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#143509 - 08/10/08 07:04 PM Batteries -- when do you standardize?
Fitzoid Offline

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
Lots of us standardize our batteries (e.g., only use AAs), so that we don't have to play around with a million different types. However, you can't always get away with AAs for some devices. So, I'm curious, what do you make exceptions for?

First, why I standardize:

1) Just charge your devices, throw 10 extra AAs in your pack, and you're easily covered for the weekend and then some.

2) You can buy/find them anywhere in the world. You can also pull them out of other devices (cannibalize 'em).

3) NiMH AAs work great. I have LaCrosse BC900 and a Maha C401FS chargers and I can recharge from solar, my car, a portable SLA battery, AC, etc. I use PowerEx 2700mAh batteries, which are the highest capacity available. I always have fresh trickle charged ones ready to go.

4) Non-rechargeable AAs are dirt cheap. The more expensive Lithium AAs work great in very cold temperatures. Alkalines and Lithiums (non-rechargeable) have incredibly long shelf lives.

5) Good flashlights no longer require CR123s.

6) My AA Gear:
  • Flashlights: Photon Proton and Freedom Fusion, Fenix L2D premium, random others...
  • Radios: Sangean DT200VX (AM/FM), Yaesu VX7/VX2 emergency backup power (ham), Uniden BCD396T (scanner)
  • GPS: Garmin 60CSx
  • Cell phone power-backup

And now, here are what I make exceptions for:
  • Photon Freedom Micro lights (2xCR2016). I always have at least 2 of these with me, as they're on keychains and they're clipped to every bag I own. Very low self-discharge rate.
  • Ham radio battery packs are proprietary Lion. (Yaesu VX-7 and VX-2. They have AA backups, but those are mainly for receive, not transmit.) Usually carry 2-3 battery packs per radio.
  • Surefire E2E and some other random CR123 lights. I take a Xenon E2E camping, as IMHO the beam is better in fog than LED. But I don't buy anything new that requires CR123s. This is legacy equipment to me.
  • Glo-toobs (A23): I just love these things. I keep them clipped to bags and I even EDC one.
  • Radios for emergency use when on battery power (D cells): CCrane Radio Plus, Sony 2010, XM boombox, and too many others. (The Sony also requires AAs.) I also have C and D size "cases" for my rechargeable AAs, but I haven't used them.
  • Green laser pointer (2xAAA). Useful for pointing out constellations when camping, as the beam is visible if there's no moon. (I use rechargeable AAA NiHMs.) This might be useful for emergency signaling, as it's so damn bright, but that's not why I bring it.
  • Sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries, both portable and not so portable, that can be solar charged and power AC (120V) or DC (12V) devices.

So, who else is trying to standardize and what are you making exceptions for? Are the exceptions for critical items (e.g., water purification) or things you could manage without?

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

#143511 - 08/10/08 07:36 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
I buy as many things as I can based on a common battery type. I try to stay with devices that use AAs and D batteries, but have a few things that come in C size batteries.

But you canít do that with rechargeable items as easily. My cell phone and Palm Pilot have internal rechargeable batteries and I canít get around that.

I refuse to buy anything that runs on the CR-123 batteries as they are expensive compared to AAs and I donít feel they give much advantage for a flashlight. I have some fairly bright flashlights that run from AAs and C batteries. My digital camera runs from AAs, I made a battery charger / pack for my Palm Pilot that runs on 4 D batteries (also charges and runs my cell phone) so I standardized the rechargeable batts to run on a common battery.

I also have 12-volt chargers to run things so I guess you could say I standardized lots of things to run from a common voltage source.


You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#143512 - 08/10/08 07:36 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
Malpaso Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 817
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Fitzoid

5) Good flashlights no longer require CR123s.

But CR123s have much longer shelf life if you're looking long term.
It's not that life is so short, it's that you're dead for so long.

#143513 - 08/10/08 07:48 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Malpaso]
BobS Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 924
Loc: Toledo Ohio
Originally Posted By: Malpaso
Originally Posted By: Fitzoid

5) Good flashlights no longer require CR123s.

But CR123s have much longer shelf life if you're looking long term.

Not if you buy Lithium AAs, they have a very long shelf life (several years longer then Alkaline.) and they deliver a lot of power. I use them in my digital camera and they last many times longer then Alkaline batts do.

And then you also have the option of using lesser batteries Alkaline AAs if needed.

CR123 powered devices limits you to expensive harder to find power sources.

You can run, but you'll only die tired.

#143516 - 08/10/08 08:32 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1976
Loc: Colorado
About everything I use these days runs on AA's or AAA's, the division between those two types being pretty even. So those are my standards. I buy them in the largest packs I can find when they go on sale. My personal experience is that RayOVac alkalines perform as well as, and leak less frequently than, Energizers or Duracells. Plus, they're cheaper and come in even bigger bulk packs. YMMV.

Smoke detectors take 9v, and I buy those only as needed at daylight->standard time changes, when I change all my detectors. I have some old MagLights that run on D's and C's, but I never use those much anymore and don't keep spare batteries on hand for them. If I need D's or C's, I only pick them up at the store at the time of need.

#143517 - 08/10/08 08:50 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: BobS]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
AA batteries for almost everything I use every day - flashlights in particular, the Red Rock lantern etc. But an important exception for my headlamps, which aside from the Fenix 1xAA light in my pocket, are my go to source of light in an emergency.

I buy a bulk 32xAA standard alkaline package at least once a year - I feed these to my son, who seems not able to differentiate between rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries and has fried at least one charger because of it. He uses them in his toys most of the time. I also like to have a certain number of alkaline batteries around just in case - if the lights blow, and are going to stay off for a while, a pocketful of alkalines are comforting. And I'm way more likely to hand a friend (let alone a complete stranger) 4xAAs alkaline rather than 4xAA eneloop or NIMHs. When our power was out for 9 days a couple years ago, I had to make specific allowance for recharging my NiMHs, kind of a hassle.

AA eneloop and NIMHs - I really like eneloop, they don't trickle out charge nearly as much as NIMHs. I don't think we can have enough of these, I buy them when I find them on sale. NIMHs mostly in everday devices, like TV remotes, also in my camera, fenix and minimaglites in glove compartments, first aid kits etc etc Sony via Costco in their eneloop SKU distributes neat C and D sized shells that you can slip a single AA battery into, I'd like to use those on my World radio that takes 8xC type batteries.

AA lithiums, about 12 or so, socked away in my earthquake supplies. Good for a long time, when I need them they should be there.

AAAs, only for a TV remote and a Petzl headlamp I still use sometimes hiking. If I ran out of AAAs though, I'd be okay with another headlamp, which is

The Doug Ritter headlamp, runs on 2xCR2032s. I own several of these ($15.95 per, why not) Usually a pricey battery, but I bought a bunch online for very cheap, their charge doesn't trickle away either. Keep one in my first aid kits (4 total), one in my backpack, another in my daypack. Good, reliable strong beam of light, no hands, inexpensive. I love the small size of the CR2032 battery, easy to pop in spares wherever the headlamps live.

Also I found 6xCR123 in my sock drawer the other day, and had to think what they were for. For my green Glo-Toob, I'd forgotten them but I bought them with the CR2032s for cheap online and use them to replace the default. But after 20-30 hrs of glowing, no replacement necessary so far, and I doubt I would remember to pack them along with the GloToob itself. Its a neat source of light or glow, but not critical for me most of the time.

#143519 - 08/10/08 09:24 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I wish I could settle on just AAs.

My head lamp uses AAAs. If I could find one that I liked as much as the Tikka that ran on AAs and didn't have a battery box on the back I'd go with it. I've also got a couple of Solitaires still, but I'm probably going to replace them all at some point.

My Surefire uses CR123s. If I could find a comparable light that I could afford that used AAs, I'd go with that to.

Leaving me with my mini strobe, which uses a pair of 2032s. Not sure much can be done there.

Everything else uses AAs.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#143525 - 08/10/08 09:53 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4765
While I'd like to standardize everything to AA, I find a few AAA items very useful and many items I carry are themselves smaller than a AA cell so complete standardization would be difficult.

That said, all my radios (receivers) are AA. One AM/FM/SW will recharge NiMH batteries when plugged into 110AC, can accept both AA and D cell batteries; I keep a set of AA's in that radio and would like to get four D cell NiMH batteries, so that if necessary I could pull teh AA batteries for other apps and keep the radio running on the D cells smile

Most of my lights are AA. The 4xAA UKeLED has great battery life and can run on alkaline, NiMH and Lithium AA batteries (although the hazardous area ratings go away if it's used with Lithiums cells). The lights that aren't AA are either 1xAAA LED lights I have for pocket carry, or 3D and 2D Maglites with LED bulbs that are rarely used. My CR123 lights have all been retired.

The lights and GPS attached to my bicycle are all AAA. So in a sense I've standardized to AAA for bicycle applications.

Back to AA -- my primary GPS and digital camera run on AA batteries. The GPS alone is a great reason to standardize on AA batteries. If you see me walking with a Garmin 60CSx, everything else I carry will also run on AA batteries, probably NiMH rechargeables with a solar recharger in my pack.

#143541 - 08/10/08 11:02 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Russ]
KG2V Offline


Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
You do know they now make CR123 glo-toobs?

I've gone to "I'll carry 2 types" - AA and CR-123
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

#143543 - 08/10/08 11:10 PM Re: Batteries -- when do you standardize? [Re: Fitzoid]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
I too stay with AA's whenever possible. Best, most versatile power package by far IMO. However I make exceptions for photons/petzl e+Lite (CR2016/CR2032), one light that uses CR123, upgraded maglites (D cells), and of course some AAA's. Standardizing on one battery makes things a heck of a lot easier.

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