Rechargeables in the Real World

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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Buford » Jan 19, 2012 8:51 am

Awww, do I have to say everything? Didn't I say that I bought the rechargeables and am amortizing the alkalines already in the pipeline? And an' an' ... anyway, if we let alkalines dissolve in the tube, won't we also let the rechargeables do so too? Rechargeables are not immune to self-destruction.

Hmmm, does anyone here know how rechargeables fare relative to alkalines in the self-destruct category?

I say get rid of those crummy little 2@AA Maglites! We have them because they are small and cheap, but we rarely use them, they might fail when we really need them, and they produce inadequate light anyway.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 19, 2012 9:35 am

mag lights for backup lights are a joke and shouldnt be used. I have used various rechargables since I started caving, almost exclusively. I started out with rayovacs from walmart, the $6 cheapies, then energizers, then the duracells, and now i have a bunch of 18650's. No regrets. None of them have failed but several of the cheaper cells have gone bad.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Cody JW » Jan 19, 2012 10:19 am

I was wondering how long it would be before somebody scoffed at the use of mini mags. I will say it took longer than I thought. I am proud of you guys. I carry a couple handhelds in my pack with a head strap for them. One is a Fennix that uses 123s and a mini mag with the LED insert. A mini mag that is 15 years old and works just fine. Yes the newer 18650 lights are brighter but not everyone can afford 100 bucks for a handheld plus batteries and charger. I just wonder how all the caving and surveying in the 50s and 60s and 70s got done without todays lights ?? You would think there would be piles of dead cavers everywhere because they used cap carbides, justrite electrics, mini mags ect. that they should not of used. I guess they were just lucky.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 19, 2012 10:44 am

was on a rescue where the guys only had mag lights as backups. leave them at home. get HEADLAMPS for backup lights that are actually worth a damn.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Cody JW » Jan 19, 2012 11:03 am

I had a friend back in the 80s when we started caving that had to use a bic lighter to get out of a cave, yes a bic lighter. I wonder what he would of gave for a mini mag ?? I told this story before , In the 80s a friend of mine was climbing out of Skylight Dome in Kentucky and dropped his mag about 40 feet into a small pool of water on the bottom. He continued his climb and never got it. We went back in two months later and picked the light up out of the same pool, turned it on and it worked, my buddy still has the light. I miss the old days where people did not judge you by what you used, people used the "pig" packs and whatever they had. Today , as fast as tech changes you literally have to be a millionaire to keep up. You can buy what is considered great and 6 months later it is crap. If do do not use the latest and greatest than you are not being safe. I use what I have and have been doing so for 30 years and have never been close to a rescue. I guess I am just lucky.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby JR-Orion » Jan 19, 2012 11:06 am

Cody JW wrote:I would like to ask something about eneloops. Am I correct in assuming that if you use eneloops and a La Crosse charger that the eneloops do not have a memory. Or can you charge from a partial or full discharge ?? I noticed my La Crosse charger has a discharge cycle. I did not know if that is because they ( La Crosse) advise a full discharge prior to charging.


From what I've read, memory effect seems to be a thing of the past when it comes to quality modern rechargeables. Sanyo has this to say about Eneloops- "Can be recharged without ever worrying about memory effect."

I've charged my Eneloops when they were dead, and when they were probably at 70 to 80% just to top them off before a big trip. Never had any problems either way.

The La Crosse charger is fairly full featured. There's a test mode, along with discharge and refresh modes. I think they are just trying to give you all the options. I've used test, just to see how various batteries compared to their listed specs, and I've done refresh on a two year old set of AAs just for the heck of it. Never done a straight discharge though.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby JR-Orion » Jan 19, 2012 11:16 am

Buford wrote:You guys are going to love this. The Lacrosse recharger came in, and did indeed include 4@ AA and 4@AAA batteries, but the batteries are Lacrosse Tech brand made in China WITH WHITE RINGS AROUND THE CATHODES!!! :rofl: Oh, those clever Chinese. They must have been reading this thread. The batteries are blue-and-yellow, the AAA batteries are labeled 2600 mAh and the AAA are 1000 mAh, and they were not pre-charged. Possibly they are the same as JR-Orion's. I'm going to try them out - what the hey - and I'll post the results here fyi.

I did finally find them at Wal-Mart, right where Chad said they'd be. WM has Duracells made in Japan, altho I can't see the color of the cathode wraps thru the packaging. I'm sure I'll be buying some of them too, as I need more than 8 batteries, but may wait until my stash of Duracell alkalines is used up (waste not, want not).

Incidentally, while at Gander Mountain looking for the Lacrosse re-charger, I spotted 9-LED flashlights for a mere $2 apiece! Actually, they came in a 2-pack for $4. I threw away the packaging before thinking to look for manufacturing details, and the flashlights have none on them. I am using them as backup caving lights and as illuminators for reading my Suunto clinometer. A friend bought a 2-pack also, but his turned out to be defective and crapped out after a single use each. Mine have worked properly for several caving trips so far. You get what you pay for, and we have been warned, so I don't depend on them, but so far they are working for me.


I'll try to get some pics up of my blue n yellow batteries. I haven't used the AAAs that much, just because I'd like to go to AAs for all of my cave stuff. But I've been really happy with the blue n yellow AAs.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 19, 2012 11:25 am

Those lacrosse batteries are a high discharge. Good for your first batteries of the trip. I've trashed mine out.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Cody JW » Jan 19, 2012 11:28 am

JR-Orion wrote:
Buford wrote:You guys are going to love this. The Lacrosse recharger came in, and did indeed include 4@ AA and 4@AAA batteries, but the batteries are Lacrosse Tech brand made in China WITH WHITE RINGS AROUND THE CATHODES!!! :rofl: Oh, those clever Chinese. They must have been reading this thread. The batteries are blue-and-yellow, the AAA batteries are labeled 2600 mAh and the AAA are 1000 mAh, and they were not pre-charged. Possibly they are the same as JR-Orion's. I'm going to try them out - what the hey - and I'll post the results here fyi.

I did finally find them at Wal-Mart, right where Chad said they'd be. WM has Duracells made in Japan, altho I can't see the color of the cathode wraps thru the packaging. I'm sure I'll be buying some of them too, as I need more than 8 batteries, but may wait until my stash of Duracell alkalines is used up (waste not, want not).

Incidentally, while at Gander Mountain looking for the Lacrosse re-charger, I spotted 9-LED flashlights for a mere $2 apiece! Actually, they came in a 2-pack for $4. I threw away the packaging before thinking to look for manufacturing details, and the flashlights have none on them. I am using them as backup caving lights and as illuminators for reading my Suunto clinometer. A friend bought a 2-pack also, but his turned out to be defective and crapped out after a single use each. Mine have worked properly for several caving trips so far. You get what you pay for, and we have been warned, so I don't depend on them, but so far they are working for me.


I'll try to get some pics up of my blue n yellow batteries. I haven't used the AAAs that much, just because I'd like to go to AAs for all of my cave stuff. But I've been really happy with the blue n yellow AAs.
Be careful Buford !! Do not admit to anyone you are using 2 dollar lights as back ups. Whatever you do ,do not let your life insurance agent know. I will pray that no harm comes your way !! If something new comes out -buy it. And in 2 months when something better than that comes out toss the old one and get the new one. If not you are not being safe.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 19, 2012 11:53 am

Cody JW wrote: I miss the old days where people did not judge you by what you used....


There were days like that? I don't miss them. I missed them. I'm just a tadpole.
I do love seeing photos of legendary and senior members of the caving community wearing jeans and cruddy t-shirts in cave, with $19 Energizers on their helmets. This reminds me of the ads in old issues of the News; "Smart Cavers Wear Levi's" Now, only suicidal ignoramuses wear Levi's.

And them's my thoughts on rechargables in the real world.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Buford » Jan 19, 2012 12:19 pm

My first headlamp was a Justrite with battery pack holding 4@ D cells. It was US caving's state of the electrical art in 1973. I used it for caving in TAG and, primarily, Florida. In the latter's Redding Catacombs, back when water levels weren't depleted by overpopulation, we pushed 90%-underwater passages by doing duck-unders. I would poke my legs into a submerged passage and, if my feet came up in air, would tied a line to my waist while Brian Houha held the bitter end. Unlike the carbide lamps used by my Luddite grotto-mates, the Justrite worked fine in both air and underwater! At least, the first time I did that it worked. Afterward, the contacts were a little flaky on the bottom of the battery pack, so I soldered the 4@ batteries and battery pack's top contacts together with short copper wires. You can do that with lead-acid D-cell batteries, altho you have to be careful about overheating them.

If the first rule of caving it to know your own limitations, then the second rule is to know your gear's limitations. Earlier cavers didn't survive carbide caps because they were lucky, they survived because they knew themselves and their gear. Read what Ed Hillary and Tenzing Norgay wore on their famous first ascent, and what Jacques Cousteau wore on the world's first cave dive. We wear nylon when we stand on the shoulders of giants that wore herringbone, and our successors will wear caving suits of kevlar/lycra/cordura that look like current snow skiing competition suits.

Cody, remember where I am. I am caving in FL caves so small that I can see twilight a lot of the time and am rarely more than 150ft from an entrance. I carry electric 6 lights with me, plus a cig lighter and a Cyalume, not to mention a Dagwood sandwich, a Sprite in a cold cup, and 2 or 3 Tootsie Pops, the latter number depending on how many buddies are with me. I also carry a bio sampling kit containing a few jiggers of unadulterated ethanol to preserve collected bugs, but which could also be used to fuel a lonely, lost caver. :rofl:

The lights are a Petzl Myo 3@AA headlamp, an Energizer 3@AAA headlamp, 1@ $20 Princeton Tec 4@AAA flashlight attached to my Petzl Ecrin helmet, 2@ 3@AAA 9-LED $2 flashlights, and a $16 9-LED 3@AAA flashlight. That's a lot of lights and a lot of batteries. Oh, and I carry 4@AAA and 3@AA spare batteries. Oh, and only about a quarter of my caving trips are solo. The caves are phreatic rather than vadose, and we are in a long-term drought so there is very little water in the caves, cave temperatures are in the low 70s, blah blah blah. Also, the $2 flashlights are quite useful and cost-effective for reading the clinometer, compass, FatMax laser 'tape,' and survey book.

As for scaring away other cavers with my cheapo kit, well, I really don't give a flip. I go caving with 3 long-time buddies, and they are comfortable with my FL kit. If caving with $2 flashlights skeers you, you oughta see my FL SRT kit! :grin: But, know ye that I use different kits (plural) when caving in TAG, VA, Belize, Mexico, and Austria. And tadpole, you have a lot to learn about Levi's.

You may stand on my shoulders if you wish. :laughing:
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Cody JW » Jan 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Buford , I was just being sarcastic. I am proud that you admitted to using 2 dollar back ups , no matter what type of caves you do. I am glad I am not a betting man, I would of bet my house that if someone on this forum said something about mini mags and rechargeable batteries and how they do not fit that they would of been scoffed at by the equipment snobs, sooner than later. It took a few days, unbelievable. By the way I use a Petzl Duo with Custom Duo insert and eneloops with a fennix HP-10 in pack also two handhelds with a head strap. I also carry my old reflector and bulbs for The Duo just in case I need to change out in the cave. I figure if all those go dead then it is my time and I will lay down and die. When my duo goes bad I will replace it with a newer light and not until then. So far it has gone strong for 18 years. I do not replace things that work fine just because something "better" comes out. I think one would have to be richer than a foot up a bulls rear end to do that, maybe some on this forum are I am not. Groundquest- I wear jeans in most caves, I have a cave suit and never wear it. It is WAY too hot for me. If it is a stream cave I will wear poly pro under them . Been doing that in stream caves and wet vertical for over twenty years and I am alive and well. Never been close to hypothermia. In TAG dry caves I will wear jeans and a T-shirt. Works great for me. Dry TAG vertical , guess what ?? Jeans and T-shirt . Love it. I have plenty of old ones laying around the house because I wear the same stuff on the street most of the time.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 19, 2012 1:39 pm

I think mag lights are a poor choice for a backup light due to my personal involvment in a life and death situation deep in a cave. That opinion will never change because of that.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Buford » Jan 19, 2012 2:32 pm

Cody - Apologies for not catching the sarcasm. Indeed, we're all here for fun and safety. I was flamed on Cave Chat only once, some time ago, but since then have been impressed that folks here are really all quite civil. Plus knowledgeable, allowing me to make good decisions re what rechargeable kit to acquire. Thanks to all!

I totally agree with the philosophy of not changing out gear just because something new has come along. I used to cave dive with a buddy who spent and spent. Whew! He dropped some bucks! Most of the vendors think I am buying from someone else, but in reality a lot of the gear I use was bought 10, 20, 30+ years ago. Works fine, lasts long time. But it really is time for me to move up to rechargeables.

And I want a better caving suit made from state-of-the-art materials:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13297
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Caver John » Jan 19, 2012 3:25 pm

Even though it's off topic I'm goin with the flow and
I'll just go ahead and say it, cause I've owned dozens of mags in all sizes and still have a few but...

They're junk. U less of coarse you mod it for 1000lumens!!!! Mooohahahaha
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