PowerEx Batteries and MH-C801D Charger

by Glenn Bartley | August 31, 2011

PowerEx batteries and chargerProduct Overview

The Batteries

PowerEx batteries come in two types—the standard high capacity 2700 NiMH version and the newer Imedion low discharge 2400 NiMH version. Both are very high quality batteries that can be charged hundreds of times and have no charge memory (meaning that they can be charged without being drained first). While the standard PowerEx batteries are likely to last a bit longer and recycle a bit faster, the Imedion batteries will hold their charge for over a year. This is a great feature as it means that you can have a set or two in your camera bag or flash and know that they will always be ready when you need them most.

The Charger

The PowerEx MH-C801D charger is an 8 cell unit that is capable of charging AA and AAA batteries. This unit is capable of charging any combination of 1 to 8 batteries at a time and each battery is charged on an independent circuit. This reduces damage to the batteries from overcharging and allows batteries to last much longer than would be otherwise possible. The charging unit has three modes (quick, soft and condition). Quick charging can charge the batteries in less than one hour. Soft charging will take longer (up to two hours) but the charging is done in a more gentle way that will allow batteries to last longer. The condition mode charges the batteries, deep discharges them and then recharges them. This can bring new life to old batteries that were no longer holding a satisfactory charge. The charging unit comes with an AC power supply unit that will work anywhere in the world.

PowerEx batteries and charger

Product Field Review

As someone who uses flash a lot in his day-to-day photography good batteries are a must. When I am doing multi-flash work for hummingbirds I need good batteries and a good charger, and when I am leading workshops for a group of photographers, all of whom are all keen to do multi-flash photography, batteries and a solid charger are among the most important pieces of equipment that I have. For all of these reasons I have turned to the PowerEx line of products for years.

PowerEx batteries are one of those products that quite simply do exactly what they should. They are reliable and they last a long time. The addition of the Imedion line of batteries is fantastic, because it means that you don’t have to second guess how long ago a set of batteries was charged. My recommendation would be to get a set of the higher powered PowerEx 2700 NiMH batteries for your everyday flash batteries. You could also purchase a set or two of the Imedion batteries to have on hand in your camera bag for those times when you need them.

The PowerEx MH-C801D charger is probably the best all around battery charger on the market. It is certainly the best that I have used. What makes this unit so great can largely be attributed to three features. The first is the fact that it has 8 independent circuits. This means that you will not overcharge and damage your batteries. The second key feature is the ability to “soft charge” the batteries. This much gentler form of charging does take a bit longer to complete. The batteries will last for years to come though as a result. The final key feature is the ability to recondition old batteries that are no longer holding their charge. Once every year I recondition all of my batteries and they are restored to nearly as good as new.

While the PowerEx batteries are fantastic right out of the box and have a long lifespan, like any rechargeable battery they will fade over time and not hold as long of a charge. This will be especially true if you regularly charge the batteries using the 1 hour charging mode. The key to battery longevity is to use the soft charge mode and to periodically recondition batteries (perhaps once per year).

When leading hummingbird workshops I use two of these units to charge up several sets of batteries each night. Having the ability to charge 16 batteries in two hours (using the soft charge mode) is wonderful.

I only have two complaints about the charger itself. The first is that the AAA sockets are not designed well and the batteries often pop out (especially after repeated use). The second is that the interface on the unit itself could be better. For example, having to cycle through charging modes would be much better if it was through an actual hardware switch.

Overall the PowerEx batteries and this 8 cell charger are hard to beat. They provide excellent performance, are reliable and are very reasonably priced. What more can you really ask for?

Available for purchase in the NatureScapes store
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About the Author

Glenn Bartley is a professional nature photographer from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He focuses almost all of his efforts on capturing intimate images of birds in their natural habitat. Glenn is especially well known for his portraits of rare and difficult to photograph birds from the Neotropical Region and his portfolio of hummingbird images. In addition to his own photographic pursuits, Glenn also leads instructional photographic workshops to exciting destinations throughout the Americas. These tours are designed to take advantage of Glenn’s experience in this region and teach participants to capture their own spectacular images of tropical birds. Glenn is the author of several books including Birds of Ecuador, Birds of British Columbia and The Guide to Tropical Nature Photography. You can find more of Glenn's work at:

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