Power converters

Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Power converters

I need to be able to charge AA and AAA batteries while in Europe. I've been scouring amazon.com, and so far I've come with an amazing variety of overpriced near-scams (fancy looking, expensive 'AC adapters' that actually do not convert voltage....)

Does anyone have any reliable sources for 240 to 120 voltage converters and/or a name brand AA and AAA NiMH charger that works with 100-240 VAC?

The only AA and AAA chargers I have only work with 120 VAC.

(Yes, most of my electronics wall warts work at 100-240. But the NiMH chargers, for some reason, only work on 120.)
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 09:01 AM
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What I did a few years ago was buy a battery charger that could run off 12V

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?...09&doy=2m6

I then bought a switched power supply that could take in 100-240v but output 12V.
http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?...p;doy=2m6#spec

Therefore the 2 together mean I can charge batteries virtually anywhere in the world

I also bought a car charger for my camera - so I can charge that as well

However these days you can get it as one item for example - http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?...p;doy=2m6#spec
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 10:56 AM
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One thing to consider, it is not suggested to run many electronics with voltage converters due to the method of conversion. This may or may not be an issue depending on your charger. I picked up a LaCrosse BC900 a few months back and have been happy with it. The power pack is 110-240V. I bought the charger on some rec's and because I needed something to do single batteries. (My son has a toy which takes 3 AAs.) However, it is also very full featured included different charging rates and the ability to "refresh" and test batteries. Amazon wants $70, but Thomas Distributing (ttp://www.thomas-distributing.com/la_crosse_bc-900_battery_charger.php) wants $39. (They have a 9.66 on resellerratings.) I previously had an Impact (from B&H), but it was severely overheating the batteries (sometimes almost too hot to touch) and this was replaced by the BC900. Sterlingtek has some chargers. I haven't used any of their chargers, but do use one of their camera batteries (bought on rec's from dpreview).

Paul
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 11:03 AM
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BTW forgot to mention that both chargers, mains power supply & spare batteries take up the same amount of space as a conventional mains charger
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 11:25 AM
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If you live somewhere that is close to a Fry's electronics, go to that store and get a converter. They have a number of varieties at different prices and all basically work well. RadioShack should have them too, but the Fry's tend to have a better selection.

Also, Brookstone has good converters. If you're not near one, any US airport from which you're flying on your transatlantic flight should have a Brookstone outlet that will include the converters. You can also get them from Brookstone.com, but unfortunately Brookstone overcharges for shipping.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Have you priced AA and AAA batteries against a recharging scheme? Both AA and AAA batteries are readily available in Europe.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 12:25 PM
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I have seen AA and AAA batteries and chargers for sale as a unit in European supermarkets and DIY shops.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 01:07 PM
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Camera vendors sell dual voltage AA/AAA rechargers (with 4 rechargeable batteries included) for prices ranging from about $18 upward. Don't mess with a converter when all you need is a tiny plug adapter for a recharger you can use at home.

I've had excellent results using B&H Photo as a source for cameras and accessories for 10 years or more. This is an example from their catalogue:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...rger_with.html

In addition, big box stores often have rechargers in their battery displays near hand-held toys. Check the package labels and you'll probably see some that are dual voltage.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2008, 05:11 PM
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I purchases a dual voltage battery charger with 4 AA rechargeable batteries at Walmart for $9.99. I already had rechargeable batteries, but it was cheaper to buy the dual voltage than a converter. It recharges all AA and AAA batteries including my older ones and even comes with an adapter to charge batteries with your car lighter! I used this last fall, and it worked purfectly. You will still need a plug adpater for the country you are visiting.

Clea
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