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NiMH Rechargeable Batteries

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NiMH Rechargeable Batteries

Postby BuddhaTB on Sun Mar 02, 2003 5:10 pm

My Logitech cordless optical mouse eats batteries like crazy. Every 2-4 weeks, it requries a new pair of AA batteries. I've been looking into NiMH batteries to be used with my mouse, but had some questions concerning the technology. I went and checked out Fry's selection of NiMH batteries and was unsure what brand, power, charger, and etc. to buy.

1.) I've seen NiMH batteries labeled 1200 mah, 1600 mah, 1700 mah, 1800 mah, 1900 mah, 2000 mah, and etc. What do these numbers mean and are higher values better?

2.) There are so many chargers for these things. Some that are quick chargers which take 1 hour to charge and other charges that take 7 hours to charge NiMH batteries. Is there any disadvantages to the quick chargers, like if they would reduce the life or how many times you can recharge the NiMH batteries? Any good brands you would recommend for a charger?

3.) Do NiMH batteries have memory in them like how Alkaline rechargeable batteries do. Where you have to charge the batteries when they are completely discharged or else you will decrease the life span of them when you charge them often? Or can NiMH batteries be charged whenever they are low and will have no effects on the lifespan of the batteries?

Thank you for any info or websites you can provide. I don't want to spend more than $30-$40 on a charger and a set of 4 AA NiMH batteries.
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Re: NiMH Rechargeable Batteries

Postby cfitz on Sun Mar 02, 2003 5:19 pm

BuddhaTB wrote:1.) I've seen NiMH batteries labeled 1200 mah, 1600 mah, 1700 mah, 1800 mah, 1900 mah, 2000 mah, and etc. What do these numbers mean and are higher values better?

Those figures show the capacity of the battery. For example, a 1200 mAh battery could supply 1200 milliAmps of current for 1 hour of operation. Of course, your actual usage will vary. And yes, higher is better in the sense that it means more time between recharging.

BuddhaTB wrote:2.) There are so many chargers for these things. Some that are quick chargers which take 1 hour to charge and other charges that take 7 hours to charge NiMH batteries. Is there any disadvantages to the quick chargers, like if they would reduce the life or how many times you can recharge the NiMH batteries? Any good brands you would recommend for a charger?

I have no specific recommendation, but unless you have a need for fast charging, slow charging is generally easier on batteries and makes for less expensive chargers.

BuddhaTB wrote:3.) Do NiMH batteries have memory in them like how Alkaline rechargeable batteries do. Where you have to charge the batteries when they are completely discharged or else you will decrease the life span of them when you charge them often? Or can NiMH batteries be charged whenever they are low and will have no effects on the lifespan of the batteries?

I think you meant NiCad, which are notorious for their memory effects. But to answer your question, no, NiMH batteries do not have memory effects. They can be topped off whenever you want without significantly reducing their lifetime or capacity. Some people actually recommend not allowing a NiMH to completely drain before recharging, so in that sense they are somewhat the opposite of NiCads.

I bought a Lithium Ion battery for my camera from this outfit:

http://www.batterybarn.com/aa-rech.htm

They gave me good service.

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Postby BuddhaTB on Sun Mar 02, 2003 5:28 pm

Thank You cfitz! :D
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Postby cfitz on Sun Mar 02, 2003 5:31 pm

You are welcome.

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Postby CowboySlim on Tue Mar 04, 2003 7:35 pm

I'm not a big time battery expert; however, I found my way to this site one day and what they had to say makes sense to me. If I were to get a rechargeable set, I'd go with this.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/maha_c204f.html

OTH, and Buddha should have seen this, Circuit City puts a 48 pack of Maxell AAs on special @ $10 about once a month. As long as they are this cheap, I'm just not going to bother with the rechargeables.

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Postby BuddhaTB on Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:57 pm

CowboySlim wrote:OTH, and Buddha should have seen this, Circuit City puts a 48 pack of Maxell AAs on special @ $10 about once a month. As long as they are this cheap, I'm just not going to bother with the rechargeables.

I've been looking at 2 combo sets of Ni-MH batteries and both come with 4 AA. One is $19 and the other is $29. I think for those prices, they will last longer and cost less than those 48 pack of AA batteries for $10. I would also like to do the environment a favor and try not to let so many batteries sit in a landfill.
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Postby dodecahedron on Tue Mar 04, 2003 9:11 pm

BuddhaTB wrote:I would also like to do the environment a favor and try not to let so many batteries sit in a landfill.

good ! :P
i was thinking the same, but decided not to post about it.
once i posted something along the lines that using CD-RW media is more enviromentally friendly, and got bashed... :o
http://www.cdrlabs.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=5659
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Postby BuddhaTB on Tue Mar 04, 2003 9:27 pm

dodecahedron wrote:once i posted something long the lines that using CD-RW media is more enviromentally friendly and got bashed... :o

Hehe. :roll:
Yeah, I would have bashed you for that. I really hate CD-RW's as they are slow, expensive (compared to CD-R's), and TY doesn't make any. I wish there was some way to recycle the plastic in the CD's to make new CD's or some type of plastic product. Recycling CD's into CD spindles/cake boxes would be cool too.
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Postby CowboySlim on Wed Mar 05, 2003 12:12 am

For most digital cameras, the alkalines have an extremely limited life. It seems as though there is a minimum voltage below which the camera won't operate. It appears that this voltage is reached after only 25% of the charge is used in the alkalines. By contrast, the nmih rechargeables don't fall below that threshold voltage until 75% of their capacity is consumed.

Consequently, when my camera shows low battery, take them out for use in flashlights - they are still fine for a long time. Grandsons use a lot of flashlight batteries.

We have disposal collection sites at work. Don't know where they go, but gotta' be better than landfill.

BuddhaTB: Next time you've accumulated a bunch to dispose of, let me know, meet me at work, we'll toss 'em in the bucket and lunch is on me.

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Postby BuddhaTB on Wed Mar 05, 2003 1:02 am

CowboySlim wrote:BuddhaTB: Next time you've accumulated a bunch to dispose of, let me know, meet me at work, we'll toss 'em in the bucket and lunch is on me.

Slim, I'll keep that in mind.
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Postby dodecahedron on Wed Mar 05, 2003 2:47 pm

CowboySlim wrote:We have disposal collection sites at work. Don't know where they go, but gotta' be better than landfill.

i believe they are put in big barrels, in some kind of oil that prevents any chemichal reactions. then these barrels are presumably buried somewhere.

in the end, all of our crap & pollution goes into the ground or into the sea.
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Postby cfitz on Thu Mar 06, 2003 12:57 am

dodecahedron wrote:i believe they are put in big barrels, in some kind of oil that prevents any chemichal reactions. then these barrels are presumably buried somewhere.

Apparently in at least some cases the batteries are actually recycled. This link lists a variety of fates for disposed batteries, some of them similar to what you described, and some actually recycled into new products:

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/cea ... sw_203.htm

Of course, even if they are recycled, it is still best to use fewer in the first place. I assume everyone has heard the mantra by now: reduce, reuse, recycle (in order of most environmentally friendly to least).

dodecahedron wrote:in the end, all of our crap & pollution goes into the ground or into the sea.

Indeed. That's why reduce is at the top of the list.

So, go for it BuddhaTB, and do you part! Reduce and reuse rather than recycle. :) (Hopefully production of NiMH batteries doesn't end up being more polluting than production and disposal of an equivalent number of alkalines. Sometimes things aren't as clear-cut as they might first appear to be.)

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Postby dodecahedron on Thu Mar 06, 2003 4:50 am

alas things are not always good on the recycling front either.

i've read once that in paper recycling plants, the chemical processes used to clean the paper form ink etc. are quite environment-unfriendly, producing toxic wastes etc., that arguably negate the whole benefit of recycling paper :x :(
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Postby cfitz on Thu Mar 06, 2003 10:15 am

dodecahedron wrote:alas things are not always good on the recycling front either.

Yes, my comment about "Sometimes things aren't as clear-cut as they might first appear to be" applies to recycling as well. Again, that's why reducing is best of all, and reusing second best, and only then followed by recycling.

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Postby UALOneKPlus on Fri Mar 07, 2003 4:59 pm

cfitz wrote:
dodecahedron wrote:alas things are not always good on the recycling front either.

Yes, my comment about "Sometimes things aren't as clear-cut as they might first appear to be" applies to recycling as well. Again, that's why reducing is best of all, and reusing second best, and only then followed by recycling.

cfitz


Not to mention all the $$$ you save!!!!

Environmentalism is also economical as well!!
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Postby BuddhaTB on Fri Mar 07, 2003 5:09 pm

I've narrowed down my choices to 2 chargers.
It's either the Maha MH-C204F.
http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/Powe ... .htm#specs
or the Lenmar PRO711 Kit
http://www.lenmar.com/details.asp?model=PRO711

What do you guys think?

Maha MH-C204F Charger - $29 shipped
Lenmar PRO711 - $32 Shipped

I just bought a 4 pack of 2000 mAh AA batteries today for $6.99. So if I get the Lenmar kit, it'll be a total of 8 AA batteries.
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Fri Mar 07, 2003 5:28 pm

You really can't go wrong with either. But if it was my $$, I'd get the Maha charger - cheaper, and more features, it seems.

BuddhaTB wrote:I've narrowed down my choices to 2 chargers.
It's either the Maha MH-C204F.
http://www.mahaenergy.com/products/Powe ... .htm#specs
or the Lenmar PRO711 Kit
http://www.lenmar.com/details.asp?model=PRO711

What do you guys think?

Maha MH-C204F Charger - $29 shipped
Lenmar PRO711 - $32 Shipped

I just bought a 4 pack of 2000 mAh AA batteries today for $6.99. So if I get the Lenmar kit, it'll be a total of 8 AA batteries.
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Postby CowboySlim on Fri Mar 07, 2003 10:12 pm

BuddhaTB,

I know where you went this AM. Fry's! I know that I told you to stay away, but I can't either. The LAComputerFair is at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa this W/E. I'm going to try real hard to stay away.

I'd definitely get the MAHA. It's something about their charging cycle. It was really designed for NiCads, so it does a complete draindown prior to the charge up. Maybe not really so neccessary for the NiMHs, but doesn't hurt and maybe somewhat beneficial.

The Lenmars may function that way also, I just don't know it as a fact.

Later, Buddy,
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Who doesn't have Jordans but is going to stick a photo of his boots here soon.
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Postby BuddhaTB on Fri Mar 07, 2003 10:45 pm

CowboySlim wrote:I know that I told you to stay away, but I can't either.

Yup, I was at Fry's this morning. If Fry's was only 2 miles away from you, I guarantee that you couldn't stay away either. The last few weeks I've decided to stop off at Fry's before class so I can pick up any hot deals they had. Good thing I stopped there today, because they had the 2000 mAh batteries on sale for $6.99.

I've been to the LA Computer Fair out at Fairplex a few times and boy do they have tons of deals and cheap prices. I'm just glad my computer is basically top of the line for now and won't be needing any upgrades for awhile. I haven't stopped by for awhile, so I'm not sure how things have been going at the computer fair.

I'm leaning on the MAHA charger right now. It'll be cheaper overall than the Lenmar combo. The only thing I don't like about the MAHA charger is the lack of built-in AC prongs that fold-up/fold-down like the one on the Lenmar charger. I won't be ordering the charger until the batteries on my mouse start running low because I just changed them a few days ago. Looks like spring break is when I'll be switching to Ni-MH.
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Postby CowboySlim on Fri Mar 07, 2003 11:52 pm

Well, what kills me is the Fountain Valley Fry's is only 5 mi from my house. Worse yet, it's right on the 405 and about 1/2 way to my daughter's house - really hard to keep on drivin'.

Same fair, but when it comes here, it's a lot smaller. But do you really need 4 times as many tables all with the same stuff?

Later,
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Postby blakerwry on Sun Mar 09, 2003 4:49 pm

this is the best site i have found that reviews NIMH batteries

http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/BATTS/BATTS.HTM


they also have some notes on chargers.. specically that your charger matters jut as much as your batteries.... in any event the MAHA brand is pretty darn good, and the prices are reasonable if you shop around.

I recently bought the Energizer(sanyo) 1850 batteries with charger for $40 (1 hr charger and 4 batteries) for a stocking stuffer... personally, I would rather have the MAHA cool charger (3hr) and some batteries, but I know my father doesn't like to waste time charging and would rather have the 1hr charger.
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Postby Spazmogen on Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:00 pm

http://www.thomas-distributing.com/maha ... teries.htm is a good link to learn about the differences among the many types & brands.


I bought this: http://www.thomas-distributing.com/mhc401fs.htm
it can charge the batteries in 100minutes but they'll get HOT damn HOT hot enough to actually burn you if you try and take them out of the charger right away. You have to charge them with the lid open (on a 100 minute charge).

I always use the slower charge time with it. I bought it for the Olympus digital camera I bought in Forida. 8)
Image

I'm very happy with it. It's an excellent charger. I even spent the extra and got the car charger. But you won't need it unless you take your mouse for a long drive.

I bought the 1800 mAH PowerEX batteries with it. They're wonderful and hold a long charge ! Even with the power drain of a digital camera.

Get the MAHA. You'll be glad you did.

http://www.thomas-distributing.com/maha-mh-c204f.htm is the link to the C204f that you were looking at.

I have delt with Thomas Distributing and they were excellent! I will order from them again.

The MAHA has 4 independent charging circuits. So you can charge 1 or 4 batteries at a time !
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Postby BuddhaTB on Thu Mar 13, 2003 4:24 pm

Thanks for your input Spazmogen.
I'm planning on getting the MAHA C204F charger whenever my current batteries start to run low, which will probably be around spring break for me. Out of all the places I have looked, Thomas Dist. has the cheapest prices on the MAHA line of NiMH batteries and chargers. However, those Powerex batteries are way expensive. I'm just going to stick with the Lenmar 2000 mAh batteries I picked up at Fry's for $6.99 for a 4 pack.

I'll let you guys know how the batteries and charger work for me and my power hungry mouse.
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Postby BuddhaTB on Mon May 12, 2003 8:31 pm

After two months of waiting for my batteries to run out and putting off buying a charger, I finally got one today. My Maha C204F came in the mail and overall I'm pretty satisfied with it. Even though I haven't charged any of my batteries yet, the charger looks real nice and the instructions are nice and clear too. If anyone is considering switching to rechargeable batteries to save money and to help the environment, NiMH batteries are the way to go along with a maha charger. I'm just happy with my charger and the service I received at Thomas Distributing.

http://thomas-distributing.com
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Postby blakerwry on Mon May 12, 2003 9:45 pm

I'd like to second this. Rechargable NiMH batteries pay for themselves after just a few charges. Not only that, but the current "bargain" NiMH batteries hold more energy than standard AA batteries.

More power, for less money, and better for the environment.
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