Rechargeables in the Real World

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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 20, 2012 8:39 pm

NZcaver wrote:
tncaver wrote:My cheap ass Walmart Duracell Charger is doing a great job with my NIMH rechargeables. Quick and no problems. Probably cost about $8.
I think quality batteries is more important than a super expensive charger. Just my two cents.

From many previous discussions on this forum, it seems the experts disagree (if you consider a $60 battery charger 'super expensive').

Over time, I suspect you'll leave a trail of dead and maimed batteries in your wake by skimping on a quality battery charger. How long have you been using the same set(s) of rechargeables?


A year so far with no problems. Good batteries. Cheap charger. But made for NiMH.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby NZcaver » Mar 20, 2012 9:21 pm

tncaver wrote:A year so far with no problems. Good batteries. Cheap charger. But made for NiMH.

Interesting. Wonder if your charger is regulated with a current-sensing shut-off, or just a basic timer? Several sets of my NiMHs are pushing 4 years old and still going strong, which I mostly attribute to using a good charger.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 21, 2012 7:40 am

So far I've used a cheap Duracell charger and an even cheaper Rayovac charger. For the cost of one of those expensive chargers I could buy
several four packs of pre charged NiMH rechargeable batteries. I've also noticed lately that some brands of the non precharged batteries seem to
be holding their charge a LOT longer than they used to. Perhaps the technology is improving or the manufacturers are improving quality.
A win-win for a cheapo like myself. :laughing:
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby Cody JW » Mar 21, 2012 8:08 am

I purchased some of those Store a cell plastic battery storage packs from the vendors listed on The NSS website. They seem to be very nice to keep charged or uncharged sets together. They come in a couple colors so you can use one for charged and one for spent . If you are going to use a set for several years like NZ has I feel it might be best to protect them so they do not get bounced around in your pack. They were not very expensive. I know some may keep them in an otter box ,but these keep them in sets of 4 and may help protect them.
It only takes one person to surrender a dog to a kill shelter ,but it takes many to rescue it.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 21, 2012 8:17 am

Years ago, before NiMH batteries were common, I discovered while on a wetsuit cave trip that rechargeables of that era were ruined after they
got soaked. I also discovered that alkaline batteries worked very well even when under water. Of course the alkalines were not rechargeable,
but they still worked even when totally soaked under water. I don't know if NiMH's will work after getting soaked or not, but I don't want to
ruin a set to find out. However, for those who know they are going to be getting totally soaked, they may want to consider using an ordinary
set of non rechareable throwaway alkalines for that one wet trip. After a good drying out with a hair dryer on in the sunlight for a few hours, the battery box should be okay. Can't say the same for the headpiece.
Last edited by tncaver on Mar 21, 2012 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby jeffkruse » Mar 21, 2012 8:41 am

Last night I had to throw away a $200 :doh: O2 analyzer because of 50 cents worth of leaky AAA alkaline. I have been burned (not literally) by leaky alkalines before. Now I will replace all my AA,AAA alkalines with Enloops. Time to order more!

I have never heard of a NIMH battery leaking.

A cheap charger may work just fine but the problem is you don’t know what’s going on or which battery may be going bad. The La Cross BC 1000 is a great machine.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby NZcaver » Mar 21, 2012 2:52 pm

jeffkruse wrote:Last night I had to throw away a $200 :doh: O2 analyzer because of 50 cents worth of leaky AAA alkaline. I have been burned (not literally) by leaky alkalines before.

Me too. Bummer, dude.

On the rare occasions I use alkalines, they are usually freebies that need using before they end up in the landfill. When I'm not using LSD NiMHS, disposable lithium AAs make better long-term backups than alkalines. A little expensive, but lightweight, don't leak, long shelf life, and work great in the cold. I've never had problems using damp lithiums, or NiMHs either.

I have a couple of old cheapo chargers from years ago. They still work, but they slowly fried my previous generation of rechargeables. Haven't used them since I upgraded to the La Crosse.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 21, 2012 4:19 pm

NZCaver stated:"I've never had problems using damp lithiums, or NiMHs either."

That is good to know NZ. It is important to have batteries with extra long life in a cave light that is used primarily as a back up light. :kewl:
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby NZcaver » Mar 21, 2012 7:41 pm

Postscript to my last comment - I try not to get batteries damp/wet at all, and I make sure any that do get wet are dried out promptly after a trip. I do recall the white fibrous washer-type part at one end of some of my NiMH cells tends to absorb water and swell a little when damp, but it doesn't seem to make the cell any less functional.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby JSDunham » Mar 22, 2012 7:51 am

I've been following this thread for a bit because I use almost all rechargable AAs. But I should note that I have a crappy energizer charger and non-eneloop NimH batteries, and have been using the same sets for five years. Based on discussion so far, I think they ought to have failed by now, but not so.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby jeffkruse » Mar 22, 2012 9:52 am

NZcaver wrote:
On the rare occasions I use alkalines, they are usually freebies that need using before they end up in the landfill. When I'm not using LSD NiMHS, disposable lithium AAs make better long-term backups than alkalines. A little expensive, but lightweight, don't leak, long shelf life, and work great in the cold. I've never had problems using damp lithiums, or NiMHs either.


I hadnt thought of using the disposable lithium AA's. I know nothing about them. What voltage is each AA cel? How many AH?
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby NZcaver » Mar 22, 2012 3:16 pm

JSDunham wrote:I've been following this thread for a bit because I use almost all rechargable AAs. But I should note that I have a crappy energizer charger and non-eneloop NimH batteries, and have been using the same sets for five years. Based on discussion so far, I think they ought to have failed by now, but not so.

Curious - what batteries are they, and what headlamps/devices have you been using them in? No noticeable decline in battery life? With my old dumb chargers, I still got years of life out of older low-capacity non-LSD Rayovac NiMHs and yet managed to kill my Energizer 2600mAH NiMHs in a year or less. Not sure whether to blame that more on the charger or the batteries. But if I'd used a smart charger back then, I would have been able to analyze the battery capacity and know exactly how healthy my cells were.

jeffkruse wrote:I hadnt thought of using the disposable lithium AA's. I know nothing about them. What voltage is each AA cel? How many AH?

Each cell is nominally 1.5V, same as alkalines. Read somewhere they have about a 2.8 amp hour capacity, and the specs say they weigh 1/3 less than alkalines, have a 15 year shelf life, function in temps of -40 to +140F, and have 'leakproof construction'.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 22, 2012 4:27 pm

NZcaver wrote:With my old dumb chargers, I still got years of life out of older low-capacity non-LSD Rayovac NiMHs and yet managed to kill my Energizer 2600mAH NiMHs in a year or less. Not sure whether to blame that more on the charger or the batteries. But if I'd used a smart charger back then, I would have been able to analyze the battery capacity and know exactly how healthy my cells were.


I find that statement quite interesting because the worst rechargeables I've used are the Energizer 2500ma NiMH. They charge up fine
and work well if I use them immediately but if I delay usage by as little as one week, they are almost totally discharged. They are not
pre-charged. I can get 8 to 10 hours out of them if I use them within 24 hours of charging but after a week they are almost useless.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby NZcaver » Mar 22, 2012 9:02 pm

tncaver wrote:I find that statement quite interesting because the worst rechargeables I've used are the Energizer 2500ma NiMH. They charge up fine
and work well if I use them immediately but if I delay usage by as little as one week, they are almost totally discharged. They are not
pre-charged. I can get 8 to 10 hours out of them if I use them within 24 hours of charging but after a week they are almost useless.

After hearing numerous reports about them, I suspect those batteries are crap. But, I also suspect frying them with a dumb charger doesn't help extend their life. I no longer buy Energizer brand NiMHs.
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Re: Rechargeables in the Real World

Postby tncaver » Mar 23, 2012 7:11 am

NZcaver wrote:After hearing numerous reports about them, I suspect those batteries are crap. But, I also suspect frying them with a dumb charger doesn't help extend their life. I no longer buy Energizer brand NiMHs.


I use the same cheap charger on other brands of NiMH rechargeables and have had no problems. One of the chargers is a Rayovac charger
and the other is a Duracell. The Duracell charger is much quicker and indicator lights go green when the batteries are fully charged. The
Rayovac charger has no indicator at all but drops the charge rate to a trickle as the batteries reach full charge. I must confess that I
rarely use the Rayovac charger any more simply because it doesn't let me know when it's done and because it's charge rate is much much
slower (like 15 hours). Only time I use it now is when I must charge up a lot of batteries at the same time.
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