The Varta Ultra Fast AA Battery charger
At AU$70.00 this charger ain’t cheap. But it packs a real punch.
I bought this charger a couple of months ago, after searching a long time for a good travel charger. When I noticed this charger at Bunnings (Yes, who would have thought about Bunnings for a charger hey), I had to give it a try. And I’m happy I did, it’s by far the best charger I have had so far. Let me list some facts about the charger first.
- Fast and precise charging. It takes about 15 minutes to get batteries back up to 70% charge, and then it switches to a more slowly charge rate (to protect batteries)
- Ergonomic and unique design – it’s reasonable small.
- LED backlit blue LCD display: charging level V, mAh and min
- 4 different functions: charge, discharge, capacity test and refresh
- Comprehensive safety features: Minus Delta V cut-off, safety timer, short circuit protection, alkaline detection, temperature control, cooling fan
- Comes with 22v and 12V car adapter
- 3 years guarantee
This charger allows you to charge 1-4 AA or AAA batteries simultaneously, quickly and safe. The charger (unlike many other chargers) measures the voltage, short circuit and temperature while charging. Once a battery reaches full capacity, the charger will stop charging that battery. Compare that with many other chargers that charge groups of 2, 4 or more batteries, without temperature or voltage sensing.. The charger comes default with a 220v adapter and a 12v cigarette lighter adapter, so you can use it while traveling to charge your batteries in the car.
It’s a really fast charger. A full charge takes anywhere from 15-30min. You notice the charger is working, as the build in fan will make some noise to keep the unit and batteries reasonable cool.
The charger can also refresh and capacity test batteries. If you abuse your batteries like I do, you will like the refresh function. The charger will drain the batteries to the lowest but safe voltage, then give the a full charge. This ensures that the batteries keep their capacity. This is not needed after each dive or charge, but it will prolong the life of your batteries if you do it every so often.
I’m a keen underwater photographer. We all know a good set of batteries in your strobes (be it your land strobe or underwater strobe like INON/SEA&SEA/Olympus) is worthwhile. You don’t want your strobes working when you out on a shoot. The VARTA charger package includes 4 batteries. These are 2400mAH AA Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries, not the highest capacity you can get, but still in the top range, and good enough for me. I purchased an extra 4 batteries, so I had enough batteries for my 2 INON Z240 Strobes.
I have now used the batteries and charger for over 6 months without any issues. I just done a capacity test of the batteries in the VARTA charger and after that using a professional grade battery tester. Each of the 8 batteries still rated over 2400mAH, which is above their specification.
I will use this charger combined with my (good brand) normal battery charger – it’s a fact that charging batteries (both NiMH NiCad) in a quick charger can potentially shorten their life – and using a (good!) slow charger is better for Longevity of your batteries .
Should you buy it?
If you looking for a good quick charger – I would definitive recommend it. Even though the charger isn’t cheap it’s a good investment and compact. That it accepts 12v, makes it the perfect travel charger.