Author Topic: Are rechargeable batteries for real?  (Read 5124 times)

jengod

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Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« on: December 08, 2015, 07:00:32 PM »
Does anyone here use rechargeable batteries, meaning household AAA/AA types?

I've always disregarded them for some reason, but reading Sharon Astyk has piqued my curiousity. Also, the great sage Wikipedia says the following (which is right up my alley): "Rechargeable batteries initially cost more than disposable batteries, but have a much lower total cost of ownership and environmental impact, as they can be recharged inexpensively many times before they need replacing."

Yankuba

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2015, 07:47:36 PM »
I use Eneloop AAs - they get great reviews. I am very happy with them.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 07:48:39 PM »
I have some rechargeables. In my experience, they tend to quit holding a charge after a few years regardless of how many times they have been cycled. For this reason they're most effective in devices that tend to need new batteries fairly often. For things that rarely need a new battery (remote controls, for example), single-use batteries will probably be cheaper.

lbmustache

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 07:55:55 PM »
Eneloop. Everything else sucks.

Get them at Costco when they are on sale!

Riff

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2015, 08:23:22 PM »
A third vote for the Eneloop.

There's an Amazon Basics version that works well too.

Cornbread OMalley

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2015, 08:28:56 PM »
I have been using the same four generic made-in-China rechargeable AA batteries for five years now.  I use them in my portable speakers for use around the house and during guitar lessons.  I also use them in my headlamp.  The batteries work great.

JAYSLOL

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 09:07:45 PM »
I bought a bunch of Duracell rechargeable AA and AAA batteries at Costco and have been using them for around 4 or 5 years now.  They all seem to still hold a decent charge

GizmoTX

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 09:14:01 PM »
Eneloop!

ulrichw

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2015, 09:23:50 PM »
Standard rechargeables that you get in AA and AAA sizes are Nickel-Metal-Hydride (often abbreviated: NiMH) these days. (They replace the older Nickel-Cadmium chemistry (NiCd), which is the battery that has "memory" issues if you didn't fully charge and discharge them).

One thing to be aware of is that NiMH lose their charge over time very quickly compared to Alkaline batteries - they are most useful in high-power applications vs. something like a computer mouse, where a normal Alkaline battery is the better choice (since the mouse consumes so little energy that the batteries last for year(s))

ditheca

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 01:32:51 AM »
Some (unverified) testing suggests that the amazon prime basics rechargeables are rebranded eneloops.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2015, 06:40:19 AM »
One thing to be aware of is that NiMH lose their charge over time very quickly compared to Alkaline batteries - they are most useful in high-power applications vs. something like a computer mouse, where a normal Alkaline battery is the better choice (since the mouse consumes so little energy that the batteries last for year(s))
You can avoid the self-discharge issue by buying "low self-discharge" or "precharged" rechargeable batteries.  These hold their charge much better.

We've started using more rechargeables lately for some of our kids' more power-hungry toys.  It doesn't take very long for them to pay for themselves, especially when the kids leave toys switched on and they drain the batteries....

FLBiker

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2015, 07:44:59 AM »
Another for Eneloops.  Use them in my camera and they work great.

nereo

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2015, 08:01:10 AM »
I can't fathom not using rechargeable batteries anymore.  Ignoring that my cell phone, laptop, car and digital camera all rely on rechargeable batteries, my work involves lots of small electronics put out into the field to college environmental data (light, temperature, trigger-cameras, etc).  Most take AAA or AA batteries and will last 1-3 days before the batteries are depleted.  We keep roughly two-dozen rechargeable batteries that we constantly cycle in and out our various devices.  If we used single-use alkalines we'd burn through several hundred per year (literally).  It's really a no-brainer for us.

We 'retire' our rechargables after 2 field seasons... they seem to hold maybe 70-80% of their charge by then, and have probably been through over 100 cycles (though we've never kept close tabs on the number of cycles). Old lab rechargables now sit in my tv remote still work just fine. Every so often a quick trip in the charger keeps it them operating.

... but seriously; think of all the things that natively run on rechargeable batteries - cell phones, car batteries, laptops, iPods, cameras, etc... why would you doubt that they work?

GuitarStv

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2015, 08:22:09 AM »
I use rechargeable batteries in my bike lights.  They've been working fine for three years and hundreds of charges.  Couldn't imagine the waste of using regular batteries for something like that.

CmFtns

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2015, 08:25:54 AM »
Just buy eneloop batteries they are the best... There are some other brands that are quite possibly rebranded eneloops and those would be good too if you could confirm that they are actually eneloops. They have the best charge cycle count and can sit in storage for years and still hold most of their charge. For example I have some crappy energizer NiMh batteries and some eneloops that I charged and sat in a drawer... a few months later the energizers were COMPLETELY dead and the eneloops had a perfect charge still... Before I found eneloops I had a bad taste for rechargeable because they could never sit in a drawer or a device without self discharging but eneloops changed my mind.

I use them all the time... I have most definitely gotten my money back many times over vs buying alkaline. I would have to buy 2 AA per week just for my bike light but a couple eneloops have been powering it perfectly for a longggg time.

Buy a smart charger so that you can take care of the batteries if you buy them. Make sure it has an option to charge them at a slow rate because that is good for the battery and that it detects when their full and changes to trickle charge.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2015, 08:31:41 AM by comfyfutons »

Beaker

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2015, 08:27:48 AM »
I have been using the same set of 16 Eneloop AA's since 2008. They're still going strong. I think they've paid for themselves both in simple dollar terms, and again in avoided hassle of constantly stocking new batteries. They're so very worthwhile.

I also got a fancy-schmancy LaCrosse charger that is supposed to be better for battery life than the cheapie quick-chargers. The claim is that it does this by discharging the batteries fully before recharging, and being able to detect a fully charged battery and stop charging. It does appear that my batteries still have nearly all of their original life after nearly 8 years of use, but I don't have a control group to know if they would be the same using a cheap charger. Anyway, something to consider.

JLee

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2015, 09:11:22 AM »
Did someone say Eneloops? :P

I have yet to have one die. Use, charge, repeat.

zephyr911

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2015, 09:42:53 AM »
Yeah, I have always used rechargable AA/AAA for gaming remotes and anything else that needs them. I've had good ones last for years and many charge cycles.

The TCO talking point is absolutely true. Look for a good set with a charger included, and take care of them.


hyla

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2015, 08:17:09 PM »
They are great, and save tons of money. 

The few caveats are they tend to last a bit shorter on a charge than conventional batteries last in all, and instead of slowly dropping off they go very quickly from almost full to empty.  So, I use them in items that I can easily recharge (flashlights, gps, voice recorders) but for anything emergency/safety related (work radios, avalanche beacons) I use plain old conventional batteries and carry spares. 

jengod

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Re: Are rechargeable batteries for real?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2015, 08:26:39 PM »
OK, this is terrifically informative. Love this forum. Eneloop it is. MUCH APPRECIATED, gang.