Forum Index > Gear Talk > Managing your piles of half used batteries
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Luc
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 1527 | TRs
Location: accepting wise-cracks like no other
Luc
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 1:12 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I'm surely not the only one with piles of batteries for outdoor use.

Some are the Lithium, some are name brand alkaline, some are store brand.

Some have a full charge, some are partially used, some are a mystery.

Besides "get rechargables," how do you organize your batts, and what do you do with partially drained batts?  I have a tendency on any trip longer than a few nights, to go out and get brand new batts.  Then when I get home they're partially used.  Mostly talking AA's, and these days I don't have much that uses them except headlamps and GPS's.

Also can anyone recommend a good tester?

--------------
GNGSTR
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Huron
Heartless



Joined: 13 Sep 2004
Posts: 931 | TRs

Huron
Heartless
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 1:31 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
You are the only one. Everyone else uses Eneloops. For organization, clip a Harbor Freight coupon and get a $4 small size organizer tray. The medium bins fit AAA-AA.

Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
InFlight
coated in DEET



Joined: 20 May 2015
Posts: 531 | TRs
Location: Seattle area
InFlight
coated in DEET
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 1:45 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Best battery tester is any Volt/Ohm/Amp meter (Don't need a Fluke to test batteries!).  Most of the big box hardware stores, Ace, Sears, have some low cost multimeters.

For Regular Alkaline AA batteries they should be 1.5V+ when new. Somewhere between 1.35 to 1.2V still have some life.  Anything below 1.2V  toss.

If you can still charge the lithium's to over 1.5 volts, should be fine for use.

You could save your partials for non-critical items such as cordless mice, remotes, etc. that are no big deal to use up and change.

--------------
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately...  ― Henry David Thoreau
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Luc
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 1527 | TRs
Location: accepting wise-cracks like no other
Luc
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 2:30 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Perhaps I've been lazy by just tossing them in the drawer.

So yeah, thanks InFlight for the tips.  Organizing them in trays should be easy enough.

Now I guess I don't have many "non-critical" uses.

The lithiums I use are the energizer non-rechargable.  They seem to drain suddenly at the end of their charge (which I prefer) so it's hard to tell how much juice they have.

One question though, is does one really need a brand new battery for outings.   How often is that overkill, etc.

--------------
GNGSTR
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Adohrn
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Mar 2012
Posts: 272 | TRs

Adohrn
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 2:33 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Just start night hiking with your headlamp.   Problem solved. I use electrical tape to keep used sets of batteries together.  Store them in such a way as no batteries +- come into contact as this results in them drained of power and or leaking.  Using them with wildly varying amounts of power can also result in leakage reason for electrical tape.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Malachai Constant
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jan 2002
Posts: 13765 | TRs
Location: Back Again Like A Bad Penny
Malachai Constant
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 2:51 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I follow in flights advice with a cheap Sears (are they still around) multimeter. Use disposable lithium for thru hikes in the summer one set is good for a couple months in a headlight.

--------------
"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Bernardo
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Feb 2010
Posts: 1770 | TRs
Location: out and about in the world
Bernardo
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 3:56 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
AA batteries are light, therefore I carry extra and drain them before replacing.

For the environment's sake, for safety, and for conveince I carry spares.  I try to drain pretty low, but once they come out of the device, I dispose. This may not fully utilize every ounce of life, but I think this is much better than accumulating a lot of partially used batteries I would have to manage/store and then probably never use. 

I also use a multimeter so I know the "new" batteries are good.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12412 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 4:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Luc wrote:
Besides "get rechargables," how do you.  .   .  .

Can't answer your question because I use NiMH rechargeable cells for all of my headlights and outdoor electronics.

Nonetheless, the answer is: Get NiMH rechargeables and a good smart charger. Why?
1. You can start each trip with fully charged cells in your headlamp and electronic devices
2. With a smart charger with readout, you can determine how much capacity you used for each device on a given trip, information that can be very helpful for planning battery needs for longer trips
3. You can avoid 99% of discarding toxic spent cells, good thing for planet Earth
4. You can save money in the long term
5. Flat voltage drop curve works better for unregulated headlamps (consistent brightness) vs. alky gradual voltage curve drop (gradually grows dimmer and dimmer)
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Luc
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Jul 2003
Posts: 1527 | TRs
Location: accepting wise-cracks like no other
Luc
Member
PostTue Oct 10, 2017 10:54 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve wrote:
5. Flat voltage drop curve works better for unregulated headlamps (consistent brightness) vs. alky gradual voltage curve drop (gradually grows dimmer and dimmer)

Agreed.

I've been under the impression that the silver energizer lithium ultras outperform anything else in the field.  Is that not true?  Maybe I got a bad taste in my mouth from earlier NiMH cells.  Are NiMH cells as long lasting at the crank as the silverados?

--------------
GNGSTR
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12412 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 8:39 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
If the measure is total energy capacity, lithium/Fe cells outperform NiMH and alkys. But how often do you need more than 2500mAh capacity for AA cells or 900 mAh for AAA cells between charging opportunities? The answer for me is "never." I've never completely tapped two 2700 mAh NiMH cells in my (quite efficient) GPSr -- nor three 1000mAh NiMH cells for my headlamp -- on trips as long as 9 days.

It's too bad that people have had bad experience with crappy NiMH cells, e.g., Duracell-branded and Eveready-branded garbage NiMH cells. Avoid those because they have inconsistent performance and too many duds.

IME, the best NiMH cells are Eneloop, Eneloop XX and Powerex. (Sony and Maha also make good non-LSD NiMH cells.) Eneloop and Eneloop XX are low self-discharge (LSD), which means they self-discharge at a very slow rate, e.g., if you charge them to full capacity on day 1, they will have 95%+ capacity on day 100. But note that LSD comes at a cost of less capacity, e.g., an Eneloop AA cell spec is 2000mAh capacity, AAA is 800mAh capacity. (Actual capacity is usually a bit higher. See below.)

The highest capacity reliable NiMH cells are Powerex, which are non-LSD so it's best to charge them to full capacity immediately prior to a trip. Powerex AA cells are spec'd 2700mAh capacity, AAA 1000mAh capacity. Those are minimum numbers. You can determine the actual capacity of an individual cell by using a smart charger with readout to fully discharge it, then charge it to full capacity. I've had Powerex AAA cells take >1100 mAh charge and Powerex AA cells take >2850mAh charge.

Eneloop XX are in between, spec'd @ 2550mAh for AA and 950mAh for AAA, and are LSD. They are more expensive than regular Eneloops and have a considerably shorter charging cycle life (500 vs. 2100 cycles).

I have used Eneloops, Eneloop XX and Powerex NiMH cells for years, and I have never had a dud. I charge them with a LaCrosse BC-700 charger, AA @ 700mA, AAA @ 500mA.

For a couple years I kept pretty close track of capacity usage on shorter trips, and extrapolated those stats for longer trip planning. For trips of 4 days or shorter, I usually use Eneloops, saving the Powerex for longer trips. I use Eneloop XX cells for headlamps intended for emergency use and bump charge them every 6 months or so.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schenk
Off Leash Man



Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 2037 | TRs
Location: Traveling, with the bear, to the other side of the Mountain
Schenk
Off Leash Man
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 10:09 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
In the past I have used partially discharged batteries in something I know has a high-ish drain...like my GPS. It is a given that I will need new batteries on any trip over 1-2 days so I just burn up my partials in the GPS and carry one set of new batteries as backup.
This worked a lot better for me than waiting for a headlamp to slowly fade until the output was too dim to be useful.

I have switched to NiMH rechargeable batteries and a smart charger now. I can't believe how much money I have saved.

--------------
Nature exists with a stark indifference to humans' situation.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schenk
Off Leash Man



Joined: 16 Apr 2012
Posts: 2037 | TRs
Location: Traveling, with the bear, to the other side of the Mountain
Schenk
Off Leash Man
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 10:18 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
For what it is worth, thus far (1 year) I have had good luck with the Tenergy Premium NiMH rechargeables.
2500 mAh for the AA

--------------
Nature exists with a stark indifference to humans' situation.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
RumiDude
Marmota olympus



Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 2506 | TRs
Location: Port Angeles
RumiDude
Marmota olympus
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 10:40 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Bernardo wrote:
AA batteries are light, therefore I carry extra and drain them before replacing.

For the environment's sake, for safety, and for conveince I carry spares.  I try to drain pretty low, but once they come out of the device, I dispose. This may not fully utilize every ounce of life, but I think this is much better than accumulating a lot of partially used batteries I would have to manage/store and then probably never use. 

I also use a multimeter so I know the "new" batteries are good.

This is exactly what I do. Once I remove a battery, I never try to reuse it for something else.

Rumi

--------------
"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12412 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 11:02 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schenk wrote:
For what it is worth, thus far (1 year) I have had good luck with the Tenergy Premium NiMH rechargeables

Tenergy NiMH cells are inexpensive, but I've had problems. A few years ago I bought an 8-pack of Tenergy NiMH AAAs. 2 of them were duds, incapable of charging. I sent the entire 8-pack back to Battery Depot, which gave me a refund. The good news is that I figured out they were duds after a couple (attempted) charge cycles, and the duds did not result in any problems in the field.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
DIYSteve
seeking hygge



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 12412 | TRs
Location: here now
DIYSteve
seeking hygge
PostWed Oct 11, 2017 11:16 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
BTW, if anyone is interested in learning the ins and outs of NiMH cell use, chargers, charging strategies, capacities, LSD vs. non-LSD, most reliable brands, etc., check out the numerous threads on candlepowerforums. There are lots of well-educated battery nerds over there, some of whom share their objective testing results. Great source for solid info.

Gotta tellya, I don't get why any mountain traveler still uses alkys
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Gear Talk > Managing your piles of half used batteries
  Happy Birthday loudscoutii, dawgTE, Merlin!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy