Are you getting tired of looking thu the drawers in the kitchen for a couple AA’s or a D cell for your flashlights when the Power goes out. Did you stockpile a couple dozen batteries when a local store went out of business only to find they were ˝ discharged? Save money and increase your power capability with rechargeable batteries. Rechargable batteries are a great long-term solution to powering small devices, saving money in the long term and reducing landfill waste. I am going to focus on the most versatile of the rechargables as well as the most common, the AA battery. It can be charged in small or large groups, they are small and spares fit easily in your coat pocket as well as the charger. Rechargeable batteries are a small expense; however effectively using them can greatly reduce your need to purchase batteries. The AA battery is commonly used in almost any portable device you own, from CD players, Night Vision, flashlights, Battery extenders for Pocket and Palm PC’s to GPS systems and Digital Cameras.
About 2 years ago we attempted to switch over to entirely rechargeable batteries. We attained this goal for a time, until the kid’s toys began to migrate away from home and to the charity of choice, giving them more enjoyment for another child. Heartwarming and Heart Breaking as about $50 of rechargeable C’s and AA’s went out the door also. We no longer use rechargeables exclusively, tools and frequently used items get rechargables and other items have cheaper disposable batteries.
I found rechargeable flashlights that can be set to turn on if the power to that outlet is no longer available, it’s a nice benefit for when the power goes out and these light turn on. You have light and the flashlight is always charged.
Rechargables are relatively expensive at first sight, However, if you care for them properly and use them in your devices they quickly pay for themselves. The initial cost of $5 for four AA Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries is broken down to $1.25 each and this compared to about $.20 per battery for the bulk Packed AA’s. If you watch for the sales in the middle isles of our favorite Megalo-Mart you will find a Charger and Batteries for about $10.00.
Different types of rechargeable batteries. Nickel Cadmium (ni-cad’s) batteries have been around for awhile, The major drawback for these are they will constantly discharge at a steady rate and suddenly go dead. These batteries are not for the “maintenance free-minded” as they have a charging memory and tend to not totally recharge if they are not completely discharged. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries perform nearly identical to alkaline batteries in that the charge begins to fade as the battery is discharged. The greatest benefit is that they will hold a larger charge, prolonging time between battery changes in the device. Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries tend to hold a charge for a longer shelf life in comparison to other rechargables. However these suffer from a serious problem in that these will hold less charge each time they are recharged.
Battery Adapters – These are adapters that fit over AA’s they will allow the AA to be used in a C or D battery device. These run around 4 for $3.00
These do not work in all devices, like a Kerosene heater, so experiment and buy accordingly.
Rapid chargers - These will rapidly charge batteries usually within an hour. Solar Battery Charger – This would be nice for camping trips and car journeys where it can be set in the sun for long periods to charge.
Car Charger Adapter – this is usually a home battery charger that has a car adapter that can charge batteries in the car.
My Personal Rules of the road
Buy a charger that will charge both Ni-cads and Nickel metal Hydride batteries.
Check everything for batteries before you discard it.
Remove completely charged batteries form the charger.
Rechargeable 9 volts are not that cost effective in you alarm clock, I use alkaline for this.
If the price is good, or they are on sale, put a couple back in storage.
Your Mileage may vary, so give it a try.
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