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    Rechargeable Batteries


    First off, a quick introduction to batteries commonly used in consumer electronics. First you have your non-rechargeables. Heavy-Duty batteries are cheap but aren't really heavy-duty, they shouldn't be used unless you just happen to have some, and the device is not really going to be used (maybe for a flashlight you use for 5 minutes a year?). Alkaline batteries last quite a lot longer than heavy-duty, and are the most commonly used batteries today. Lithium-ion can also be found in traditional battery sizes (such as AA), generally marketed as a long-life battery for digital cameras. Next up are rechargeables, first was NiCad then NiMH. NiCad batteries can develop a memory effect, and can be harmed if you don't at least occasionally discharge them 100% before charging. They are still useful for very high-drain devices. NiMH however aren't harmed by repeated topping-off charges (when you only discharge partially before charging). Sometimes you will need to run a NiMH battery through a few full discharge/charge cycles to return it to full capacity though.

    Both NiCad and NiMH have a major flaw that has kept them from being accepted by the mainstream for all their consumer electronics needs. That flaw is a high self-discharge rate. You can fully charge one of these batteries, and within a month you can lose 25% or more of its charge, without ever using it! The super-high capacity batteries can suffer from this even more dramatically. It's just not feasible to use these batteries in any low-draw devices (such as remotes), or seldom-used devices (such as emergency flashlights). They're really only useful in high-drain devices, but even then you'll run into problems. Ever pick up your digital camera just to take a quick picture, but the barely-used batteries are now dead? A freshly charged set of batteries may last you all day, but leave them in the camera for a week or a month, and you may find that they're too depleted to use at all. One must remember to always have a set of freshly charged batteries ready to go, plus keep a set of non-rechargeables ready to go, just in case. That is, until now...

    Click here for our review of Tenergy's 2300mah low self-discharge NiMh rechargeable batteries.



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