Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are not only a great way to save money – but can be a valuable resource in a disaster.

Most of my battery-powered components use a standard AA battery. I am trying to keep it this way as the AA alkaline battery is relatively inexpensive and many can stored taking up little space.

Before I go any further – lets look at the different types of rechargeable batteries:

  • NiCad – These are not available anymore. Low capacity – NiMH are better and have taken over the market.
  • Nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) – The most common type of rechargeable battery and commonly found today. Varying energy capacities. Can be recharged many, many times.
  • Lithium Ion – Powerful and long lasting. Also typically very expensive.

I have disposed of all my old NiCad’s and now have only NiMH and Lithium Ions.

One of the things I look at when I buy electrical devices is if they come with batteries, can they also run on regular store-bought alkalines, and do they have alternative powering methods such as a car charger. These are good selling points for me.

Above shows a few rechargeables from my supplies. Upper left-hand corner is a battery for my digital camera with a car charger cable attached. The charger itself will plug into a standard wall-outlet. To the right of that is a set of Midland walkie-talkies sitting in its charging station. Inside each radio are a set of rechargeable batteries that came with the set.

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The radios are also capable of being powered by any standard AA-battery.  Below the Midland’s is a complete charging station by Energizer along with several Energizer Ni-MH AA batteries each holding 2500 mAh of power. This unit can be charged in a wall outlet or in a car.

Just to the right of that is a simple car charger adapter for a Sony PSP for my kids. Power goes out – they can play with the PSP to save MY sanity.

Finally – in the bottom left-hand corner is another charging station fo Ni-MH AA or AAA batteries. This is a cheap model I ordered off Amazon. Works. The batteries included each hold 2300 mAh of energy – a little less than the Energizer model. It can be charged via wall outlet or in a car.

My small solar system can do a lot to help charge any batteries I have. So – in a long term power outage I can keep many electrical devices running – from radio’s to flashlights. Being able to charge batteries while driving around or running a vehicle is a bonus.

I am looking at getting some other smaller solar system specifically for charging batteries as back ups. Here is an example – HERE.

Due to the number of cables, cords, and charger – I have labeled all of them so that there is no confusion as to what goes to what. Definitely helps.

Also – there are a lot of electronics nowadays that are plugged via a USB port. I bought one of these to use in a vehicle. Works great and was super cheap.

Can’t have enough batteries, huh?


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12 thoughts on “Rechargeable Batteries”

  1. I’ve passed over some very expensive battery chargers that cost heaps because they charge AAs in just an hour. Considering you may be using a generator in future or the power grid might get sketchy those particular chargers are looking a lot better these days.

  2. Sanyo Eneloops are supposed to be some of the best AA & AAA rechargeables. They can be recharged ~1000 times & have a very low discharge rate in storage. Also, some of the Duracell rechargeables are made in the same factory, look for a white top around the + side.

  3. I wouldn’t bother with the Solar 11-in-1 Battery Charger you’re consider adding to your collection. I had one a year or so ago and was sadly disappointed. You’re probably just as well off using a few patio solar lights to charge your batteries. Stick with using your small solar system and you’re probably better off.

  4. I purchased a Goal Zero Escape 150 about a year ago to compliment the generator and solar battery charger. I like the Goal Zero but is far to heavy to take with you if a situation calls for a fast escape on foot. The tool could easily be taken in the car, used in the house during a power outage or hunting/camping. So far besides playing with it, I have had no real test to prove it’s effectiveness but I do like knowing if I need it… I have it.

    Here is the link

  5. Some time ago I was presented with a bit of a problem; three VHF radios, four GMRS radios and five cell phones needed charging after a day of work in an extended blackout. Seemed silly to run the 8k generator for what would be trickle charging NiMh batteries.

    After the lights came on I built a bit of a mobile solar charging cart with three seperate 12v outlets and a small 400w inverter. With car charger spliters I can charge six phones at once (phonesz seem to charge faster on 12v vs 110v anyway), the inverter is for the VHF radio cradles (my department won’t spring for the vehicle chargers) even though the inverter does draw a bit for it’s job.

    The Enercell Universal Family charger has since been used on this solar cart to charge everything from AAA to D cells, and the best part is that it runs off a 12v outlet (no step up or down transformer on DC, power input to the charge box is 12v). Charging times are the same or better than using the 110v outlet.

    Something to think about, another set of batteries to store some of that extra solar energy.

  6. please stay away from rechargeables made in China. the quality control is just not there. stick with eneloops….they are proven safe and reliable.

  7. This reminds me that I need to stock up on rechargable batteries. By far the best way to go when it comes to batteries. Thanks for the reminder Rourke.

  8. As l live here in Arizona I am considering solar energy, Just makes sense for me and I am also considering storing some extra batteries for my flashlights and my radio just for emergency and I guess it’s not bad idea.

    This great article and informative those things that i never been think and here i just read this sites..Thanks a lot


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