What's your battery system?

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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 Chads93GT » Dec 23, 2009 9:16 pm

a 15 minute charger is a good way to melt down your batteries. HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 23, 2009 9:36 pm

I know that's what they say, Chad, but how does it actually translate into real life, especially when you consider the time and inconvenience and electricity invested in charging these little batteries for 6 1/2 hours (like this first run through took) or much more, and comparing that to 15 minutes or an hour or whatever the cheapos do? And the 15 minute chargers don't really melt down batteries. They've been selling them for years.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 23, 2009 10:32 pm

I have a few batteries that would beg to differ, but that's neither here nor there.

to me its a non issue. Im not stupid enough to wait until 2 hours before a caving trip to charge up my batteries, so when it takes 6 hours to slowly charge my cells and keep them cool , it doesnt bother me.

Im sure they tested this stuff during manufacturing., else why would better batteries be made if the status quo was good enough?
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 23, 2009 11:23 pm

It's not like I have only 4 batteries to charge, Chad. Anyway, i'd return it if I didn't - like the flaming idiot I am - immediately throw away the packaging (but I'll ask them if I can anyway).

There are a lot of reviews of AA battery chargers online because many others besides cavers are interested in the subject, like photographers.

Here's one good comparison review I found, between the C9000 and the LaCrosse BC-900. Looks like the latter is the much better choice. The guy concludes his review saying the C9000 makes a good, but expensive, night light. Oh yeah, he mentions that the break in feature takes 39 f'ing hours!

http://battery-chargers-guide.blogspot. ... -maha.html

Cynic that I am I usually agree with the lowest reviews about everything. I like Edom's on the bottom here (but to be fair most people very highly rated it).

http://www.amazon.com/Maha-Powerex-MH-C ... addOneStar

They're saying that the default charge - which I think is the only practical way for me to use this thing - of 1,000 whatchamacallits is the same as the cheapos use. Is that true?
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby NZcaver » Dec 23, 2009 11:40 pm

Sorry to hear the dramas you've had with your C9000. Hopefully they'll let you return it without the packaging. Makes me happy that I got the LaCrosse BC-900. So far so good. I'm using it right now.

FYI - a cheapo charger may supply 1000mAh the same as the LaCrosse, but it most likely shuts off after a predetermined time or just keeps running. The LaCrosse is constantly analyzing each cell individually to determine when it's 'full.' It's not uncommon to insert 4 identical batteries out of one device into the charger at the same time, and have them finish charging at different times.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Dec 24, 2009 12:02 am

With a cheap battery charger, you will get tens of cycles out of a cell before it starts to crap out in either lost capacity, higher internal resistance, higher impedance, higher self discharge, or all of the above. A quality charger will give many hundreds of cycles.

And yes, the 15 minute chargers do indeed cook your cells.

BTW, there is no reliable way to instantaneously check battery capacity, and those cheap battery testers are rubbish. They don't work, especially for NiMH cells.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 24, 2009 12:06 am

NZ - I bought it from Thomas Distr. They're supposed to be good guys, right? I know that if I got it at REI I could return it with no packaging and no problem, but I think a lot of places will want the original packaging.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 24, 2009 12:14 am

Marduke - I'm not saying that the cheapo 15 minute chargers are the best thing for batteries, but they don't literally destroy the batteries. Those cheapos are the chargers that 99% of people use and rechargeables work for them too.

I didn't know that the little battery tester that i have - but only use to test old alkalines - is junk, especially on rechargeables. I think I got it at Thomas, maybe as a freebee. What about the quick and simple expedient of testing the battery in a one cell flashlight and seeing how it works? But in real life I just use freshly charged rechargeables and carry spares.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Dec 24, 2009 12:29 am

But the 15 minute chargers DO literally destroy batteries, as do the cheap timed ones that most people have. That is exactly why the general public has a horrible impression of rechargable batteries... they were using crap chargers and cooked them to death.

And using a single cell light won't work. 1) NiMH have a very flat discharge curve, and will remain near constant brightness until they are depleted, and 2) single cell lights have boost circuits and usually regulation, which will also mean it's nearly the same brightness until dead
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby YuccaPatrol » Dec 24, 2009 10:38 am

werewolf,

sorry that you are disappointed with your C-9000 charger. Just as you can find positive reviews of anything, you can also find a review from someone that hates it too.

My concern about the Lacrosse charger is all the reports on CandlePowerForums of these chargers malfunctioning and causing the batteries to overheat in a very dangerous way. There are Lots of discussion threads about this problem. Other than the meltdown problem, the Lacrosse is a good charger if you get a good one.

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... p?t=252188

Yes, the refresh and break-in cycles are long, but I almost never use the break-in and only rarely use the refresh cycle when I have suspect batteries. Several times, I've refreshed a matched set of 4 batteries to find that one of them had lost half of its capacity. Had I not had an advanced charger, I would be in a cave wondering why my headlamp went out so quickly. . . . .
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 24, 2009 11:03 am

Thanks, Marduke, but does the general public (who never even heard of smart chargers) really have such a bad impression of rechargeables? Don't most people use them in cameras and toys and computers and cell phones etc.?

And yipes, thanks for the link to that thread, Yucca, and I was just about to try to call Thomas and beg them to switch my Powerex for the Lacrosse. So are these two the best of the lot right now, or is there something better that I can look at? (I'll need to look over that Candlepower forum, tho I'm sure this is more about battery chargers than I ever wanted to know). Do you usually just charge your bat's on the default 1,000 MA on the Powerex? Another question: I just put in 4 AAA's on the basic Charge mode, and it only took a few minutes for them to come out "Done", I guess because they were already charged up nicely (on my good old fashioned Maha MH-204W). But there was a voltage number shown for each battery on the screen. Is that number a good indication of the state of each battery? If so, it only took a few minutes.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 24, 2009 12:01 pm

While we're talking chargers... have solar chargers (eg Solio, Brunton) gotten to the point of usefulness yet?

For AA-powered systems, bringing a bunch of disposables as backups for multiday camping trips is acceptable, but most cameras these days have custom batteries :-/
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby Marduke » Dec 24, 2009 12:04 pm

werewolf wrote:Thanks, Marduke, but does the general public (who never even heard of smart chargers) really have such a bad impression of rechargeables? Don't most people use them in cameras and toys and computers and cell phones etc.?


The general public has a very negative, and incorrect impression of conventional (ie. AA NiMH) rechargable batteries. They are used to slow chargers, high self discharge, and short runtimes (caused by high self discharge). They are not aware that poor performance is almost always caused more by crap chargers than crap cells. They buy the cheapest combo pack they can find on the shelf, then wonder why "all rechargeables suck" when they crap out on them.

The devices you mention use custom built Li-Ion rechargable SYSTEMS, built from the ground up for the intended purpose, which puts them in an entirely different category.

And no, open circuit voltage is NOT a good indicator of charge state.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 24, 2009 12:15 pm

Marduke - You're the expert, so then what AA/AAA charger is the easiest to use and the fastest and the best?

Here's something about a new Panasonic charger - nice and small and simple and portable:

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/sho ... p?t=251347

How does that look?
Last edited by werewolf on Dec 24, 2009 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your battery system?

Postby werewolf » Dec 24, 2009 12:26 pm

"And no, open circuit voltage is NOT a good indicator of charge state."

What about the MAH number? Is that meaningful?
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