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GE/Sanyo Debuts 1 Hour Battery Charger

GE/Sanyo introduced at International CES here its 1 Hour Super Quick Charger, called the world’s fastest self-contained nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery charger, according to the company. The unit is sleek, has no bulky external transformer and is small enough to fit into a shirt pocket.

The charger, which fully charges two or four NiMH or nickel-cadmium (NiCd) AA 1850 mAh batteries in 60 minutes, offers a position switch, which allows separate charging of NiMH and NiCd type cells. It also charges AAA types.

“The Super Quick Charger is a smart charger, that recognizes the chemistry (and capacity) of the battery, so users don’t insert alkaline batteries by mistake. It’s a safety issue,” said Fred Creamer, director, retail sales operation, for San Diego-based Sanyo Energy (U.S.A.).

Creamer emphasizes the Super Quick Charger fully powers NiMH batteries in 60 minutes, compared with other so-called one-hour chargers that charge to only 70 percent capacity, or less, in the same time frame.

The unit, which is currently available at a suggested $39.95, offers an external power cord, rather than a bulky transformer. By the second quarter of 2003, the charger will offer a self-contained internal power hook-up. Four batteries come with the charger in a J-hook package.

GE/Sanyo is planning to offer even higher capacity NiMH batteries in the first quarter, hitting 2100 mAh. The batteries, under the GE/Sanyo brand, will include AA cells at 2100 mAh, in both 2-packs and 4-packs. Higher capacity AAA batteries at 750 mAh also will debut.

The new higher capacity batteries are designed for digital cameras with bigger LED screens and more functions, as well as other high-drain devices. “Feature-rich cellphones also are getting more important to the battery business,” said Creamer. “This, in turn, is making the cellular battery aftermarket better,” he said.

Suggested retails for the higher capacity cells will range from $9.99 to $14.99 for the 2- and 4-pack of AA and AAA cells.