8 September 2007
And four for the sixty-minute man
I go through AA batteries like teenagers go through refrigerators: at high speed, with little if any regard for the potential expense. It's not the only size that gets used around here within twenty feet of this desk are items that take AAAs, Cs, and the occasional 9-volt bricklet but a stack of remote controls and a digital camera guarantee that I'll run out of AAs on a regular basis.
In days of old I experimented with batteries that could be recharged, and this worked only slightly well, mostly because you paid dearly for nickel-cadmium cells which took a long time to juice up, which eventually wouldn't take even a fractional charge (the so-called "memory effect"), and which, when I eventually threw them out in frustration, contributed to environmental hazards.
Panasonic, which makes my camera, also makes a funky super-alkaline battery for it called Oxiride, which sounds like something you'd see for three payments of just $19.99 on late-night television. The camera shipped with a pair of them, and they lasted fairly well; unable to find them locally, I replaced them with your run-of-the-mill Duracells, which didn't. A guy at a big-box electronics store which shall remain anonymous suggested something that just sounded wrong: new nickel-metal hydride batteries that charge up in 15 minutes flat. I bought six of them, and a charger that holds two at a time.
The charger, incidentally, is loud: there's an internal fan that vents to the outside of the case, and it makes a fair amount of noise. It's almost loud enough, in fact, to use as a signal to tell you when it's done, if you don't happen to be in the same room when the green indicator light goes off. The first batch of AAs (it also does AAAs) I put through finished in 16:07, which is not too far off the mark; the camera accepted them with alacrity.
The rules of TANSTAAFL require me to point out that in a quarter-hour, these cells don't actually reach their maximum charge:
The Rayovac 2000 mAh cells appear to be of very good quality, testing higher than many 2100 mAh units when put through the standard Imaging Resource charging protocol. And the 15-minute Rayovac charger does indeed complete its charging cycle in 15 minutes, without detonating the batteries. The only catch is that after a 15 minute charge cycle, the cells have only reached about 85% of their maximum capacity. They do continue to drift up if left in the charger overnight, but the Rayovac charger never "tops them off" as completely as my DC trickle-charging protocol does.
I don't consider this to be too much of a drawback, since I expect the lifespan of these batteries in use to be easily two to three times that of alkalines, and while there's still some memory effect, it's not anywhere nearly as horrid as it was with Ni-Cd cells.
So color me at least slightly impressed. I'll be more so if I get the kind of battery life I'm expecting from this little investment.Posted at 6:08 PM to Entirely Too Cool