Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

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Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby imperialman67 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:12 am

So in a Bogleheads sort of way which is more cost effective?
I still have my old Radio Shack battery charger, but my rechargeable batteries are wearing out and need replacement.
Kids toys no longer need to be fed ,but there are the remotes,clocks ,etc that still need AA, AAA, and 9v batteries .
Price wise its tempting to just go buy the mega pack of Alkaline batteries at Walmart vs buying Enloop rechargeables, or something similar.
I suppose there is some formula out there of usage vs cost vs lifespan?
Am I over thinking this? :?
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Re: Rechargable vs alkiline batteries

Postby hsv_climber » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:32 am

It depends on the application.
For your remotes & clocks alkaline batteries are better. But for lights, flashlights, cameras, etc. you have to use rechargeables.
You might also want to take a look into a better charger, since good charger matters.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkiline batteries

Postby DualIncomeNoDebt » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:05 am

First, get a new charger, try one that comes with Eneloop batteries. If you're a battery nerd, get a MaHa C9000.

Second, we use Eneloops exclusively for everything that takes batteries. Eneloops are worth it if you get them for the right price, we bought a package deal on Amazon. Eneloops last a long time on a single charge, and almost no draining when not in use. Superior to any other rechargeable batteries we've tried.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkiline batteries

Postby midareff » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:23 am

DualIncomeNoDebt wrote:First, get a new charger, try one that comes with Eneloop batteries. If you're a battery nerd, get a MaHa C9000.

Second, we use Eneloops exclusively for everything that takes batteries. Eneloops are worth it if you get them for the right price, we bought a package deal on Amazon. Eneloops last a long time on a single charge, and almost no draining when not in use. Superior to any other rechargeable batteries we've tried.



+1
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby jridger2011 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:42 am

I also recommend Eneloop batteries. I have had mine for years and they are still great and in use. The AAA's are good for stuff like wireless mice.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby edglim » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:08 pm

a good charger and set of rechargeable batteries would last you for years. i've used a maha mh-c204f charger for 8 years and still going strong. for batteries, i use powerex 2700mah aa and 1000mah aaa for all household use (calculators, remote controls, flashlights, wireless mouse/keyboard, clocks, digital camera)

also bought rechargeable 350 mah aaa batteries 2-3 years ago from harbor freight that i use for led bike lights...
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby blevine » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:12 pm

After using mainly eneloop for a long while,
I bought a pack of Lithium AA batteries for my smoke detectors.
Just can't stand the constant beeping when the batter drains, and need to change and charge.

I use the Eneloop still for most devices, just not for smoke detectors.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby lmpmd » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:36 pm

If it's simply a question of money alkaline batteries wins hands down. Staples frequently has 16 packs for free. Well it does involve rewards so you have to do that rewards system thing - but who can't use their rewards at staples? I'm sure you'll need paper, pens, or computer related stuff and can use the rewards at some point. I have a few packs of 16 AA's and AAA's sitting around that I got for free.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby harikaried » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:45 pm

If you are getting rechargeable batteries, Eneloop is a good brand that tends to have much lower self-discharge rates. I believe Amazon is repackaging Eneloops (the batteries have white tops) under the AmazonBasics brand:

$26.99 -> $19.10 eneloop NEW 2000mAh Typical, 1900mAh Minimum, 1500 cycle, 8 Pack AA, Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries
$17.19 AmazonBasics AA NiMH Precharged Rechargeable Batteries-8-Pack, 2000 mAh

Oh and don't forget that you can use the bogleheads.org's amazon link to enter Amazon before adding an item to your cart to give bogleheads.org a little bit of money.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby imperialman67 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:21 pm

Thank you everyone for the good advice.
Now in true Bogleheads fashion, why wouldn't my Radio Shack battery charger be a "good' charger for Enloops?
Reason I am asking is that the 2 year old AA Enloops I have seem to be performing just fine with this charger
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby HardKnocker » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:50 pm

I buy rechargeable Ni-mh batteries on ebay really cheap. They ship from China direct. All batteries today are made in China.

I've used them for years.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkiline batteries

Postby mike143 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:12 pm

midareff wrote:
DualIncomeNoDebt wrote:First, get a new charger, try one that comes with Eneloop batteries. If you're a battery nerd, get a MaHa C9000.

Second, we use Eneloops exclusively for everything that takes batteries. Eneloops are worth it if you get them for the right price, we bought a package deal on Amazon. Eneloops last a long time on a single charge, and almost no draining when not in use. Superior to any other rechargeable batteries we've tried.
+1
+2, exact setup I have (Eneloops and MaHa C9000). I only use rechargeables in devices that will not take the voltage down to the point of no return, so no flashlights or remotes. A good charger can also revive batteries that have been abused by inferior chargers. Eneloops are made in Japan. It does not look like AmazonBasic batteries are Eneloops, but there are Duracell's that are Eneloops but the problem with those are they look similar to Duracell disposable batteries.
blevine wrote:I bought a pack of Lithium AA batteries for my smoke detectors.

Mine were 9v and I replaced them all with Lithiums, the beeping was driving me crazy. Every single Akaline battery in the smoke detectors tested good, haven't heard a beep since replacing them.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkiline batteries

Postby Toons » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:28 pm

midareff wrote:
DualIncomeNoDebt wrote:First, get a new charger, try one that comes with Eneloop batteries. If you're a battery nerd, get a MaHa C9000.

Second, we use Eneloops exclusively for everything that takes batteries. Eneloops are worth it if you get them for the right price, we bought a package deal on Amazon. Eneloops last a long time on a single charge, and almost no draining when not in use. Superior to any other rechargeable batteries we've tried.



+1


+2 eneloops for everything here,just recharged some today for computer mice,sensor
for gas fireplace,a couple wall clocks,sure don't miss buying alkaline any more :happy
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Epsilon Delta » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:51 pm

edglim wrote:i use powerex ... 1000mah aaa for all household use (calculators, remote controls, flashlights, wireless mouse/keyboard, clocks, digital camera)

also bought rechargeable 350 mah aaa batteries 2-3 years ago from harbor freight that i use for led bike lights...


Personally I consider my bike lights to be life preserving equipment, so they get the good stuff.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby DoubleDraw » Mon Mar 18, 2013 6:24 pm

yet another recommendation for eneloops. I use battery powered headphones all day at work and they go far longer than any other brand I've seen.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby ossipago » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:30 pm

I recommend Eneloops even for flashlights and remotes. A major benefit is that the chance of leakage is virtually nil. Alkaline batteries leak all the time, especially when drained, as they often get in items used only occasionally. I had a very nice flashlight ruined in this way by leaking AAs.

A hint: Often smart chargers like the LaCrosse or Maha won't charge rechargeables drained beyond a certain point, due to internal design. To fix that, just put the batteries in a dumb charger (e.g. the cheap ones without individual battery charging, current selection, etc.) for a few minutes, then transfer to the smart charger. You can also short the "dead" battery with a live one, but I don't like doing that, and just use the dumb charger method on the rare occasions it is needed.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby ossipago » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:34 pm

imperialman67 wrote:Thank you everyone for the good advice.
Now in true Bogleheads fashion, why wouldn't my Radio Shack battery charger be a "good' charger for Enloops?
Reason I am asking is that the 2 year old AA Enloops I have seem to be performing just fine with this charger


As I understand it, dumb chargers don't terminate current flow to the battery properly, so they "overcharge" it. This ultimately strains the battery's capacity beyond designed specifications and lowers the overall lifetime. Smart chargers shut off full current flow based on internal resistance, and switch to a neglible trickle current, to prevent this type of damage.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Sam I Am » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:39 pm

Message deleted.
Last edited by Sam I Am on Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby ossipago » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:43 pm

Sam I Am wrote:Back on task, has anyone had good luck recharging alkaline batteries? I have seen a few chargers claiming to work with alkalines.

Sam I Am


Don't do it. It has a high risk of creating toxic gas (KOH) and leakage, with low upsides. Recycle them (don't toss them in the trash), or switch to batteries designed to be recharged.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby chipmonk » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:05 pm

imperialman67 wrote:Thank you everyone for the good advice.
Now in true Bogleheads fashion, why wouldn't my Radio Shack battery charger be a "good' charger for Enloops?
Reason I am asking is that the 2 year old AA Enloops I have seem to be performing just fine with this charger

I agree, if your current charger ain't broke, then don't fix it. The more advanced chargers tend to be able to charge NiMH batteries (1) faster and (2) more fully and--with more variation depending on how you use both the battery and the charger--(3) they may prolong the lives of the batteries.

Battery University has many of the gory electrical details of how to charge NiMH batteries, and how not to: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/arti ... al_hydride
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Professor Emeritus » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:34 pm

blevine wrote:After using mainly eneloop for a long while,
I bought a pack of Lithium AA batteries for my smoke detectors.
Just can't stand the constant beeping when the batter drains, and need to change and charge.

I use the Eneloop still for most devices, just not for smoke detectors.

I published my first article on smoke detector regulation in 1977
I would never use rechargeables in a smoke detector, although I use them for almost everything else.
The low power depletion curve is different and rechargebles can and do short out and die.

I use lithium batteries for underwater flashes when I scuba dive. . They also have s different depletion curve and when depleted often do not beep long enough to be noticed even though they last longer.
Use the batteries recommended by the
manufacturer.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby nimo956 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:52 pm

Professor Emeritus wrote:
blevine wrote:After using mainly eneloop for a long while,
I bought a pack of Lithium AA batteries for my smoke detectors.
Just can't stand the constant beeping when the batter drains, and need to change and charge.

I use the Eneloop still for most devices, just not for smoke detectors.

I published my first article on smoke detector regulation in 1977
I would never use rechargeables in a smoke detector, although I use them for almost everything else.
The low power depletion curve is different and rechargebles can and do short out and die.

I use lithium batteries for underwater flashes when I scuba dive. . They also have s different depletion curve and when depleted often do not beep long enough to be noticed even though they last longer.
Use the batteries recommended by the
manufacturer.


Sorry to hijack this thread, but it seems that a lot of the engineers here know a lot about batteries. I use a 1 degree spotmeter for photography and it is critical that the readings remain accurate even as the battery starts to die. Is it better to use alkaline, lithium, or silver oxide batteries? Thanks.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Vermonster » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:40 am

HardKnocker wrote:I buy rechargeable Ni-mh batteries on ebay really cheap. They ship from China direct. All batteries today are made in China.

I've used them for years.



Not all batteries today made in China. Eneloops (for example) made in Japan by Sanyo (Panasonic).

Some batteries still made in USA--for example Energizer Advanced Lithium 9v (primary) batteries are Made in USA.

Personally I've had very mixed luck ordering NiMH other than Eneloop. Given how small the price difference is (especially over years of use), I just buy the Eneloops.

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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Epsilon Delta » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:27 am

nimo956 wrote:Sorry to hijack this thread, but it seems that a lot of the engineers here know a lot about batteries. I use a 1 degree spotmeter for photography and it is critical that the readings remain accurate even as the battery starts to die. Is it better to use alkaline, lithium, or silver oxide batteries? Thanks.


Sigh. People want too much from their batteries.

The best solution is to use a meter that regulates the power supply and has a low battery warning so that the reading does not depend on the battery voltage. The second best solution is to work out how long batteries last and replace them before they go flat. be that every session or every week. The third best solution is probably to use silver oxide batteries, since they have a flatter discharge curve in this type of application.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Dulocracy » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:26 am

I had a bad experience with a charger by Targus. I am using the recommendations about enloop above.

My view on the charger is that it should not consume much energy. Having a display uses energy that increases the operating cost of charging. I dislike that immensely. Simple charger that charges. No complicated, expensive, energy consuming display for me.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Easy Rhino » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:02 pm

On a tangent, where are easy places to dispose of my used alkaline batteries?
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby OnFire » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:04 am

Usually Home Depot accepts dead batteries.

I just bought 32 more Eneloops and received them today. I have two small kids and they have a zillion toys that take AA and AAA. I've lost count, but I bet I have close to 100 Eneloops floating around the house. Overall, they are cheaper to own and less stress on the environment. They work perfectly and last years. Just get them.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby Mudpuppy » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:34 am

Easy Rhino wrote:On a tangent, where are easy places to dispose of my used alkaline batteries?

If your profile location is correct, there should be several household hazardous waste drop-offs that take batteries in your area: http://www.sandiego.gov/environmental-s ... ycle.shtml
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby protagonist » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:39 am

I'm going to buy some Eneloops. I have an old cheap Rayovac charger. YOu can leave the batteries in permanently, as I have with my old Rayovac rechargeables that I have had for years. The Rayovacs still work.

Quality chargers seem to cost $30-100. I read that old chargers can overcharge the batteries and shorten their lives. My old Rayovac rechargeable batteries are still working. It seems silly to me to spend that much money on a charger that "might" shorten the life of a $3-5 battery. I am a normal user.....I don't burn through many batteries.

Any thoughts on this?
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby nisiprius » Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:47 am

I can't speak to the Eneloops praised by others. Maybe they are completely different. My experiences with some four or five generations of rechargeable batteries over the past thirty years has been completely uniform, however, and the message is clear. My experience so far up to and including Energizer rechargeables is that they are worlds better than NiCads but it is still true that

* regardless of how careful you are about charging regime, they only last a couple of years and experience steadily diminishing charge capacity. The "useful life" includes a period of rather short runtime. Either you throw them away when they still have usable life, or you tolerate short runtimes.

* even for a new cell, the runtime for a fully charged battery is much less than that of an ordinary alkaline battery (and maybe a tenth that of a disposable lithium battery). Not good for kids' toys unless you like having them come to you every twenty minutes for a battery swap.

* they self discharge quite noticeably in just a few weeks;

* they deliver lower voltage than an alkaline battery, which may not matter at all or may matter a lot depending on the specific device. The big problem here is that the same devices that tend to eat batteries and thus would be candidates for rechargeables are those with small but powerful electric motors in them, which are exactly the ones that run sluggishly on batteries that deliver lower-than-standard voltages. Does it really matter if a battery-powered electric shaver runs slowly and takes longer to shave? I think so.

Since they only last a couple of years, they are only suitable for a device that consumes batteries quickly enough that a couple of years' use would obviously cost much more in disposable batteries.

Since runtime is much shorter than with disposables, they are only suitable when you are at home, near an always-charging charger, and it is convenient to keep swapping depleted for freshly-charged cells.

On a trip, if you want to get through the trip with a minimum of fuss, use alkalines knowing that you can replace them, at rip-off prices but you can replace them, even in hotel lobby gift shops; or spring for disposable lithiums and you can probably get through the whole trip. For "emergency" use--stick a little battery-powered LED headlamp somewhere in case of a power outage--you definitely do NOT want rechargables.

At the moment, I have only one application I'm using them for: the batteries in my Apple bluetooth wireless mouse.

P.S. The Energizer rechargeables I use in my Apple mouse sit on charge all the time. The charger designed specifically for them keeps them comfy-warm all the time--it doesn't detect full charge and shut off. My Kill-A-Watt gadget is showing 4 watts consumptions... 24/7 365 days a year. This makes me feel very guilty. But if I don't leave them on charge, they will self-discharge to the point of uselessness and won't be ready when I need them.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby bhsince87 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:23 am

Eneloops (and other modern NimH low-self discharge rechargeables) address most of the short comes nisiprius mentions. In some applications, they will even last longer than alkalines.

Older chargers (and even some new chargers) can lead to premature degradation of the batteries. This can occur through over charging and through heat damage that occurs at high charge rates. This is not necessarily a show stopper, but just may not be optimal.

A good modern charger will allow you to analyze batteries to diagnose potential problems. They will also allow you to choose different charge rates. Slower rates are better for longer life, but sometimes you are in a hurry....

Many newer chargers will also allow you to recondition failing batteries. I've revived dozens of "dead" NimHs for other people over the past few years. Many people don't seem to be aware that they can be fixed with the right kind of charger.

I've got 100+ low self discharge NimH AA's. I've settled on the amazon brand in the past few years. I use them in everything that takes AA's (except smoke detectors, as mentioned on the other current thread on this). I also have C and D size adapters which allow me to use them in other applications too.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby whomever » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:34 pm

Nisiprius: Eneloops (and the couple of other Low Self Discharge NiMH batteries I've tried - Tenergy, I think is one brand) are different, IMHE, than the non-LSD NiMH ones. In general, they:

-hold more milliamp hours than alkaline (albeit this is a complicated question; alkalines can, IIRC, win at very low discharge rates, e.g. in a clock)
-don't leak
-support much higher current rates (so, e.g., you can have bright AA flashlights)
-have, for cameras/flashlights/etc the advantage you can top them up, instead of wondering whether you should throw out the partially discharged batteries from the camera so you don't run out halfway through the wedding, or from the car flashlight just so it will be OK if you break down

They don't have a whole lot of disadvantages, IMHE. I have one or two devices (maybe a moisture meter for wood??) that don't like the lower voltage, but most things they work fine. The only alkalines we still use are in smoke detectors and, so far, for D cell flashlights.

We also had poor luck with non-LSD NiMH and NiCd batteries. Eneloops are different.
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby bhsince87 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:41 pm

whomever, I use these things to adapt AA's to D cell applications. They don't give the run times of true D cells, but they work good enough for me. I have some for C cells too.

http://www.amazon.com/eneloop-SEC-DSPAC ... l+adapters

But if you depend on a huge D cell flashlight as a back-up weapon, you might prefer to stick with the D cells! :)
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Re: Rechargable vs alkaline batteries

Postby whomever » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:12 pm

Yeah, I have those adapters, too - they came with the Eneloop kit. But eneloops are around 2200 mah; not as good as D cells for that application. There have been some LSD D cells that were just an AA with a D sized shell, but recently there have been some actual D cells coming on the market - something like 12000 mah. But they are still pretty expensive.

I keep the LED 3D maglites around mostly because a) I have them and b)they provide something like 20 hours of light with alkaline D cells. I don't really use them as flashlights, because I have small flashlights that I use day-to-day. And for those, I want rechargeables, both because AA's don't last long, and so I can top them up whenever I've used them very much, so I'll have the full charge available if Something Bad happens. I hate being under the hood of a car on a deserted road at 0200 and having the flashlight go out :-).
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