BC Fly Fishing Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, it seems that I have so many devices that I take with me on fishing trips: cameras, fish finders, GPS, headlamps, flashlights, portable radios, they all seem to take AA, or AAA batteries. I am tired of searching for batteries, having ancient rechargeables, etc. I'd like to never have to buy another disposable AA again, so I'd like to pick up a dozen batteries or so, and a decent charger. So I am researching rechargeable batteries on the ole internet, and boy, is my head spinning.

Since many of you probably have the same problem as me: fish finders, GPS, camera, etc, just thought I'd ask if there is any recommendations for the best AA/AAA rechargeable system for outdoor gear?

Does 1.2V vs. 1.5V make a difference? I see that capacities can get quite big. Normal AA rechargeables have 2000 mAh or so, but some have greater than 2500 mAh, even up to 3000 mAh. Is it worthwhile going to these higher charge capacities?

What about type: NiMH vs Lithium vs. Alkaline?

Does anyone know of a charging system that maybe handles different battery chemistry, as well as different capacities/voltages? Does it even matter? What about these 15-minute charging systems? Worthwhile time saver? Or just kill the battery quicker?

Sorry, so many non-fishing questions, but I don't think I have been on a lake, stream, boat or camping trip "naked", i.e., without electronics that require these batteries and just looking for direction here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,012 Posts
I've been part of a military lab in the past where we did environmental testing on all kinds of batteries for a project so I hope I can help.

NiMH batteries are less prone to memory but don't last as long, although the length of charge is only about 4% shorter than a NiCAD battery, but NiCAD batteries are very prone to memory and must be maintained with more vigor than a NiMH battery. As far as 1.2 or 1.5 volts, it really depends on the device you plan on using the batteries in. Always check the instructions.

As for capacities, the bigger the better. I have several military-grade AA batteries that are 3500 mAh and I've recharged them twice in a year (they're in an LED flashlight that gets used for about 10 minutes every 2-3 days). It's definitely worth getting the higher capacity batteries because they'll last longer, especially in a piece of equipment with a big draw (ie: fish finder). Cameras and GPS aren't used continuously or have a sleep mode so they're draw isn't as high. I've got 2500 mAh batteries in my camera and they last upwards of 2 weeks of solid use on vacation.

Alkaline batteries are standard batteries which usually can't be recharged. They do make rechargeable Alkaline batteries but they're lifespan is very limited and really, not worth the money. There are about 30 different types of lithium batteries but the most common commercial ones have a "lifespan", meaning they are only good for X number of charges and there's no way to renew them. For the most part, it's more cost efficient in your case to use the NiMH batteries.

All systems designed for rechargeable batteries must be able to handle all different types (meaning if you buy an AA charger, it has to handle lithium, NiMH, NiCAD, etc). The only caveat here is the rechargeable alkalines, which have their own rechargers and can't be interchanged with the other style. The 15 minute chargers are designed to give a battery a quick-charge to about 50% then trickle charge the battery to full capacity. This is a great consumer trick (woohoo quick charge batteries), but degrades the quality/capacity of the battery in a short period of time so you have to buy new ones.

As with anything, temperature & humidity have a lot to do with the life of a battery. Cold weather sucks the life out of a battery like it does a human body and warm/dry weather helps a battery last longer.

I hope that's clear enough and helps you out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
I'm no engineer, but this is what I found a while back -

1.2V vs 1.5V does indeed make a difference. When making a battery pack for my fish finder, I needed 10 x 1.2V but only 8 x 1.5 V. Rechargeables also do not put out a constant flow, so when they start getting low, the voltage also drops (ie, things stop working properly). Alkaline are much better for high-draw items, but things like cameras are okay.

For things like fish finders, you need higher mAh, or they won't work. Always better to go bigger in that department so it's there when you need it.

As for chargers, I bought a duracell charger that can do 4 at a time, and no complaints so far - I also have an older one called merkury - also no complaints. Maybe someone else has more insight here....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
Another note about the types of batteries - NiCAD batteries are especially bad for the environment (when improperly disposed of), and have been banned in the EU and other countries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,012 Posts
I'm no engineer, but this is what I found a while back -

1.2V vs 1.5V does indeed make a difference. When making a battery pack for my fish finder, I needed 10 x 1.2V but only 8 x 1.5 V
10 x 1.2v = 12v
8 x 1.5v = 12v
1 x 12v = 12v
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
All systems designed for rechargeable batteries must be able to handle all different types (meaning if you buy an AA charger, it has to handle lithium, NiMH, NiCAD, etc). The only caveat here is the rechargeable alkalines, which have their own rechargers and can't be interchanged with the other style. The 15 minute chargers are designed to give a battery a quick-charge to about 50% then trickle charge the battery to full capacity. This is a great consumer trick (woohoo quick charge batteries), but degrades the quality/capacity of the battery in a short period of time so you have to buy new ones.
Yeeowza! Where did you get those 3500mAh AA's?? Are they available for consumers in Canada, or military use only? Thanks for the info, that clears things up a little bit. So any opinions with lithium vs NiMH? It seems that there are 1.5V AA lithiums out now that seem quite good.

Edit: another question: So will chargers be able to handle both 1.2 and 1.5V AA rechargeables?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,012 Posts
The 3500 mAh ones are MILSPEC only. I don't even know who makes them but they're about $11 each, lol. The lithium batteries are still going to be subject to the lifespan I talked about earlier so I would still choose the NiMH ones. Any charger can handle both voltages from my understanding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,702 Posts
Check with Polar Batteries on Boundry in Burnaby. If they can be obtained by anyone, this is the place that will be able to get them. You can get all kinds of after market camera, cell phone and other batteries from them as well. Also a great place for 6v golf cart batteries for you camper/trailer as well.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top