If you travel with more than a few pieces of gear, you’ll probably have to throw in a few power adapters as well. If so, the Optex LI5200 may be able to save some space & weight in your luggage.
With my current travels requiring a pair of cameras, a smartphone with a backup battery, and a mouse requiring AA batteries, I was looking to save some bulk in my own pack.
I especially wanted to eliminate the excess caused by two DSLR batteries requiring two different chargers. The rest, as they say, would be gravy.
Optex LI5200 Universal Battery Charger
The “universal” in the name means that it will basically charge any battery. Camcorder, DSLR, point & shoot, mobile phones, AA / AAA, or anything charging by USB… this unit can handle it.
It is universal because of its adjustable contact pins that you line up with the “+” and “-“ pins on your battery. Once you have lined them up with the “+” and “-“ of your battery to be charged, a spring loaded system holds the battery in place while it charges.
This little contraption isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you can be patient, it is a pretty handy unit.
The LI5200 can also accept AA or AAA (NiCd or NiMH) batteries for charging (two at a time).
Finally, the Optex LI5200 includes a USB port for charging. This port outputs at 1A, which is what most devices (iPhone, iPod, smartphone, MP3 player, GPS) require. If you have an iPad or other device that can use more power, keep in mind that this may require more time to charge it.
How It Works
First up, check your battery. Near the metal contacts, you’ll find the “+” and “–“ signs. Now line up the move the contact pins on the charger so they line up with the battery contacts. It doesn’t matter which pin touches which connector, as the charger will set the polarity automatically.
Press the button that releases the spring closure that will hold the battery in place, and then plug in the charger with the included AC adapter (good for 100-240V) or the 12V car adapter.
Two lights on the top of the unit let you know when the battery is charging and when it is finished. Smart technology built into the LI5200 prevents overcharging. When the green light stays solid, you are all charged up.
Once you get around the fact that you need to adjust the pins for your batteries, it’s pretty simple. Plug it in, and that’s it. Some batteries, such as my extra mobile phone battery, sit a little awkwardly in there, so you would want to put the LI5200 in a place where it wouldn’t be bumped easily while charging.
The build quality is nothing to write home about. It feels solid enough, and when closed, the pins are protected, but the fact that it has a few parts that move around means that it might not last through years of travel. One thing I noted was the rubber pads on the bottom of the unit are recessed just enough that they don’t even prevent the unit from slipping on a table.
The included USB port can be used while charging another battery, so I can both charge my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the extra battery overnight.
Though far from perfect, the $39.99 (CAD) Optex LI5200 is a handy universal battery charger to take with you, particularly if you have a few gadgets that require different chargers. Gadget gurus, & families would find it the most handy.
In my case, I was able to save on a couple of chargers in my bag, and take a pair of rechargeable AA batteries instead of carrying or buying more on the road. For me, it was well worth it.