What's your battery system?

Discuss caving lights, packs, helmets, clothing, etc.
For rope and vertical equipment, go to the On Rope! forum.
Cave electronics enthusiasts can also visit the Communications and Electronics Section forum.

Moderator: Moderators

What battery chemistry do you use? (check all that apply)

Alkaline
22
25%
Lithium primaries(non-rechargeable)
8
9%
NiMH
17
19%
NiMH (Low self discharge)
19
22%
Li-ion (standard form factors)
7
8%
Li-ion (specialized form factor)
9
10%
I use carbide
6
7%
Other (?)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 88

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Tenzin Beck » Nov 19, 2009 12:50 am

Haha, Marduke, you clearly know your batteries... made me start to wonder precisely why all of your information fits so well with everything I've read...
...and then I realized why your avatar looked so very familiar. CPF is a cool place, eh? I'm contemplating buying myself a Preon for Christmas, and it taught me all I know about batteries-- at least, enough to make me curious and launch this thread. I'm user Zeroginite over there; only ~20 posts so far, I mostly lurk.
Darkness is impossible to remember. Consequently, cavers desire to return to the unseen depths where they have just been.
Darkness never satisfies. Darkness cannot satisfy. Especially if it takes something away, which it almost invariably does.
Tenzin Beck
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Oct 20, 2009 8:31 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Sandia Grotto
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby ArCaver » Nov 19, 2009 6:13 am

Marduke wrote:NiMH are leaps and bounds more reliable, better performing, and cheaper than alkalines, assuming you have a proper charging system and actually learn how to use them.

You can charge them up and KNOW without a doubt they are fresh and ready to go, instead of guessing with partially used alkaline. They are ~100 times cheaper in the long run. And per use, they last 2-4 times longer depending on the current draw.

Alkalines are a HORRIBLE and IRRESPONSIBLE idea for backups. Backups MUST work when you need them. Why would you want to use cells of unknown charge state which have a propensity to leak in storage and can ruin the inside of your light and cause it to fail when you need it the most?


I carry alkaline batteries as backup because of their long storage life, but I seldom leave them in my pack for more than a few months without needing them, then I use them up before disposing of them. I'm curious as to why you think they are more likely to leak than other battery types. I've had more than one NiMh swell and leak. Not as many since I started using a better charger but it still happens. The last alkaline I had leak was one of the Neveractive things WallyWorld sold several years ago.
User avatar
ArCaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 568
Joined: Jul 31, 2006 12:42 pm
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 19, 2009 8:41 am

Alkalines have a very extensive track record of leaking in devices, or even still in the packaging, often ruining equipment worth hundreds of dollars. The basic alkaline rule is "don't use them in anything you actually want to keep." NiMH very very rarely leak, usually only if you horribly abuse them (which I HIGHLY suspect is what you did). I suspect you had either a 15 minute or timed charger (both bad).

If you want long runtimes, again, both NiMH or lithium primaries smoke them in moderate and high drain devices.

If you want low cost, NiMH are over 100 times cheaper, not counting replacement caused by alkaline leakage.

If you want to read more, check out the battery forum on CPF
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/for ... ay.php?f=9
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby harrym » Nov 19, 2009 4:59 pm

Okay, I did a little more research. Help me to understand why I should be switching from Alkaline to Lithium batteries in my back-up lights.

First, understand that you're not going to convince me that I need to switch to rechargable batteries in my back-ups. When my life is on the line, I want a back-up light that will work when I turn it on. That's a tenent of cave diving that you're not going to change, at least not for a long time.

My back-up lights use 3 C-cell batteries each. I carry two back-ups, so that's 6 C-cell batteries.

Image
3-C-cell Scout light (left)

Lithium primary batteries cost about $8.50 each. That's over $50 to put lithium primaries in my back-up lights.

For that price, I can buy 4 sets of alkaline C-cell batteries (24 alkaline batteries).

If I use my back-up light during a cave dive, I remove the batteries and replace them with new batteries. The "old" batteries get retired to household use. Every month, even if I don't use the lights, I remove and replace the "old" batteries anyway and replace them with new ones. (A typical cave dive is only 2 to 2.5 hours for me, so I need a battery to last only 5-6 hours.)

So for $50 I can buy 8 lithium primaries or 24 alkaline batteries. Why should I switch to Lithium?
Harry Marinakis
NSS #42832 Life
IUS Commission on Volcanic Caves
NACD Full Cave Diver
Monongahela Grotto, West Virginia
User avatar
harrym
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 25, 2009 6:50 am
Location: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Name: Harry Marinakis
NSS #: 42832 Life
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Monongahela Grotto
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 19, 2009 5:30 pm

How nice of you to leave out the fact they were C cells (where lithium primaries are not even made). AA lithium primaries are only $1.67-$2.50 each (cheaper on sale) with a shelf life of 15-20 years with no chance of leaking.

But with the proper setup (not some junk off a store shelf), NiMH are much more reliable and far cheaper than alkaline.

But it's clear your not going to believe me due to your past soured experience stemming from lack of prior rechargable education.

If it were me, I would use an AA based system for greater versitility, and I would never use alkaline in them. I would never trust an alkaline to turn on when I NEEDED it. The risk of it having leaked inside is simply too great. With rechargables, I know exactly how healthy they are, and I can start a trip KNOWING without a shadow of a doubt that they are 100% full.
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby harrym » Nov 19, 2009 7:59 pm

Marduke wrote:But it's clear your not going to believe me due to your past soured experience stemming from lack of prior rechargable education.


It's not only that, but it's a long-established cave -diving tenent to use only disposable batteries in the back-up lights. It's not my decision, it's policy derived from years of experience in the community. I didn't invent the rule, but I do follow it since my personal experience supports the practice.

Marduke wrote:How nice of you to leave out the fact they were C cells (where lithium primaries are not even made.


Hmmm... I did a Google search and found lithium primary C-cell batteries for about $8.50 each. Are these not usable in my light in place of a regular C-cell? We're talking disposable batteries here, not rechargable.
Harry Marinakis
NSS #42832 Life
IUS Commission on Volcanic Caves
NACD Full Cave Diver
Monongahela Grotto, West Virginia
User avatar
harrym
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 25, 2009 6:50 am
Location: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Name: Harry Marinakis
NSS #: 42832 Life
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Monongahela Grotto
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby ArCaver » Nov 19, 2009 9:24 pm

Marduke wrote:Alkalines have a very extensive track record of leaking in devices, or even still in the packaging, often ruining equipment worth hundreds of dollars.


Alkalines have a very long track record, longer than NiMh. As such they will of course have been implicated in the damage of many more devices. I suspect as manufacturing processes and QC have evolved the problems with alkaline batteries have become fewer and farther between.

Marduke wrote: The basic alkaline rule is "don't use them in anything you actually want to keep." NiMH very very rarely leak, usually only if you horribly abuse them (which I HIGHLY suspect is what you did). I suspect you had either a 15 minute or timed charger (both bad).


You may suspect all you want, but you don't know me or my battery usage habits. Don't presume to.
As for the, "don't use them in anything you actually plan to keep", alkaline batteries are commonly used in medical devices, emergency locators, fire and EMS radios etc. I can't remember seeing a NiMh in any of these except for a trashed clamshell on a fire radio. It had a combination of alkaline and Energizer 1850mAh and 2100mAh AAs inside. I'm still using the NiMh on occasion. None of the batteries were leaking.

Marduke wrote: you want long runtimes, again, both NiMH or lithium primaries smoke them in moderate and high drain devices.


In my experience, in my lights the alkalines, when I use them, give me many more hours of use.

Marduke wrote:If you want low cost, NiMH are over 100 times cheaper, not counting replacement caused by alkaline leakage.


No argument there. That's why when I use electric I almost always use NiMh as my primary battery source.

Marduke wrote: you want to read more, check out the battery forum on CPF
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/for ... ay.php?f=9
User avatar
ArCaver
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 568
Joined: Jul 31, 2006 12:42 pm
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 19, 2009 9:27 pm

The "primary only" rule was established before much of the moden tehnology existed. Modern cells and chargers are leaps and bounds above what most people experienced (and became disgusted with) even just a few years ago. Alkalines havemore energy than the old nicads, so it made some sense to use the highest capacity cells in tour backup. But modern NiMH cells will crush any alkaline in nearly every respect.

I suspect the lithium primary C cells you found are just C cell sized, not direct replacements. They are probably low current cells for CMOS backups and such.
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 20, 2009 8:50 am

ArCaver wrote:
Marduke wrote:Alkalines have a very extensive track record of leaking in devices, or even still in the packaging, often ruining equipment worth hundreds of dollars.


Alkalines have a very long track record, longer than NiMh. As such they will of course have been implicated in the damage of many more devices. I suspect as manufacturing processes and QC have evolved the problems with alkaline batteries have become fewer and farther between.


The leak rate has not observably changed through the years, which very high incident rates still reported across all brands equally. There are several very interesting polls over on CPF on the matter.

ArCaver wrote:
Marduke wrote: The basic alkaline rule is "don't use them in anything you actually want to keep." NiMH very very rarely leak, usually only if you horribly abuse them (which I HIGHLY suspect is what you did). I suspect you had either a 15 minute or timed charger (both bad).


You may suspect all you want, but you don't know me or my battery usage habits. Don't presume to.
As for the, "don't use them in anything you actually plan to keep", alkaline batteries are commonly used in medical devices, emergency locators, fire and EMS radios etc. I can't remember seeing a NiMh in any of these except for a trashed clamshell on a fire radio. It had a combination of alkaline and Energizer 1850mAh and 2100mAh AAs inside. I'm still using the NiMh on occasion. None of the batteries were leaking.


I didn't presume any of YOUR habits, as I did not reply to your posts previously... :huh:

There are a number of reasons alkalines are used in the deviced you mention, but primarily because they require no education to use. Proper NiMH use requires some amount of education of the general population, which is not an easy task. But this statement "It had a combination of alkaline and Energizer 1850mAh and 2100mAh AAs inside." perfectly describes why the general public will never use rechargable cells. If they are so dumb as to mix batteries in a device, using any rechargeables are far beyond their ability...

ArCaver wrote:
Marduke wrote: you want long runtimes, again, both NiMH or lithium primaries smoke them in moderate and high drain devices.


In my experience, in my lights the alkalines, when I use them, give me many more hours of use.


But is your experience typical of proper NiMH use and training? Where you using cells with a high self discharge and comparing runtime over weeks or months? Did you know the self discharge? What charger did you use? What charge algorithm did it use? Did the devices you use them in have less than or greater than a C/10 current draw? Capacity (and hence runtime) is not a fixed value, but is load dependent.

The physics doesn't lie, in anything with even a very moderate current draw or higher, NiMH will have a vastly greater runtime than alkaline, and lithium primary will be superior over either.

For those visual learners, which is a fairly typical discharge curve for all 3 chemistries in the same light:
http://lights.chevrofreak.com/runtimes/Fenix%20L0D%20CE/Fenix%20L0D%20CE%20-%20high.png

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=152223
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby potholer » Nov 20, 2009 9:20 am

I find a good rule-of-thumb is that for AAs, alkalines used with light loads have a capacity of about 2700mAh
With a 0.5Amp draw, that pretty much drops to 2/3 of the nominal capacity(to ~1800mAh)
With a 1Amp draw, it drops to about one third of the nominal capacity (to ~900mAh)

And that's at normal temperatures, not in significant cold.
potholer
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 381
Joined: Nov 9, 2005 7:29 am
Location: UK
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Chads93GT » Nov 20, 2009 12:19 pm

Per that line graph, the duracell alkalines are CLEARLY the best battery you can use as a backup. :rofl:
User avatar
Chads93GT
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 2294
Joined: Jun 24, 2008 1:27 pm
Location: Missouri
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 20, 2009 12:59 pm

potholer wrote:I find a good rule-of-thumb is that for AAs, alkalines used with light loads have a capacity of about 2700mAh
With a 0.5Amp draw, that pretty much drops to 2/3 of the nominal capacity(to ~1800mAh)
With a 1Amp draw, it drops to about one third of the nominal capacity (to ~900mAh)

And that's at normal temperatures, not in significant cold.


And the capacities only tell part of the story. Any sort of load and the voltage of the alkalnes drops drastically below that of NiMH or lithium pimaries. This means Wh (watt hours) is even lower, lights will be dimmer, and boost circuits (used in many LED lights) and electronic circuits will operate at lower efficiency, further lowering runtime.
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby harrym » Nov 25, 2009 9:16 pm

I took your arguments and statements to the tech/cave diving community (via a popular and respected tech diving talk board) and was thoroughly ridiculed for the suggestion of switching to rechargeable batteries in backup lights.

Nonetheless, I bought a better smart charger and some Eneloops and will try them in my underwater camera/flash. My batteries never last very long in this application, so it will be a great test of reliability and performance.

I'll report back to you in a few weeks when I return from cave diving in Mexico.
Harry Marinakis
NSS #42832 Life
IUS Commission on Volcanic Caves
NACD Full Cave Diver
Monongahela Grotto, West Virginia
User avatar
harrym
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 179
Joined: Feb 25, 2009 6:50 am
Location: Almost Heaven, West Virginia
Name: Harry Marinakis
NSS #: 42832 Life
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Monongahela Grotto
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Nov 27, 2009 7:21 pm

Not surprising, as the vast majority of the population doesn't have the faintest clue how to use and maintain rechargable batteries, despite professing they do.

Ask them to explain voltage retention, voltage depression, and self discharge. If they can't explain the differences between all three, ignore any technical advice they give, because they don't know what they are talking about when it comes to rechargable batteries.

What charger did you get?
Warning: Don't use this forum! Only armchair cavers and trolls reside here.
Marduke
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 373
Joined: Jul 8, 2008 8:16 am
Location: An alternate, non-sucky forum
  

Re: What's your battery system?

Postby NZcaver » Nov 27, 2009 7:35 pm

Marduke wrote:Ask them to explain voltage retention, voltage depression, and self discharge.

Just for kicks... how about sharing some quick definitions? I think I know the basics, but I'm always interested to learn more. Think of it like community service - writing a Battery Guide for Dummies. :big grin:
User avatar
NZcaver
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 6364
Joined: Sep 7, 2005 2:05 am
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Name: Jansen
NSS #: 50665RL
  

PreviousNext

Return to Equipment Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users

cron