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Lithium Batteries


derekdoubleut
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I'm actually trying the new energizer e2 batteries out now. They say they're supposed to last 7x as long as standard alkaline batteries. That figure is mentioned for digital camera use though. They don't provide a benchmark against duracell, but that's what I am trying to establish.

 

I get about 25 "accurate" hours out of the standard duracell coppertop for my Garmin 76C (it uses 2 AAs). I usually replace them around 2 bars because the GPS starts to be way off if I leave them in any longer, eventhough there is still battery life left.

 

Right now the pair of e2 I have in now has gone approximately 11 hours and is still showing 4 bars when I turn the unit on. Give me another week or so and I'll have a better answer for you.

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Lithium batteries are great and lost for a very long time, but they are so expensive.

 

Best bet is to invest in a few pairs of rechargable NiMH batteries and a charger. I can go all day with a fresh set of batteries and carry spares for my camera and other gizmos I bring along.

I think you're confused with regular Lithium batteries, which cost about $17 for a 4 pack. These are a brand new product from Energizer called "Energizer e2 Lithium." They come in AA and AAA sizes. They cost on average about $2-$3 more (give or take) for a 4 pack than duracell or energizer AAs.

Edited by AtlantaGal
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Lithium batteries are expensive but they do last as long as they claim. I usually use 2100mAh energiser rechargables, however, if I am going to be away for an extended period then the lithium batteries go in. They may cost more but for me not having to carry the extra batteries is a real boon.

 

Lithium batteries are also worth their weight in gold in very cold weather where they become my battery of choice. Unlike standard alkaline and rechargables they do not suffer the huge drop in performace that usually occurs. In fact there is virtually no change in their performance.

 

edited for typo

Edited by ashoofak
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Add my vote for E2 lithiums for the GPS. Haven't measured exact "hours" with them, but I've had sets of them last for weeks of heavy use/caching. However, I also agree that rechargable NiMH's probably are a better value over the long run, as long as you're willing to keep a freshly-charged extra set with you before you head out on the trails.

 

-Dave R.

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I have heard that lithiums, while lasting a long time, go dead with very little warning. There is apparently a very steep fall of curve at the end of their life, so your battery life indicator may fool you. Three bars one minute, dead as a door nail the next. Hopefully, AtlantaGal can report back on that too.

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However, a set of these lithium batteries might be great to keep unopened for emergencies. . .

We keep a pair in each of our bags for backup. Rechargables the rest of the time.

 

This is something I recommend everyone doing. You never know when you might take a wrong turn trying to get into an area and a 2 hour hunt turns into 7. You might need that GPS to follow your breadcrumbs out.

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I have heard that lithiums, while lasting a long time, go dead with very little warning. There is apparently a very steep fall of curve at the end of their life, so your battery life indicator may fool you. Three bars one minute, dead as a door nail the next.

I can validate this as well.

 

-Dave R.

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Lithium batteries are also worth their weight in gold in very cold weather where they become my battery of choice. Unlike standard alkaline and rechargables they do not suffer the huge drop in performace that usually occurs. In fact there is virtually no change in their performance.

 

This is something I was unaware of. It's not the tundra here in Georgia or anything, but it has been quite chilly here on and off lately (40s for highs and 20s for lows).

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Lithium 4-pack at the AF Base commisary $6.54.

With the amount of use my GPS receiver has had and that high a price I would have paid many times as much by now for batteries as I did for the receiver.

 

The Lithium AA cells are great for a backup and special circumstances, but NiMHs are far more economical.

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Lithium 4-pack at the AF Base commisary $6.54.

With the amount of use my GPS receiver has had and that high a price I would have paid many times as much by now for batteries as I did for the receiver.

 

The Lithium AA cells are great for a backup and special circumstances, but NiMHs are far more economical.

I mentioned it because that was the topic of the thread. The rechargeable issue has been discussed at length many times. The lithium batteries last far longer than any standard AA alkaline or rechargeables. Like I said, I want to plot my tracks up the mountain (last one was 20+ miles RT) and later overlay them on a topo map. I don’t want the receiver going dead because the batteries couldn’t last as long as I did.

 

:blink:

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Interesting... I've used NiMH for years and years in GPS, Palm, Camera, etc.

 

However, the headlamp uses 3 AAA's, impossible to recharge affectively. I've ignored Lithium as overpriced and still can't find an actual test of duration to warrant the extra cost but found this interesting chart.

 

(Just a warning, "memory affect" is a misnomer--NASA studied it and found over or under-charging was the culprit.)

 

With NiMH's, I highly recommend and "intelligent" cpu-driven charger which won't "cook" your batteries and diminish their recharge life.

 

The slightly higher voltage of Lithium would be nice in my LED headlamp too...nevermind light weight and immunity to cold...

 

Sweet,

 

Randy

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Score! I found an actual test performed last August on, of all things, a GPS!

 

Test results here.

 

voltages.png

 

So, NiMH are cheapest, as 5 sets pays for the charger.

 

IE, 7 to infinite sets of charges via NiMH costs about $36 dollars versus $42-infinite for Lithium.

 

NiMH are also not toxic like Lithium (additional cost/inconvenience to deal with hazardous waste).

 

However, Lithium are lighter, run nearly twice as long, and function more readily in cold.

 

So, my conclusion, if Lithiums can be found for LESS than twice the price of Alkaline, they offer greater value. Otherwise Alkaline are a better value.

 

(OTOH, I'm switching to Lithium in all the smoke detectors rather than replacing alkalines annually...)

 

Thanks for prompting me to research this,

 

Randy

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The cold weather performance and weight of Lithiums in head torches was the driving force behind my change to them. The loss in performance is dramatic (some GPS (vista?) have a lithium setting to alleviate this problem), however, when you factor this against the fact that you haven't got the continual decline in performance I believe this is a good thing. Do you you want a battery that performs at 100% for 1 hour then degrades until complete failure or one that last 2 - 4 times as long and gives over 90% of optimum performance for the period.

 

I remember seeing a trial on the web showing the cold weather performance of the various batteries and the results prompted me to ditch normal batteries in my head torch forever. I'll atempt to find it again in the comming week but I think that it was commisioned by Petzl.

Edited by ashoofak
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Score! I found an actual test performed last August on, of all things, a GPS!

 

Test results here.

 

Nice find :blink: Now if only they would repeat the test at below freezing temps. I've been considering picking up a set of Lithium to carry as backups but at $4/cell in Canada it's cheaper to get NiMH. I carry several sets with me when I'm caching as backups for my GPSr and camera.

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Sam's club sells 12 packs of Energizer lithium e2 batteries for $19.74.

I buy the 28-pack of standard copper-top Duracell at Sams/BJs/Costco for $9.99- $11.99 (on average). And because they're usually good for at least 20 hours a pair, this is my battery of choice.

 

With that said, I was given a 4-pack of the e2 to try for free. So that's what I am doing. They do appear to cost almost twice as much as the batteries I use, but I am curious how much longer they will last in a GPS unit.

Edited by AtlantaGal
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The Battery Station will soon be offering AA lithiums for $1.50 / battery.

 

I use 15 minute rechargeables, and they work pretty well, but I always carry a backup set of lithiums because they last nearly forever. (10 years). This makes them perfect as backups. Maybe I should switch over to lithium AA's altogether - I already go through a silly quantity of lithium CR123A's, so what's a few more batteries...

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ashoofak: ditch normal batteries in my head torch forever

 

Are you using an LED torch? If not, switch now! (As many LED's as you can afford, preferably w/AA's...)

 

They've come WAY down in price and batteries last days instead of hours.. I paid $20 for 4 LED's about four years ago, $30 for 7 LED's about 3 years ago and now see 12 LED's for less than that now.

 

PDOP's: repeat the test at below freezing temps

 

I think we can interpolate the graph provided, as the lithium curve wouldn't change much (given reports of 'better in cold') whereas the others would drop significantly.

 

Therefore cold would simply make the difference greater. Although you'd have to lose half the performance of alkalines to warrant paying three times the price for lithiums. (12 hours would have to drop to 6 assuming the lithiums would still provide 18 hours...)

 

However, given NiMH only have to be purchased once and can be recharged at insignificant cost--they'll be way cheaper until we get AA Li-ion rechargables!

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

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I have rechargeable AA's that I use in my digital camera, but I use only lithiums in my Garmin V. I consistently get 30 hrs. of use on a set of 4 AA's. That works out to a little over 22 cents per hour of operation when running on lithium batteries. That's money well spent IMO for batteries that are lighter than any others, have a longer shelf life than any others (10 years), last longer than any others (30 hours), give peak performance until the last 15 or 20 minutes of use, and do all this even when the temperature is down to MINUS 40°F.

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QUOTE

ashoofak: ditch normal batteries in my head torch forever

 

 

Are you using an LED torch? If not, switch now! (As many LED's as you can afford, preferably w/AA's...)

 

Not yet but I am getting a Petzel Myo 5. My head torch is used in alpine style climbing where wheight is a premium. The fact that they will not fail due to the cold weather was a critical decision maker. I need my torch to work at its best during the wee small hours when the temp is at the lowest. Therefore the cost issues become far less relevant. I should add that the expensive Lithiums are only used where their weight, longevity and cold weather performance are required. However, as the price comes down I believe they will replace standard batteries in all uses.

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Lithiums work better in the cold than a lot of other kinds do, and they last all day long while doing tracking. And to save on life while tracking, one can shut off the GPS while having lunch, restart, and it goes right back on track. I'll put a piece of masking tape around the batteries and mark the date I put them in the GPS and I can keep track of how long they have been used.

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lithiums are great. they last much longer, consistently perform in cold weather, and are very lightweight. they go at close to 100% and then fail quickly. the battery meter in your gpsr is calibrated to alkaline batteries and unless it has a feature allowing you to let it know you are using lithium batts will not be accurate at all. you will probably show excellent battery life right up to the time your gpsr fails. not really a problem as long as you carry spares. -harry

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AtlantaGal are you using lithium batteries or the new Energiser e2. Energiser Lithium batteries are Light blue and the e2's are silver. The e2's are marked alkaline on the battery but advertise the lithiums on the back of the pack. This can lead the buyer to believe that they are buying lithiums when they have bought alkalines. The e2 is a great battery but Lithiums out perform even these.

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After yesterday's caching expedition... 46.5 total hours in my Garmin 76C. Still showing 4 bars as well.

 

Ashoofak,

These are the brand new e2 lithiums that cost I think $9 a 4-pack. I was confused when I saw them in the store and originally quoted the price for the e2 titainiums. But these are indeed the new blue and silver lithium batteries from energizer.

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After yesterday's caching expedition... 46.5 total hours in my Garmin 76C. Still showing 4 bars as well.

 

Ashoofak,

These are the brand new e2 lithiums that cost I think $9 a 4-pack. I was confused when I saw them in the store and originally quoted the price for the e2 titainiums. But these are indeed the new blue and silver lithium batteries from energizer.

Thanks for keeping us up to date. It'll be interesting to see how many hours they last. Right now, I can pick up a 36 pack of AA's at Home Depot for a little over $11. That's 18 sets....so the lithiums will have to be at least better than 15 times the normal alkaline.

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AtlantaGal you'll have to keep a close eye on that GPS as when it fails there will be little warning, this has been one of the complaints against Lithiums. Ibelieve that this is becuase most GPSr use voltage drop in the battery to messure the batteries state, however, as Lithiums give a constant voltage until they fail current (no pun intended) battery meters don't work.

 

PC Painter - There is more to battery choice than just cost; much the same as GPS choice I suppose ;-)))

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Just thought I'd chime in, since me and AG have been caching together for awhile... :(

 

While she has been running her lithiums, I've been running my Rino 130 on Duracell M2s, and my GPSMap 60CS on NIMH 1800's (2 sets of 2).

 

I haven't been keeping track of hours, just battery replacements. The 60 has been staying in the truck 90% of the time doing autonav stuff, running off truck power via cig adapter. I carry the Rino with me when hunting/hiking for caches most of the time.

 

Since she's started this experiement:

 

- The 130 is on it's 3rd set of batteries, 2 bars left. Unlike a lot of people, I haven't noticed extensive loss of accuracy under 2 bar, so I run it until I get "Battery Low", then replace.

 

- The 60CS is on it's THIRD swap-out of the rechargables, even though it runs mostly on truck power. These ain't the best rechargables in the world - "Digital Concepts", never heard of them.

 

The 60's NiMH's died on me while we were searching for a cache yesterday (Rino was accidently left at home), so I threw in a couple of cheap CVS pharmacy AAs for about 15 minutes. Not counting this towards runtime totals.

 

Guessitmated runtimes:

 

Duracell M2's - roughly 13-14 hours. Not bad, I'm happy.

1800 NiMH - 6-8 hours, max. Dunno why, except they were CHEAP.

 

FWIW...

Edited by Cymbaline
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49.5 hours and the meter dropped to 3 bars shortly before I turned the unit off today. Since there is no "lithium" choice for battery type on the 76C, I have it set to alkaline. Probably am not getting an accurate battery meter reading at any rate.

 

When I started this test, I expected to get at least 60 hours out of 2 AA e2 lithiums. Not sure if I'm going to reach that or not. I would venture a guess that the backlight on a 76C sucks a lot of juice, which may be a factor if this battery pair dies before hitting 60 hours.

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52.5 hours and I took them out. My battery meter was going from 4 bars to 3 to 4 to 1. I wanted to be sure I was accurate while caching so I took them out. I think it's safe to say that these e2 lithiums will last 3x as long as decent alkaline batteries and they'll cost 3x as much (for now). I'll definitely keep a 4-pack handy, but will stick to my normal duracell battery where I can purchase them in 28-packs for around $10.

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