Ever wanted to know the “skinny” about rechargeable batteries? Read this article and find out three facts about rechargeable batteries, and basic capacity ratings.
1. Rechargeable batteries do not have a lower capacity than disposable alkaline batteries. The available or actual capacity of a battery is not more important than actual usage. Many companies advertise that their alkaline batteries have a higher rating capacity than rechargeable batteries. This is a myth. What we really need to look at is the device the battery is powering. For instance, high drain electronic devices like digital cameras are better suited for rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries work much longer in these devices than those running on alkaline batteries. Digital devices that run on NiMH batteries typically run on a single charge for 3-4 times as long as an alkaline battery. Imagine a chart with an alkaline battery and a high-capacity NiMH battery side-by-side. When both are hooked up to a computerized battery analyzer and subjected to a high drain rate of 500 mAh the alkaline battery quickly drops off.
2. There is no “real” industry-standard battery naming convention. We have all seen the labels; Super Heavy Duty, High Capacity, Heavy Duty, Quick Charger, Ultra Long–Life, Rapid Charger. These labels are somewhat misleading. In fact, most of these labels are simply marketing hype. There are no real industry-standard labels that battery manufacturers follow. Ever bought a “heavy duty” battery that didn’t last any longer than a not so “heavy duty” battery? What about a “quick charger” that was slow as molasses to recharge a battery? Originally, these terms did mean something. About 50 years ago carbon zinc batteries were the norm. Then zinc chloride batteries came around and offered 50% more capacity than carbon zinc. Manufacturers labeled the zinc chloride battery “heavy duty” because at the time it was. Now, an alkaline battery has 300% more capacity than a zinc chloride battery. So, you tell me: Is a zinc chloride battery still “heavy duty”?
Manufacturers marketed chargers the same way. A charger that takes seven hours to charge a battery is far from being a “quick charger”. A while back NiCd battery chargers took about 12-24 hours to recharge NiCd cells. Manufacturers then released “quick chargers” that could recharge NiCd cells in about half the time. Most did the recharge in about seven hours. Seven hours is still a long time. This led to major disappointments by consumers who purchased these chargers in hopes of a faster recharge. Fortunately, now you can buy battery chargers that can knock out a recharge in less than two hours. Some of them can do the job in an hour or less.
3. Battery capacity means nothing if one battery type is powering different devices. If you use battery capacity ratings to determine how long your device should run reconsider that strategy. Typically, taking a look at a battery’s capacity will not help you predict how long your electronic device will run. For example, AA NiMH batteries have rated capacities of about 1,200-1900 mAh and AA alkaline batteries have a rated capacity over 2,500 mAh. So, looks pretty close, right? As stated in number one NiMH battery edge out the AA alkaline batteries by running 3-4 times longer. Another reason you should be weary of using ratings alone is that manufacturers measure rating capacities in their own way. Often times comparing capacity ratings of similar battery types won’t work.
Next time you get ready to purchase rechargeable batteries and use battery capacity ratings keep these things in mind. You could save yourself some recharge time and money.
LaptopsForLess.com has a huge selection of rechargeable batteries in stock, at very reasonable prices [often a fraction of the cost of manufacturers’ own brand replacements]. We stock; Laptop Batteries, Power Tool Batteries, PDA Batteries, Camera/Camcorder Batteries, Cell Phone Batteries and much more. If an electronic device contains a battery, we’ll stock that battery!