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AA Rechargeable Batteries


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#1 Jerrymxz

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:47 PM

Sitting here dreaming of rust seawater and tropical climates. When a thought popped into my head. I am considering replacing my AA rechargeable batteries in preparation for Chuuk and Palau. Right now I have three kinds of batteries. I have energizers, 2600mah NEXcells, and 2000mah eneloops.

My question to you all is what do you use

How long do you use them before you by New ones.

What would you buy today if you needed new ones

And from who would you get them from.

Edited by Jerrymxz, 05 September 2013 - 07:49 PM.

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#2 Scubatooth

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 05:43 PM

Jerry

I just went through this process about a year ago as my NIMH and 1st generation low discharge NIMH enloops had reached the end of useful life. The NIMH were a mixed bag on ages from 5-7 years old and the Enloops were 4 years old. The NIMH had 800+ cycles on them and the enloops had that many cycles if not more. Mainly they were replaced because they had been sitting for so long, and when cycled all had lost on average 40% (30-80% range) capacity from new, and some dead or reversed cells. Each cell is numbered and I have kept track of performance and charge data from the charger. I try to keep cells of similar values in set together. When a cell looses ~1/3 of original capacity then it is time to replace the cells as at that point the fall off is going to be pretty noticeable.

At this point traditional NIMH batteries I wont buy because they will discharge to zero in a week or so, and if left discharged will loose alot capacity and cells dying prematurely.

I got current generation Enloops (split between 2000 and 2500 mah ratings) and PowerEx Imedion 2400mah, 2 sets of each. I have a Maha MH-C9000 charger for travel, but considering getting a Maha MH-C501D so could get 8 cells charging instead of 4.

I have bought from Thomas Distributing for years and will continue to as they have taken care of issues that have popped up without having to do a warranty return to the manufacture and such.

FWIW,my 2 psi YMMV

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#3 Jerrymxz

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 08:10 PM

I don't keep as close track as you do. But each set of four has the date I bought them. The majority are from 2009 and 2010. The 8 eneloops get fresh charges and 6 go into my backup light and that lasted for two weeks. The other two go in my safety strobe. My camera strobe and video lights take 4 each. I have 16,NEXcell that get rotated 8 per dive. Found out the hard way in Chuuk that I can't get two dives per set. No such problem when I swap between dives. Camera takes proprietary batts. I have 8 energizers for in my old Olympus 5050 that's my surface camera. So as you can see I have a lot of batteries.

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#4 Scubatooth

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

I understand the volume, before I went with those 6 sets of 4 I had 20 sets of 4 batteries. This was mainly due to the c5050 and two inon Z220 strobes that needed 3 sets of batteries at a time. I could get two dives from each set but not much more then that. I love the DSLR set up as I can do the same with the proprietary packs but in a much larger set up. Once I get back to diving I will look at things and see if I stay with a DSLR set up or look for something smaller. Although I will add a Gopro at minimum.

I may add more sets in the future if they are needed. Which is likely as I need some rechargeable batteries for my disaster deployment kit.

As for keeping track I only do that once a quarter now as low discharge NIMH dont require the same maintenance standard NIMH did.

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#5 ScubaTurtle

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 07:37 PM

Seeing as how I'm just getting into this other realm of gear (photography) I've done a decent amount of research recently. After reviews of many different types of batteries and brands I kept reading reviews of some of the Sanyo's that were bad and kept seeing that they were inconsistent in their ability to hold a charge. The Enloop brand however seemed to get pretty consistent reviews as long as they were genuine enloop brand batteries. Apparently there are grey market versions of them just like the grey market versions of factory batteries like Canon and Nikon.

The other item I was looking for was the higher capacity. I was trying to find a 2700 mAh battery but it seemed that the 2700 mAh range and higher was only available in off brand batteries which I wasn't sure I wanted to take a chance on. I decided that I would just use the 2500 mAh hour rating and possibly be forced to just recharge more often.


I finally found the AA Enloop XX 2500 mAh online for a decent price in an 8 pack. Below is the link. I was able to get them for $3.78 per battery.

http://www.amazon.co...4?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I really tried to figure out how many batteries I would need for the upcoming Chuuk and Palau trip as well. I've got two strobes which each take 4 batteries, primary dive light that takes 3 batteries and a backup dive light that takes 4 batteries. The one plus is they are all AA so at least I've got the same type. Right now based on what I'm predicting I should be able to push out two dives with the one set of batteries on the strobes and the camera battery is a different type anyway. Since charging them might take 8 hrs with the charger I have I'll have a second set of 8 batteries that will hopefully then get me through two more dives until the evening when I can then swap out for another set of batteries that had just charged during the day from the morning. Since the flash light batteries should last a full day I will probably swap out the primary light once a day depending on how much it gets used.

Since I don't want to be without a set of batteries (should one start to go bad or gets damaged to where it can't be used) I'm making sure to have some extra packed.

So all in all since I had to buy the batteries in packs of 8 I was predicting between 24-28 batteries that I would need (based on charge cycles/times/qty) I ended up purchasing 32 batteries. This seems crazy but flying over 6000 miles to go scuba diving is not a normal trip.

As some additional information I also purchased the following charger which seems to get good reviews overall. This should be able to cover my need to charge many batteries at a time. It also has the ability to perform a refresh cycle on them.
http://www.amazon.co...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

#6 ev780

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 08:41 AM

This thread is making me smile. :teeth: :teeth: :teeth:

Battery counts, batching, dating each battery, searching for sources, all very type "A" behavior. I am lucky to even remember batteries and usually trying to find a Wal-Mart on the way to the airport. Or more often buying Duracels at twice the price at some dive shop because my rechargeables have given up the ghost after my first dive.

In all seriousness, as rarely as I get to use my underwater gear I have tried several rechargeable systems and to me it is just more cost effective to use regular alkaline batteries. All my dive lights are old school c-cells and I just dump the batteries or give them away if I can when I head home. My GoPro and my P&S Nikon are all proprietary so no worries there other than they take separate cords. :banghead: :banghead: My Oceanic VT3 uses OTC button batteries, CR something-or-others.

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#7 Jerrymxz

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 11:21 AM

This thread is making me smile. :teeth:/> :teeth:/> :teeth:/>

Battery counts, batching, dating each battery, searching for sources, all very type "A" behavior. I am lucky to even remember batteries and usually trying to find a Wal-Mart on the way to the airport. Or more often buying Duracels at twice the price at some dive shop because my rechargeables have given up the ghost after my first dive.

In all seriousness, as rarely as I get to use my underwater gear I have tried several rechargeable systems and to me it is just more cost effective to use regular alkaline batteries. All my dive lights are old school c-cells and I just dump the batteries or give them away if I can when I head home. My GoPro and my P&S Nikon are all proprietary so no worries there other than they take separate cords. :banghead:/> :banghead:/> My Oceanic VT3 uses OTC button batteries, CR something-or-others.

EV780 (aka Fred Type "B")


Some how Fred I knew that was going to be your reply to this thread :lmao: , Love you brother :teeth: !!

I am SO READY TO GO!!!

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If you are observant while diving in dark places listen to the account each has to tell, You cannot come away unaffected.   
Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude


#8 WreckWench

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 02:27 PM

Ok so I'm hovering between type A and B... but I'm definitely interested in this discussion as I am just getting into strobes myself so will need some rechargeables myself. Good one!

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#9 Greg@ihpil

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:14 PM

Over the weekend a interesting discovery,Mike/ScubaTurtle found out.The rechargeable battery's he has now,will not fit the Hollis backup flashlight.They are slightly larger.Enough to not fit..MMMMMMMMM??Posted Image
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#10 Jerrymxz

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 05:53 PM

Over the weekend a interesting discovery,Mike/ScubaTurtle found out.The rechargeable battery's he has now,will not fit the Hollis backup flashlight.They are slightly larger.Enough to not fit..MMMMMMMMM??Posted Image



Hey guys how about the details, are they too long, too fat , I have a set that the positive terminal isn't tall enough to work in my backup light. The battery holder dimension is a couple thousands off or the heat shrink covering is a bit thick over the top of batteries. Pics would be nice :-)

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If you are observant while diving in dark places listen to the account each has to tell, You cannot come away unaffected.   
Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude


#11 ScubaTurtle

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 05:12 PM

Over the weekend a interesting discovery,Mike/ScubaTurtle found out.The rechargeable battery's he has now,will not fit the Hollis backup flashlight.They are slightly larger.Enough to not fit..MMMMMMMMM??Posted Image

Hey guys how about the details, are they too long, too fat , I have a set that the positive terminal isn't tall enough to work in my backup light. The battery holder dimension is a couple thousands off or the heat shrink covering is a bit thick over the top of batteries. Pics would be nice :-)

Jerry, Sorry for the later reply on this one. Just needed some time to gather info and get things straightened out at home.

OK. So per my previous post I bought a decent amount of good rechargeable NiMH batteries thinking that I could use them in ALL of my devices (except my camera and dive computers). I have two dive lights/torches. Since I haven't gone technical yet I don't have a canister light so my primary light is a Hollis LED3 Torch which provides some nice penetration and a powerful narrow beam. My backup light is a Mini Q40 eLED® Plus. Which is just that. A backup. It should provide enough light to get me out of an area and end a dive. It's not powerful but it should be reliable since it uses only a twist on/off function for the light.

My primary Hollis LED3 light uses three AA batteries. Now in the manual it does say "Do not use rechargeable or re-usable alkaline batteries." but it does not give a reason to not use NiMH so I figured the main reason that they didn't want people to use rechargeable was a reliability issue. If not properly maintained rechargeable would not be a good option for critical diving trips. Well when I went to try to put the NiMH batteries in my lights last week when I was packing I quickly found that they didn't fit into the flashlight once they were in the cartridge that's used to hold them in the light. The light has a plastic cartridge that's used to hold the batteries before slipping the whole assembly into the body of the light. The batteries fit in the cartridge but once they are in there the whole thing will not slip in. In fact it's so tight that it would strip off the outer plastic layer of the batteries if I was to push them in. (Not sure how I would even get them back out at that point.) I did not proceed further and just used disposable batteries for the weekend trip.

As a second point, I tried some other brands of NiMH batteries that I had in the house. Powerex and Duracell sure enough those also had the same issues as the Enloop XX.

I decided to contact Hollis to see what was going on here since I did not want to bring non-rechargeable batteries halfway across the world on the upcoming trip to Truk and Palau. I spoke with a technical support representative over the phone and he was very patient and took down my information and my questions. My main question was why does the manual say not to use rechargeable batteries? Second question was if there are any NiMH or other rechargeable batteries that would fit can they let me know? The technical rep on the phone told me he would actually talk to the engineer that designed the flashlight (I was shocked.) I agreed that would be fantastic and waited for a call back.

After only 8 hours or so I had a VM on my phone explaining the situation. Here's a short summary. "The reason that they [Hollis] don't want people to use rechargeable batteries is that they will burn out the light. When a rechargeable battery is charged it's actually over-charged. If I was able to get them into the light the light would burn super bright but in a few minutes to an hour it will burn out the light."

I was very disappointed to say the least but at least since the batteries didn't fit I didn't figure this out after the light was trashed. I guess the idea is that the rechargeable batteries will overdrive the LED driver in this case and get it hot enough that the water will not cool it off. So in summary I'm trying to figure out what to do for the upcoming trip. I love the LED3 but I don't want to bring disposable batteries on the trip or really any upcoming dive trip when I start to think about it. I've got time to figure out a solution but that really means a new light.

Does anyone have any high quality used primary dive lights that they would be willing to sell? I briefly looked into a canister light but right now $500-700 is a bit (understatement) much for me for just a dive light.


I am open for any suggestions on a different primary dive light that might use AA NiMH batteries or have it's own proprietary rechargeable battery.

Edited by ScubaTurtle, 15 September 2013 - 01:21 PM.


#12 Jerrymxz

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 08:56 AM

This thread has has taken a path I hadn't intended but that's a good thing. :-). ScubaTurtle brought up a good point about having an incompatibility between various AA batteries and devices that are supposed to accept them. I posted before I found a compatibility problem with my Intova 6 AA LED light and my NEXcell AA batteries. But there is no problem using eneloop batteries in it. Because of the internal construction of the eneloop batts I can leave them installed in my flashlight without worrying about them discharging. One less thing I have to worry about.

I collated up all the AA batteries I have on hand and measured them. The two varieties of standard batteries are Duracell and Energizer industrial. Both are within a few thousandths of .550 in diameter. The 4 varieties of rechargeables are eneloop 1900mah, NEXcell 2600, LACROSSE 2600, and Energizer 2500. I measured all these and they were all right around .560 give or take. I don't have my good dial caliper here to get it any closer so these were taken with a vernier caliper.

This all boils down to the examples of batteries I have the rechargeables are about .010 larger in diameter then their standard counterparts.

In my 2psi, it's a very good idea to know what batteries your devices will operate with.

Edited by Jerrymxz, 20 September 2013 - 07:51 PM.

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If you are observant while diving in dark places listen to the account each has to tell, You cannot come away unaffected.   
Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude


#13 ScubaTurtle

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 01:21 PM

Jerry,

I'm glad that I was able to bring up a good point about batteries. This size issue is definitely something that I had not thought of previously (batteries of the same type AAA, AA being a different physical size despite being the same type).

Just for completion sake. I measured my eneloops.

My 2500 mAH eneloop XX batteries have a diameter between .558 to .563 inches. I'm using a relatively decent electronic caliper. These are also brand new batteries.

#14 Jerrymxz

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 02:48 PM

Those numbers are very consistent with what I got. I did not get any length measurements because I didn't want to short out my batteries.

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If you are observant while diving in dark places listen to the account each has to tell, You cannot come away unaffected.   
Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude


#15 ScubaTurtle

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 03:55 PM

..................I did not get any length measurements because I didn't want to short out my batteries.

Same here Jerry!




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