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rechargable AA batteries for Garmin Etrex


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Spouse is trying to get me greener and has purchased a pair of AA rechargable batteries to go with my shiny new etrex vista. Any words on which NiMH battery brands last longest or are they all the same? I only have 1 pair and want to have at least 2 fresh pair with me at all times, so Im in the market for 4 more.

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I have the etrex legend HCx - I have used a variety of these and been very happy. I find i replace the batteries about every 2nd day if i am using it outside during the daytime.


I have got several cheapo ones from discount stores, like dollar stores, surplus places. I've actually found less success with big name brand batteries. Often can find 4 for about $10. After a year or so some batteries seem to get a bit lazier. I've had a bit of luck draining them low then charging a few times. Seem to last better after this.

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I like to use a high-capacity NiMH for the "first" set of batteries (agree that the Powerex 2700s are good), and the lower capacity hybrid type that hold their charge for a long time as my backups (agree that the Sanyo Eneloops fill this bill well). The trouble with the high capacity batteries is that they don't hold their charge for as long a time as the hybrid/low-discharge type; the trouble with the low-discharge type is that they have lower total capacity. So I use each type for their relative strengths.


I echo the recommendation for a good-quality charger. They may seem expensive, but they pay for themselves with use over time. The MAHA MH-C9000 and LaCrosse BC-900 are great chargers. One of the good things these guys do is they allow you to see the actual capacity of individual batteries. I've found that some brands have much less actual capacity than claimed.

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Yeah, don't ruin good batteries with a crappy charger, it's not worth it. I have both those chargers, I use a lot of batteries.


I have found that the eleloops work just as well as the high cap ones, so I think I will get more of them. I also mainly use them for back-up.


I use batteries in my headlamps and cameras too. I like to use my stuff the way it was meant to be used! So if I want to go on a night hike with my 130 lumen headlamp at full blast the entire time, I do it and bring spares! If I want to leave my gps on for the entire week I am gone I do that too!


I heard about the new even longer lasting eneloops but cannot find them.

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I heard about the new even longer lasting eneloops but cannot find them.

The press release I read suggested that the life of the batteries in number of years, or perhaps total recharge cyles, is extended in the new run of Eneloops. However the claimed capacity has been downgraded from 2000mah to 1900mah. In practice this is not a change in capacity, as earlier Sanyo Eneloop fine print also suggested that 1900mah was the max that was "guaranteed'.

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Duracell Hybrids work great. I get hours and hours and hours on my ETrex Vista HCX while biking and hiking from week to week. It's nice to not have to worry about the self discharge killing them during the week while waiting for the next weekend warrior day. I used plain old NiMH before and the self discharge issue was terrible.

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Powerex 2700's are wonderful. Also you need a good charger.

I didn't have much luck with my Powerex 2700s. After only a few months at least half of them would not charge up to the level that some of my really old Sanyos do. Even the good ones don't much like to charge. To get a decent charge I have to cycle them or run them through Breakin. I am really disappointed.


I like the Powerex (Maha) charger. It has allowed me to get months more service out of my Sanyos. And it allows me to at least keep some of the Powerex 2700s going.



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The highly regarded LaCrosse BC9009 comes with 4 AA and 4 AAA batteries. They're decent enough and I have another set of Eneloops, and I switch between them. I also carry a pack of alkalines just in case, but I haven't had to use them yet.


Using rechargables is not only more environmentally friendly, it saves you money too if you use batteries often enough.

Edited by Chrysalides
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Using rechargables is not only more environmentally friendly, it saves you money too if you use batteries often enough.

I'm not sure I understand this. How are rechargables more environmentally friendly?



They don't fill up the landfills(as fast). When you take a bag o' alkelines to recycling you don't

really think they have a bunch o' little monkeys w/can openers takin' 'em apart for the

stuff inside do ya? They send em to a toxic waste site and bury 'em w/all the cans of

paint thinner and other jetsam that's icky. Some communities are different, if they're not

braggin' about how green they are, then they're probably not very green.

Me, . . . I move garbage trains, as well as import 'cans'.




Edit to add :


From Chrysalides 'Google' link

Edited by RRLover
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I asked because it's not the least bit obvious to me.


So there might be a few less rechargables going into the landfill than alkalines. But alkalines have been reengineered so they have much lower toxicity since 1997. It is considered safe to dispose of them in landfills (I know, we have stupid standards for what we allow in landfills but that's a whole other discussion.) The point is that common alkalines are the only ones that are considered safe to dispose of rather than recycle. (The downside is, of course, that that takes the pressure off recycling of alkalines.)


The balancing factors against rechargables are the electricity used in recharging. Don't just think of the trickle of electricity that ultimately gets stuffed into the battery. Think about how much has to get generated at that dirty old coal-burning power plant in order to offset the losses in the transmission lines and the charger electronics before it gets into the battery.


And the resources used to build the chargers. That includes all the materials used in the chargers PLUS the energy to manufacture the chargers AND the energy to ship them to wherever you bought it.


All the rechargables and chargers end up in the landfills, too. And the rechargables are seriously toxic as are some of the materials in the chargers.


If I look at the battery displays in most stores that sell rechargables, I see alkalines packaged with ... alkalines. But I see rechargable batteries packaged with those cheap junk chargers. In many stores you can only buy the batteries packaged with yet another charger that you don't need. Or packaged with C and D size adapters that you don't need. And all the extra packaging and the other bits that we don't need end up in the landfill.


Overall, when I look at the energy and resources used for alkalines versus rechargables and their chargers, cradle to grave, it looks like a wash to me.


I would like to be responsible, so I certainly welcome something persuasive. Either way. Preferably from somewhere credible and with numbers and which looks at the whole picture.



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I'd like to offer a few points though.


1. The energy required for the mining of the materials necessary for the manufacture of the alkaline cells. A NiMH cell, estimated to last 1000 recharge cycles, even if it lasts only 250, represents a significant saving.


2. I agree that many of the bundled rechargers are junk and a pure waste of resources. I'm surprised that you don't see many "batteries alone" packages around where you live though. Might be a regional thing. Most of the NiMH I find here are packaged alone. I've used my battery charger for over 7 years, only recently switching to the LaCrosse because I needed one that would work on 100-220V.


3. The seriously toxic rechargables are NiCd, which is not a good choice due to lower capacity, memory effect, and high toxicity. NiMH has roughly twice the capacity and is much less toxic. Personally, I do not know how toxic it is compared to alkalines. California has banned the disposal of alkalines in landfills.


Do consider the financial angle as well. At least it is easier to crunch the figures for that.

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Do consider the financial angle as well. At least it is easier to crunch the figures for that.

Actually it's not easier to crunch the figures for that, for a number of reasons.


First, because there is too much "cost" information that is simply not available. I'm refering to the costs that I mentioned in my previous post.


But, even if you restrict the costs to the price (not the same as cost, by the way) of buying the alkalines versus the price of buying charger and rechargables and the price of charging them, if you use them for exactly the same things and extend that out over a reasonable period of time, I don't see it doing much more than breaking even.


The biggest mistake people make when they use even that extremely narrow view is that whether they assume 1000 recharges (as the manufacturer would like you to believe) or 250 recharges (taking a pessimistic view) they make the mistake of assuming one recharge of a rechargable equals the depletion of one alkaline.


In my experience that's just not the case. In virtually every use I have .. camera, GPS, whatever .. the alkalines outlast a single charge of even the best rechargables by a significant margin. I never see that factored into these narrow "economic" comparisons. It's always one charge equals one alkaline.


I think a more realistic ratio of charge cycles to alkaline battery depletions would kill even such a narrow economic comparison. Or at worst put them pretty close to even.


The other factor that doesn't get included is that if you don't use the rechargables, or the devices they are in, frequently you have to recharge them anyway. I use my camera in spurts. Lots of pictures for a birthday or a vacation trip. Then it will sit for weeks. Even in this kind of usage I can get about the same number of pictures out of a set of alkalines versus if I'm using the camera continuously until the batteries are drained.


That's not true for rechargables. Even the best of the new NiMH rechargables, like the Sanyo Eneloops, still drain when just sitting, either in the device or not. So in my style of usage, it takes a number of recharges of a rechargable to equal the depletion life of one alkaline. That adds to the charging cost and increases the ratio of charges to single battery depletion even more.


So even if you stick with a very narrow "economic" view, but do it correctly, it's not at all obvious that there's a good general case for rechargables.


My bigger issue is that most people don't even stop to think about it. They succumb to the conventional wisdom that it's either better for the environment somehow or that it's cheaper or maybe both. I haven't been able to find anything definitive and when I think about the bigger picture, whether economical or ecological, the very best I can imagine seems to come out about 50/50. I can't find anything compelling either way. I wish I could. Something independent of the hyperbole from the manufacturers' advertising departments on the one side and the eco-wingnuts on the other.



Edited by Ken in Regina
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Spouse is trying to get me greener and has purchased a pair of AA rechargable batteries to go with my shiny new etrex vista. Any words on which NiMH battery brands last longest or are they all the same? I only have 1 pair and want to have at least 2 fresh pair with me at all times, so Im in the market for 4 more.

I just bought the La Crosse Technology BC-9009 AlphaPower Battery Charger with 4 La Crosse AA (2,600 mah) and 4 AAA (not sure of the mah) for $39 from Amazon. It's my understading that the higher the mah the more hours you will get per charge. I'm sure some of the more technical folks can give a better explanation.



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