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If you’re new to video movie-making, or you haven’t got the message yet, then let us repeat that nickel-cadmium re-chargeable camcorder batteries can loose as much as fifty percent of their capacity within six months, if they’re not treated properly. Fortunately the condition is rarely permanent, and it can be minimised by taking a few simple precautions, like avoiding giving batteries top-up charges, and every so often, taking the battery through a deep discharge cycle, to eliminate the effects of cell imbalance. Cell imbalance occurs when one or more cells reaches a full state of charge before the others in a battery back; this fools the charger into thinking they’re all fully charged, so it switches off, leaving the rest of the pack only partially charged. A discharger drains all the cells, to a safe voltage, so they start on an equal footing and all receive a full charge, which will hopefully take the battery’s capacity back up to where it should be.


That’s something the Hahnel Twin V101 does very well, but the feature that makes this one different is the multi-fit adaptor plate, which accommodates almost every variant of the 6-volt ‘NP’ style pack, plus the newer 4.8 volt batteries used on most recent Panasonic machines. It can also be used with mobile telephone batteries, but you will need an adaptor, and at the moment they’re only available to fit Motorola Micro TAC ‘flip-phone’ packs.


However, as far as camcorder packs are concerned there’s no need to mess around with switches or interchangeable connectors, just identify the correct slots for your battery and click it into place, even voltage selection is automatic. It can be powered from a plug in mains adaptor, or car cord, both are supplied.


As soon as a battery is in place the unit goes into fast-charge mode; alternatively press the discharge button first and it starts the discharge cycle. As soon as it has finished it automatically starts charging. The relative charge is shown by three green LEDS; it uses a Delta V charge sensing system to determine when the battery is full, when that happens the ‘full’ indicator on the panel starts flashing and it switches to trickle-charge. The charge current is around 900mA, which will take a standard 1Ah pack from flat to full in around 70 to 80 minutes.


We tried our sample with a selection of battery types, all fitted without any problems, though one or two were quite stiff, or required a bit of a shove to lock them into place. Electrically it checked out, the discharge voltage came within a whisker of the recommended safe limit of 1 volt per cell. There’s plenty of good quality charger/dischargers around at the moment but most of them are designed for a single type of battery, or you have to buy a separate adaptor.  This one from Hahnel works well but it should be of particular interest to anyone who regularly uses several different types of battery, and/or a Motorola mobile phone. 



Make/model                  Twin V101 Charger/Discharger

Guide Price                   £39.99

Features                       Multi-fit adaptor, dual-voltage (4.8/6 volts), built-in discharger, charge indicator, mains/car-battery operation

To fit                             6 volt -- Canon JVC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Sharp and clones: 4.8 volt Panasonic and clones

Dimensions                   150 x 90 x 35mm

Weight              0.16kg

Distributor                     AICO INTERNATIONAL, Aico House, Faraday Rd, London Road Ind Est, Newbury, Berks RG13 2AD. Telephone  (01635) 49797



Useful one-stop battery care




Ó R.Maybury 1996 2501



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