Anyone have advise on rechargeable batteries?

jo-jo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
We have a number of little sensor lights in our hallways and bathrooms that use AAA batteries. Haven't kept count, but it seems like we go through a lot. I've decided to look into rechargeable.

Anyone have brands for batteries and chargers that they liked?
 

Praying Colonel

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
We have a number of little sensor lights in our hallways and bathrooms that use AAA batteries. Haven't kept count, but it seems like we go through a lot. I've decided to look into rechargeable.

Anyone have brands for batteries and chargers that they liked?
After doing some research, I bought some Eneloop AA batteries for a clock. They work fine and I'd recommend that brand.
 

Imzadi

♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
After doing some research, I bought some Eneloop AA batteries for a clock. They work fine and I'd recommend that brand.
I agree. I did some research 4 years ago, after Superstorm Sandy wiped out the NJ & NY coastline and I needed some emergency, backup batteries. All reports then said Panasonic Eneloop 4th generation batteries were the best in terms of price, rechargeability & staying power. The Amazon descriptions usually state they are 4th generation or look for the battery model number: BK-3MCC for the Eneloop AA batteries. Also the packaging should state: 70% charge remaining after 10 years.

AmazonBasics rechargeable batteries came in as a close second. However, one review of them said, either the AA or the AAA weren't as good. I forget which one, as I'm staying with Eneloops.

This past week, after being in the NYC blackout, I did some research again to see if I need to upgrade my batteries. Technology has changed a LOT in the past few years and I realized I have to get a lot of different emergency preparedness items that run on hand-crank, with solar & (rechargeable) battery back-up.

One thing I was surprised at, was that when I switched on my LED lanterns, which I hadn't used in quite a few months and know that it was even more months before that, that the batteries in them were recharged, I found the lights quite bright and were steadily staying on.

After, I researched & found that the newer NiMH batteries developed in the last few years are able to retain about 70% of their charge for a few years, while not in use. (It's called self-discharging.) The first rechargeable batteries ever that came out, (not NiMH batteries,) would lose their charge within a couple months, even when not used. And they needed to be recharged often while in use. I had those. That was my only knowledge & reference to rechargeable batteries. I didn't know the technology had changed. And that I had luckily bought some of the newer ones.

Make sure the package of batteries you buy say they are NiMH and that they state they retain a good percentage of their charge for several years. The packages usually say they come pre-charged from the factory as they hold their charge for about 5 years now. Stay away from any ebay or Amazon reseller sales where they may be getting rid of the really old (first generation, and not NiMH) rechargeable batteries.

Also get a SLOW recharger specifically for NiMH batteries. It may take a few hours to recharge batteries, instead of one hour. But, the "quick" rechargers actually kill the life of the batteries faster.

I am also getting a new recharger that works via a USB input, (any USB cellphone charger,) as well as by regular AC power that plugs into a wall outlet. This way, if I'm stuck in another emergency and have to recharge my batteries, I can do so via a solar charger or hand-crank/solar lantern that will recharge my cell phone AND I can connect the USB battery recharger. I'm making sure I'm ready for any zombie or climate change apocalypse. :teeth: You didn't list that as one of your needs. But, it's an option to think about having.
 
Last edited:
  • bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    Panasonic (formerly Sanyo) Eneloop. Nothing better out there. However, they don't actually make them any more, but the technology is what was developed at Sanyo. They're actually made by Fujitsu after Panasonic was forced to sell their NiMH battery business. They don't sell them directly in the US. I heard that some of the AmazonBasics batteries may be equivalent. Look for a label that says it's made in Japan.

    We have an Amazon store here that sells the batteries.

    The good thing about these is the low self-discharge. You can also swap them out on a regular (maybe monthly) basis with a charged battery. I actually prefer that to using alkaline where they've been installed but I can't be too sure how much longer they'll last.
     

    Floridaman999

    Livin' the life
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2017
    I use the Amazon basics for AA and AAA rechargeable batteries and have had great results with them.
     

    jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    I agree. I did some research 4 years ago, after Superstorm Sandy wiped out the NJ & NY coastline and I needed some emergency, backup batteries. All reports then said Panasonic Eneloop 4th generation batteries were the best in terms of price, rechargeability & staying power. The Amazon descriptions usually state they are 4th generation or look for the battery model number: BK-3MCC for the Eneloop AA batteries. Also the packaging should state: 70% charge remaining after 10 years.

    AmazonBasics rechargeable batteries came in as a close second. However, one review of them said, either the AA or the AAA weren't as good. I forget which one, as I'm staying with Eneloops.

    This past week, after being in the NYC blackout, I did some research again to see if I need to upgrade my batteries. Technology has changed a LOT in the past few years and I realized I have to get a lot of different emergency preparedness items that run on hand-crank, with solar & (rechargeable) battery back-up.

    One thing I was surprised at, was that when I switched on my LED lanterns, which I hadn't used in quite a few months and know that it was even more months before that, that the batteries in them were recharged, I found the lights quite bright and were steadily staying on.

    After, I researched & found that the newer NiMH batteries developed in the last few years are able to retain about 70% of their charge for a few years, while not in use. (It's called self-discharging.) The first rechargeable batteries ever that came out, (not NiMH batteries,) would lose their charge within a couple months, even when not used. And they needed to be recharged often while in use. I had those. That was my only knowledge & reference to rechargeable batteries. I didn't know the technology had changed. And that I had luckily bought some of the newer ones.

    Make sure the package of batteries you buy say they are NiMH and that they state they retain a good percentage of their charge for several years. The packages usually say they come pre-charged from the factory as they hold their charge for about 5 years now. Stay away from any ebay or Amazon reseller sales where they may be getting rid of the really old (first generation, and not NiMH) rechargeable batteries.

    Also get a SLOW recharger specifically for NiMH batteries. It may take a few hours to recharge batteries, instead of one hour. But, the "quick" rechargers actually kill the life of the batteries faster.

    I am also getting a new recharger that works via a USB input, (any USB cellphone charger,) as well as by regular AC power that plugs into a wall outlet. This way, if I'm stuck in another emergency and have to recharge my batteries, I can do so via a solar charger or hand-crank/solar lantern that will recharge my cell phone AND I can connect the USB battery recharger. I'm making sure I'm ready for any zombie or climate change apocalypse. :teeth: You didn't list that as one of your needs. But, it's an option to think about having.
    Wow, thanks for the detailed answer.

    I never would have thought of USB charging nor zombies. I do have a few that plug in and one solar charger. Not sure what I need for zombies. Would hand sanitizer work????
     

    Imzadi

    ♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
    Joined
    Oct 29, 2004
    Wow, thanks for the detailed answer.

    I never would have thought of USB charging nor zombies. I do have a few that plug in and one solar charger. Not sure what I need for zombies. Would hand sanitizer work????
    Ohh! Hand sanitizer. Must put that on my list. Will probably need that for after I take out a few zombies. :lmao:;)
     
  • Floridaman999

    Livin' the life
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2017
    They have several different colors , I'm assuming that means different levels of something, not just to look pretty.
    The rechargeable batteries that I get from them has always been black labeled. The regular batteries are silver. Beyond that I have no idea the differences in any other color.
     

    Imzadi

    ♥ Saved by an angel in a trench coat!
    Joined
    Oct 29, 2004
    They have several different colors , I'm assuming that means different levels of something, not just to look pretty.
    It's probably for the different usages & amount of power in them. The Eneloops also have 2 different colors. One is white, for standard usage. Black ones are the "Pro" version whhich have more power for things that need extreme intense power right away, like flashlights. Yet, they are rated to only be good for 500 recharges vs the standard ones that are capable of 2000 recharges.

    I might buy a pack of the Pros as my wireless computer mouse doesn't really do well on a standard rechargeable. Suddenly moving the mouse creates too much of a power lag & the tracking goes off a bit, and it's noticeable. So, I have an "ordinary" battery in it.

    For flashlights that stay on, even if the power is overall at say, 80% with the standard batteries, instead of 100% with the Pros, that difference between 500 or 2000 recharges is a lot. For me, I don't think I'll notice that much of a difference to make it worth my while to get the Pros for that use.
     

    bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    The rechargeable batteries that I get from them has always been black labeled. The regular batteries are silver. Beyond that I have no idea the differences in any other color.
    Amazon buys their batteries from several suppliers. Some of them are alleged to be the FDK/Fujitsu batteries that are functionally the same as the latest Panasonic Eneloop. However, these would all be labelled as being made in Japan, and it's difficult to order them with that kind of specificity. If you can find them at one of Amazon's physical stores, it's possible to check the box. However, I've been reading that the AmazonBasics AAA batteries are only labelled as made in China.

    Here's someone who cares about them way more than anyone should:

     
  • bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    It's probably for the different usages & amount of power in them. The Eneloops also have 2 different colors. One is white, for standard usage. Black ones are the "Pro" version whhich have more power for things that need extreme intense power right away, like flashlights. Yet, they are rated to only be good for 500 recharges vs the standard ones that are capable of 2000 recharges.
    Eneloops have often come in limited edition "fashion colors" over the years where the batteries were identical.


    Here's the limited edition "Chocolat" pack:



    The standard color has always been white, but there was a time when they had special packages for sale at Costco. The AAs came in two shades of blue, and the AAAs came in two shades of green.

     

    bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    How many AAAs do you need? It's pretty easy to keep spares and then cycle them in and out every week/month/etc.

    Here's a package with 12 AAAs and a charger:


    The think I like about this battery (although Panasonic doesn't really make them) is that I've never seen one leak liquid like I've seen with other batteries. I've had a few fail, but that's not necessarily avoidable. There will always be some batteries that fail, but I'd rather they not leak too where they damage the device.
     

    jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    How many AAAs do you need? It's pretty easy to keep spares and then cycle them in and out every week/month/etc.

    Here's a package with 12 AAAs and a charger:


    The think I like about this battery (although Panasonic doesn't really make them) is that I've never seen one leak liquid like I've seen with other batteries. I've had a few fail, but that's not necessarily avoidable. There will always be some batteries that fail, but I'd rather they not leak too where they damage the device.

    That would fit the bill. We have a couple of motion sensor night lights in the downstairs hallway and one in a bathroom.

    Even though it wouldn't give many extra's, the chance of all dying at the same time is small.

    Thank you for the information.
     

    bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    That would fit the bill. We have a couple of motion sensor night lights in the downstairs hallway and one in a bathroom.

    Even though it wouldn't give many extra's, the chance of all dying at the same time is small.

    Thank you for the information.
    I've got several of these from over the years. The link is actually kind of generic. You'll need to select the options as to the type of charger (or no charger) and then see what other options you have. And the selection is kind of clunky.

    How many batteries total do you need?
     

    a1tinkfans

    Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!
    Joined
    Aug 12, 2006
    Use and store them and charge them as suggested. A member of our community decided to Charge them, not doing as suggested. He not only sustained serious burns but a fire ensued and burned their home to the ground. It was Awful!
     

    jo-jo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2011
    I've got several of these from over the years. The link is actually kind of generic. You'll need to select the options as to the type of charger (or no charger) and then see what other options you have. And the selection is kind of clunky.

    How many batteries total do you need?
    I would need 9 in use.

    Now before I purchase, how long would one last? It's a sensor light that probably turns on 5-10 times a day for maybe 30 seconds. Am I going to be replacing /charging every other day?
     

    bcla

    On our rugged Eastern foothills.....
    Joined
    Nov 28, 2012
    I would need 9 in use.

    Now before I purchase, how long would one last? It's a sensor light that probably turns on 5-10 times a day for maybe 30 seconds. Am I going to be replacing /charging every other day?
    How long do you suppose they’re lasting now on alkalines?

    There are just way too many variables. NiMH batteries inherently do better relative to alkalines in devices where there’s a huge peak current, such as digital cameras or camera flashes. On a freshly charged set they can take twice as many pictures or more even though they have lower capacity. Alkaline batteries lose a lot of energy to heat in that kind of device. The listed capacity of an alkaline doesn’t tell the whole story.

    But for slower drain devices one can pretty much take the listed capacity and extrapolate that into relative run time. A wall clock would be an example. I’ve run one for a couple of years on a single AA alkaline, although something that might run continuously for 24 hours with a steady drain is still considered slow drain. Maybe a wireless mouse would be a similar device in terms of drain. A fresh AAA alkaline is maybe 1200 mAh capacity. The latest AAA Eneloop (or other identical batteries made on the same production line) are rated at a minimum 750 and typical 800 mAh. Also rechargeable batteries inherently lose capacity with every charge. The rating for the latest Eneloop is 2000 complete charge-discharge cycles before they would on average be at 60% of original capacity. Also it sounds like these devices use 3 AAAs each. In that case it’s important to have a charger that can charge an odd number of batteries. Some only charge in pairs.

    Small LED lights barely consume any current, but some sensors use high peak current. But I’m thinking that you could probably cycle them at a regular interval about a third of the time you’re currently replacing them. If your replacing alkalines every 3 months, then maybe replace them with a freshly charged set of Eneloops once a month where you can stagger when you replace them and charge the batteries. It would also make sense to mark each set of batteries like A/B/C/D to keep them as matched sets so they roughly age together.

    A big advantage of rechargeable batteries is the ability to be proactive in replacing them without worrying about waste. In that case the user just recharges them. But with nonrechargeable batteries the tendency is to use them until they stop working to extract as much use out of them.

    Sorry to be so long winded, but I just wanted to be thorough.
     

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