Rechargeable Batteries and Charger Recommendations

I have finally purchased a TurtleBeach X41 wireless headset for my Xbox 360. Since they are wireless and thus runs on batteries, I thought it would be beneficial to use rechargeable batteries. So I come to the great Goodjer Consul of all things Tech for a recommendation. The headset in question takes 2 AAA and they supposedly give you 25 hours of use. I don't need quick charge because I'll buy at least 2 spare pairs, but I feel a battery conditioner would be a nice feature to have.

I've used greenbatteries.com and been very happy with them. Here's their comparison table for chargers. I also like the low-discharge batteries for devices, since you can go weeks or months without using them and they will still have a useful charge.

As I said in the other thread, my overall favorites by miles are the Sanyo Eneloops. They're super durable, and carry large loads. All my Energizers (and I bought a lot of them) stopped taking a charge within a couple of years, but my Eneloops are still trucking along at 4+ years.

I use the Maha portable charger; there are much more advanced ones now, but that one's been just great for me.

I recently purchased the LaCrosse BC-9009 charger that is on the greenbatteries.com comparison chart and have been very happy with it. The only thing is that it will not try and charge batteries that are completely dead, you have to do a 'paperclip trick' to jump start the dead battery before it will recognize it.

Btw, Amazon has it for quite a bit cheaper than listed on the chart

I would go for NiMH instead of NiCd batteries, but it's kind of a personal preference. The NiMH ones supposedly give a more constant source of power and also can withstand more charges, but are more expensive. I know I had to use them with some of my old RC stuff and have just kept buying them since. I haven't had any problem with Energizer or Duracell rechargeable ones in my 360 and wireless mouse. I think unless you are really picky it won't matter.

I haven't done any real comparison testing, but I like my Powerex MH-C204W from Thomas Distributing. It charges and re-conditions AA and AAA batteries intelligently. It's about $30, but only charges pairs of batteries at a time. There are lots of combos available at the linked site, some of them include Sanyo Eneloop batteries which I've also heard good things about. Self-discharge is really annoying and the Eneloops are supposed to be really good about minimizing this.

That C204W is exactly what I'm using, and I like it a lot.

gtnissanfan wrote:

Self-discharge is really annoying

I think you're doing it wrong.

But yeah, I'm another very happy user of Eneloops. Just ordered another 12 earlier today in preparation for Christmas.

LiquidMantis wrote:
gtnissanfan wrote:

Self-discharge is really annoying

I think you're doing it wrong.

But yeah, I'm another very happy user of Eneloops. Just ordered another 12 earlier today in preparation for Christmas.

+1 ... another Eneloops vote here

Supposedly, you can leave a charged eneloop lying dormant for a year, and it will still have 85% of it's charge.

Wait, what? People have opinions on rechargeable batteries?

I just have 8 AAs, and a charger that will do four at a time. I have two Wii remotes and a shaver, which leaves me with two batteries I can keep charged and ready in the event of one pair going flat. Job done.

Wait, what? People have opinions on rechargeable batteries?

Yes. As expensive as they are, learning what's worth the spend is worthwhile. Not all brands are created equal, and I have a whole bunch of dead batteries that I bought under your theory. My Eneloops are still going strong.

I need a battery tester. I think one of the batteries in a pair is dead, but I don't know which. I can never seem to tell if the batteries are charged either? Any suggestions on a cheap ($10) batter tester that could tell you if they're charged and how much they are? Alternatively is there an easy test, besides putting them in a device.

If you have a multimeter, that's one way to check them. Double-As should be about 1.5 volts. Anything less than about 40% of that and it's pretty much useless.

For things like mice, rockband instruments, I have been very happy with the 2650 mAH rechargeable batteries I bought a year ago. Gets me about 200 hours out of a mouse. For something I only use when watching Netflix or Hulu, one battery can last a month. Not sure what is going on near me, but I can only find Energizer's on the shelf, and I found those to be under-powered as well as very short lived(maybe 100 cycles).

Main gripe is the long charge time, pretty much overnight. And often I will find myself with a drawer full of dead ones.

Robear, thanks for the link, I will check out Green Batteries in the future.

Malor wrote:
Wait, what? People have opinions on rechargeable batteries?

Yes. As expensive as they are

Maybe that's the difference then. I've managed to pick up 4-packs of AAs for a couple of quid, and got my charger for around £10. At that sort of price, the ROI is probably higher at the cheaper end of the scale.

I have the Lacrosse BC-900 and I use Hybrio Ultralasts. I got these specifically for devices that will spend a lot of time sitting around unused, and I like them for that purpose. No issues yet.

BTW, the money quote from NLee The Engineer: "Over the past two years, I have tested several different brands of LSD cells available from Amazon.com, including Rayovac Hybrid, Kodak Pre-Charged, and Duracell Pre Charged. They have all performed very well - practically no difference from the Sanyo eneloop. So the bottom line is: just pick which ever brand of LSD cell is on sale, and you can't go wrong."

I have 4 (Costco) kits of Eneloops. EAch kit has 8AAs and 4 AAAs plus a charger and some C and D shells which allow you to pop in an AA battery and use it in place of a C or D battery. Some of my chargers are the cheaper "must charge in pairs" kind of chargers. But 2 charge cells individually in 5 hours or so. The C or D battery shells can be purchased individually from 3rd parties as well.

I have the better LaCrosse BC-xxxxx charger. The neat thing is it gives you a lcd readout of each individual cell and the charging is done per cell not per pair or per 4. Charging per pair or per 4 batteries will ultimately shorten battery (life) because it keeps charging every battery as long as any battery still needs to be charged. That results in overcharging the already-fully-charged batteries.

The LaCrosse also allows you to rejuvenate batteries and to select the charging current which lets you charge batteries in under 2 hours or in 12 hours. LaCrosse charger has some C and D shells included as well. NOt quite as good as the Eneloop ones that I have because you have to put the AA battery in the C shell and then put the C Shell inside the D shell. More of a pain in the ass.

Eneloops are great because they can sit on the shelf and not lose much charge which puts them closer to the behavior of akaline batteries in that regard and much better than traditional NiMH rechargeables. And so I can have 10 or 15 charged up and they would still have much of their charge 6-12 months later.

Kodak and Rayovic Hybrid and a few other brands have a similar performance to Eneloops. Some might even be Eneloops with different labels. I have some of those as well. My kids have alot of toys that need batteries. And we have 5 controllers or so for vidgames plus the Wii balance board. And my kid has 8 Lazer Tag guns that I bought him for a b-day party. Each of those takes 6 AA batteries. Then I even put rechargeables in my TV remotes etc.

Anyway go to Amazon and read the reviews from NLeetheEngineer. He's got lots of good data on the various batteries and chargers on Amazon.

It's probable that my knowledge is a little out of date. When I was buying batteries and charger, there were no low-discharge NiMHs yet. I bought Sanyos, Energizers, and I _think_ Panasonics, and the Energizers and Panasonics all failed within a couple of years. All my Sanyos are still going strong. But I'm not sure they're actually 'Eneloops'; that might be a brand name for the low-discharge flavor.

I also have some old Kodak rechargeable AAAs, also regular NiMHs, which have lasted as long as the Sanyos. But they're only 700mAh, where the Sanyos were all 1K.

I didn't realize there were so many options for rechargeable batteries. When I got my 360 I bought a Duracel charger and batteries at Walmart. It's some sort of quick charge version that only takes 30 minutes, which has been great when I was playing marathon rounds of a game and didn't have a spare set charged. Gives you an excuse to eat, shower, and whatnot.

The only weird thing I ran into is that certain rechargeable batteries are actually slightly bigger than normal AAs, which makes getting them out of the 360 controller extremely difficult. I've had to use pliers before. Is there any way to tell if that's going to happen without trial and error with different brands?

Malor wrote:

But they're only 700mAh, where the Sanyos were all 1K.

Huh. I'm fairly certain that the Sanyo Eneloop AAA's I bought are 800mAh; they also had a 750mAh for slightly less. I will be pissed if I find out they have the AAA's in 1K mAh.
All my questions shall be answered tomorrow when UPS gets here.

Remember that my Sanyos are the regular high-discharge ones that go flat in a few weeks; when I bought them, there was no such thing as low-discharge NiMH. I think those have a much lower total charge rating.

On recommendation, I bought the (cheapest radio shack) multimeter to test batteries and see if they're dead or not. It has a battery setting and seems pretty nice. The first one I picked up was broken, which I found out after using the self tester. Some of the packaging was missing from inside the box. I took it back and got a replacement and it seems good. Thanks.

unntrlaffinity wrote:

The only weird thing I ran into is that certain rechargeable batteries are actually slightly bigger than normal AAs, which makes getting them out of the 360 controller extremely difficult. I've had to use pliers before. Is there any way to tell if that's going to happen without trial and error with different brands?

That is a giant pain :(.

I have a dozen eneloops that charge just peachy in my cheapo energizer charger. Easily last 4-5 times as long in the Wiimotes and computer mouse. From what I can tell they lose little to no charge sitting on the shelf. That's why they come charged in the box.

Oh, and they are absolutely standard size, unlike the fat NiMH I had before.

Another vote for Eneloops here!

I have had two Lacross BC-900 chargers that worked great but both eventually failed. I think the electronics are too close together causing the unit to overheat and damage the boards over time. They may have improved that with the BC-9009

Right now I'm using the "Maha Powerex MH-C9000" which has the functionality of the Lacross with a much better build quality.

Both of those have independent charging circuits for individual batteries (Very good for the overall life of the battery). Allot of other chargers force you to charge in pairs, or even worse in sets of 4.

The Hybrios I have are 2000 milliamp. So their capacity is pretty good.