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Customer Review

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not recognize depleted cells., November 2, 2009
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This review is from: Ansmann 5207123 Energy 16 Charger (Electronics)
I am new to rechargeable batteries, and this is my first charger. I bought it based on the positive reviews, thinking I was buying "the best" out there. I also bought some new sanyo eneloop AA batteries, which I fully charged with this unit, and then placed in my child's toy. When the toy stopped working, I removed the batteries and placed them back into the charger, only to get a "faulty cell" error message. I contacted [...] about the problem. They told me the sanyo cells were probably old and defective, and that I should return them to the manufacturer. I sent all 4 back to Sanyo. Sanyo returned them to me stating that the cells were simply depleted, and that they were able to fully charge them again with their own sanyo charger (approx. $10 retail value). I contacted [...] again, and they did not have an answer except for me to ship the unit across country for a servicing evaulation (I was never informed that the unit should indeed detect depleted cell. For all I know, the unit did exactly as programmed). I bought a sanyo charger as back up in case this happens again. I was very disappointed in this expensive charger and was frustrated that I spent so much time and effort.

Update: 10/23/2013. I continue to get the 'faulty cell' flashing red light. When that happens, I plug the same battery into a 'dumb' charger, e.g. sanyo or tenergy, and most of the time the dumb charger with charge it back to 'green.' The other times, I use copper wire and a 'D' battery to 'MacGyver' the battery back to life. Another problem I've had is that with very light/limited use, one of the terminals that plugs into the 9V batteries broke off (remained stuck in the battery). And one of springs on the retaining clips broke, so that the cylinder batteries (AAA, AA, C, D) are no longer able to be held in place in that slot. Because of the poor construction, I am downgrading my rating to 2 stars...
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 10, 2010, 10:43:29 AM PST
I might be able to shed some light on your problem. This happens to me too. The good news is your charger isn't malfunctioning. But first a very quick explanation of what's going on with your batteries.

NiMH shouldn't be discharged below approx 1.0 volts, and never below .8 volts. Normally, an electronic device automatically stops working when its batteries reach 1.0v per cell-- especially more sophisticated electronic devices. This prevents over-discharging your batteries. Say you have device that takes 4 AA. If one or more of the batteries run out of charge long before the others something called reverse charging can happen where the remaining good batteries damage the one that ran out of charge. No two batteries are identical to begin with but as they age their capacity declines. This is why you should use batteries of the same capacity, age, and charge (not some fully charge, some partially charged). Also, some devices, not designed with NiMH in mind, like toys designed for Alkaline will just over-discharge the cells.

In the end you wind up with one or more batteries that has a really low voltage and when you stick it in your really nice expensive charger, it detects something is wrong and doesn't risk charging it. Paradoxically, if you put this battery in a "dumb" charger for about 10 minutes, it will revive it enough to be charged by your "smart charger". The only way to avoid having to do this is to not run the batteries all the way down. While this is a bit of a pain, it will significantly prolong the life of your cells.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2010, 2:09:55 PM PST
JL says:
Stefan,

Thank you for the enlightening explanation. I've emailed Ansmann.us several times over the months and have never received an explanation from them. This exact thing happened to me again recently. I used my "dumb" charger for a few minutes, then put the batteries back into the Energy 16, and it started charging the batteries again. I am glad you confirmed my suspicion that the charger was not damaged (Ansmann.us would not tell me this), and saved me from having to ship it across country. Unfortunately, I mainly use rechargable batteries for toys to save on cost and pollution, since the kids use up quite a bit of alkaline batteries. But it's o.k. now that I have a soluton, and the energy 16 can still be used. Regards, John.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2011, 1:58:55 PM PDT
ray says:
Brilliant ... thank's for sharing your knowledge!
Dennis

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2011, 1:58:27 PM PDT
Ky Le says:
NimH should never be discharged below 80%. En P. Junction explained it well. I always try to keep the same set of battery in the device, and charge it often. If it shows red on the ansmann that means you are running down the batteries too low.

Posted on Aug 12, 2011, 1:52:13 PM PDT
Huck Finn says:
My Ansmann Energy 8 has the same "faulty cell" problem. And while I love the idea not discharging below 80% in reality when you are busy with a baby 90% of the time you will forget about proper battery rotation 100% of the time. So.... what I do when a battery reaches this uber-low voltage condition and the Ansmann gives me the "faulty cell" light I use a little copper wire and some Macgyver skills and trick it into charging the cell enough to pass the "faulty cell" test and be able to charge it normally. While I know that this Macgyver technique is defiantly verboden it works. I have had to use this with Ansmann D-size cells in an Ansmann charger so it is not just eneloop AA that have this issue. I wish Ansmann would make one of the battery connection docks a "dumb" charger so you could revive the occasional uber-low voltage battery. While this whole issue is annoying I do love the fact that the Ansmann defaults to super-safe which makes me comfortable leaving it unattended during regular charging.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2011, 5:42:09 PM PDT
ray says:
Could you please elaborate on the "copper wire and Macgyver skills" trick used to get the 'faulty cell' to charge? Did you connect a charged battery to trick the charge reading to be higher?
Thanks ...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2011, 10:30:42 AM PDT
S. Anderson says:
Huck how did you charge the cell -- did you connect it to another battery or to the charger points on the Ansmann with the copper wire?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2011, 7:47:34 PM PST
DB62 says:
Instead of his trick to get it working on overly drained batteries, I'd suggest a cheap timer charger, or as some call it, a "Dumb" charger! They are cheep, and just a few minutes in the timed charger, you can swap it into your Ansmann charger. It's a much safer solution!
Plus, if you have cordless devices that do overly drain, I'd suggest you upgrade, to a more recent model, which wont take the voltage to low for a charge.
Just an idea! :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012, 1:21:20 PM PDT
CoastalTech says:
The fact that Ansmann.us can not provide the very simple (and widely known) explanation and fix of providing the "start" charge for a few minutes in a "dumb" charger is a very telling comment about the company. I hope everyone pays attention to this and looks elsewhere for a charger (e.g. La Crosse and Maha both make good chargers and provide equally good support).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2012, 3:07:59 PM PDT
Circusmonkey says:
As an FYI, the La Crosse and Maha chargers have the same issue.
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