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Posts Tagged ‘nimh’

This may be an old article…

Child miners aged four living a hell on Earth so YOU can drive an electric car

The fact is, though it takes 33lbs or more to produce an electric vehicle battery. Lithium ion batteries already require larger amounts of cobalt which accounts to over 60%. Only 40% is being used for other things and less than 10%  being used by gasoline refining. 10 grams may not seem like a lot for cellphone batteries but it adds up. This was already a concern when lithium ion batteries took shape besides the volatile nature of lithium ion batteries. Yet we’re still using it in everyday devices and now the UK wants to ban combustion engine vehicles for lithium ion powered vehicles. That 60% will jump to 70+%. As the battery density starts to rise so does the need for cobalt which the primary use for it in lithium ion batteries is to keep the batteries cool. Since more technology advances so does the battery cooling methods. And lithium ion batteries in EVs consume a ton. 33lbs for one car. Imagine how much cobalt is needed to run the upcoming Hummer EV. Rivian has an electric truck that uses over 7k batteries which is twice the amount of a Tesla battery so you’re looking at 66lbs or more for a light duty truck. I dont even want to think about how much cobalt is required to run that Tesla semi.

The child laboring has been an issue since the dawn of time but I can think of nothing worse than children dying just to spend weeks on end just to mine one EV battery.

The fact is however nothing is being done. I’ve written this as a Christian to implore everyone to pray for the Congo children because they dont deserve this. We dont deserve lithium ion battery technology.

We get it you need a cellphone to stay in contact with family and friends. It’s a great way to keep updated on news. It’s also a tool to bring this despicable tragedy due to the greed of “clean air zero emissions electric cars”. We also get why you want an electric vehicle. But battery electric is not the answer. And its clear that we need a lot more cobalt to manufacture more EV batteries, something that really is not a sustainable future, especially when majority of lithium ion battery cobalt is being mined by innocent children. I had almost forgotten about these poor children until I watched another video on the horrid conditions from mining cobalt for lithium ion batteries. The main reason I had always been against battery electric in the first place.. it’s not just the terrible range, long recharge times or the cold and hot weather zapps the batteries lifespan. The government wants everyone to switch to electric but how can we when the cost of human life is far worse than what we are potentially doing to the planet.

I got into an argument over a fool who thinks that it’s ok to let children mine 33lbs of cobalt for just 1 vehicle vs ounces needed to manufacture gasoline that has the potential to last decades. I dont have exact measurements on this subject or how much cobalt children are mining for gasoline refinement but EVs are the main contribution to cobalt mining. The laptop computers are secondary to all other lithium ion batteries.

Its downright evil and if climate change were to end us all I dont want the blood of children on my hands just so i don’t have any tailpipe emissions. Regardless where that cobalt comes from a large chunk will go to electric vehicles. The enormous psychological and physical damage these kids will have to endure in the future because “battery electric is the future” is downright evil and no one should be standing for it. We need to reduce our use of cobalt starting with BEVs. No one can force you to buy a battery electric vehicle, not even the government. Dont let them do it. Keep buying gasoline until hydrogen can make it’s way to the market and be a real ethical solution to our tailpipe emissions.

Again, pray for the children in Congo and support them by refusing to buy battery electric vehicles. You can also extend your cellphone or tablet batteries (any lithium ion batteries) by keeping a charge of 40-80%. Get a Goal Zero Guide 10 that uses nickel metal hydride batteries (and Eneloops) if you dont have anywhere to charge. Avoid buying anything that uses lithium ion technology and instead use Eneloops. Besides my cellphone I haven’t bought anything that uses lithium ion batteries since 2005. And I dont plan to. Anything that reduces the necessity of cobalt. You could even buy a more economical vehicle like a gas Honda or Toyota. Dont buy the hybrids that may use the lithium ion batteries. Again, pray for the children in Congo. Maybe if there is a massive strike or ban against lithium ion and cobalt in general maybe things could change but for now avoid the lithium ion technology due to the excessive use of cobalt used in these batteries.

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In one of my older posts, Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and chargers! I mentioned about some good rechargeable batteries and chargers. I have noticed that there’s still stores packed with alkalines. Some places like Amazon you could buy them in bulk for up to 5,000 batteries! That’s a lot of batteries!

Now I get why some people still use throwaway batteries, they get lost, stolen or you forget about them and you cant charge them anymore. Is that really that big of a concern though these days though?

Some guys happen to like the rechargeables though…

I remember when I first got into using rechargeable Ni-Cads they had some AAs that I used in a walkman for a period of time. I got maybe a year or 2 out of those batteries before they stopped working correctly but they managed to save me some money. I don’t really recall seeing replacements, as I thought they just came with the charger and you’d have to buy another charger to get the batteries so my collection of rechargeables were quite low.

Yes, over time they did stop working right and I went back to alkalines for a period and then I got some new Rayovac Nickel-Metal Hydride cells that worked quite well for awhile anyways. I got maybe 3 or 4 years out of those before they stopped working so I just quit using those. Got a friend into them as well since we both liked to listen to the same music. But again for awhile i went back to alkalines but I didnt really use them that often. It was until in 2005 I started using them again since Duracell and Energizer had them and they even sold the batteries separately. I still have working AAA Energizers and AA Duracells that gets used in string lights or those Duracell LED flashlights. I use a few in my noice canceling headphones still. And these are the batteries that lose their charge over a course of a month or 2. If they dont get used much they wont work as well either.

When those batteries were not working in a USB charging device I decided to check out what they had and found Eneloops. I also got into using more sophisticated chargers such as the Power Ex C9000 mentioned in the other blog, I posted in the beginning of this article. Because, well I like to get what I can out of these batteries.

The simplest and cheapest way to get into recharge AAs and AAAs is to buy the Panasonic/Eneloop charger that comes with 4 AA batteries. Find a device you use most often and use the Eneloop batteries right out of the package and you’ll see they work like regular alkalines (unless your device is weird and requires the higher voltage) when you need to recharge them keep a set of alkalines handy or if it’s a 2 AA or 1 AA you can cycle out the 4 AA Eneloops you have. This is a great way of starting out and you’ll see the savings within 4 or 5 recharge cycles.  I’m going to list a few problems people might have with rechargeables..

1. They’re more expensive than alkalines.

Yes they are, but after 2-6 cycles depending on what brand of batteries you get you might see savings sooner. Keep using them and you’ll see the benefits.

2. They don’t last as long and they won’t charge.

Most alkaline AA cells have over 3,000mAh but most of the time you can only get half that amount. It depends on your device but it may cut off before you use up all the energy out of your rechargeables. Don’t give up if it doesnt work well in one of your devices. That may require a higher voltage where your rechargeable batteries may not function as well. More devices these days are more rechargeable friendly and can operate on that 1.2v battery. You have to try a different device. Most flashlights will work on rechargeable batteries. That’s the easy way of seeing if your batteries are faulty.

Additionally you can always pick up a multimeter. If its 1.23v or higher you should be ok. If it charges normally in your Panasonic/Eneloop charger then it passed the internal resistance check and should be working well. If you are using a different charger than the ones I’ve mentioned there is no guarantee they’ll charge your batteries adequately.

If they appear to be charged and wont work well in your device, always try a different device such as a flashlight. Get a Fenix, Coast or Maglite. I’ve used rechargeables in those lights and they work well. The 1 AA or AAA lights are good to where you can check the batteries individually. A multimeter however is the best way to check voltage. Also check the contacts. If you are using a battery where the wrapper is blocking the negative terminals on some devices they wont work. I never seen any issues using Eneloops though.

Also, sometimes you just end up with a bad batch of batteries. It happens, sometimes the charger isn’t working correctly. You will have to contact the manufacturer or just get it exchanged where you bought them. Just make sure not to tell them you’re using a different charger. Don’t mention the charger you are using. If they ask for the model number, tell them you don’t have it with you, you are calling from work or you are out somewhere. If you are buying Eneloops and have the charger then it’s as easy as getting the batteries replaced.

3. My family tosses these rechargeable batteries in the garbage.

Its inevitable. They’re AA or AAA batteries. Some people are used to toss these batteries into the garbage. The easiest way is to stop tossing out alkalines and get a bin to put them in. If your family does this then chances are they’ll do the same for rechargeables. If not, leaving notes on the devices or by the trash cans to not toss out batteries may be needed. If that doesn’t work then you’ll simply have to take the batteries out period and they’ll have to ask to use them. At least they’ll be charged ready to go.

Here are some other tips to get you started.

1. Avoid buying large quantities of rechargeables for your first time. There isnt any need to replace all 60 of your devices with rechargeables. There is the problem of alkalines ruining devices so if this is a common problem for you, buy a set of these EBL batteries.

16 Pack EBL AA 2300mAh Rechargeable batteries
12 Pack EBL AAA 800mAh Rechargeable batteries

They are a little too much for beginners and they may not work as good for you as they do for me but there are positive reviews for these batteries and I haven’t ran into many issues with them. The AAAs are a better deal where you could use them in an AAA to AA adapter. They sell those on Amazon as well. The batteries should work fine in the Panasonic/Eneloop charger as well. No need to charge them for first usage either. Just stick them in your devices and use them. One thing to note, the low drain devices such as a clock or tv remote they wont get much use. So to avoid premature death I suggest they get charged at least once every 6 months but you can do every 3 months. Just swap them out for another set.

They seem to be low self discharge but I’d buy the lower capacity cells just to be sure. Eventually though I suggest to replace every device with Eneloops.

2. No need to drain them fully before recharging. Just dont recharge them constantly. You can use them until the device starts showing signs of the battery dying or as I mentioned earlier, every 3-6 months. Also once they do show signs of being near death, quit using them until they are recharged again. Excessive draining of the cells can cause a waste of cycle usage and the cells can reverse charge or overdrain which can make the batteries permanently weak and potentially die.

3. The only reason for using higher capacity cells is for additional run time. If it’s not critical to get an extra 5 minutes of run time get the lower capacity cells. 1900mAh AA Eneloop batteries and the 750mAh AAA Eneloops are just fine for any device. You get more charge cycles and less battery waste.

4. Rechargeable nickel metal batteries can be recycled at most any place. Check your department or hardware stores. I have noticed its more difficult to recycle alkalines then rechargeables, as I’ve seen they have recycling in some stores. Usually I toss out the non working batteries in a container but I dont have many dead rechargeables yet.

Overall I hope this will encourage people to buy rechargeables again, if not for the environment but for your wallet and hopefully less stores will be selling 60 alkaline battery packs. I know some like businesses may be hard set in using alkalines, I know my job uses them but I put rechargeables in my lights so I dont use their alkalines. I’ve had people say that I dont need to use mine and I should use the company’s batteries but well, my light, my rules..  I dont use alkalines anymore. Theres no point when it costs less than a penny to recharge a pair of AA batteries.

Also, I forgot to add here are the best rechargeables you might get including some that are ok. In both AA and AAA size.

01. The best!

Eneloops 1900mAh/750mAh, Fujitsu; white, 2100 charge cycles – Made in Japan

02. Good

Eneloop Pro 2450mAh/900mAh, Fujitsu; black, 500 charge cycles – Made in Japan
Duracell; 300-500 charge cycles – Made in Japan
Energizer; 300-500 charge cycles – Made in Japan
Amazonbasics; same as white or black Eneloops may be made in China (not verified if same or similar quality as Japan)

03. Ok (may be Chinese and of lesser quality)

Tenergy is in the middle of the road as I haven’t tried their AA/AAA cells but I got 2 9V cells with their charger that so far has been running strong.
EBL, Goal Zero, Sunlabz, Rayovac, and some other brands I don’t have names for currently. Avoid AA batteries that claim higher than 2900mAh capacity and AAA higher than 1100mAh capacity. I haven’t tested the AAA EBLs 1100 mAh cells but the AA 2800mAh cells they have got came in around 2600mAh I think. I dont recall.

The La Crosse cells are terrible and haven’t been upgraded from the older high self discharge Nickel Metal batteries. I currently have a set of AAs and AAAs that come with their BC-1000 charger, they are ok but I wouldn’t buy them regularly. Avoid Enercell and RadioShack batteries, they don’t last long in storage.

Maha/Power Ex chargers tend to be the best or the Panasonic/Eneloop charger. La Crosse chargers are not bad but do not have the internal resistance check that the Eneloop or Power Ex C9000 charger has. I have not tried any other charger and the Sky RC 3000 charger doesn’t keep the batteries secure enough for me.

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C9000 Eneloop

What’s this a new topic? Yes i’ve been talking about the same topic on this site for quite awhile and i kinda pushed all my other hobby topics out of the way but i had to talk about batteries and chargers. Not only that there has been an outbreak of lithium ion (Li-Ion) batteries exploding, alkaline batteries leaking and so forth so this topic of the day i’m talking about my preferred type and brand of batteries and chargers! This post will be updated to include more information.

The picture above here is a Maha/PowerEx C9000 charger which you won’t find at Walmart! In fact recently i walked into a Walmart store and basically there was hardly any rechargeables at all. Most of them were alkalines or lithiums! Anyway, hopefully that will change to the point where you can find these at any store. First there’s some videos to watch to get familiar with the chargers.


Confused or overwhelmed with information? Well if using a smart analyzer charger such as the C9000 is too many buttons there are other options but for now i’m going to talk about the more advanced stuff. You might think why i would spend so much time on this, well in reality i don’t. Usually i just pop the cells in the charger or when the batteries start acting up i refresh them, which keeps the battery active as storing the cells will weaken them. This kind of goes with the topic what do you need a flashlight for since i have around 10 of them! What else, to see in the dark. I also like camping so there’s no lights or light switches just whatever you have on you. I’m going to get a little bit why it’s about time to get rid of alkalines for rechargeables and how nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries really should replace the alkaline battery.

I have had numerous occasions of alkaline batteries leaking in devices such as remotes, flashlights, even a Gameboy or two. Maglites are horrendous, especially the D cell format where those batteries can swell up and get stuck in the flashlight where you need to drill out the battery or find a way to hammer them out in which in the modern LED lights, the LED and switch housing only goes one way which is the same way as the batteries get removed. There’s some tricks other than the drill method but that’s the only method i am aware of and if you are keeping a Maglite as an emergency whether in the house or a car, i wouldn’t store alkalines in there, even if they don’t swell up or leak that moment when you need to use it and the cells just killed your flashlight. More annoyingly the leakage is a pain to clean up and at that point you might as well spend more money to save a bit of time and effort. I have actually used NiMh cells since they were out when only the cheap timer or voltage chargers which only charges in pairs were offered and even then i didn’t buy a whole bunch because it didn’t take long for my Ni-Cad AA cells to die out and that was mostly due to the fact the charger itself died!

But several years later and a different kind of battery came out so i tried those. Again, the charger died. Bought another and then the charger was apparently working but some kind of malfunction occurred where something was wrong with the cells or the cells didn’t last very long. At that point i gave up and went back to alkalines, that was at least until Duracell and Energizer came out with NiMH cells and chargers which i got in 2005. Both chargers still work! The Energizer cells stop working but the Duracells are still moving along even in this LED string light. Some of the cells have gotten too weak though and won’t survive the night which again is nice and brighter than a nightlight. 11 year old cells that has actually been a bit overcharged a bit overdischarged (a couple of cells actually reverse charged which can damage the battery) but it’s proven to me that these cells can work for many years provided i use them in the lower drain devices.

So why are we not using this? Well i have noticed from my first hand experience that rechargeables don’t always work the way we intended and i have learned a few things along the way. First experience may not be the best especially when there are defects either in the charger or the battery. The set of Energizers i had bought in 2005 were discharging faster then the Duracells and the AAA Energizers i bought later in 2006-2007. Even though the chargers still work and i infact use them still on the older batteries they are not the best. They only charge in pairs, only go by voltage or by timer. A realistic charger can charge anywhere from 1-4 batteries for those odd, 1 or 3 cell devices, but even then you want to charge each cell individually since not every cell comes out exactly the same at the factory and may need to charge longer or less. Not only that smart chargers can detect when the cell is full and uses temps as a guide too to stop the charging process.

A couple of interesting features that the C9000 charger has is that you can refresh the cell, cycle the cell, discharge/recharge and break in. Break-in is a bit of an odd feature it purposely overcharges the cell at a low enough rate it won’t actually harm the battery. Sometimes, smart chargers will detect that the battery is full even though the battery was dead 5 minutes ago and you are using a 5 hour charge! So the battery is still dead. Sometimes the battery is really bad but other times the cell has been sitting dormant for too long and that’s where the dumb timer chargers generally come in which can also overcharge the cell. But using the break-in mode on cells that don’t quite get a full charge because the charger terminated the charge before the end of charge. The C9000 has another nice little feature but it greatly depends on how you use them. The charger will terminate or reduce charging current (that’s the amount of charge going into the battery at once) whenever the cell reaches 1.47v. So if you are charging a battery at 2 amps (not recommended unless a C or D cell) it will terminate the cell earlier. Don’t know the exact capacity the cell is at but if you charge a cell at 1 amp it will terminate around 80-90% and top off the cell at 100mA for 2 hours then trickle charges at 10mA. Traditional high self discharge cells benefit from this but also low self discharge batteries such as Eneloops can benefit as well since at 500mA charging rate Eneloops can charge up to 1.52v which is full capacity. The higher the current rate the higher the voltage will be.

 

Eneloops, Fujitsu, Amazon Basics, Ikea Ladda, Duracell and Energizers are the best. Make sure to get the Japan made cells. China made cells are generally lower quality and even though i have Japan cells that don’t work as good as China, Japan Eneloops work the best. Also the video is outdated, Eneloops now carry a 70% charge after 10 years. It’s hard to say how long a healthy, proper use Eneloop would last, they say 2100 cycles but a few tests say that the cycle usage may be shorter or that standard 2100 cycle Eneloops are used in moderate to low drain devices and only discharged to about 40% and charged up to 80%. Not many chargers will terminate charge at 80% if much of any other than the Skyrc MC3000

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D1GHZNO

Which is more advanced than the C9000. Haven’t tried this charger but it’s on my to buy list. The other brand cell battery types such as the Energizer and Duracell may be Eneloop knock offs but they do really well. Take note that generally the higher the capacity of the cell, the less recharges you have. But have greater capacity. NiMH technology has improved so the low self discharge cells are pretty good compared to alkalines but the interesting factor is that you actually can get more run time in higher drain devices with high capacity cells such as Energizer, Duracell and Eneloop Pro. Eneloop Pro has up to 2550mAh capacity. It’s lower than an alkaline capacity but alkalines has such high internal resistance that the voltage sags. Most of the time in higher drain devices such as a flashlight, alkalines still have 30% capacity in reserve but can only be used in low drain devices. Modern flashlights like Maglite or LEDLenser can probably use 80 or 90% of alkalines but the brightness is pretty dim but not unusable. So when you get to 40-50% left in an alkaline, an Eneloop Pro will keep the flashlight shining bright.

Eneloop claims to have their cells precharged but some people are confused to as why they are not getting much of any activity from their device or they have low battery. While Eneloops are pre charged and you can use them right out of the package and it can depend on dates, whether you bought counterfeit cells, they are defective or maybe your device doesn’t work well with NiMh cells in which case the device requires the higher voltage of alkalines and won’t work well with NiMh cells. I have found this to be rare and all of my stuff works just fine with NiMH batteries. Possibly because most newer devices will run on NiMH cells. So which capacity should you get? In most cases the standard 2100 cycle white Eneloops (or another brand) is just fine even with high drain devices because 1900mAh is suitable enough for most. In some cases the Eneloop Pro (or other brand) is ideal but only for those devices that will eat up batteries. Digital cameras, high powered flashlights are best with the Eneloop Pro, you can still use the regular Eneloops with those devices if you wish. While it wouldn’t be practical and i wouldn’t recommend it is if you were to use Eneloop Pro in wall clocks, PC mice/keyboards, transmitters/remotes.. things like that. You would think though that the batteries would last longer in those devices but could you really spend the extra money on cells that you are not really going to notice recharging from 1-2 years to 3 years. It’s actually hard to say how long the Eneloop Pro lasts on a single charge because they only advertise that they hold 80% after a year. Nothing about 2-5 years so really i’d only buy them if you plan on using them. 500 cycles is pretty much standard on higher capacity cells and that’s pretty much the same as lithium ion cells. I have noticed another thing with the Eneloop Pro, if you drain the cell you will be eating up more cycles and there’s not much for recovery.

A standard Eneloop can be drained to 0.4v and hold that voltage no matter what you throw at it and can recover to 1.2v like that while the Eneloop Pro will hang around 1-1.1v. Then again i used these Eneloops in a more powerful flashlight and they are the AAA version. So i don’t really have much to compare it with. Just keep in mind though 1.23v (25%) is more ideal for a resting voltage when to recharge for extended life. I prefer 1.26v (50%) but at the risk of saying this is the reason why it’s almost completely unnecessary to buy the Eneloop Pro if you are not going to use the extended run time you still get more use in between recharges. Not to mention if you are in the need to use that extra run time you got it. So really having a set of Eneloop Pro may be the best thing but keep a minimum stock that you actually use. I tend to cycle through some of my cells especially the higher capacity and the few high self discharge (standard) cells that i have. Since my LEDLenser  T7 takes quite a bit of power, Eneloop Pro does really well. So i have 2 sets of cells for it (8 pack) and a 3rd set of Radioshack 850mAh cells. I use one set of Eneloop Pro more than the other but at least once every 3 months i use the other one. I need a secondary LEDLenser which will be a P7.2.

So with that there are some types of batteries that get iffy, Such as Sunlabz, Rayovac, EBL, Tenergy. The Sunlabz and Tenergy i have had good luck with in the D and 9V format. D cells can be expensive, the proper NiMH D cells, not the ones with the AA cells inside which some manufactures have been doing because as i said, actual D cells can be expensive. Just a 2 pack of Sunlabz can be $16. When you compare that to the massive capacity of a D cell, 10,000mAh it’s almost worth it. Provided you got a charger that works and whether the cell is in good condition. Some reviews are not good that claim the batteries do not work as intended and so far i only have seen a few chargers that use D cells. A really good one is the Maha C808M,

http://www.amazon.com/Maha-MH-C808M-Ultimate-Professional-Batteries/dp/B000E65DG6

Which again can get pretty expensive. It’s hard to say whether the cells are really any good and besides that Sunlabz D cells are not true LSD but doesn’t mean they are really bad either. Regular high self discharge NiMH batteries require regular use and an occasional full discharge or break-in with the C9000. Tenergy has some LSD D cells but they are slightly lower capacity than the Sunlabz cells. This is when D alkalines are more likely to survive and be needed, but again when they leak they leak bad and they can swell up so if you can’t justify paying upwards of $130 for a good charger and a set of cells you will be in trouble if you leave the alkalines in the device. So that would be the tradeoff. There are also AA > D adapters but you get reduced runtime, even with 3AA Eneloop Pro that would be at 7650mAh which isn’t too bad compared to 10,000mAh so it may not be noticeable but you would need 9AA batteries if you got a Maglite 3D.  You would need a 10+ battery charger and i don’t know any i could recommend. Even then i am using adapters on my C9000 that allows me to charge D cells but it’s sort of clunky to use all the time. Great if i need to check out the status of the cells but other than that i’d need the C808M charger.
I will soon add links and more to this later on, no time frame as of yet but i wanted to put this out there and hopefully will encourage people to get more into rechargeables. There’s quite a bit of alkalines on the shelves and while it’s not just the environment/resources the price point of buying NiMh cells provided that they are well taken care of and work to begin with, could save plenty of money as well as having to clean up alkaline messes. Some people do still prefer alkalines over NiMh and i have found you could recharge alkalines but there is a risk of them leaking. I have been experimenting only putting them on my La Crosse BC1000 charger at 200mAh for 5 minutes. That seems to work fine provided they were used in a low drain device. I don’t have enough AAA’s so in a pinch i recharged some alkalines i had handy but they didn’t have any charge left in them. It works but got to be careful and i don’t store them in the device so there’s no harm in if they leak. it’s not recommended to recharge them though there are youtube videos of people recharging them like regular rechargeables. If they were charging them for 3-6 hours, the risk of them leaking increases. They say it’s cheaper than buying rechargeables but i’d say they just don’t want to spend the money to getting a proper recharging setup.

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