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ras_oscar

Is it time for new rechargables?

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I have 6 pair of enloop NiMH rechargables I bought in 2015. Cached with them and my Etrex Vista HCX for several years and ultimately tossed them in the drawer when life got in the way of Geocaching. Now I have a new Oregon 700, and I'm debating whether to treat myself to a new set of batteries. Pulled out all my old enlooops and charged them. Some reported null which means they were dead so those were discarded. Yesterday I popped a set of 4 into my LaCrosse charger and set it to Charge and Test mode. In that mode, the charger completely charges the battery, discharges it and measures the capacity in mah then recharges them. They came out between 1600 mah and 1720 mah. The batteries were rated new at 2000 mah. These batteries give me about 2.5 hours in the field geocaching. I set the GPS to battery saver but keep the display active most of the time. I do not turn wifi off. Questions:

 

1. Which rechargable batteries do you use

2. .How much geocaching time do you get from a full charge

3. How long have you had them

4. What is the nominal rating in mah

 

I have no problem spending the coin for higher capacity batteries, Just want to ensure I'm getting longer life than those I have now.

 

I'm considering the following:

 

1.  Enloop (2000 MaH) (4/$10.40)

2.  Enloop Pro (2550 MaH) (4/$18.39)

3. Amazon basics high capacity (2400 mah) (4/$9.31)

4. Amazon Basics (2000 mah)(4/$8.47)

 

1 Because it's what I have now and they've never let me down

2. Same brand, higher capacity but much more spendy. Not sure if i they will give me significantly more time in the field.

3. Similar capacity to 2 but priced less than 1. Not sure how many charges they are likely to take.

4. Same capacity as 1 but bit lower price: probably go with reputation of 1 since they are so similar in cost and capacity.

I didn't spend any real time shopping, i just went to amazon 4 packs to compare apples to apples. I'm sure I can find them a but less if I shop some more.

 

Any thoughts?

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I had two sets of crusty old Energizer NiMH that I alternated between for years (8-10?) in my old 60CSx, topping them up with a Maha smart charger and doing the occasional refresh, and they just refused to die.  I think I calculated I found 3000 caches using those four AAs.

 

My follow-up batts (PowerEx Imedion) never got a real test because just a few years later I switched to phone caching with Li-ion/USB power.

 

TLDR: yours should last for years too.

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The Amazon basics and Eneloop Pro tested almost identical in the battery test at GPSrChive > Oregon 7x0 > Operation > Power Sources > Battery Test. I use the Amazon Basics HC almost exclusively for all my AA devices.

 

 

Edited by Atlas Cached

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I wouldn't throw them away just yet. But I would mark them. I mean, even if you're not getting the full 2000maH out of them, they'll still give you some charge for geocaching. Or you can use them in a low-powered device like a tv remote. But lesson learned. Every few months, I'm sure to go through my battery collection and charge them all. Though I should eventually get a maha so I can discharge and recharge them all and get a capacity reading.

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11 hours ago, Atlas Cached said:

The Amazon basics and Eneloop Pro tested almost identical in the battery test at GPSrChive > Oregon 7x0 > Operation > Power Sources > Battery Test. I use the Amazon Basics HC almost exclusively for all my AA devices.

 

 

Yes, I have also seen youtube tests that mentioned the charge and discharge curves between Enloops and Ikea brand are identical, suggesting that they rebranded Enloops. My concern is Ikea will likely purchase whatever he can make the most profit on. Just because they were Enloops when they were tested doesn't mean they still are. The conclusion in the youtube video is Japanese cells are superior to Chinese cells. Most manufacturers are opaque when it comes to precisely who manufactured their cells, for obvious reasons.

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Since this is one of the rare crowds that might find the breakdown of Amazon's AA chain and the "Japanese Technology" there was a good story in The Verge that referenced a paper on Medium on this topic.
https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20944167/amazonbasics-aa-origin-battery-amazon

https://vsearch.com/eneloop-vs-amazonbasics/ gives pretty much the same (good) advice you got above on finding new homes for aged out cells.

Nobody will say they're Eneloops, but it's widely speculated they roll off the same assembly lines at FDK. For more than you ever want to know about the rebranded class of "almost Eneloops", (Amaloops, Ikealoops, etc.)  https://eneloop101.com/batteries/rewrapped-batteries/ and related pages deliver 100 page tomes on this class of cell, great for reading by the fire on these chilly winter evenings.

If I can add a (rarely needed) clarification to Mineral2's "mark them", the common trick is to use a marker on the bottom and add one mark when the cells test at 75% of rated capacity where they may still be useful in your geocaching bag, then add a second tick mark at 50% so they can live out the remainder of their lives in remotes, etc. Add a third mark when they're destined for the recycler. Now when you pick up a stray cell, you'll always know the results of their latest health checkup.

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Thanks for the replies and the technical insight. I discarded all but 4 of my old batteries and laid in a fresh supply of Amazon Basics high capacity (4 pair) I kept 4 of the old eneloops because they seemed to be giving adequate service. I have also labeled the cases 1,2,1nd 3 to ensure I rotate through them all evenly.

 

 

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It has always been my impression that people were choosing Eneloops primarily because they offered some significant advantage in the area of self-discharge -- that people were trading off capacity for good charge-shelf-life. 

 

You can certainly get cells that will outperform 2000mAh over a considerable life.  For those of us who charge before each outing, why would Eneloops provide any real benefit over others with more real capacity?  I'm not picking them out of a drawer 2 months after their last charge, which as I understand it is where the Eneloops really shine.

 

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The Eneloops (2000mAh) have a low discharge AND support more charges over their entire life. I think they're rated up to 2000 now. The Eneloop Pro, which hold 2600 mAh, have a higher discharge rate and only a 500 recharge rating and are more expensive per battery. 

So the thought is, bring two pair of 2000mAh eneloops for an outing rather than one pair of a higher capacity battery because it's cheaper and the batteries will last longer overall. But that mentality breaks down a bit if you're hiking and have limited room in your pack or want to cut down on weight. So a higher capacity battery would do you well on a backpacking trip, for example, though keeping in mind that if the batteries aren't low-discharge, you'll be losing charge on your extra batteries each day.

For me, I go through about 1 pair of 2000 mAh a day when backpacking, and if the batteries aren't drained completely when I reach camp, even better. And my trips are usually only 4 days/3 nights at most. So it's not a bother to bring 3-4 pair of batteries with me. For geocache outings, those are day hikes or car trips, so I charge up my batteries and bring a spare pair. I haven't felt I needed anything higher capacity. 

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I generally keep all my batteries in the caching bag; 3 cases each holding 2 pair. When all 4 cells in the case are discharged they go on the charger and then back into the caching bag. I do not top them off before using them. I have of late only been caching on the weekends, so my cells may stay in the baq a month before being used. Self discharge is therefore important to me. I have labeled the cases 1,2,and 3 so i will rotate through them all in turn.

 

Allied question: Is there benefit in keeping the batteries in matched pairs, or could I theoretically charge them all up, toss them into a bowl and pull out pairs at random?

Edited by ras_oscar

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You have a good system in place now for equalizing the number of cycles on the cells.  I'd stick with that plan.

 

 

 

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i've been buttonholed by Amazon recently to buy Eneloop red rechargeable batteries. I'm not in the market, since my Amazon basics high capacity are working just fine.  Was curious. The reds have the same specs as the white: 2000 MaH, 2100 recharge cycles and 70% charge retention for 5 years. Also, they are NOT listed on the panasonic website. Amazon only sells them in packs of 16. Are these the same as the white batteries only a different color, or is there something else going on?

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Yes. They are the same. At one point, there were "special" eneloops made in a variety of colors. The color was the only special thing about them.

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