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Old 01-18-2009, 10:26 AM
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Rechargeable batteries

Don't know if this is the right place for this one but since it pertains to powering tools here goes.


There has been a sharp increase in the price of disposable batteries lately with the D cell flashlight type now running nearly $2 each for the long lasting Alkaline. Recently while in Harbor Freight I bought a battery charger designed for both NiCad and NiMH batteries which works really good but the batteries they sell for it are, like a lot of things there, total crap. The batteries are VERY light for their size which should be a dead give-away and sure enough they will not hold much charge at all with the Nickle metal Hydride lasting only a few minutes in a 4 D cell Maglite flashlight. Just checking around on the net I find there is a great deal of difference in the NiMH type battery as to AmpHr capacity and of course they all claim to be the best but they all do have one thing in common, they are expensive! Of course over just a few recharge cycles they will become cheap compared to the disposable type so I plan to use the best one's I can find for the little project I have in mind, to build my own battery packs for my rechargeable tools. Everything I have uses a NiCad battery with that very annoying memory effect which means it must be completely discharged before recharging in order to get a decent life out of it, the Nickle metal Hydride battery does not have this problem. Do any of you guys have any ideas as to which is the best rechargeable to buy? I will need D cell, C cell and AA cell batteries and the most capacity I can get. While most have the AmpHr rating printed on the battery I have been told that, like so many other things sold today, this is usually a very optimistic rating and mostly exaggerated. With the price of the better D cells running around $15 I will be spending in the vicinity of $300 so I would like to get the most from what I buy and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-18-2009, 10:40 AM
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Instead of a maglite, I'd like to recommend this:

http://www.coastportland.com/display...5%BF&mastCat=5

I have one, and I'd say it's one of the greatest investments I've ever made. That little light is much brighter than the best maglite. I bought mine for around $85 off the MAC Tools truck.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:48 AM
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The down side of NIMH is that they cannot be fast charged. If your NICAD charger does fast charge it will dramatically shorten the life of your NIMH batteries. If when charging your NIMH they get hot they are over charging. I buy all my rechargeable batteries from Batteries America.

This guy knows batteries.
here is a little paste from his site on NIMH.

In a given cell size Ni-MH has on the order of 20 to 30% more capacity than Ni-Cds. They have slightly higher internal resistance, but not enough to concern us in most R/C control applications. This higher internal resistance can be of concern in electric flight operations where it is common practice to add an additional cell to compensate. They have a shorter cycle life in general, but again not enough to be of real concern. Most people run out of calendar life before cycle life in flying R/C. Meaning that the separator system in the battery (same for both types) fails (shorts) before the cells fade away in capacity delivery ability. Ni-MH are less tolerant to abuse (excessive high rate discharge, excessive overcharge, vibration, cell reversal) than Ni-Cd but again, it seldom becomes an issue if reasonable care is given in the installation and maintenance of the packs. Ni-MH capacity falls off with cycling whereas Ni-Cd stays pretty constant, seldom going below 80% before shorts develop. Ni-MH has a higher self-discharge rate (3-4%/day) than Ni-Cd (1%/day). Ni-MH cost a bit more per Ah of capacity.

Vince

Last edited by 302 Z28; 01-18-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:54 PM
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302, Thanks a bunch! That is an interesting read and helped me correct a couple of things I had all wrong in my understanding (or would that be MIS-understanding?) of rechargeable batteries. It also answers the questions I had and will help me decide what is going to do the job for me.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
302, Thanks a bunch! That is an interesting read and helped me correct a couple of things I had all wrong in my understanding (or would that be MIS-understanding?) of rechargeable batteries. It also answers the questions I had and will help me decide what is going to do the job for me.
Your quite welcome, glad I could help. Red Scholefield has been around the R/C hobby as long as I can remember. He has been the source of a heap of education on batteries for anyone associated with R/C. I actually had the chance to meet him at an R/C event a number of years ago.

Vince
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28
Ni-MH has a higher self-discharge rate (3-4%/day) than Ni-Cd (1%/day)
I don't know if the technology has made it to the bigger batteries yet, but I know they do sell low self discharge NiMH AA and AAA batteries. The Sanyo Eneloop AA's I use in my digital camera come pre-charged and will only loose about 15% over a year of storage as long as it isn't extremely hot or cold.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:55 PM
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batteries...

Hi,i took some NON_RECHARGEABLE batterys,and charged them ...i have them running in my clock,it has been about 10 months,and they are still going strong.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatbob2
Hi,i took some NON_RECHARGEABLE batterys,and charged them ...i have them running in my clock,it has been about 10 months,and they are still going strong.


I am not going to pretend to understand the physics of recharging non-rechargeable cells but I do remember reading something a few years ago about doing this. The article started out by saying it is incorrect to call this process recharging but in this case it is supposed to be referred to as "rejuvenating", if I understood correctly it is about a reverse chemical process that takes place. While, according to the article, it is generally considered a bad idea to do this it went on to say that it can be successfully done if done properly. The idea is charge (rejuvenate?) very slowly and be very careful not to overcharge otherwise the cell can burst. They went on to say that usually a cell can only be cycled a couple of times before it is completely worn out. As I said I am only quoting this as I remember it so if I am wrong here and anyone can correct me please do.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:33 PM
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302 Z28 kind of beat me to it, but I have also bought batteries and a charger for my first digital camera from http://www.onlybatteries.com

This camera shipped with 2 "El Cheapo" AA batteries ... which lasted literally MINUTES. Energizer Alcalines didn't fare much better.

I went to the local camera shop, and they recommended that I use a Duracell CR-V3 cell, which is equivalent to 2 x AA. I bought one (and paid WAY too much for it) and still wasn't happy with it's performance.

He did have a Ni-Cd version and a charger package that I believe he wanted around $100 for. The camera was worth about $150...

I was "cell-phone" savvy, and asked if that battery was available in a Lithium Ion version, and was told no, it wasn't.

Discouraged a little, I went home and popped on the net, looking for a better battery at a better price.

I found "only batteries.com" and was delighted to find a Li-Ion battery and charger combo for about 1/2 price.

It might be another alternate source for you fellas to compare pricing with.
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
The article started out by saying it is incorrect to call this process recharging but in this case it is supposed to be referred to as "rejuvenating", if I understood correctly it is about a reverse chemical process that takes place.
That is how all rechargeable batteries work, batteries don't exactly store electricity, they just create it. Recharging is just reversing the chemical reaction so the reaction can happen again and create more electricity. The only battery I can think of that is not rechargeable through standard means is a zinc-carbon battery, since it requires somehow getting the hydrogen back into the electrolyte.

I think alkaline batteries are considered non-rechargeable partly because of the danger and also because they just aren't practical to recharge, they must be charged at a very low current which takes a very long time, they won't come close to full capacity when recharged and they can only be recharged a few times before they are totally dead.
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:35 AM
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I did a a search on this about charging non rechargable batteries (alkaline) The first show a video clip showing where this guy actually did it. But he only had the batteries on the charger about an hour. He is from some Tech show over on the other side of the pond. The second site is from someone else showing what happened after five hours. I wouldn't take a chance charging what shouldn't be charged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcC8BuFj21Q

http://members.cox.net/crt99/charger.html
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:07 AM
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Since I could easily write a book about what I DON'T know about batteries I have found this all to be quite interesting and not only did I find a couple of sources I didn't know about I have learned a lot. One thing I did already know but overlooked is that both NiCad and NiMH cells are only 1.2 volts instead of 1.5 so the 6 cell packs I had already made up now will have to be modified to carry 7 cells in order to get full voltage, the 18 volt tools were supposed to use 2 of the packs but as I built them that would come up 3.6 volts short, even the 4 cell flashlight is noticeably dimmer when using the rechargeable batteries. The packs worked fine at first since I originally built them as a plug in back up using throw away Alkaline batteries but since these have become so expensive when considering that many cells rechargeables are the only things that make sense, however simply replacing the Alkaline cells with a like number of rechargeables will apparently not work very well.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Since I could easily write a book about what I DON'T know about batteries I have found this all to be quite interesting and not only did I find a couple of sources I didn't know about I have learned a lot. One thing I did already know but overlooked is that both NiCad and NiMH cells are only 1.2 volts instead of 1.5 so the 6 cell packs I had already made up now will have to be modified to carry 7 cells in order to get full voltage, the 18 volt tools were supposed to use 2 of the packs but as I built them that would come up 3.6 volts short, even the 4 cell flashlight is noticeably dimmer when using the rechargeable batteries. The packs worked fine at first since I originally built them as a plug in back up using throw away Alkaline batteries but since these have become so expensive when considering that many cells rechargeables are the only things that make sense, however simply replacing the Alkaline cells with a like number of rechargeables will apparently not work very well.
The batteries that were originally in your power tools are 1.2v cells. So just replace with the same number of cells. Otherwise your charger won't charge them. FWIW, rechargeable batteries are available with solder tabs on them, you can get some at Radio Shack at least in Ni-Cad. They might be able to order NiMH with tabs for you. In Canada, The Source, which used to be Radio Shack, will rebuild battery pac's, but it is fairly expensive. As for your flashlights, maybe look at getting the same size bulb with a lower voltage rating. Most bulbs are available in different volt ratings at 1.5 volt increments.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:50 AM
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DO NOT buy NICAD or NIMH cells from Rat Shack, their batteries are pure junk. Their "D" cell rechargeable is so light it is very obvious that it is no where near the capacity it should be. Take one apart and you will see that it is mostly hollow inside. Compare that to a Sanyo "D" cell of 4400ma and you will feel the difference immediately. You can buy quality Sanyo NICAD or NIMH cells for what you pay for the junk from Rat Shack.

Vince
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daoldbuick
The batteries that were originally in your power tools are 1.2v cells. So just replace with the same number of cells. Otherwise your charger won't charge them. FWIW, rechargeable batteries are available with solder tabs on them, you can get some at Radio Shack at least in Ni-Cad. They might be able to order NiMH with tabs for you. In Canada, The Source, which used to be Radio Shack, will rebuild battery pac's, but it is fairly expensive. As for your flashlights, maybe look at getting the same size bulb with a lower voltage rating. Most bulbs are available in different volt ratings at 1.5 volt increments.


I like the idea of the solder tabs because that makes building the packs much easier. I have not disassembled the original packs because they still work and the packs I built are not meant to attach directly to the tool but rather they will be larger and of much higher capacity and attach using a cord about the length of a standard extension cord. These should work much better out in the boonies where power is not available and keeping a charger with a standard battery as a spare would not work. I know this somewhat defeats the portability of the cordless tool but since the tool will not be modified the standard battery can still be used and the tool will have the added versatility of having a greatly extended run time for use where battery charging is not practical.
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