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Look around the room your in now and see how many items you can spot that take batteries, most homes nowadays will have one battery operated device or another whether it be a clock, remote control, camera or a childs toy. Batteries can be very expensive what with all the replacements needed to keep your appliances and toys going so a battery charger can be a great way of saving money.
The Maplin N11CY is a small plug in battery charger suitable for charging up to 4 batteries at a time, it can take AA or AAA batteries which are most common in households today. Looking little more exciting then an elongated plug the charger is designed for purpose rather than appearance, still it's silver grey tones give it a modern feel.
The charger comes with 4 rechargeable AA batteries meaning you're ready to go as soon as you open the packaging (AAAs are not supplied but can be bought separately) 2 batteries slot into the front compartment while the others fit into the compartment on the other side of the plug, a handy little feature meaning the plug takes up as little space as possible.
To change the charger from AA to AAA mode all you have to do is pull down on the small dark grey portion at the top of each compartment and the plug "transforms" shortening the compartments allowing the AAA batteries to fit snugly.
There are 2 red led lights on the front of the plug indicating when the batteries are being charged, these do not change colour or turn off when the charge is complete and there is an estimated charge time of 5-7 hours for AA batteries with 600-800mAH power or AAA batteries of 240-320mAH (these levels can be found written on the individual batteries) charging times will vary for batteries with higher power levels and a full time guide can be found at-
Despite only having the charger for a few months we've used it quite regularly, our digital cameras quickly drain batteries so being able to simply pop these rechargeable ones in the socket and wait until they're ready has saved us a lot of money on replacements. Having 2 toddlers we also have a wide range of battery powered toys and it's so much easier to use rechargeable batteries saving on the cost and inconvenience of having to purchase and store a sufficient amount of batteries. Naturally there is no need to dispose of dead batteries either which is undoubtedly more healthy for the environment.
The batteries supplied with the charger are slightly stronger then the basic level mentioned in the 800-600/ 240/320 estimated charge time and take a little longer than the 5-7 hours for a complete charge, I prefer to leave the charger overnight to ensure a full charge. Its handy to have a spare set of rechargeables so if the ones supplied are being used you can have a spare set charged/charging. It is great they supply the AA batteries but it would have been nice to get AAA as well considering the unit is suitable for both, although that feature in itself is excellent as it saves having two separate chargers.
The plug itself goes straight into the regular household sockets and while the batteries seem well fixed into their compartments I still wouldn't plug the charger into any socket where young hands may get hold of it.
The only real complaint I have is that the LED lights do not change colour when the charge is complete, it would be handy if they could perhaps turn green indicating the batteries were ready, instead you have to keep check on the time you put the batteries on to charge and remove them when you THINK they are ready.
Price & Availability-
We had the charger bought for us, bizarrely, as a gift alongside a digital camera for my 3 year old son (don't ask!) however they are available for £9.99 from Maplin.co.uk.
Extra batteries are available from Maplin.co.uk, AAA start from £5.99 for 2, AA start from £8.99 for 4. Other battery chargers and rechargeable batteries are also available.
The charger is a great way of saving a little cash and helping protect the environment, even if it is only the small matter of not disposing of dead batteries. Highly recommended.
Charge 2 or 4 batteries at a time. Automatic charging current selection for AA & AAA