Consumer battery technology has largely stayed stagnate for decades, although our demands for portable energy has dramatically increased at the same time. I still remember in the early 80s when dad brought home our first NiCd rechargeable batteries, we had the full range from AAA to D cells, and a basic charger with adjustable bays so we can fit the different sizes in. It was a dinky thing and if memories serves me correctly, a full charge takes 8 hours and god forbid if you interrupted the recharging process or let it run too long.
If a parcel can get frequent miles points, then this one is going to set me up for a long time. Now that transit hell is finally over, DigitalReviews is grateful for the opportunity to review the MH-C980 Turbo Charger Analyzer, Maha Energy's first 8-cell charger and analyzer. Expectations are high, how does the MH-C980 perform?
The MH-C980 Turbo Charger Analyzer is freshly launched on the market. Maha Energy was kind enough to provide an eight pack of Powerex PRO AA 2700mAh NiMH Rechargeable Batteries as well as a Powerex Accessory Padded Bag.
For some reason I expected the unit to be larger, perhaps it was the MH-801D unit that once crossed my path that came in a larger packaging. The MH-C980 is similar in that it has a clean simple design. There are 8 charging circuits, two buttons and an input for AC power. It does not get any simpler than this.
There are just three modes to the MH-C980 Turbo Charger Analyzer: Default, Turbo, Conditioning. The basic thing to remember is that PowerEx recommends that batteries are inserted from left to right. Also the slots are one for all, all for one. The entire charger is always working in a single mode, be it default, Turbo or Conditioning. That's an "or" and not a "and/or", there is no pick and choose between the slots and you cannot use two modes at the same time. To check what has been done to the batteries, cycle through the slots using the (only) two buttons on the unit.
In default mode, charging will commence for each slot as batteries are inserted. The displayed mAh value in this mode is the amount of energy that was charged into the battery. It is important to note this is not the actual capacity of the battery. Recharging time in default mode is rated at approximately 2 - 3 hours.
The Turbo mode roughly halves the time it takes to charge your batteries. To activate Turbo charging mode, all the slots must be empty first. Insert a battery into the first slot and press the Turbo button within 5 seconds and the Turbo symbol will be displayed on the LCD screen. Insert the rest of the batteries. Again same as the default mode, the displayed mAH value in this mode is the amount of energy that was charged into the battery.
The Conditioning mode was pretty much the first thing I tried. To activate it, all slots must be empty first. Insert a battery into the first slot and press the Condition button (just a round symbol) within 5 seconds and the Condition symbol will be displayed on the LCD screen. Insert the rest of the batteries. In Conditioning mode, the final value displayed on screen is the available capacity of each battery. Conditioning the batteries can take up to 24 hours.
I had a bunch of Eneloops lying around forever and I had no idea what state they were left in. I think abandoned is about as accurate as I can call it which made them just the perfect candidates for the MH-C980.
As advertised, the Conditioning mode took about 24 hours to complete. First up the MH-C980 charges all the circuits. It then rests for an hour before conditioning the batteries, which I take it as discharging them rather than giving them a shiatsu massage. The charger then charges the batteries again and at the end of which will display the available capacity value of each battery.
I was pretty pleasantly surprised that all my Eneloops are still in functional condition. There s now a stash of them ready to go into the ducted heating controller which has been a battery monster, and numerous kids toys. As a sampling of data my AAAs came up with 755, 810, 805 and 758 (mAh), and AAs 1987, 1973, 1978, 1963, 1967, 1978, 1962 and 1984 (mAh).
The Powerex Accessory Padded Bag is a simple padded bag that is just large enough to fit 2 speedlights side by side, or 1 flash and the MH-C980 charger. There is space to throw a couple of 8-packs of PowerEx AAs in. It is an accessory bag so don't expect it to be big, but it is just nice to keep all my batteries, charger, USB battery packs and cables together when I am packing for a long shoot somewhere. All my power needs in one place.
Eight independent charging circuits
One touch Battery Health Analyzer with capacity readout to provide accurate data
Turbo charge mode (2000mA)
Thermal Management System to keep batteries cool during charge
Deep battery conditioning system to revitalize old batteries
Large backlit LCD display
Maha Energy Corporation was founded in 1993, specialising in the design manufacturing, and distribution of battery and charging technology for various industrial and consumer sectors. Maha supplies not only to the consumer market, their pedigree includes Military & Defense, NASA, Kodak and Rockwell.
The MH-C980 is a solid piece of kit and dead simple to use. It makes the job of keeping rechargeable batteries in good condition a set and forget job. Maha Energy recommends that this is done every 6 months. Kind of like smoke detector batteries, do it when Daylight Savings changes. With a unit this good, there is no reason to move away from disposable batteries and do your little bit for the environment.
The MH-C980 is available in fashionable black and only black, here and here, RRP USD$79.95. If you get in now before 31 May 2019, there is a promo with the fantastic 8-pack of Powerex Precharged AA NiMH Batteries on the first link. The Accessory Bag is available here for USD $24.95.
** Update 29 May 2019, Maha Energy has reached out to say the MSRP for the Accessory Bag will be reduced to USD$14.95 starting 1 June 2019.
Many thanks to Maha Energy for sending us the sample.
MH-C980 – Turbo Charger-Analyzer
Supported batteries: AA / AAA
Number of cells: 1 to 8
Supported battery chemistry: NiMH / NiCd
Charging time: 1 hour (Turbo), 2 hours (default)
Charging current: 1000 / 2000mAh
Power source: 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz
Conditioning discharge current: 200mAh
Display: Backlit LCD
MH-8AAPRO-BH – Powerex PRO AA 2700mAh 8-Pack NiMH Rechargeable Batteries
Type: Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Rechargeable Battery
Nominal voltage: 1.2V
Rated capacity: 2700mAh
Minimum capacity: 2500mAh
Internal impedance: ~25mΩ
Dimensions: 14.5x50.5 (DxH) cm
MHS-CC250 – Powerex Accessory Padded Bag
Outer Bag Dimensions: 18x23x8 cm
Inner Bag Dimensions: 16.5x20x6.3 cm
Bag Weight: 180g