Understanding Battery Usage

kilogulf59

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Help me understand correctly...

Batteries like Eneloop (white) are best used in items like cordless phones, flashlights that are not used all the time, and low drain items such as indoor weather monitors and such.

Batteries like Eneloop Pro are best used in items like flash or spotlights that are used frequently i.e. a servicetech's, cop's, or nightwatchman's, portable radios that are played a lot, digital cameras, et cetera.

Lithium (desposible or rechargeable) are best used in items exposed to temperature extremes such as lights and radios stored in vehicles, outdoor weather stations and the like.

Would those statements be correct?

Please don't get over technical, I'm a mechanical minded person, electronics ase lost on me.
 
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HKJ

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Would those statements be correct?

No.

Eneloop 2000mAh batteries are very robust and long lived, they are good for any use, except if you absolutely need maximum capacity, then you get Eneloop Pro.

Lithium only exist as primary battery, can deliver a lots of current (Compared to alkaline) and works at very low temperatures.

LiIon (Rechargeable) has the highest energy density (Most energy for size and weight) and can deliver lots of power, but do not handle temperature extremes well.
 

kilogulf59

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Thank you very much for your help. I am trying to understand these things from a layman's perspective. I had purchased some Eneloop Pro's last year and need more so I wanted to really understand what I was buying and their proper usage. I have many and varied battery uses and I'd like to get the proverbial right tool for the right job.

Eneloop 2000mAh batteries are very robust and long lived, they are good for any use, except if you absolutely need maximum capacity, then you get Eneloop Pro.
Can you define, in a practical sense, "maximum capacity"? What devices would require this?

Lithium only exist as primary battery, can deliver a lots of current (Compared to alkaline) and works at very low temperatures.
What do you mean by "primary battery"? What you be the practical applications of a lithium unit? Is it worth getting rechargeables as I hear there's a danger to charging them and they require a special charger?

LiIon (Rechargeable) has the highest energy density (Most energy for size and weight) and can deliver lots of power, but do not handle temperature extremes well.
These are lithium ion I assume? Are these made in the standard cell sizes such as AA or D?
 

HKJ

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Can you define, in a practical sense, "maximum capacity"? What devices would require this?

This is where you really need the capacity, i.e. when the difference between using 2000mAh and 2500mAh is that you need to replace the batteries when using 2000mAh, but you can do whatever you do without replacing batteries by using 2500mAh (And do not care about having to replace the batteries sooner).

What do you mean by "primary battery"? What you be the practical applications of a lithium unit? Is it worth getting rechargeables as I hear there's a danger to charging them and they require a special charger?

Primary battery==Non rechargeable.
These batteries exists as CR123A @ 3 volt and AA/AAA @ 1.5 volt, due to the price you will usual only use them when nothing else fits.

These are lithium ion I assume? Are these made in the standard cell sizes such as AA or D?

Yes, the exist in AA/AAA size, but the voltage is different and they cannot replace standard 1.5 volt batteries. The best size for LiIon is 18650, this is the size where all the new better versions are made.
They do require a special charger and there is some dangers to use them (Same dangers as using mobile phones, laptops, ebikes and some electric power tools).
These cells are often used for flashlights an by Vapers. The are also used in power tools, laptops and ebikes, but you only see the battery pack there.
 

kilogulf59

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So "maximum capacity" is simply a slightly bigger gas tank then.

I was told by a friend that for my AcuRite weather station unit and the TerraLUX LightStar 80's we have in our trucks we should use Energizer Ultimate Lithium Batteries due to the extreme temps here.

On the LiIon batteries, I probably have no need for these, my uses being the weather station, some spot and flashlights, and a digital camera.

Again, thanks for the assistance, I think I'm finally hearing the bell ringing :thinking:
 

Grimakis

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I am by no means an expert, but as you have already said, Lithium batteries(non-rechargeable), are well suited for colder operating temps. Also, they have a much longer shelf-life, and are less prone to leakage then Alkaline. This makes them ideal for "emergency" devices, or anything that won't be used frequently, as well as high-drain devices(as long as you can afford them).

Eneloops are good for basically anything general purpose. They retain their charge for a long time, unlike traditional NiMH batteries, as they have a low self-discharge rate.

Eneloop Pros have a larger charge capacity, but are rated for fewer cycles, and also self-discharge as a higher rate than regular Eneloops.
 

Kurt_Woloch

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Well, here's my opinion...

Batteries like Eneloops are best used in... anything which doesn't fall into the following special cases:

If it would be difficult to get to the batteries and to charge them, or it's critical that they last as long on a charge as possible, you might want to look into higher capacity batteries like Eneloop Pro's. However, their downside is that they are a bit more expensive and are only rated for less than a quarter of the cycles, so their lifetime will be much, much lower, and each charge will cost you much more than a charge of white Eneloops. However, this may be offset by their about 25% bigger capacity, depending on how difficult recharging / changing them is and how much the salary of the person who has to do it is.

If it's for household devices which can last for a long time on a charge, you may look into discount rechargeables instead (but only if they come at roughly $1 per cell). But look out that they are LSD (low self discharge) ones as well. In such devices they will still last a long time, and their total life may still approach decades (this hasn't been proved however since LSD batteries are only existing for about 10 years now).

Non-LSD batteries usually have a high capacity and may have a better cycle life than their LSD counterparts with the same capacity, however, they all don't match the cycle life of white Eneloops, and only pay off if you're a heavy user using up multiple charges per month or so.

Lithiums would be good candidates in devices requiring a high voltage which rechargeables and even alkalines can't deliver across all of their life, because Lithiums hold their voltage of 1.5 V pretty steady until near the end. However, they are disposables and still cost more than discount rechargeables, so you'd be hard pressed finding an economic use for them. Another use for them are, as has been said, extreme temperatures and devices with a very high lifetime requirement (think more than 5 years) although white Eneloops should be good for that one too (claming only 30% of self-discharge after 10 years). Or even more extreme cases of reliability requirements because they have an even higher capacity than the best rechargeables. Here photographers, radio or TV reporters come to mind which capture events that may never come again, which are so precious that a cost of $10 for 4 batteries doesn't really count.

For the sake of completeness, alkalines are good in devices which have a good chance of getting ruined along with their batteries, such as some toys, so it's more economical to have relatively cheap disposable batteries in them because otherwise you'd be ruining the more expensive rechargeable batteries. They generally offer the best capacity for the price overall, but only compared to other disposable batteries, and if the device doesn't suck too much power like digital cameras do, otherwise Lithiums may win out, but that depends heavily on the price you can buy your alkalines for because there I've seen the most expensive ones cost over 8 times as much as the cheapest ones.

And zinc-carbon batteries are good in devices which use next to no current, but still should last for a long time (think many years)... that's why they get supplied with many remotes, because although they have only a fraction of the capacity of alkalines, they tend to self-discharge much more slowly than alkalines, and zinc-chlorides (a slight improvement of zinc-carbon) are actually pretty much leakproof because they dry out before they leak, while at least some alkalines are very likely to leak, at least if you run them down completely.

As for a charger (since I assume you're just starting out), it depends on how heavy a user you are. A smart charger MAY give you longer cycle life, but will only pay off if you use your rechargeables for hundreds of cycles and thus will have to buy less replacements for them. Otherwise I'd try to get a basic charger which is still somewhat smart... look for independent slots and automatic end-of-charge detection and shutoff. I got such a charger which even supports C, D and 9V sizes in a total of 6 slots for € 9 at a sale. As for me, my current "fleet" consists of 12 white Eneloop AA's, 8 discount LSD AA's and several more LSD's in other sizes. I usually don't buy disposable batteries anymore (except for odd sizes like Lithium coin cells), I just use those I get with various devices.
 

hangn_9

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My two cents. In addition to the battery you choose. Choose your supplier wisely. Batteries are easily "re-wrapped" which makes it just as easy to exaggerate specs. Batteries are where you should take to heart "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is"

I would recommend using vendors reviewed and approved here. But if you choose to bargain hunt, DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

Battery failures can be very serious. Be safe
 

kilogulf59

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Well I thank you all for you kind advice...it is much appreciated I assure you.

In so far as "where to buy from" is concerned has there ever been a group buy of Eneloops here at CPF?
 
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