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Thread: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

  1. #1
    Unenlightened
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    Default Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    Hello,

    Is there any CPF-member that could explain me this:

    Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage by using them in toys and electronic devices?

    Many manuals of toys and electronics mention to only use "regular batteries" and not to use "rechargable batteries".

    e.g. When I bought some kind of handheld gaming device named "PDC=Pocket Dream Console" which uses 3 AAA batteries. The manual states not to use rechargable batteries. Asking the store clerck about it, he said the game would be destroyed by it and recommend a power supply.

    Is this a conspiracy to sell more batteries and power supllies, or is it true?
    Is it with alle rechargables (NiCad, NiMH, ...?) or only with certain types?
    Is Eneloop safe (newer type of NiMH)?

    thanks,
    Vince
    Belgium

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    The "use non-rechargable batteries only" disclaimer found on so many products is just an easy way for the manufacturer to release themselves of any liability from the consumer doing something stupid, like using 3.7v Li-Ion cells by mistake instead of NiMH.

    Enjoy your guilt free gaming.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    the main concern with using rechargables is the low resistance of these batteries can allow massive amounts of current through a device if there were to be a short because of cheaply make contacts or something it could case a meltdown perhaps a small fire and then the device manufacturer would possibly be liable. With alkalines this it less likely as current demand increases the batteries internal resistance steps in and throttles current increase.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    I thought it was because of the lower voltage of Nicad/NimH batteries...since most of these devices dont work when the battery voltage gets low...

  5. #5
    *Flashaholic* Marduke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark620 View Post
    I thought it was because of the lower voltage of Nicad/NimH batteries...since most of these devices dont work when the battery voltage gets low...
    NiMH voltage is generally higher than alkaline voltage when in use.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    The only issue I've ever had in several years of using rechargeables in portable radios is the battery meter being incorrectly calibrated - in typical NiMH fashion, the battery meter reads full all the time, then 30-40 hours after install, the radio suddenly goes dead with the dead battery icon, no warning. But I'll gladly do without a power gauge to not have to pay for batteries again..

  7. #7

    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    unless it is a poorly designed device nimh voltages should not be a problem as instead of having their battery life vary from 0.9v to 1.5v they vary more from about 1.15-1.35v in useful life. Most devices won't function well below about 1.1v anyway which suits nimh better.
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  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* mdocod's Avatar
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    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    In almost all consumer electronics, with the exception of a clock, a good NIMH will outperform an alkaline. I would not put it past marketing departments to have contracts with primary cell manufactures to include this warning in device manuals. I'm not saying it's true, just that it would not surprise me.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Non Flashlight - Can Rechargable AA or AAA batteries damage devices?

    Hello Vince,

    Welcome to CPF.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the chemistry involved. Rechargeable cells often vent a little gas under normal and adverse conditions. Primary cells are pretty much sealed.

    If the battery compartment of your device is not engineered to accommodate this possible build up of gas, and if a flame or spark is present when you open up the battery compartment, you could have an incident.

    When I see a manufacturer state that you should only use primary cells, I believe that their engineering department has not evaluated the product under rechargeable cell power. The extra cost for evaluation and testing may be the main reason for their recommendation to only use primary cells.

    In almost all cases, rechargeable cells will work just fine, but keep in mind that you are most likely using the product outside the engineering guidelines and you assume the liability for your use.

    Tom
    Behind every Great man there's always a woman rolling her eyes...

    Most batteries don't die - they are tortured to near death, then murdered...

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