Author Topic: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size  (Read 3767 times)

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Offline Halcyon

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Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« on: July 14, 2021, 08:07:53 am »
So I just had to scrounge around for batteries for my mouse and realised that I have no AA/AAA sizes batteries in the house (I had to steal them from a remote control). It's something I rarely buy, maybe once a year, if that?

Is it worth just buying a bulk pack of batteries for the few devices that use them or invest in a few sets of rechargeables? Everything I use them in are very low drain (wireless mouse/keyboard, IR remote controls etc...). I don't mind spending a bit of money for decent cells like Eneloop.

What are people's experiences?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 08:11:47 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline audiotubes

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2021, 08:48:17 am »
The answer seems to be based on how much you use the devices. For things I want to work when I need them but don't use much (like some flashlights I have stashed around the house) I spend extra for non-rechargeable lithium batteries. They won't leak and they have a long shelf life.

For things which I use often I use eneloops, which also should not leak. I use them in remotes, powered keyboards, mice, etc. But I have some devices (Russian calculators) that won't run on them, they need every bit of voltage from alkalines, or some HP Calculators for which rechargeables are not available (like the HP 41 models)...so for these devices I do use alkalines but the best I can find, and I remove them if I don't expect to use the devices for a while. My other HPs run fine on eneloops or non-rechargeable lithiums.

I've had good luck not to have many devices affected by leaks but alkalines will leak if you leave them around long enough. One Palm Pilot I have was injured by leaky Duracells, which in my experience was uncommon enough to be an unexpected, surprising disappointment.

So my general thought is to use eneloops whenever possible except for devices which get very infrequent use in which case I use the lithiums. The latter are very expensive, but not nearly as expensive as replacing precious old devices which are now unobtanium. The eneloops seem to behave well and last long enough in modern devices, and there are all kinds of chargers, some quite smart, to refresh them or at least fill them up.
 

Offline SteveyG

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2021, 09:42:08 am »
I seem to end up with bad experiences with Eneloops, I'm not sure how they have the reputation of being good. The last set decreased massively in capacity after about a year and a half. I left some others for 6 months sitting in my flash guns with the power switch turned off but they now no longer accept more than a couple of hundred mAh charge.

The Duracell rechargables have lasted no problem in the same items. That said, I end up just buying GP Ultra batteries in bulk these days since it's less hassle overall and actually cheaper compared to the Eneloops I'd bought!
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2021, 10:03:29 am »
My requirements are very low drain and long life. The keyboard and mouse I use daily, but a set of alkaline batteries last about a year (if not more).

I'm just wondering if it's worth bothering with rechargeable batteries.
 

Offline tszaboo

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2021, 10:12:31 am »
I'm never buying primary Alkaline batteries again. Bought a bunch of AA and AAA rebranded Eneloops. Ikea Ladda was that when I bought it, and some of the Amazonbasics was also, just have to do some research on it before buying. Bought it in bulk and never looked back.
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Online Berni

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2021, 10:19:45 am »
It depends how long the batteries last.

Some wireless mice really eat batteries and can drain a set in 1 to 3 months. In those cases it is worth getting rechargeable ones as you will go trough quite a lot of batteries in a year.

But with power efficient devices that last >1 year on a set of batteries its not worth it. They will self discharge faster than they get used up and will end up giving up the ghost of old age after a number of years anyway. I had some mice and keyboards where a set of 2xAAs lasts like 2 years of regular use, even longer if it was light use.

For really long storage, something like an emergency flashlight the more expensive lithium non rechargeable batteries are indeed very good as after 10 years they will easily keep all there charge and not leak. I also use these batteries in expensive things like multimeters since i don't want a 300 dollar multimeter destroyed by saving a few bucks on cheap alkaline batteries that end up leaking all over it. The lithium ones do last longer, but only a bit while costing a lot more, so it makes more sense to still use regular cheep ones in things you don't care about as much (like a wall clock).
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 10:21:32 am by Berni »
 

Online beanflying

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2021, 10:21:05 am »
Still running some close to 10 year old Enerloops but mainly swapped to Safeway sourced Energizer AA and AAA rechargeables. Even with buying bulk Primary cells to keep the costs down Rechargables are still the best way to go in the long term for $ providing you buy low self discharge ones.

My handheld DMM 'fleet' plus a few other portable bits of test gear and all my wireless keyboards (4) and mice are on rechargeables and I just keep a spare 2-4 of each in the drawer charged and ready to go if needed.
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Offline magic

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2021, 10:27:05 am »
My requirements are very low drain and long life. The keyboard and mouse I use daily, but a set of alkaline batteries last about a year (if not more).

I'm just wondering if it's worth bothering with rechargeable batteries.
Good NiMH cell are supposed discharge less than 10~20% over one year, so not much capacity is lost in such application.

I like them because it's 3 hours in a charger and they are back, no risk of running out of them, no stocking, no leaking. A few old alkalines (stored in a plastic box) cover occasional emergency needs.
 

Offline Gyro

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2021, 11:30:05 am »
Go to Lidl and buy some 'Tronic eco' (the green ones) NiMH batteries. They're specified to retain 75% capacity after 1 year. At the price, you can't go wrong.

(You might need to wait for them to come in on a centre isle special though)
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Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2021, 05:24:59 pm »
I seem to end up with bad experiences with Eneloops, I'm not sure how they have the reputation of being good.
Are these the white labeled 1900 mAh cells? Does your charger have a refresh/recycle function or a capacity measurement function?  What make and model charger do you have?

My most used/abused Eneloop 1900 mAh AA cells from 10 years ago used almost daily/heavily in its first 2 years has probably over 1000 recharges and still measure 1850+ mAh.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 05:50:52 pm by retiredcaps »
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2021, 05:36:31 pm »
The Duracell rechargables have lasted no problem in the same items.
Earlier on, before low self discharge nimh, I bought name brand and 99 cent ebay AA nimh cells and almost all those cells over 10+ years have lost 50% or more of their capacity.  The ebay cells never had 50% to begin with even brand new.

These cells would lose about 1% of their capacity each day brand new.  The name brands would be used in my digital camera and I learned to charge them the night before if I wanted best performance and capacity. I now use these cells for small non critical things where capacity doesn't matter. 

The 10+ year old Eneloops and it's various label variants goes into remote, camera, controller, mouse, toothbrush, shaver, etc.  Pretty much all my Eneloops, when I last checked about 1 year ago, are close to their rated capacity as reported by my charger refresh/capacity check function.

PS. I have some Duracell pre-charged 1900 mAh AA cells that are made in Japan.  These are reported to be Eneloops with a Duracell wrapper.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2021, 07:40:09 pm by retiredcaps »
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2021, 07:23:34 pm »
I use alkaline AA and AAA cells for the lowest drain devices or devices that I use very rarely like remotes.  Everything else, which amounts to my GPS, carry flashlight, calculator, and camera, gets 4th generation Eneloops.  When I was using a wireless mouse and keyboard, those got Eneloops also.

My current set of Eneloops were purchased in July of 2017 and my battery charger and analyzer shows that they are doing fine with better than 90% capacity remaining.  My previous set lasted at least 10 years.

 
 

Offline deadlylover

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2021, 05:09:08 pm »
In Australia you really can't beat IKEA LADDA. They just released a new line (blue-green in colour) which is much cheaper than the old one, reports say they're still made in Japan. At something like $1.50-$2 per cell I put them in literally everything I can.

There is only one battery factory in Japan that makes low discharge NiMH rechargeable cells, so if you're out shopping and see "made in Japan" then you know it's made by FDK. (long story short Sanyo were forced to sell their factory to preserve competition)
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2021, 07:42:43 pm »
Duracells have leaked so badly for so many years, it's cheaper to use LSD batteries.
Ikea summer sale was under $1 each for (white) Ladda rechargeables, so I loaded up. The new green Ladda are lower capacity.
They're not the same as Eneloops for charge and discharge behavior. All NiMh I've had need a "top up" charge to 1.5Vpc for some reason or they just go lazy if you never take the end of charge voltage up there.

I can't find Eneloops to buy without the *@W#%&$@ free charger so I have way too many of those, and they are so slow.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2021, 08:48:46 pm »
Ikea summer sale was under $1 each for (white) Ladda rechargeables, so I loaded up.
That's an excellent price.  I'm assuming that sale is over?

I don't live close to Ikea, but I see they have 1900 mAh package of 4 for $5 CAD.  If they are made in Japan (it's not obvious from the photos) and lsd, that's still a good everyday price vs throwaway alkalines.  Charge them 5 times and you get your money back.  I'm using 30 cents for your standard Costco AA cell.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2021, 09:09:52 pm »
New color ones are made in Japan according to

https://forums.redflagdeals.com/ikea-ladda-aa-aaa-3-99-4pack-rechargeable-batteries-kvarts-chargers-regular-batteries-50-off-new-ladda-5-pack-2468570/37/#p34608743

The above thread mentions it on sale for $4 CAD for a 4 pack 2450mAh AA cells.  That's a smoking deal.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2021, 11:48:38 pm »
I seem to end up with bad experiences with Eneloops, I'm not sure how they have the reputation of being good. The last set decreased massively in capacity after about a year and a half. I left some others for 6 months sitting in my flash guns with the power switch turned off but they now no longer accept more than a couple of hundred mAh charge...


If you got them on eBay up until a few years ago, they might have been fake Eneloops coming from the Chinese side. It appears those sold now are legit, but you can never be sure.

For other batteries, most of those sold are from con artists who quote ridiculously high capacities. About 5 years ago I bought maybe 20 different type of batteries from different eBay vendors. None of them except one had the mAh capacity they stated. The one was bought from an Australian vendor who guaranteed the capacity, of course at a higher price.

I have never had problems with genuine Eneloops. From first hand experience, Ikea's Ladda are excellent batteries too.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2021, 12:04:31 am »
Another fraud out there is portable USB battery storage. The manufacturers deceive the public with their mAh ratings. Almost all of them, according to a friend who tested a range of these devices.

They will state, for example 10000 mAh. It might be... at 3.7V! But the output voltage is 5V for USB, not 3.7V. If it was 10000 mAh at 3.7V, it is going to be roughly 7000mAh at 5V assuming 95% DC-DC converter boost efficiency. The manufacturers are liars and are snake oil salesmen.

eBay is full of outrageous battery capacity claims. Here is one snake oil salesman right here in Melbourne...
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/203517054603?
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2021, 01:17:38 am »
I have never had problems with genuine Eneloops.
Yep, fakes.

https://eneloop101.com/batteries/real-or-fake/

I always bought mine Eneloops or its other branded variations from brick mortar stores.
 
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Offline David Hess

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2021, 01:25:40 am »
Another fraud out there is portable USB battery storage. The manufacturers deceive the public with their mAh ratings. Almost all of them, according to a friend who tested a range of these devices.

They will state, for example 10000 mAh. It might be... at 3.7V! But the output voltage is 5V for USB, not 3.7V. If it was 10000 mAh at 3.7V, it is going to be roughly 7000mAh at 5V assuming 95% DC-DC converter boost efficiency. The manufacturers are liars and are snake oil salesmen.

eBay is full of outrageous battery capacity claims. Here is one snake oil salesman right here in Melbourne...
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/203517054603?

The same applies to 18650 cells sold on Amazon.  I have no idea which ones have truthful specifications.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2021, 03:46:16 am »
The same applies to 18650 cells sold on Amazon.  I have no idea which ones have truthful specifications.

18650 specs are pretty dodgy. One of the mains powered chargers I received with the dodgy batteries had the active and neutral pins twisted (with pliers?) to match the Australian mains socket, damaging the plastic case. They had no safety insulator sleeve on the pins either. The pins were also too thin, so the charger would easily fall out of the socket or make poor contact. Yet it had a CE and RCM marking. Made and sold by sub-morons.

I remember in the late 80's boom boxes being advertised with "20,000 mW PMPO!" and that was from known brands such as Sharp and Panasonic. If boom boxes were sold on eBay today, it would be "20,000,000 WATTS PMPO-LS!"
(Footnote... PMPO-LS: Peak Music Power Out when directly hit by a Lighting Strike to the antenna, in which case warranty is void.)
 

Online Ed.Kloonk

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2021, 06:54:24 am »
More recently, I've been conducting myself with the utmost of Western laziness.

Even better, connect it to a power pass through usb battery, rather than the regular usb charger. Select the correct  voltage and you're good to go.  :)

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/274464307089?var=574613242541

 

Offline MrMobodies

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2021, 01:14:41 am »
I had small requirements once and I have been let down too many times by these cheapo alien faced chargers that that charge 2 batteries in series and tell me bugger about anything when the lights goes out.

So I brought a Conrad/Voltcraft Charge Manager CM2020 in 2006 and another in 2012, with Energizers (don't hold charge for a week), then Ansmann (near enought a months charge) and work fines with the Eneloops I brought in 2018 which seems about the same discharge as their rated capacity. I have a couple of SkyRC+ for the Lithium 18650 batteries but the CM2020 seems to be perform a lot better with the AA/AAA's and doesn't seems to heat up the batteries as it does with the SKYRC at the same charge rate but I think they may charge them differently. Very happy with them and had no issues apart from changing the fan in one of them.

For a low requirement charger I'd recommend one that will charge/discharge or cycle and display the information rather than display a lousy light or percent so you know which ones are good when they leave the charger like this one:

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/253397110077


I'd have some packs of Duracell Industrial/Procell AA's and AAA's which I have not seen leak yet for things that require 1.5v and don't work too well under that.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 01:17:01 am by MrMobodies »
 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2021, 03:38:31 am »
Eneloops for over a decade. They self-discharge at about eh same rate as alkalines (OK, not quite that good, but close). I haven't bought alkalines since. No problems.
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Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Rechargable vs. Non-Rechargable Batteries - AA/AAA Size
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2021, 12:34:46 am »
In terms of actual performance the disposable ones are better due to lack of self discharge for low discharge things like remotes, but in terms of being environmentally conscious, and saving money, the rechargeables are better.

I have a bunch of rechargeables on hand and once in a while I just put them on the charger so they're ready to go.  Which reminds me it's been a while since I've done it.  Should do it now.
 
 


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