Adventures in Rechargeable Batteries
March 20, 2008 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Why mess around with battery chargers when all you need are some good batteries and electrical tape?
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:12 AM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

I know someone else who has posted to their blog going on about this charger. It brings something out in real geeks. I must buy one.
posted by GuyZero at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2008

I think Jeff Atwood already had the definition of geek covered with "writes a programming blog."
posted by cerebus19 at 7:13 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

My wife has been complaining a LOT about her rechargable batteries. Maybe I should get her one of these to discover the real problem.
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on March 20, 2008

Wow, I'm literally drooling. Damn, what a mess.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:22 AM on March 20, 2008

Damn, Dr-Baa, that had me going for a minute.
posted by sourwookie at 7:28 AM on March 20, 2008

I bought a MAHA 8-cell charger a year ago. It's twice as much as the La Crosse in the blog above, but it can recharge up to 8 batteries in any combination of AA/AAA/D.

The main problem with rechargeables is that they dissipate over time, even if not in use, it's nice to be able to keep the charger always full of 4 AA and 4 AAA at all times, so when my Wii or Wireless mouse dies there's always enough batteries on hand to immediately replace.
posted by justkevin at 7:35 AM on March 20, 2008

Holy crap, that's my charger! Now I feel dumb for not knowing how to use it properly.
posted by graventy at 7:43 AM on March 20, 2008

I'm taking all your names down.
posted by Dizzy at 7:55 AM on March 20, 2008

Like we need to be giving my boyfriend any ideas.
posted by contessa at 8:02 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

On my way to the gym, I'm totally taking this guy's lunch money and stuffing him into a locker.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:05 AM on March 20, 2008

This should have been hideously dull, but was actually fascinating. Seriously. Thanks for posting it.
posted by MrMustard at 8:10 AM on March 20, 2008

I love rechargeable batteries.

See also Dansdata's take on the "memory effect", one of the many times he's covered this topic.
posted by Skorgu at 8:28 AM on March 20, 2008

My wife has been complaining a LOT about her rechargable batteries.

Just what exactly is she using the batteries for that they need such regular discharging, hmmmmmm DU?
posted by papakwanz at 8:36 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I just assumed that she really really really enjoys that "Fresh from the dentist feeling" that comes from a Genuine Waterpik Appliance, papak...
posted by Dizzy at 8:38 AM on March 20, 2008

I have this charger. It really is ridiculously nerdtastic. It comes with a sturdy nylon carrying case with a shoulder strap and multiple zip-up pockets (you know, for accessorizing when you go to fancy battery parties), and these little adapters so you can use AA's as C's or D's. I have no idea what the little displays really mean, but look, there's four of them!
posted by designbot at 9:09 AM on March 20, 2008 [4 favorites]

I didn't like how he darkly dismissed the sanyo eneloop, given that I've invested about $40 at this point in that type. Why is the hybrid or "precharged" so much better? What's wrong with my eneloops? What's wrong with the little charger they come with?

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:09 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Stop licking the 9-volt.
Worked for me.
posted by Dizzy at 9:13 AM on March 20, 2008

I don't believe he is dissing the Sanyo Eneloop, it is a precharged hybrid battery even though it doesn't state that in the name, he was just referring to Energizer type.
posted by zeoslap at 9:14 AM on March 20, 2008

Digital camera. Some candid photography, nudge nudge.
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2008

more than doubled

2500 < 1300 * 2
posted by nzero at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Then color me geek.
posted by VicNebulous at 9:27 AM on March 20, 2008

Real geeks would just build their own charger circuit.
posted by spiderskull at 9:52 AM on March 20, 2008

Missus_A is going to know exactly where I got the idea to upgrade our battery chargers.
posted by Mister_A at 9:53 AM on March 20, 2008

Impressed ---> Geeky ---> Pretends Disinterest ---> Fails
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:06 AM on March 20, 2008

Damn, I was hoping this was some new update about the, thus far, vaporlicious inductive recharger, the Splashpower. Because if that shit ever happens, I'm pretty sure that I will fall into the geekified realm of 'enjoys recharging batteries'

Though, after reading through this, and knowing what I know about the number of battery chargers in my house, I'm actually not sure that this doesn't already apply.
posted by quin at 10:25 AM on March 20, 2008

I switched to eneloops earlier this year and I've not looked back. I also went with an 8-cell MAHA since I have to charge large batches. I did some reading late last year on the candlepowerforums (mentioned in the original link) and I highly recommend their geekery; it's a curious blend of Y2K DIYers, sportsmen & flashlight enthusiasts that overlap on battery fetishism.

If you're curious about eneloops, this is the 1 year and running Eneloop Self Discharge study thread over at candlepowerforums.
posted by lazymonster at 10:28 AM on March 20, 2008

The first nanosecond I saw the charger I thought, 'cool'... the second nanosecond I thought 'I want one'.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:43 AM on March 20, 2008

There is this comfortable and stylish zone of geekery where Stephen Fry likes to hang out. This article is in that zone, so I have no problem allowing myself there. Although I don't like things with replaceable batteries. It is sad that things wear out because of me.
posted by Free word order! at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2008

Now my Amazon wishlist knows my shame. My geeky, battery-loving shame.
posted by TungstenChef at 10:57 AM on March 20, 2008

I love rechargeable batteries and I haaaaate proprietary batteries. O for a phone that, like my camera, could run on rechargeable AAs. There's only one thing I won't run on rechargeables: my vibrator.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:01 AM on March 20, 2008

Why not?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:05 AM on March 20, 2008

They just don't seem to stay at peak output as long. The last thing one wants is a vibrator that loses kick minute by minute. It's like being jacked off by a narcoleptic.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:36 AM on March 20, 2008 [6 favorites]

My Amazon order history knows my shame. Worse, I ordered a Kill-a-Watt while I was at it.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2008

On September 14th last year I finally replaced 4 NiMH AAs I had kept in constant rotation for exactly eight years and 9 days. My poor, poor babies just couldn't hold more than a weeks power for my radio or mouse any more, but in their lifetime had probably saved me hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. I actually considered keeping them as 'backups' for the 6 new replacements I bought and I was genuinely regretful when I finally came to my senses and binned them. I am a battery nerd, and I am both relieved and a little scared to discover that I am not alone.
posted by punilux at 11:41 AM on March 20, 2008

Ambrosia Voyeur: Actually for high drain applications, NiMH tend to out-perform alkalines.
posted by aubilenon at 1:35 PM on March 20, 2008

Hrmmm. I have my doubts. Obviously, Doing Science is in order! I knew I had several identical MIB vibrators for a reason... But what should I use as the non-neurological sensor of vibrator torque?

I could see dissasembling them and actually doing lifting or spooling with the motors, but somehow shell-intact restricted directional movement, like, say, measuring spring-loaded drilling through a soft cheese, seems like a good analog. Sure, an ammeter is cheaper than several wedges of good camembert, but this is sexy science we're talking about, there has to be some snacking afterward.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:53 PM on March 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

The problem with NiMH for, um, high-output applications like running little motors is that they top out at 1.3V, where fresh alkalines come in around 1.7V. This makes a noticeable difference in some small appliances.
posted by contraption at 2:54 PM on March 20, 2008

So AV, the upshot of all this is that we should mod the thing to accept 3 AA's instead of the current 2, giving 3.6V of juice after a fresh charge, which should be close enough to the 3.2V of two new alkalines to give some extra power without smoking the motor. You'll just have to be aware of temperature and discontinue use if it gets too hot. We'll have to come up with some way to avoid making it too bulky, but it shouldn't be difficult. I can get started after work.
posted by contraption at 3:02 PM on March 20, 2008

Oops, sorry, it'd be 3.9V. Should be fine.
posted by contraption at 3:07 PM on March 20, 2008

But, but... :( I wanna please the cheese!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:08 PM on March 20, 2008

Camembert's not consistent enough in firmness to yield useful results. I'd go with something like this instead.
posted by contraption at 3:15 PM on March 20, 2008

What in the hell? Nerds? Sex? VIBRATOR SCIENCE!?

I'm... so confused. Hold me.
posted by loquacious at 3:20 PM on March 20, 2008 [2 favorites]

It's ok, loq. Here, have some of this cheese.
posted by contraption at 3:21 PM on March 20, 2008

contraption: Alkalines start out at a higher charge but will drop below their nominal 1.5v charge pretty quickly. NiMH also start out charged more than 1.2 (1.36 is what I usually see) but they'll stay above 1.2 longer than a comparable capacity alkaline battery, under high load.

If you only want to use the first 20% of the battery then I suppose alkaline is the way to go.
posted by aubilenon at 3:21 PM on March 20, 2008

aubilenon: that's exactly why the real solution is supplying more NiMH voltage from the outset. It's the best of both worlds.
posted by contraption at 3:24 PM on March 20, 2008

contraption, velveeta? Seriously? Did you miss the visual pun in my runny wedge of velvety-rinded camembert? I think we have to break up.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:25 PM on March 20, 2008

Dammit, woman! Are we doing science or aren't we?
posted by contraption at 3:26 PM on March 20, 2008

Hey, wait, you don't think Velveeta is hot? We might have to break up.

Also, for anybody concerned about AV's health: that "visual pun" is almost entirely metaphorical.
posted by contraption at 3:32 PM on March 20, 2008

Thank God I'm typing this sitting down.
Velveeta is hawtness pers0nified.
posted by Dizzy at 3:36 PM on March 20, 2008

I get what he's saying about the Energizers, but if you're using them in an oft used digital camera, they cannot be matched. I took 500 (50 with flash) pics, 25 minutes of video, transferred it all to my PC, deleted it, and still had about %20 charge left on my chdk Canon A570 IS on TWO AA BATTERIES (!). That is just silly. For a remote or something that doesn't need changing at least once a month, the other batteries are superior.
posted by lattiboy at 7:59 PM on March 20, 2008

If you've got these "children" creatures, you will notice their many hundreds of accessories all require every size of battery, always, all the time, every day. Each little Thomas train needs a Double A, which lasts until the poor train is left in the dirt outside until the little engine gives out. The baby-rocker device takes about 70 D Cells. The "soothing vibrations" on the sleeping chair takes several batteries. There are flashlights, toy buses that sing "Wheels On The Bus," a cloth frog that sings "A-B-C," the music table with its little instruments, the little Casio keyboard, etc.

Rechargeable batteries are not Geeky in this world. They are sanity. I've got one of those deals in the garage that can charge whatever size/type, and it is always full and always charging. Also, if you feel guilty tossing a stray battery here and there in the garbage, wait until you have HUNDREDS OF DEAD BATTERIES EVERYWHERE.

(And no, you can't plug the shit into the wall outlet, because then it will kill the babies somehow.)
posted by kenlayne at 9:39 PM on March 20, 2008

Anybody who likes geeking out over batteries and recharging should get one of these.
I've posted about them on a couple of deal sites as well. Very cool device with the now de rigueur overly bright blue LED.
posted by aerotive at 2:48 PM on March 21, 2008

SEE?!? Velveeta is sexy!
posted by contraption at 9:50 AM on March 29, 2008

oops. SEE?!?
posted by contraption at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2008

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