The Good: Does what it promises, Easy-to-use
The Bad: Not grounded, Relatively expensive to replace
The Basics: A product that does just what it promises (no more, no less), the Canon CB-5L charger is a simple, generally well-designed device.
The Canon CB-5L battery charger, is a one-function device with remarkably few bells and whistles. As a result, it makes it exceptionally easy to write about it with an economy of language. Besides, it fits perfectly with my earlier review of the erratic Ultralast UL-BP511 battery (here!) which this is the charger for.
The Canon CB-5L battery charger is intended for a single purpose: to charge UL-BP511 battery packs, which are used in Canon cameras and camcorders. My partner and I drain her UL-BP511 (or at least as much as it can be in the camera) and have been using the Canon CB-5L battery charger for six months to recharge our two camera batteries.
The Canon CB-5L battery charger is a black plastic battery charger that is so light that until the lithium-ion battery is placed in it, the cord can actually cause it to tip up! It is a 3 ½” long x 2 ½” wide x 1 ½” tall plastic box with a 4 foot cord. This serves as a tray for the BP511 battery and has a track into which the battery slides. The track is neatly designed so that the battery may only slide in the proper way, which connects the leads on the battery to the leads in the charger. The four foot long electrical cord ends in a standard North American two-prong plug and it is worth noting that as a result, this charger is not grounded. I, therefore, always recommend plugging the CB-5L into a power strip or USB to protect the batteries that are being recharged from potential power surges.
Also, the cord detaches from the CB-5L, which seems to imply that other plugs will go into it, making it possible to travel with this and recharge your batteries with the proper accessory cord (or a car adapter). No other cords come with the CB-5L.
When the CB-5L is plugged into a wall socket and the BP511 battery is slid into the charger, there is a red LED that lights up and begins blinking. The frequency of the blinking light on the charger informs the user of how much charge is left in the battery. So, if it blinks once and it takes a while to blink again, the battery is almost completely dead. One of the interesting aspects of using the CB-5L is that it instantly confounded me how the charger could indicate that the battery was so close to fully charged and yet the camera the battery was used in would indicate the battery was dead!
A fully-exhausted battery charges on the CB-5L in about four hours. Use is simple: plug the charger in, slide the battery in and wait. There is nothing else the user actually needs to do to make this work.
One ought to use care with what one puts around the CB-5L, as this is an electronic device with exposed leads. While it appears virtually impossible to get electrocuted by it, spilling things on or near it is not recommended. Spills do clean off the smooth plastic surface easily, though with a damp cloth. Batteries left in the charger do not get hot, nor ruined.
In other words, outside a slight design problem with the plug and the fact that there are generic chargers for the BP511 battery on the market that charge as well, as fast, for less money, this is a fine product.
For other digital camera product reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Fantasea underwater housing
Nikon P5000 digital camera
Nikon L16 camera batteries
For other electronics reviews, please check out my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.