set to 400mAh as default, but can be increased to 1000mAh if the 4 slots are used, or 1400mAh if slots 1 and 4 are used for C/D cells with the adapters. This is good for high capacity C/D cells, but still a little long to get a full charge. Being a high capacity D cell user, I would like a bit more, like 2000mAh. But 1400mAh still gets the job done. One observation, when charging my high capacity D cells, it seems to be hovering between 1100-1250mAh, not 1400mAh constant. But still does a good job at handling the charge smoothly. Another observation, I charged Imedion C cells at 800mAh and at this rate, the current was very stable on 800 until going into “finishing mode”.
The charge-test function will analyze the capacity of a battery by charging, discharging and re-charging the cell. The mAh values after the discharge function are kept on the display, allowing keeping note even after the cycle is completed.
The quick check function measure the internal resistance of a cell in milliohms. One good point, it can measure alkaline batteries as well. I actually had a bunch of alkalines on the shelf and I check them all for voltage & internal resistance, I found out many were too low V or too high ohms to be used.
Overall, a very good, useful and complete unit. My only few complains would be: I wish the slots were C and D cell sized instead of using an adapter, it would allow charging and testing 4 D cell (or 4 C cells) at the same time instead of only 2, and I wish the charge rate would go to 2000mAh to address high capacity cells a bit faster. There might also be some work to be done on the algorithms for high current charge as it does not seem stable. But these are minor “nice to have” and it’s not enough to lower my rating. The overall unit is very good… I give a fair 5 stars to the product.