NiMH Battery Info & Sellers

 
Old 04-24-01, 04:45 PM
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Instead of posting new replies, I will keep editing my posts, so check freshness via the "edited by" date at the end of each post.

Any rechargeable battery is a bargain over disposables. The sellers listed below have been shown thru personal experience, forums, and Usenet posts to be good sellers of new batteries. Other sellers with low S/H but high prices and vice versa (gimmick-pricing) aren't included here.

Dedicated Rechargeable Battery Sellers with Reasonable Prices:
  • Battery City -- Many sizes and voltages available here. They also sell Nicads. Battery City has a lot of good prices, but they seem to favour large orders than small ones. Check their page carefully for links as they are not so good at webmastering and some links are harder to find. Price Example (April 22, 2001): Saft AA 1500 mAH $2.45 single-lot Shipping: Varies. They have holiday specials, so do check both before and after certain major holidays.
  • CheapBatteries.com -- Has a large variety of low-priced NiMH batteries and different brands. It is worth checking out. Price Example (April 22, 2001): 9-volt G.I. 160 mAH $5.00, AA 1800 mAH $3.50 Shipping: exact shipping cost + $5 if order under $50. They offer to beat other competitors on the same product.
  • DigiKey Corporation NiMH Catalog PDF Page -- Their catalogue listings changes all the time, so you may also access the online catalogue from their homepage if I forget to update this link. Digikey has solder-tab versions and can make custom battery packs upon request. They also sell Nicad cells on a different catalogue page. DigiKey is absolutely a top notch company; I have bought from them for over 20 years now. Some odd-shaped rechargeables are also available (rectangular) as well as rechargeable Lithium cells. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): Panasonic AA Solder-Tab 1500 mAH $3.55 single-lot Shipping: Free (if cheque/MO mailed), $5 fee if order under $25.
  • Smallpower.com -- was formerly known as 4gdo.com (but who could remember that name?). All sizes and voltages available here and resembles Thomas Distributing in stock, shipping, and website software (probably is same company under a different website name). Unlike the Thomas site, this site has sales and coupon codes on its homepage (code "04379" for 3% off). Price Example (Jan 14,2001): MAHA AA 4-pak 1550 mAH $9.96 Shipping: $4.90 USPS for 4-pak example item.
  • Thomas Distributing -- All sizes and voltages available here based on three major battery brands. They are NOT the lowest-priced online seller, but they cleverly registered a lot of website names that point back to them as well as having the blessing of an easy-to-remember website name. To encourage existence of online competition, you may choose to buy at other sites that have similar prices. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): MAHA AA 4-pak 1550 mAH $9.96 Shipping: $4.90 USPS for 4-pak example item.
  • Hosfelt Electronics -- Hosfelt also sells Nicads, Lead-acid batteries, and various electronic components including high-intensity LEDs (eg, 23,000 mcd brightness). Price example: 1200 mAH $1.99 each in single-lot quantity. Price Example (April 22,2001): AA 1200 mAH $1.99 each in single-lot quantity.
    Shipping: Actual rate (ups,usps) + $1.
  • ASpencer.com -- ASpencer is a seller on eBay and some people may find that reassuring. Their eBay price might be cheaper so check auctions out. Their eBay Seller ID is "aspencer1" and a list of their current eBay auctions is available HERE. Price Example (April 22, 2001): Nexcell AA 1600 mAH $1.92 each in dutch auction (your results may vary). Shipping: Minimum $4.50, Max $7, Insurance add $1.50. No CreditCards (Paypal instead).
  • SunnBattery.com -- Sunn Battery is also on eBay so check auctions out; eBay Seller ID: "ptron1" and a list of their current eBay auctions is available HERE. Price Example (Jan 14,2001): AA 4-pak MAHA 1550 mAH $7.99 (compared to Thomas Distributing at $9.96 + $4.90 S/H). Shipping: $5 per order.
  • Batteryspace.com -- Batteryspace.com is the online subsidiary of a major rechargeable battery manufacturer in mainland China (http://www.byd.com.cn/). Thus, the prices are way cheaper than from other online sellers. There are always specials going on and you can get battery chargers with free shipping or 1800 mAH AA approx $1.00 each (Jan 14, 2003). 1800mAH AA specifications They sent the discount code bydusa9981 for 5% off an order which hadn't been published at other websites as far as I've looked; if you don't repost the code elsewhere, perhaps it will last a long time without being changed, so please don't repost the code (tell people to visit dvdTalk instead to get the code! *wink*). If you are looking for a recharger, the V1000 is nicely-priced at $16.99.

Last edited by Startide; 01-14-03 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 04-24-01, 04:46 PM
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General Info about NiMH Batteries:
  • NiMH General Info -- Although this FAQ is oriented towards marketing Thomas Distribution products, it still describes NiMH batteries pretty well.
  • NiMH Charging and Battery Capacity -- Provides general info and charts about battery capacity and self-discharge based upon a Maha brand battery.
  • General info about Maha MH-C204F Charger -- My favourite smart and fast charger. A nice balance of features and many places sell it. Quite possibly the first and last charger you'll need for NiMH.
  • Self-discharge Rate Comment -- by Eveready indicates that NiMH can lose approximately 1 to 3% of their charge per day. The warmer the environment, the faster they lose their charge. This is perhaps NiMH's one drawback.
  • Technical Info about NiMH Technology -- This is the TMI article about NiMH technology, chemistry, and physical construction of NiMH cells.
Usage Hints, Workarounds:
  • You generally shouldn't recharge NiMH in Nicad chargers. NiMH cells require a more controlled constant current charging environment and do not like being continually overcharged which a Nicad charger can do to them. If you insist on using a Nicad charger (because it's the only one you have), you should manually remove the NiMH cells before they overcharge.

    If you do use a Nicad charger on your NiMH cells, a handy tool to help you determine how long to let the cells charge is at the URL below. Fill in any two boxes of the 3 boxes and the 3rd box will be answered for you. The charging time is conservative to prevent overcharging.

    Charge Time Calculator
  • Battery lifespan is affected by the charging rate. Based upon review of charging curves versus number of charging cycles, slow charging is better than fast charging. Slow charging allows batteries to have a greater number of discharge/recharge cycles before they don't accept a charge or leak. However, rechargeables such as Nicads and NiMH seem to have a finite absolute lifespan whether or not you use them a lot. For almost everyone, fast charging is acceptable because a year or two will pass before you ever need to think about replacing the battery. For example, if you buy a bunch of Nicads, you will start to see some of them leak or become unrechargeable after about 4 years, and more and more of them will stop working each year(whether or not you have recharged them lots of times). So, it makes little sense to conserve battery lifespan by buying lots of batteries and recharging them only a few times. It is more economical to buy fewer batteries and recharge them lots of times.
  • If your battery-powered appliance can recharge Nicads but you are using NiMH, make sure that the NiMH cell is not being recharged by that appliance unless the time period is short or you remove the batteries. Some appliances will recharge batteries inside of them if you use the AC adapter. An example are some of the personal CD players which were made with Nicad batteries in mind. Examine the battery compartment and if you see a 3rd battery prong on the side, you can often put a little tape over it or at least make sure that the side of the battery touched by that prong is covered by plastic. If you don't care about the life of the NiMH cell, then you might let the unit recharge the cell. You can still use a variation of the trick with NiMH cells in Nicad chargers; simply unplug the AC wallwart after you think the CD player has charged the NiMH cells enough.
  • NiMH (and Nicads) will discharge themselves over time (this is called self-discharge) and so are not good for devices that sit around unused (like smoke detectors or emergency flashlights). See the Eveready Self-Discharge Comment. I use low-cost "Kirkland" alkalines from Costco for those types of low-usage mostly-standby purposes. For regular flashlights that are often used, NiMH seem to be ideal. LED flashlights (single or multiple-cell) function with NiMH cells, but generally seem brighter with the higher voltage of alkalines.
Selecting a Battery Charger:

There are regular battery chargers and smart chargers. The regular chargers typically charge NiMH cells for a specific time interval such as 14 hours. On the other hand, there are smart chargers that senses when the battery is charged and automatically stops charging (thus preventing overcharging).

In almost all cases, you will improve the life of your batteries by getting a smart charger. Why? The normal chargers either keep charging the battery forever (until you remove the battery per the instructions) or they shut off after a specific number of hours. The time shutoff is designed for batteries with a certain capacity since as you know, a battery with a 1200 mAH capacity takes less time to charge than one with 1800 mAH capacity given that the regular charger almost always uses the same charging current. Also, a normal charger might result in a battery not being fully charged, particularly if it was packaged for lower-capacity batteries than what you are charging. In addition, if your batteries aren't fairly empty, this results in overcharging. Thus, it is advisable to get a smart charger.

Smart chargers have different characteristics depending on brand. Some vary the amount of charging current until the battery is fully charged by a certain time (such as four hours). Some just slow charge the battery and automatically turn off when they detect the battery is fully charged.

Another characteristic of chargers is whether they fast charge or slow charge. Slow charging is typically done with a charging current of 10% of the battery's capacity. Fast charging might be done at 25% to 30% of the battery's capacity. Today's newer NiMH cells are made to take fast charging better than those made with older technology, so those people who worry a lot about reduced life due to fast charging can relax a little. Yes, fast charging does reduce the life of the batteries, but this is balanced out by allowing you to use the batteries sooner. Unless you are really sucking up batteries, several sets of batteries will last you long enough for them to be obsolete before they run out of life. Obsolete? Well, as you notice, the capacity or lifespan improvements have been occurring with steady pace. Once upon a time, you had AA cells at 650 mAH. Then it crept up year after year. And now, we now have a 2100 mAH NiMH AA cell. Good grief, wasn't an alkaline D cell originally rated at 2200 mAH? When you think of it in those terms, these NiMH cells have a huge benefit for the cost.

Best-priced smart charger:
Everyone talks about that Maha smart charger, but there are similar ones that are much better priced and have free shipping. I just bought the V1000 smart charger at $16.99 from Batteryspace.com. This charger is equivalent to the Maha and also comes with the optional adapter so that you can charge batteries in your car.

Last edited by Startide; 01-14-03 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 04-24-01, 04:46 PM
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ADDENDA:
  • This ZDNET Article explains why so many places don't carry NiMH or sell them at bad prices.
  • Alkaline Battery Empirical Lifespan Comparison is of interest since it also includes the newer e2 titanium batteries. Remember that manufacturers often improve their batteries over time. However, alkaline cells have not kept pace with NiMH improvements.
  • Batteries In A Portable World has interesting background material about batteries in general, including history and comparisons of different battery types. Discussion of Lithium-ion-polymer (abbreviated as LiPoly) batteries is also available. The ENTIRE book is available at this website free (ebooks anyone?).
  • Palm PDA users should set their device to the NiMH setting. This is because the general public was expected to use two alkaline cells with the Palm. Hence, the "gas meter" on the Palm measures battery life with respect to alkaline batteries as the default. Alkaline cells begin their life with 1.5 volts. NiMH cells begin life fully charged at 1.25 volts. By telling the Palm that it is running on NiMH cells, the gas gauge readings will be more accurate.

BRICK & MORTAR (B&M) SELLERS:
  • NiCad AA batteries are still available at some B&M, but these are all but phased out. If you still need NiCads from a B&M, you can find them at Fred Meyer in the outdoor lighting aisle of their garden/outdoor section. A 4-pak of 800mAH cells is $9.95 and is used as replacements for rechargeable outdoor lights, but can be recharged for AA use as long as you keep the odd charging time in mind.
  • Sam's Club has eight 1700mAH AA EverReady plus charger for $19.95 (Dec2001). Each Christmas season, Sam's sells NiMH batteries and when they run out, you have to wait until next year. These cells are made in Japan and look physically robust. The timed charger is manually switched between NiMH/Nicad and claims to charge at 140mA for 14 hours (NiMH) and 7 hours (Nicad).
  • Wal-Mart has NiMH batteries in all normal sizes for both EverReady and Ray-O-Vac. A 4-pak of AA NimH Ray-O-Vac (1600 mAH) is $10.97 whereas the EverReady Accucharge (1200 mAH) is $11.97. Although these Ray-O-Vac cells are made in China, they seem to be holding up after several months of portable CD player use (deep discharge).
  • Target has NiMH batteries in all normal sizes (9V, AA, AAA, C, and D) that are available in the battery section of their electronics department. Ray-O-Vac brand AA cells (1600 mAH) in 4-paks regularly sell for $11.99 and sometimes go on sale for $11.49.
  • Sears has NiMH batteries in all normal sizes for Ray-O-Vac and as well as others rebadged under the "DieHard" label. The pricing is competitive with Target's prices and is certainly better than those Eveready AccuCharge prices at BestBuy. If they improve the mAH rating of these, maybe they can title the batteries "DieHarder".

Last edited by Startide; 02-09-02 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 04-24-01, 05:42 PM
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Thanks Startide (again). I got the batteries today. They sent them using priority mail, and they got here in one day.

Anyway, I put them in the charger and now I'm at work. They should be fully charged by the time I go home.
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Old 04-25-01, 11:04 AM
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Now I've got to figure out how to open up (neatly) one of those hard-plastic encased battery packs and replace the batteries inside with these NiMH cells. I don't feel like paying $64 for another PROPRIETARY battery pack for which there is only one seller.
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Old 04-27-01, 01:18 PM
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Is there any specific brand of NiMH batteries that are good? Also, what type of charger should I get. I'm looking into buying a digital camera (Olympus D460) and figure I should probably pick some up. If I were to get them on Ebay, how much should I pay for them? Thanks.
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Old 04-27-01, 05:58 PM
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The best charger for your money hands down is the MAHA C204F. If you search on deja.com (or what is left of deja.com ), you will find that it is the most widely recommended.

I've found that the best batteries are the industrial grade Sanyo 1600mAh batteries. They are plain green, and look very generic, but are consistantly rated at over 1700mAh despite what they are sold as.


http://www.thomasdistributing.com/im...04f-4aa16+.jpg

http://www.steves-digicams.com/images3/sanyo_nimh.jpg

mod note: linkified image asking for a password, randyc
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Old 05-02-01, 01:01 PM
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With regards to Kodak as a name brand, isn't that why we buy name brand items? I would suppose that most name brand items are fairly similar. Failures for NiMH occur in cases of overcharging, letting the batteries drain to zero for a long time, or in having old batteries. As the FAQ says above, experience from many users seem to indicate that NiMH are similar to Nicads in that even if you don't use them, they will fail on you due to simple old age (spoilage) due to the way they are made. Lithium cells are the ones that have long shelf life whether or not you run them through their cycles.

I wouldn't worry about any of the small differences between the major brands. I would just buy the batteries and try to cycle them through their lifespans, knowing full well that I am getting my money's worth. If I stint on using them, then I am reducing the amount of freedom that using rechargeables gives me. To misquote Blade, "Freedom!"
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Old 05-04-01, 11:26 AM
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I jumped into the NIMH market and picked up some Sanyo AAs and charger recommended by Pantala from http://www.tnrtechnical.com/. They were running several auctions on Ebay under the seller names of "tnrbattery" and "[email protected]" for the green batteries and charger. They work great!! Thanks for the info Startide.

[Edited by jvcdvd on 05-04-01 at 09:45 AM]
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Old 05-04-01, 01:33 PM
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Originally posted by jvcdvd
They were running several auctions on Ebay under the seller names of "tnrbattery" and "[email protected]" for the green batteries and charger.
I can also recommend [email protected] when shopping on Ebay.
I bought some Sanyo 1600's from him awhile back. Great service and very low prices.
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Old 05-08-01, 02:44 PM
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Li-ion?

What is the story on these? I understand that they are a bit more expensive, but provide a greater charge over a greater time.
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Old 05-08-01, 06:36 PM
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Old 05-08-01, 07:12 PM
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Anyone here anything about these new Lithium-Polymer batteries?

I heard that the next-gen Palm's will be using them.
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Old 05-14-01, 11:15 PM
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With regards to the lithium polymer batteries...

...I would adopt a wait and see attitude until they drop in price for the AA type form factor.

For cellphone battery packs, HERE is a $19.95 example of a 0.25 inch thick 1.2 ounce lithium-polymer battery for Nokia phones.
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Old 05-15-01, 12:32 AM
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btw, i was reading popular photography today, and they said 1700 and 1800 MAH NIMHs are coming (if they aren't already here). I've ordered from both SunnBattery and ThomasDistributing in the past and both shipped promptly and were pretty cheap. Great deals for you and the environment!
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Old 05-15-01, 01:59 PM
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the k200 kodak charger is great, i have no idea why it only got 2 out of 5 stars. i use mine with nexcell 1600 Mah NiMH's and have had no problems. it also takes both AA and AAA batteries, which was a big plus for me. it's not a quick charge model, it takes about 4-6 hours for mine to recharge.

read about the k200 at kodak's site, they leave a lot of info out at amazon...

http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/...tolifeNiMH.pdf

about the only negative i'd have is that it's slightly expensive. i have about $200 in amazon gc so price was a moot point, but the kodak nimh's at amazon are way overpriced. you should just buy rayovac at walmart or target and get twice as many batteries at half the price, plus they'll work in the k200.

[Edited by dark-wanderer on 05-15-01 at 12:05 PM]
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Old 05-15-01, 07:37 PM
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get those damn rats out of the rose bush...
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Old 05-15-01, 10:06 PM
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Originally posted by dark-wanderer
the k200 kodak charger is great, i have no idea why it only got 2 out of 5 stars. i use mine with nexcell 1600 Mah NiMH's and have had no problems. it also takes both AA and AAA batteries, which was a big plus for me. it's not a quick charge model, it takes about 4-6 hours for mine to recharge.

The MAHA C204F also charges AAA batteries, is about the same price as the K200 and fast charges batteries. Possibly the reason that the K200 only has the 2 stars.
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Old 05-25-01, 01:33 PM
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Lithium Ion Polymer Batteries - MORE INFO

For those who want to learn more about Lithium Ion Polymer rechargeable batteries and whether or not this is the next up-and-coming technology for general purpose use:

Cadex's Battery Article Listing has some articles on Lithium Ion batteries.

Lithium Polymer Battery - Substance or Hype? is an article excerpt from the online ebook (well, more a website that hosts the entire book) written by Isidore Buchanan. This is the best non-technical book on batteries I know of.

Last edited by Startide; 08-01-01 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 10-16-01, 05:48 PM
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was looking for batteries and thought this was a good one to bump
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Old 10-20-01, 04:38 PM
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Originally posted by gkleinman
was looking for batteries and thought this was a good one to bump
Good bump.

Jad posted a question in the Other Forum and he's looking for some digital camera accessories ... and BigStinky and I just reminded him and everyone else that:

Not all NiMH batteries are created equal.
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Old 10-22-01, 09:51 AM
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Target had most of their NiMH rechargeables (Energizer) on clearance this weekend. Probably store-specific (Raleigh), but I picked up two two-packs of AAA and a single 9V for $5 each.
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Old 10-22-01, 02:25 PM
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Any objective comparisons between GP and Maha in the NiMH AA battery category?
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Old 10-22-01, 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by CheapBastid
Any objective comparisons between GP and Maha in the NiMH AA battery category?
GP and Maha batteries are both top notch.
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Old 10-22-01, 03:11 PM
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Originally posted by namja

GP and Maha batteries are both top notch.
I kinda figured, but I was hoping for some objective field tests to back up the manufacturers claims.

FYI- I have Mahas now, and was thinking of getting some GPs.
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