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#143603 - 08/11/08 05:20 AM Best AA battery
comms Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
A few threads have gone this direction lately and to much debate on the use of AA batteries.

I have not jumped into the world of rechargeable batteries or designer types, specifically in AA. A brick of coppertop Energizers are just to darn cheap at Costco. I now obviously see a need for something better so would like feedback on what works and what doesn't. For comparative purposes lets use flashlights, digital cameras and radios as our power draw.

In your opinions what are the best rechargeables, lithium, NiMh(?) or whatever this battery neophyte is missing to list. Also if discussing rechargeable batteries what unit works best, if any to do so, solar, wall outlet, etc.

I have a solar panel that recharges AA's but not used it yet. And a 'survival' radio that uses rechargeable batteries and a hand crank. I have avoided the "charge your cell phone with AA's" so far, hoping the solar charger would do that better but, I haven't soldered the USB connection yet.

What 'designer AA batteries' should I avoid as well.

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#143608 - 08/11/08 06:12 AM Re: Best AA battery [Re: comms]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1781
depends on your usage. i use enough batteries to warrant NiMH, but i don't use them fast enough to warrant normal NiMH. After years of messing with normal NiMH, i went for the low self discharge (LSD) NiMH and i never looked back.

LSD NiMH are very usefull in equipment, which won't use up the batteries in a few days. I also love to use them in mine camera, because i don't charge mine batteries all the time. I love the fact that mine camera will have enough power, even though i have not chargerd the batteries for weeks.

get a proper charger like the MAHA or LaCross to squeeze the most out of the batteries. Don't cheap out on the chargers, even if you can't afford a MAHA or Lacross, find one which has independ charging bays.

Batteries to avoid are those who are to good to be true. Some cheap AA NiMH batteries have wrappers with "3200 Mah" on them, they are not. Impossible high battery ratings, usually means they are junk.

Also avoid 2700Mah if you don't want high self discharge rates.

NiCa batteries are also a bad choice as rechargable AA's. (although they can be usefull in some applications)

Don't mix in Li-ion's in to the mix, unless you have great knowlegde about them. Uncarefull use of Li-ion can be dangerous and due to the much higher voltage, they can fry your equipment.
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#143616 - 08/11/08 11:12 AM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Tjin]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2847
Second the decent charger recommendation, for years I used walmart quality chargers and was disapointed when my batterus would die when I needed them most. For the $30 wasted on a low quaility charger you can get a maha c401fs for $40.

Low self discharge NiMH is the way to go, Sanyo eneloop are some of the best out there but there are many others.
with the low self discharge batteries on the market there really isn't much need for non rechargeable batteries any more.

WRT rechargeable and lithium, lithium are not rechargeable, lithium ion are and they are not in standard sizes like AA and such. Be careful buying devices which use lithium ion (gps, camera, etc) when there are aa powered available, you then have to have a charger dedicated to that device and plan to replace the batteries ever few years since lithium ion have a shprt lifespan compared to other technologies.

Nicad has their place, if you have a simple trickle charger like in those little solar powered yard lights or cordless phones a nicad will last longer since none of the other technolies are as tolerant of the constant charge.

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#143650 - 08/11/08 02:46 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: ]
Fitzoid Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
This is what I use:
  • PowerEx 2700 mAH AAs I have not formally measured their self-discharge rate, which would be easy to do with a good charger that displays info, but I'll try to remember to set aside a pair for a month and do so. I have no self-discharge problems with them.
  • LaCrosse BC-900 : Superb charger which can now be found online for $40. Don't get the upgraded model which requires something like 100 button presses every time you use it. The BC900 does everything you would likely need.
  • Maha MH-C401FS: Great tiny charger. Not as capable as the La Crosse but portable and easy to travel with.

Finally, I don't have these but you can check out Maha's new 2100 mAh Immedion AA. They claim 85% capacity after one year, but my batteries never sit around that long. I have alkalines and lithiums for storage, which do a lot better than 85%. (Main reason to get something like this might be if you want rechargeables for emergency storage, the cells may die if you let them completely discharge; this seems like it might avoid that problem.)

One last note: Good chargers will let you set the charging current. Lower current = less heat = longer battery life. I usually use 200-400mA, which takes a few hours to charge however many I have in the charger. You can set a much larger current, but the batteries will overheat and suffer in the long run.
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#143657 - 08/11/08 03:10 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Fitzoid]
Rodion Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/29/08
Posts: 285
Loc: Israel
Now this is a useful thread!

What do you guys think of Recyko batteries and chargers? I have their "quick" charger, four 2050 Mah AAs and four more 820 Mah AAAs.



The AAs never went out on me; even after being "drained" by a cellphone, they powered the aforementioned Stone Age flashlight just fine. Maybe it just means the voltage was down, but I haven't noticed a reduction in brightness. Never gave them a chance to hold charge for over a month, so I wouldn't know about that.

AAAs in my player go out all the time, but I suspect it's prone to turning itself on.

One important issue is the size: not all are the same size. Two of my pack literally get stuck in smaller devices, rendering them effectively useless and requiring repairs. Very nasty surprise if you're in the field.


Um, so again, what do you think about them?
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#143663 - 08/11/08 03:24 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Rodion]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2847
Looking at http://www.gprecyko.com/en/charger_pack.html all the 4 bay chargers like your picture say 2-4 batteries so they appear to only charge in pairs. I wouldn't use one for that reason.

Yes, some higher capacity batteries get more capacity by makeing them slightly large.

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#143669 - 08/11/08 03:38 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Rodion]
Fitzoid Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/23/05
Posts: 289
Loc: WI, MA, and NYC
Two quick notes.

1) You didn't really drain the AAs if they were powering a cell phone. Most devices require a minimum voltage and turn off when you drop below it. As AA NiHMs start off at 1.2V, you're already at something of a minor disadvantage, and when your cell phone stopped working, the batteries weren't empty; they just couldn't power it anymore. The only real ways to fully drain a battery are to let it completely self-discharge over time or as part of reconditioning phase in a good charger. An unregulated flashlight will speed the process along, but I don't think even that will do it.

2) Yes, battery widths (and heights) can vary slightly. You think there would be an ANSI standard to prevent this, as it can be a problem in devices with very tight tolerances.
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"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

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#143677 - 08/11/08 03:58 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: comms]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Best Primary AA Cell - Energiser Lithium

Best Rechargeable AA Cell - Sanyo Eneloop or Panasonic Infinium

Best Alkaline AA Cell - Duracell Procell


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#143682 - 08/11/08 04:08 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Tjin Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1781
GP recyko's are good LSD NiMH, i have stacks of them. But the cheaper GP chargers, are just that good. I think GP does make a good charger, with independbays, but at a much higher price.
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#143683 - 08/11/08 04:09 PM Re: Best AA battery [Re: Fitzoid]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2847
There is a standard battery width, but some of the high capacity are actually slightly bigger than that standard.

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