© 2013 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
There was a time the only way you could save on battery replacement was to purchase special chargers and expensive rechargeable batteries. VIATEK has solved that problem with the RENU-IT PRO charger. Unlike the previously mentioned charging system and some other new designs now available, this one accepts Alkaline, Ni-Cad and Ni-MH, in five sizes: AAA, AA, C, D and the 9 volt block.
How does it work? Chemical reactions within the battery cause electrons to be stripped away from the carbon electrode. Electrons will try to flow from a battery’s negative terminal to its positive one, if allowed. As a battery discharges this cell gets “disorganized” as electrons get jumbled trying to make their way to the positive terminal. The RENU-IT PRO “reorganizes” the internal structure of the battery cell allowing it to be reused as much as 70 times.
(TIP: Batteries that show evidence of corrosion, as in sticky to the touch or a white powdery substance being visible, should not be recharged, but rather properly disposed of.)
The operation is very simple. Plug in the supplied electrical cord between the wall outlet and the charger. Since this is a 12-volt, 1 amp device, European use is possible with the proper line cord adapter. The unit should not be on at this stage. If it is, lift the clear plastic cover and press the ON/OFF button so that the display and various indicator lights are not lit. Insert up to 5 batteries you wish to charge with the positive (+) contact facing the control panel. You may mix any of the 5 sizes, but not the three chemistry types. For example, if you wish to charge alkaline type batteries all the batteries you wish to charge must be Alkaline, but they can be of different sizes.
(TIP: The battery holders use a movable L shaped arm. Since this arm is spring-loaded it requires some pressure to push back to accommodate the battery. The larger the battery, the more difficult this becomes, so be very careful not to force the arm as it could break. If that happens, that particular slot will be permanently unusable.)
Once all batteries are mounted in the charger, select the battery type by sliding the selector switch to the proper battery type.
(TIP: 9-volt battery status will not show up on the display, but will be indicated by the RED LED above the 9V port.)
Now, press the ON/OFF button. Indicator lights will now be lit in RED for charging, or GREEN for fully charged. A display panel shows the condition and charging stage of each of up to four batteries. Since Ni-CAD batteries have a memory that can adversely affect battery capacity when not fully discharged, the charger will automatically go into a discharge mode first and when full discharged, will start the charging cycle. The entire charging process can take between 1 and 10 hours, or more depending on the type and size, so be patient!
(TIP: The charging process should never be left unattended. Fires and explosions, while not common, are always a possibility.)
The RENU-IT PRO is a great money saving device. You probably have not heard about it before, as the battery companies want you to replace, not recharge batteries. Since all our gadgets use so many batteries this is a very practical device. Construction is reasonably good, but take heed to my tip regarding the L shaped loading arms. They could be the weak link in this device. Also, some batteries may not charge 100%, a nature of the battery and not the device.
(TIP: When possible always use the same brand and chemistry type of battery in a device. Mixing them can shorten the useful length of a charge.)
Available in stores, on-line and TV shopping networks. For more information go to: http://bit.ly/19iG3rL
GADGETEER’S RATING: *****
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.