The “How-To” of Rechargeable Batteries: Part 1
First in an occasional series on rechargeable batteries.
Matching the Right Chemistry to Your Needs
Going green was an easy decision, but picking the right rechargeable battery for the household? It’s a tough call sometimes, especially when faced with so many rechargeable battery options. You know your AAA from your AA, but do you know the difference between nickel-metal hydride (NiMh) or nickel cadmium (NiCd)?
Depending on the device, you’ll either get great performance or want to go back to alkaline. Your digital camera doesn’t draw the same amount of power as the clock you’ve got hanging in the hallway.
For those gadgets with high-power needs – like wireless game controllers, digital cameras and music players – go for NiMh. Think “Need Instant Monstrous Horsepower.” This chemistry’s got it all: little memory effect, more power storage space and more times it can go through the recharge-discharge cycle. It’s also a little cheaper than the top-of-the-line chemistry, lithium-ion.
On the other hand, NiCd (pronounced “ni-cad” by those in the know) was revolutionary – for the 1900s. The toxic element cadmium keeps this rechargeable battery at the bottom of the eco-friendly shopping list, and memory effect shortens a NiCd battery’s life without occasional full discharges. NiCd can discharge more quickly, dumping all of its power into a device – such as a power tool, an emergency alarm or a one-use smoke machine generator (ninjas only.)
Be warned, though. These chemistries don’t store power for long. Pop a couple of NiMh or NiCd batteries in a game controller and then get too busy to play for a few weeks? Don’t be surprised if you find your batteries as dead as those zombies you’re trying to destroy. Preserve the life of your batteries by loading them up with juice, using the appropriate battery charger, before storing them in the closet (not the fridge, people) and recharge them when you take them out of storage.
You don’t need to retake seventh grade chemistry to keep your commitment to go green. Just ask your All Battery experts for a little advice.
- Overcoming the Dreaded Memory Effect (blogbattery.com)
- Truths, Myths and Big, Fat Lies About Battery Recycling (blogbattery.com)