Maha Powerex MH-C801D Charger

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: Dinosaur not included.

The Long Version: There are certain things in life that are basic necessities. For photographers, flashlight collectors, and general electronics junkies, those ubiquitous AA batteries are inescapable. Unfortunately, so are cheap chargers - the sort of thing that comes in a set for an extra ten dollars. These chargers aren't terrible, and that's exactly what's wrong with them. They do the job well enough that they take the place of better ones, without being good enough for serious use.

The Maha C801D is the grand-daddy of hard-core chargers. It's been given rave reviews by Imaging Resource, Digital Dingus, and pretty much everyone on Amazon; it's even used by Joe 'Speedlight' McNally. It can fully charge eight AA batteries in an hour, or do a 'soft charge' that's easier on the cells but takes a little longer. There's also a button to do a full discharge-charge cycle to condition the batteries and keep them in their best condition. Each battery is on its own circuit, ensuring that they get their ideal treatment. While I don't have the ability to run any tests, I do get the distinct impression that my flashes are giving me more pops per charge.

Besides having the largest AC power brick in the known universe, the other distinctive feature of the C801D is its two identical buttons on opposite sides of the LCD. One of them will do a two-hour soft charge, and should be pressed whenever there's enough time for a more leisurely pace. The other button is for the conditioning cycle, which can take 12-14 hours to complete. The functions are marked in the plastic, but it's not the most visible or clear. Fortunately, I have a handy pack of stickers that I bought to let me distinguish between my two SB600's. It turned out to be an easy fix.

If only more of life's problems could be solved with the judicious application of dinosaur stickers.


  1. Excuse my ignorance, but... are you charging alkaline Duracells??? Are they really rechargeable? :0

  2. Nope, those are Duracell low-discharge rechargeable batteries. They're the same technology as the Sanyo Eneloops, but are easier to find where I am and not that much more expensive than disposables.

  3. Thanks for the tip. I have heard of the Eneloops, but I have yet to try them. How do the Duracells work with this charger?

  4. I did a quick write-up of the Eneloops here: http://www.thewsreviews.com/2009/04/sanyo-eneloop-battery.html

    The Duracell batteries work very well. As with all of the low-discharge cells, they're not the most powerful on paper, but I've yet to notice a practical difference in actual use - except for the way they can sit in one of my least-used speedlights for months without needing to be recharged.


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