One size fits all charge?

Hi, I just received this power supply from ebay, http://www.ebay.com/itm/401112855699?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT. I am going to use it for my projects, but I am wondering if I can use it to charge batteries because each time I need a different sizes and types of batteries, NiMH, with-ion... and I am tired to have to buy a new charger for each type of batteries. Any suggestion will be appreciate. Thanks.

A manually controlled desk power supply is unsuitable for charging batteries except in cases of desperation, with constant babysitting to appropriate adjust the voltage and current. While some battery chemistries have a very simple algorithm for charging, and don't mind "float" charging, other battery chemistries need a more complicated charging curve, and many must not be "float" or "trickle" charged when fully charged. Lithium, for example, is quite picky, and doing it wrong can make them catch fire.

You should instead use an intelligent battery charger designed to charge multiple battery chemistries.

For cylindrical cells, the Nitecore Intellicharger line is cheap and available, while being smart enough to safely charge cylindrical lithium cells, and can do NiMH and NiCd. It seems to be what most people use.

For flat-pack lithium batteries and multi-cell packs, a different charging system would be needed.

If you want to go for DIY, this chip http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/bq2000.pdf can do multi-chemistry charge. It's 8 pin dip, so easy to test on breadbord, etc. I bought one some time ago, but I never use it, so I don't have suggestion or advice to give you.

Cheers, Ale.

You certainly can charge batteries from a bench power supply, they implement both voltage and current limiting which is most of the job done. However you will be wasting lots of power charging small batteries this way. And as has been pointed out you have to monitor progress (many battery types need a lower current limit for trickle charging than for most of the charge cycle.

Do NOT play around with charging lithium batteries without knowing exactly what you are doing. They are great batteries, but mistreated, they not only will catch fire, but produce their own oxidizer when they burn so you can't simply "put them out with a fire extinguisher or water etc." The company producing the charge controller for the lithium batteries in the Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" managed to get a fire started in their lab a few years back with the big lithium batteries and did several million dollars in damage to the lab if I remember correctly. Here was the article from the Seattle Times: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/787-battery-blew-up-in-rsquo06-lab-test-burned-down-building/

DrAzzy:
For cylindrical cells, the Nitecore Intellicharger line is cheap and available, while being smart enough to safely charge cylindrical lithium cells, and can do NiMH and NiCd. It seems to be what most people use.

That one is a very good choice.

I use TP4056 for my li-ion projects.