I am looking to buy/build my own D cell Nimh battery charger with the following requirements: -dual prong AC wall input -charges Nimh D Cell -is safe -contained within 1" x 1.7" x 2.2" enclosure

As far as I can tell there is nothing like this to buy at the moment. I have also searched the web for a schematic and found almost nothing of use.

I have played with bridge rectifiers and basic power supplies in the past and was wandering if building something with these specs would be a possibility? Also are there any ICs that could be safely used instead of actually building the entire bridge (anything to make it smaller)?

  1. What would be "desirable" design traits of this supply?
  2. Would I need to make it a smart charger? Is a smart charger really all that beneficial for Nimh D cells?
  3. Can I get away with a the most basic design of 4 diodes, a cap, a regulator and 2 resistors (similar to this:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Diode_bridge_smoothing.svg)?
  4. How much current should I want to design at the load?

I realize this is kind of vague, but I have been searching the web for hours and was hoping maybe someone could provide some insight. Possibly just a starting point and then I could start designing my supply.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What capacity do your D-cells have? True D-type NiMH cells are pretty uncommon and in practice they are often single AA-cells in an 'extender package'. If capacity is about 2500mAh, you actually have AA-cells. I believe a true D-cell would be rated somewhere around 8000mAh. In the first case, commercial chargers are widely available, they just don't fit the physical size. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    May 12, 2013 at 18:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm getting as many mAH as possible within a reasonable price range. Between 8,000 and 10000 mah. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – user20105
    May 12, 2013 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


I would NOT design anything that would require direct AC power if I were you. Really. You can design your circuit to take 12/24VDC or whatever you need from a wall wart and then use that to charge your D cell.

Seriously. Do not go near the AC outlet. There are lots of design safety issues to consider, the first of which is using an isolating transformer.

Oh one more thing. Do not design anything that takes AC power. Don't.

As I said you can get a wall wart, or use any of the adapters you have sitting around if it supplies the DC voltage/amperage you need (which it should be able to) just use that.

There are lots of NiMH charger circuits out there you can use for reference. Your charging current is a function of your battery capacity, often expressed in terms like 0.1C meaning if your battery is 1Ah you want to charge it at 100mA.

You want a smart charger because NiMH are sensitive to charging current and voltage and have differing requirements depending on how discharged they are. If you ignore those you'll damage your battery.

I am fairly certain you should be able to find a commercial charger that can handle your D-cell. It may not be physically compatible in which case a set of alligator clips/wires can help you connect the two.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I have retired the idea of building my own and am now searching for a wall wart charger that outputs 1 amp and will modify it to charge my D cells. I will have to modify it to be a smart charger as to protect my batteries? Thanks for your help. \$\endgroup\$
    – user20105
    May 13, 2013 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. You shouldn't just put in 1A in an NiMH. It needs a control circuit. Just buy an NiMH charger. There are lots of those online. \$\endgroup\$
    – EEToronto
    May 13, 2013 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've looked for quite some time and none appear to meet my space requirements. I've decided I can't meet my space requirements with the D cells so I am considering powering the device with two 2500 mah double AAs in parallel. I was considering using something like this:dx.com/p/… . It only outputs 150 mahs current for 5000 mah batteries shouldn't I want half an amp output current? Thanks for your help. \$\endgroup\$
    – user20105
    May 13, 2013 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ See here and here \$\endgroup\$
    – EEToronto
    May 13, 2013 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will be switching to using two double aas in parallel for my design. I found this charger which should work: dx.com/p/viwipow-2-x-aa-aaa-battery-charger-white-163782 . I have a few questions though: 1. It doesn't specify NiCD or NimH, could that be a problem? 2. The output current is 150 mA. In my research I read that a charger should have an output current similar to that of the batteries specified mAH. So if I am charging 2500 mah AAs sholdn't my output current be .25 Amps? Thanks for your help. \$\endgroup\$
    – user20105
    May 14, 2013 at 2:06

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