Let’s Talk Batteries, Part 3

I guess I’m turning into the Battery Whisperer…

In Part 2 of this series, I had mentioned that I was considering an evil, high capacity battery charger, and mused about building one for myself. It turns out that at some point I was thinking ahead and ordered a Maha (Powerex) MH-C800 8 battery charger and had squirreled it away. This and the Zanflare gives me the ability to charge 12 batteries at once. I think I can live with that.

(For some reason the text isn’t wrapping properly. A bug in Blogger, I’m sure.)

A reader hit me up via the contact form and noted that he has given up on rechargables in the AA and AAA sizes as he uses them so infrequently. I can dig it-if you aren’t using them, why bother? He has went to single-use lithiums. I’m doing that with anything that needs the batteries in it, like a flashlight in a vehicle. I wish they were available in the low self-discharge NiMH in D size. You can get a “spacer” for Eneloops, but you give up all the capacity advantages of a D cell.

At the moment, I’m still using cheap alkalines in things like wireless keyboards and remotes. My preferred brand is the ACDelco, which you can buy dirt cheap in bulk. No, the power density isn’t so great, but they’re cheap and so far I’ve not had one leak, although at this price you can simply proactively swap them out every year or so.

One thing I have attempted to do was reduce the number of battery types my gadgets use. I’d like to get it down to one or two types, but that simply isn’t going to happen.Now I’m hoping to get down to D, AA and AAA, plus CR123 and 18650. My GE Superadio 3, Zenith Transocanic D7000Y and the Teralux Maglite conversions all need D cells. AA and AAA are for the general use flashlights and remotes, plus new smoke detectors are now using AAs. The CR123 and 18650s are for tactical lights, although the 18650 is starting to come into wider use. And I’ll probably always have a couple of 9v around, just because I have some old transistor radios that want the expensive things. And don’t forget at least 4 types of coin cells for this and that.

At least I’ve gotten rid of C cells. I may eventually be able to lose the CR123s as well. It was a laudable goal that sounds great in theory, doesn’t work at all in practice.

I also want to go back to the subject of counterfeit batteries for just a second. As I understand it, batteries of all types are now being counterfeited in a large scale. I know this will shock you, but they seem to come primarily from China, land of poison pet food. There is no brand or battery type that hasn’t been counterfeited, and they are often sold at reputable outlets. Visually, the counterfeit batteries are very good. The only way to tell good from bad is by use testing.

I suspect this may be why we’re seeing so many leaky batteries these days. While this is hard on your equipment, it’s also hard on battery manufacturers, who have their brand damaged and in many cases still pay for the damaged device. The industry needs to work out some mechanism that consumers can use to validate the batteries they buy. I can’t think of a relatively foolproof to do this.

With that, I’m pretty much out of juice on this subject.

One thought on “Let’s Talk Batteries, Part 3

  1. Just a note that i have one of these MAHA charges recharging several sets of AA NiMHs
    for my handheld scanners I travel the state with. Excellent charger…the short video was good to remind me of the other features I had not used in a while. thank you

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