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Old 05-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #16
Bill Kearney
 
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I've found it's really handy to pick up cheap ones in different colors. Now my wife knows it's only the blue ones that go in the kitchen. The red ones stay in my workshop (matching the tool storage drawer) and the black ones go in my toolboxes or cars. Even the cheap batteries that came with them lasted about a year in the drawer. These are the kind that take 3 AAA cells.

Also note there are ones that have both an LED light and a laser pointer. This is great for working with our contractors during the construction process. Much easier to use the pointer to pinpoint exactly where we're talking about something.

As for rechargeable or not, it depends on whether you're diligent about using the charger. I'm not. That and I've got a small child with plenty of battery operated toys. Costco and the bulk battery packs, along with a stop at the county recycling center are a regular part of our routine...

I'd like to make more use of rechargeables when we finish our new house. I plan on having a specific place to keep the charger and spare cells. Otherwise it's hassle keeping the thing setup properly (we're in a rental house during the build).

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Old 05-30-2013, 10:52 AM   #17
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Ok....time for a primer on NiCad batteries.....cliff note version...

If you like to read....here is more detailed info...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%...admium_battery

NiCd batteries last the longest when cycled. The basic reason for this is that an coating can develop on the plates.

If you have ever looked at the inside of a NiCd....it looks like a coiled spring....the coil has a coating of Ni on it...then a paper type insulator...this whole mess is coiled up...shoved in a can and the electrolyte poured in.

The capacity (AH) of a battery is a simple function of the surface area of those plates. The more you can get into a can, the more capacity.

When the battery sits there fully charged an oxide develops on the surface of the plates thus effectively reducing the capacity. When you cycle a battery this oxide is burned off (well, not exactly burned off...but is close enough).

NiCd's are one of the few batteries that are not affected by full discharge. In fact, if it's going to be stored a long time, fully discharge it. This drastically reduces the oxide that will develop on the plates.

For the most part...the average battery will have a life of 300 to 1000 cycles....so for the tradesman who uses his every day....yea...after a year or two that battery may be at the end of it's life.

Failures....two basic types...oxide on the plates and shorts. If it sits fully charged for long periods...you get the oxide...when you go to use it it seems to not last long...when you recharge it...no difference. This has been mistakenly refereed to as the 'memory'....

Shorts...you can get a damaged insulator or little 'string' shorts at the ends of the battery. In some cases doing a fast charge (zap) will blow these apart....sometimes. The zapping can also help 'burn' off some of the oxide.

NiCd's don't like hot or cold temps. In fact, heat will hurt them more than cold.

For the most part, we are starting to see the end of NiCd production due to the Cadmium.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post
I'd like to make more use of rechargeables when we finish our new house.
May I suggest Sanyo Eneloops (the best rechargables money can buy) and either a LaCrosse BC-900 or Maha C9000 charger (these will not overcharge your batteries and prematurely destroy their capacity as many other chargers do).
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
Ok....time for a primer on NiCad batteries.....cliff note version...
Meh. NiCds are obsolete IMHO. Pre-charged or low-self-discharge NiMHs are so reliable now, and have so much more capacity than NiCd, that they're the way to go for household devices (NiCds are still better for something like R/C car or airplane racing, but that's a niche speciality).

Don't buy the Duracell/Energizer/Rayovac high capacity crap NiMH though. Junk. You want "pre-charged" or "low-self-discharge" NiMH.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt View Post
Meh. NiCds are obsolete IMHO. Pre-charged or low-self-discharge NiMHs are so reliable now, and have so much more capacity than NiCd, that they're the way to go for household devices (NiCds are still better for something like R/C car or airplane racing, but that's a niche speciality).

Don't buy the Duracell/Energizer/Rayovac high capacity crap NiMH though. Junk. You want "pre-charged" or "low-self-discharge" NiMH.
Your pretty much right about NiCd's....but....they are still one of the more robust rechargeable's out there....on a cost basis...hard to beat right now...

But that is this year...this time next year it will be a different story. By then Boeing will have a consumer version of their battery tray.

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