Rechargeable Batteries (Part 4)

By , February 6, 2015

In this, the final installment of our series on Rechargeable Batteries (begun in Part 1), we’ll look at the chargers and battery suppliers we prefer.

The Tenergy BC- charger (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The Tenergy BC-1HU charger (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We rely almost exclusively on Tenergy batteries and chargers from our most trusted source, They offer two styles of NiMH batteries that we find very useful for reasons described in Rechargeable Batteries (Part 3).

The two styles are Tenergy Century, and Tenergy Premium. The Centurys offer lower self discharge rate than even NiCads. The Premiums aren’t quite as good, but less expensive; in most applications, we find them excellent.

Both these lines are more expensive than most rechargeable batteries, but we feel they are well worth the extra cost.

When we bought NiCads, we usually purchased Tenergy’s, for convenience and trusted quality.

When we choose battery chargers, we look for three features: DC power, the ability to charge both NiMH and NiCad batteries, and a “refresh” feature that draws down the power of NiCad batteries before recharging them. As explained in Rechargeable Batteries (Part 3), this last feature prevents NiCads from developing “memory.”

Choosing chargers that feature DC power allow us to charge batteries without turning on our inverters. DC power off our battery bank saves electricity we would otherwise spend to step DC up to AC. It’s a small savings, some would say insignificance, but such small savings add up in a hurry in our lives.

We make sure we only buy chargers that can handle both NiMHs and NiCads so we never put the wrong type of battery in the wrong charger. I don’t know what would happen if we did, but supposedly it’s bad. Investing in chargers that handle both prevents unhappy accidents.

We have many chargers that we’ve accumulated over the years. Many come packaged with the rechargeable batteries. But we almost always use only two, both from Tenergy.

The Tenergy BC-1HU Computer Controlled Smart Charger charges everything from AAA to D cell batteries, including 9V.

The Tenergy TN162 charges only AA and AAA batteries, but it offers 8 bays, so we can almost charge as many batteries as we need in one session. It’s a bit more temperamental than the BC-1HU, showing some batteries as “bad” that the BC-1HU handles just fine. Charging as many batteries as often as we do, we quickly learn the quirks of each charger and use them to our best advantage. often offers sales, and bundles their chargers with several different battery sizes and numbers that give one options to cover individual wants and needs. We are on their email list to make sure we learn of their offers.

I just realized that I should have kept count of all the batteries we’ve charged in the course of this post series. I’d guess somewhat more than twenty. At an average of three batteries per headlamp, you can see how much we rely on rechargeable batteries at this time of year!

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