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Tomas4x4

Nickel-Zinc rechargeable batteries

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I'm interested in knowing more. The Amazon reviews don't sound authentic. Doesn't mean they're not accurate, just that they sound staged. Not willing to spend $25 to find out for myself. Need to see the discharge curve first, at a minimum.

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Discharge curve looks decent. Now only question is whether the device will have fits with higher voltage. On Garmins I wonder if battery type of alkaline or lithium would be better.

 

To Tomas4x4 : I'm willing to kick in $5 towards the purchase if you'll post the results of a scientific study ;) Does "West Coast" mean somewhere around Silicon Valley?

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From a voltage and discharge standpoint these are just about perfect. My concern would be service life -- how many tmes can you use them before they won't hold a charge anymore.

 

But what do I know? This basic battery chemistry has been around for a LONG time and I didn't even realize anyone was offering them in a AA form factor.

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I have just ordered them from Amazon. I'll report as soon as I get anything to share.

I hope the higher voltage won't be a turnoff my Colorado (silently hoping it would make the backlighting brighter, closer to what it is with car adapter).

 

Regarding service life concern, they claim that recent advances allowed this chemistry to be practically used. They are claiming up to 1000 charges (I am charging batteries at most every two weeks so if they can survive 100 cycles, I am good for at least 4 years).

 

They are also claiming 'superior low temperature discharge behavior' which will come handy this time of year.

 

To Tomas4x4 : I'm willing to kick in $5 towards the purchase if you'll post the results of a scientific study ;) Does "West Coast" mean somewhere around Silicon Valley?

West Coast used to mean Hillsboro, OR (hi lee_rimar) when I joined the forums and now it means Union City, CA so we are practically neighbors. Thanks for the offer to share the burden :blink:, certainly appreciated.

Edited by Tomas4x4

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West Coast used to mean Hillsboro, OR (hi lee_rimar) when I joined the forums and now it means Union City, CA so we are practically neighbors. Thanks for the offer to share the burden ;), certainly appreciated.

Even though you've already bought it, offer's still good. Maybe you can use it for a cup of coffee to keep you awake during late night testing of the batteries :blink: If you have a Paypal account, send me an e-mail through my profile. Otherwise, maybe we'll run into each other during an event (though I guess you go by another geocaching handle?)

 

If it makes the backlight brighter, now that alone would be worth the purchase.

Edited by Chrysalides

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I had just noticed these earlier today and posted about them over at the Delorme forum.

 

Not sure if this video adds the graph that was requested.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLRN5p5zWbQ

 

I don't feel like I am seeing much discussion of how many times they can be recharged.

 

Aha! Here is the site I was trying to remember:

 

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=238985

 

Some info on recharge cycles and a 2nd generation in 2011:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.p...amp;postcount=9

Edited by missionMode

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Looks promising. The higher voltage is not an issue as a standard alkaline is about the same. in fact it is better to have a higher voltage as it means less loss in the voltage converters.

 

What is important are the W.h as it really represents the stored energy.

 

Hope the number a charge cycles and battery life is at least as good as NiMH. LiIon are a pain for that matter as even unused they usually don't last more than a couple of years and loose their capacity used or not, plus they can be dangerous if imporperly charged and handled.

Edited by Suscrofa

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Looks promising. The higher voltage is not an issue as a standard alkaline is about the same. in fact it is better to have a higher voltage as it means less loss in the voltage converters.

 

What is important are the W.h as it really represents the stored energy.

 

Hope the number a charge cycles and battery life is at least as good as NiMH. LiIon are a pain for that matter as even unused they usually don't last more than a couple of years and loose their capacity used or not, plus they can be dangerous if imporperly charged and handled.

 

Virtually all these devices have some form of voltage regulation to prevent high voltage damage. I'd be mostly concerned about the heat discharge due to the regulation and it's effect on the internal components.

 

N

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Looks promising. The higher voltage is not an issue as a standard alkaline is about the same. in fact it is better to have a higher voltage as it means less loss in the voltage converters.

 

What is important are the W.h as it really represents the stored energy.

 

Hope the number a charge cycles and battery life is at least as good as NiMH. LiIon are a pain for that matter as even unused they usually don't last more than a couple of years and loose their capacity used or not, plus they can be dangerous if imporperly charged and handled.

 

Virtually all these devices have some form of voltage regulation to prevent high voltage damage. I'd be mostly concerned about the heat discharge due to the regulation and it's effect on the internal components.

 

N

 

Less loss means less heat !!!

In this kind of equipment, the regulators have to step up the voltage and are pulse mode.

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These cells appear to have a nominal voltage of 1.6. At least initially, you'd want to tell your GPS that you've got Lithium to get a half accurate battery reading. That gives you a slightly pessimistic indication of remaining charge, but better than using Alkaline (1.5) and discovering you're dead sooner than you thought. Telling your GPS you've got NiMH installed would give you artificially optimistic indications of remaining battery charge, and you'd be sunk.

 

As for what good --

NiZn @ 1.6V and 1500mAh ('typical') = 2560mWh

NiMH @ 1.2V and 2200mAh ('typical') = 2640mWh

 

Your typical NiMH wins in that department, although I'd call it a statistical tie. Not knowing what a given GPS unit is using for voltage regulation, you must also realize that the voltage isn't the story here -- the GPS is running from a lower voltage than even a pair of NiMH deliver (2.4V). Unlike the poster above, I'm guessing buck, not boost. A voltage regulator isn't 100% efficient (more likely around 85% or if you're lucky, closer to 90%), so a percentage of the power of this new 1.6V cell is lost in downconversion.\

 

One thing I haven't seen discussed anywhere is the self-discharge rate of these cells. NiMH is well known for a significant self-discharge rate of about 12% per month or more. They can also be a bugger to charge once they've dropped close to zero. As a rule, the rate of self-discharge doubles with every 10°C (18°F) increase in temperature, so keeping them in the car on a typical summer day kills the charge even faster.

 

If they're priced at anything above the going rate for a 2200mAh NiMH, I'm going to be unimpressed, especially given the need for a different charger.

Edited by ecanderson

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ecanderson has some good analysis. Some GPSrs seem to want a higher voltage.

For example, the Delorme PNs take 2 AAs or one Li-ion rechargeable.

 

NiMH 2 X 1.2V X 2100mAH = 5.04 WH, lasting about 4-6 hours

Li-Ion 1 X 3.7V X 1300mAH = 4.81 WH, lasting about 6-8 hours.

 

so, perhaps the NiZn will work better than NiMH.

 

My Kodak digital camera also eats NiMH AAs, but likes lithium packs and rechargeable Li-Ion packs.

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ecanderson has some good analysis. Some GPSrs seem to want a higher voltage.

For example, the Delorme PNs take 2 AAs or one Li-ion rechargeable.

 

NiMH 2 X 1.2V X 2100mAH = 5.04 WH, lasting about 4-6 hours

Li-Ion 1 X 3.7V X 1300mAH = 4.81 WH, lasting about 6-8 hours.

 

so, perhaps the NiZn will work better than NiMH.

 

My Kodak digital camera also eats NiMH AAs, but likes lithium packs and rechargeable Li-Ion packs.

 

Sorry but your figures contradict ecanderson analysis and therefore hint we are dealing with a boost regulator, the electronic working at a higher voltage (3V to 5V) that two AA NimH cells can give.

This means that higher V cell = "less boost" to perform and better efficiency.

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When I got my first Oregon, I quickly realized that I was going to need the backlight ALL the time for the unit to be usable. So i went for the NiMhs and that is all I use in my GPSRs anymore. I still use Energizers in my headlamps, but I rarely have to change the batteries in those, since I don't turn them on unless I actually need it to find a cache. I can usually get about 8 hours from a charge on the Energizer NiMhs, and then I just swap them out with the two other sets that are always charging in my car. I can't understand why anyone would use anything but rechargeables in a GPS, but maybe some folks have way too much money. In any case, Being able to just leave the backlight on without worrying about how much batteries cost is so worth it, and it's good for the environment, as well as infinitely more convenient. If I can ever find a rechargeable that gives good brightness to my headlamp, I'll use them there, too, but so far, they just don't cut it.

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ecanderson has some good analysis. Some GPSrs seem to want a higher voltage.

For example, the Delorme PNs take 2 AAs or one Li-ion rechargeable.

 

NiMH 2 X 1.2V X 2100mAH = 5.04 WH, lasting about 4-6 hours

Li-Ion 1 X 3.7V X 1300mAH = 4.81 WH, lasting about 6-8 hours.

 

so, perhaps the NiZn will work better than NiMH.

 

My Kodak digital camera also eats NiMH AAs, but likes lithium packs and rechargeable Li-Ion packs.

What's with the 1 X 3.7V? Sounds like an old CR-V3 camera battery (looks like a pair of AA batteries side-by-side in a single package). Nominal capacity on one of those is more on the order of 3000 ~ 3300mAh. Or is this thing you're using one of those that looks like a single AA cell, but is actually a 3.6V lithium battery? Those (called a 14430) don't usually run anywhere near 1300mAh.

 

Can you describe this lithium device a little more? I'm concerned we may have apples and oranges here.

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Sorry but your figures contradict ecanderson analysis and therefore hint we are dealing with a boost regulator, the electronic working at a higher voltage (3V to 5V) that two AA NimH cells can give.

The SiRF Star III chip operates at 1.2V, and has 4 onboard regulators. I can't speak for the processor in a typical GPS, but at least that part is looking for DOWN (buck) regulation of two NiMH cells. There are lot of 1.2V ARM devices out there. I'd be surprised if either of the two critical elements (processor and GPS receiver) needed more than that.

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These cells appear to have a nominal voltage of 1.6. At least initially, you'd want to tell your GPS that you've got Lithium to get a half accurate battery reading. That gives you a slightly pessimistic indication of remaining charge, but better than using Alkaline (1.5) and discovering you're dead sooner than you thought.

 

My experience with fresh alkaline AA's is that when you measure the voltage on a fresh one with a multimeter you actually get 1.6 volts anyway. Therefore the alkaline setting should be just about right.

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My experience with fresh alkaline AA's is that when you measure the voltage on a fresh one with a multimeter you actually get 1.6 volts anyway. Therefore the alkaline setting should be just about right.

But the discharge curve of the NiZn shows fresh cells to measure 1.7 to 1.8V. Whether it makes any difference, I hope we'll find out from Tomas4x4 soon. One likely scenario is that the batteries will show fully charged until it suddenly dies without warning.

 

As for price, Amazon sells a 4 pack (battery only) for $13 and a 8 pack (battery only) for $20. Seems pretty reasonable since there's not much in the way of choices right now. Of course, it all depends on how well they work.

Edited by Chrysalides

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My experience with fresh alkaline AA's is that when you measure the voltage on a fresh one with a multimeter you actually get 1.6 volts anyway. Therefore the alkaline setting should be just about right.

The discharge profile is just as important as the initial voltage. If the profile doesn't match alkalines, you're likely to get screwy behavior (frequent need to recalibrate, inaccurate battery level readings, etc.).

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So the batteries and charger arrived yesterday :rolleyes: .

 

My first observations:

 

1) It works with my Colorado 300

 

2) With fully charged batteries and backlight turned to maximum, it lasted 10 hours and 30 minutes showing 4 bars. Then the battery indicator dropped to one bar and after about 10 minutes, I got low battery warning and the GPS turned itself off in few seconds. This was with battery type set to Lithium. I also tried setting battery type to Alkaline but it would be showing 4 bars even when Lithium was showing only one. I am not 100% sure when the indicator went from 4 bars to 1 bar or whether there was any 3 or 2 bars stage, it could have been sooner than 10 hours 30 minutes but certainly not more than hour earlier.

 

I am now running it with fully charged batteries without backlight to see how long it would last that way. Next test I want to do is to put the GPS into the freezer to see how it works in cold/freezing temperatures.

 

When being charged, the batteries are cold.

 

I'd like to believe that backlighting is a bit brighter but I can't say for sure because I don't have two identical units to compare side by side. I might try to take a picture with each type of battery under controlled light conditions.

 

So far so good, if it works better in cold than NiMH and has reasonable lifespan, I am sold.

 

Tomas

Edited by Tomas4x4

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So the batteries and charger arrived yesterday :rolleyes: .

 

My first observations:

 

1) It works with my Colorado 300

 

2) With fully charged batteries and backlight turned to maximum, it lasted 10 hours and 30 minutes showing 4 bars. Then the battery indicator dropped to one bar and after about 10 minutes, I got low battery warning and the GPS turned itself off in few seconds. This was with battery type set to Lithium. I also tried setting battery type to Alkaline but it would be showing 4 bars even when Lithium was showing only one. I am not 100% sure when the indicator went from 4 bars to 1 bar or whether there was any 3 or 2 bars stage, it could have been sooner than 10 hours 30 minutes but certainly not more than hour earlier.

 

I am now running it with fully charged batteries without backlight to see how long it would last that way. Next test I want to do is to put the GPS into the freezer to see how it works in cold/freezing temperatures.

 

When being charged, the batteries are cold.

So how long do NiMH batteries last in your Colorado 300?

I'd like to believe that backlighting is a bit brighter but I can't say for sure because I don't have two identical units to compare side by side. I might try to take a picture with each type of battery under controlled light conditions.

 

So far so good, if it works better in cold than NiMH and has reasonable lifespan, I am sold.

 

Tomas

 

So how long do NiMH batteries last in your Colorado 300?

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The batteries sound promising. They could be especially useful for LED flashlights that really require 1.5V to function at full capacity.

 

It will be nice to see a little competetion in the market for the batteries though.

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The batteries sound promising. They could be especially useful for LED flashlights that really require 1.5V to function at full capacity.

 

It will be nice to see a little competetion in the market for the batteries though.

Could be a while before we see competition. The technology that keeps the things from 1) shorting out like they used to, and 2) suffering from rather low successful charge/discharge cycles is probably seriously tied up in patents. It's not like the chemistry is a new idea -- just that it didn't work very well until recent development pushed the reliability up to a useful level.

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New batch of tests:

 

1) I have run my GPS without backlighting and it switched to 3 bars after 11h 33m, to 2 bars after 11h 40m, to 1 bar after 11h 44m, to red bar after 11h 54m and turned itself of after 11h 55m.

 

2 Much more interesting was my 'freezer' experiment where I put the Colorado to the freezer (at -10 degrees centigrade, 14 Fahrenheit). I have first checked several times during first hour to see if it would work at all, then after 4h 30m, it was showing 4 bars, when I checked again after 9h 26m (it was in the freezer overnight) and it was showing 1 bar, then it switched to red bar after about 3 minutes, I took it out of freezer expecting it to turn itself off soon but now, after another 30 minutes it is sitting on my desk still showing red bar and working (the unit died after 35 minutes of showing red bar).

 

I was a bit surpised by so little difference between running with and without backlight, without it it would only last 90 minutes longer. I was expecting more but it is consistent with my tests with NiMH from two years ago when I got my GPS. It seems like backlighting is not the most power hungry feature of the Colorado.

 

I am rather excited by the freezer test because NiMHs would probably not even work at those conditions (I'll try as soon as it turns itself off). I definitely know from experience that NiMHs have to be warmed up before use when cold otherwise they show one bar or less and die quickly. Also having to keep the spares somewhere near the body is not such a great thing either. It seems that I have found my holy grail of 'low temperature' rechargable.

 

;):lol::D

 

Now all I can wish for is that people at Garmin would add profile for this type of battery into the next software update so that the battery indicator would be a bit more useful... and I wish I did not buy that many low discharge NiMHs and BC 9009 charger last year :blink: .

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So how long do NiMH batteries last in your Colorado 300?

 

I'd say that about the same. If you search my posts, one of the oldest ones contains my tests with NiMHs.

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... and I wish I did not buy that many low discharge NiMHs and BC 9009 charger last year ;) .

Sounds like we might have a set of winter batteries/charger and a summer set. :blink:

 

Seriously, these sound promising for cold weather use. Thanks for pioneering and reporting.

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New batch of tests:

 

1) I have run my GPS without backlighting and it switched to 3 bars after 11h 33m, to 2 bars after 11h 40m, to 1 bar after 11h 44m, to red bar after 11h 54m and turned itself of after 11h 55m.

 

2 Much more interesting was my 'freezer' experiment where I put the Colorado to the freezer (at -10 degrees centigrade, 14 Fahrenheit). I have first checked several times during first hour to see if it would work at all, then after 4h 30m, it was showing 4 bars, when I checked again after 9h 26m (it was in the freezer overnight) and it was showing 1 bar, then it switched to red bar after about 3 minutes, I took it out of freezer expecting it to turn itself off soon but now, after another 30 minutes it is sitting on my desk still showing red bar and working (the unit died after 35 minutes of showing red bar).

 

I was a bit surpised by so little difference between running with and without backlight, without it it would only last 90 minutes longer. I was expecting more but it is consistent with my tests with NiMH from two years ago when I got my GPS. It seems like backlighting is not the most power hungry feature of the Colorado.

 

I am rather excited by the freezer test because NiMHs would probably not even work at those conditions (I'll try as soon as it turns itself off). I definitely know from experience that NiMHs have to be warmed up before use when cold otherwise they show one bar or less and die quickly. Also having to keep the spares somewhere near the body is not such a great thing either. It seems that I have found my holy grail of 'low temperature' rechargable.

 

;):lol::D

 

Now all I can wish for is that people at Garmin would add profile for this type of battery into the next software update so that the battery indicator would be a bit more useful... and I wish I did not buy that many low discharge NiMHs and BC 9009 charger last year :blink: .

 

I am curious as to whether or not the unit would have died so fast at the end of the battery cycle if the unit was set to NiMH and run on these new batteries.

 

I have found that Alkalines will run for up to 2 additional hours if the unit is set to NiMH.

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I am curious as to whether or not the unit would have died so fast at the end of the battery cycle if the unit was set to NiMH and run on these new batteries.

Normally, over-discharging batteries could result in damage to the cells. Not sure if this is true for NiZn, but since the voltage for NiMh and NiZn is so different, I'd advise "proceed with caution".

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I wonder how long before they will be able to come out with a AAA version. That's where I need a true 1.5v

(or 1.6v)

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When I got my first Oregon, I quickly realized that I was going to need the backlight ALL the time for the unit to be usable. So i went for the NiMhs and that is all I use in my GPSRs anymore. I still use Energizers in my headlamps, but I rarely have to change the batteries in those, since I don't turn them on unless I actually need it to find a cache. I can usually get about 8 hours from a charge on the Energizer NiMhs, and then I just swap them out with the two other sets that are always charging in my car. I can't understand why anyone would use anything but rechargeables in a GPS, but maybe some folks have way too much money. In any case, Being able to just leave the backlight on without worrying about how much batteries cost is so worth it, and it's good for the environment, as well as infinitely more convenient. If I can ever find a rechargeable that gives good brightness to my headlamp, I'll use them there, too, but so far, they just don't cut it.

I use rechargables in all my headlamps, I like being able to use them as much and as long as I want. I use both eneloops and sanyo 2700's and they both work good. My headlamps are the princeton tec apex (130 lumens!), princeton tec quad, and pretzel tikka plus.

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Is there any info on the self-discharge rate of these units? Cold weather performance is nice, but I can't say I really have complaints in that area (partly due to the fact that I rarely find myself in serious sub zero conditions). However, I do like to be able to pick my GPS of the shelve and go out using it without wondering whether or not there is any charge left in the batteries.

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Is there any info on the self-discharge rate of these units? Cold weather performance is nice, but I can't say I really have complaints in that area (partly due to the fact that I rarely find myself in serious sub zero conditions). However, I do like to be able to pick my GPS of the shelve and go out using it without wondering whether or not there is any charge left in the batteries.
As noted above, none that I've seen from a manufacturer. One can only hope it's better than NiMH.

 

One review claims "Their self-discharge rate is a bit under 1%/day, better than Ni-MH but not as good as Li-Ion. ". Find that one here: http://www.en-genius.net/site/zones/greenp.../grnpowp_060109

Edited by ecanderson

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When I got my first Oregon, I quickly realized that I was going to need the backlight ALL the time for the unit to be usable. So i went for the NiMhs and that is all I use in my GPSRs anymore. I still use Energizers in my headlamps, but I rarely have to change the batteries in those, since I don't turn them on unless I actually need it to find a cache. I can usually get about 8 hours from a charge on the Energizer NiMhs, and then I just swap them out with the two other sets that are always charging in my car. I can't understand why anyone would use anything but rechargeables in a GPS, but maybe some folks have way too much money. In any case, Being able to just leave the backlight on without worrying about how much batteries cost is so worth it, and it's good for the environment, as well as infinitely more convenient. If I can ever find a rechargeable that gives good brightness to my headlamp, I'll use them there, too, but so far, they just don't cut it.

I use rechargables in all my headlamps, I like being able to use them as much and as long as I want. I use both eneloops and sanyo 2700's and they both work good. My headlamps are the princeton tec apex (130 lumens!), princeton tec quad, and pretzel tikka plus.

 

Have you compared rechargables side-by-side with alkalines? The NiMH batteries are only 1.2V and the 3W 130 lumen lamps take 3 batteries. So with Alkalines they are getting 4.5V but with NiMH only 3.6V

I burn through a lot of AAA batteries in my flashlight and it seems to be pretty dim after a night of caching. If AAA NiMHs would give full intensity then I would switch.

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Tomas4x4, how are you liking these, a couple weeks on from your last report...?

 

I don't have anything new to report. I only use the GPS for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Unfortunately I didn't do any of those activities recently. When I have anything new to report, I will.

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I want to try these new cells.

 

I usually use Eneloops (and before them, Maha Powerex 2700 mAh) and found out that 1.2V do not power all AA devices, in other words, it's not a straight swap. My remote controls for example refused to work with Eneloops.

 

So if these new cells work everywhere, that's a huge advantage.

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I want to try these new cells.

 

I usually use Eneloops (and before them, Maha Powerex 2700 mAh) and found out that 1.2V do not power all AA devices, in other words, it's not a straight swap. My remote controls for example refused to work with Eneloops.

 

So if these new cells work everywhere, that's a huge advantage.

They'll certainly do where devices won't cope with the 1.2V NiMH (although they charge higher than that and stay above that for a good bit). Anything designed in recent (10 years, at least) history that uses AA cells at currents of 1.0C or less that won't deal with NiMH voltages is junk -- no decent design engineer would fail to anticipate a customer's use of NiMH AA cells in such a design. That's not to say it hasn't happened -- there's junk out there.

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I have a set of 4 NiZn (including charger) in the mails at the moment, due in a couple more days. Anxious to try them out as Sunday showed how worn my NiMH cells are becoming worn down (that's what happens over a year of heavy use!) My NiMH cells, which when fresh could last two full days of caching are now struggling at a full day, which is still pretty good if I carry a backup set.

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<TANTRUM>

 

I JUST WANT AAA's!!

 

</TANTRUM>

There, there. Have a cookie.

 

On a more serious note, that is why I made sure the flashlight I bought takes AAs.

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just wondering, how many charges have these batteries had now? just wondering after say a couple of dozen charges how they will perform? i.e. once they have been charged and discharged a few times will they improve?

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Ordered a set of these at end of January, received and charged them up on Friday (5th)

 

The first set have run out this evening, after 2 full days, plus a half day and a few hours here and there. Some night use, with illuminated background, also. Unit is GPSMap 60c.

 

A set of NiMH will usually go for a couple days and start to fade, gradually. When these faded it was all at once - no 3 bars, 2 bars, 1 bar + low bat warning, these suddenly faded the display + low bat warning then went in seconds, so expect when they run out of power they will hit the wall suddenly. Otherwise very good performance.

 

I can't recommend strongly enough that anyone using these should carry a spare set as anticipation that power is ab out to run out is nigh impossible. I had 4 bars on the cells and within a couple minutes my screen was blank.

Edited by DragonsWest

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I had 4 bars on the cells and within a couple minutes my screen was blank.
This is pretty much what I would expect from a battery with such a flat discharge rate, plus the fact that it's relatively new technology so the software on the GPSr units isn't going to have a good algorithm for displaying the correct battery bars.

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