Do I need a smart charger?
In a demonstration of a prototype of the Fenix RC10 (a rechargeable flashlight which has been available since May 2012) for the police force, the following question was asked:
‘The RC10 she has a smart charger which initially discharge the battery before charging LED flashlights, so that we do not have the same problems with the Maglites where the battery capacity for flashlight is becoming ever increasingly weak as and extent? ‘
Our site response:
The answer is no, but it is also not necessary for the RC10 because it has a battery in the modern Lithium-Ion!
more detailed response:
Once upon a time … Nickel-Cadmium
Batteries Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) were once used for the most popular flashlights. The Maglite Mag Charger was equipped into 2011 with a rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium. NiCd batteries were known for their memory effect. This means that when the battery was not completely discharged and fully charged again, the battery capacity decreases. To avoid this, we developed battery chargers “smart” that, for example, discharge the battery before charging, so as to limit the memory effect.
Then came … Nickel-Metal Hydride
Later, because of the danger to the environment from Cadmium battery Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) became popular. This was a higher capacity than NiCd battery and suffered much less from memory effect. Since 2011, the Mag Charger is equipped with a NiMH battery. But charging technology is too simple.
But these days there is … Lithium-Ion
Today, Lithium-Ion are popular because of their high capacity in relation to their size and weight. They have no memory effect and loading is relatively simple.
For Lithium-Ion, you are not in principle need a smart charger in particular.However, it is important that the loading process stops when the battery is full and the battery is not charged too quickly.
One biggest advantage of Lithium Ion, in addition to their high capacity, is that they retain the ability for a long time, no matter how often you use them. It was only towards the end of their life, their capacity decreases.
The lifetime is about 500 full charge cycles (or, for example, 1000 x half full to full), or about 3 to 5 years if you use the battery less often.