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Old 02-04-02, 04:58 AM   #1
Richard D
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Lithium Batteries

Has anyone tried lithium batteries in lights?

I saw some Lithium AA's in my local supermarket, advertised specifically for digi-cams. They're about twice the price of premium alkaline AA's but if they last a lot longer they might be worth while. Are LED lights likely to be a high enough drain for them to make much of a difference?

I use Nimh for my main front lights, but like the Alkaline 'fade' for the rear, rather than the Nimh 'stop' for the rear, to get replacements.

Any experience?

Any science?

Richard
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Old 02-04-02, 06:31 AM   #2
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I'm like you in that I use NiMH front but also rear, but ensure that I replace before fade (after allowing them to run down)
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Old 02-04-02, 06:34 AM   #3
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LED lights, seem to run so long on standard batteries, I don't see a real need to go for the big gun batteries.

What are your opinions on rechargeable-disposable batteries like the Rayovac C, AA, D, AAA etcetera?

Last edited by mike; 02-04-02 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 02-04-02, 06:41 AM   #4
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My LED blinky has recently developed an appetite for batteries, I go through a set in about a month. They usd to last about 3 months.
Has anyone else had an LED go hungry on them ?

LEDs dont need high power batteries.
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Old 02-04-02, 07:00 AM   #5
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Sorry, should have said that the reason I use NiMH batteries (in all my lights) is that they recharge ok.
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Old 02-04-02, 07:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by chewa
Sorry, should have said that the reason I use NiMH batteries (in all my lights) is that they recharge ok.
I seem to recall you also use the big Cateye BS rear lamp - how long do a set of NimH's last (do you run it on constant)?

I use a smart charger so, I can discharge them fully before recharging.

Richard
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Old 02-04-02, 07:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
I haven't used lithium batteries because lithium is some BAD $hit for the environment.

Worth avoiding then. I'll probably buy an extra set of Nimh's and just recharge well before I think they're running low.

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Old 02-04-02, 09:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard D


I seem to recall you also use the big Cateye BS rear lamp - how long do a set of NimH's last (do you run it on constant)?

Richard
I do use the big BS lamp and use it on constant as I have a 5 led blinkie above it (the cateye BS is bolted to my sks guard and the blinkie on a piece of meccano on my rack.)

It lasts about 2 weeks on constant, used about 2 hrs per day on commute, say 8-10 hours. When I notice it going down a bit, I leave it on overnight to fully discharge, put spare NiMH batteries in and then charge the discharged ones.

I got caught out this morning though, as when I got in to work it was pretty dim, but I have spare batteries.

When used with NiMH's the rear light is VERY bright.!!
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1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
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1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
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Old 02-04-02, 11:10 AM   #9
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I could have sworn I just saw a link to a battery review over on www.slashdot.org, but now I can't find it. If you want to dig, it should be there somewhere.

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Old 02-04-02, 11:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I could have sworn I just saw a link to a battery review over on www.slashdot.org, but now I can't find it. If you want to dig, it should be there somewhere.
Nevermind, it was at
www.arstechnica.com
and the review is at
http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/BATTS/BATTS.HTM
so I hope that helps.

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Old 02-04-02, 12:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard D


I seem to recall you also use the big Cateye BS rear lamp - how long do a set of NimH's last (do you run it on constant)?

I use a smart charger so, I can discharge them fully before recharging.

Richard
Sources I've read, and my own experience, indicate it's not necessary to discharge NiMH batteries before recharging. They seem to be perfectly happy getting "topped off" or recharging from fairly deep discharge (but NOT all the way, which can ruin them), unlike their detestable NiCD cousins.

I've been getting wonderful results from the relatively new Eveready One-Hour Charger which is at least semi-smart. I like it better than my Radio Shack smart charger. You can mix AAA's and AA's in it, and even charge one cell at a time should you so desire--each position of the four charges completely independently. (Probably one reason it's so expensive.)

Using NiMH in lights you want to be careful not to run the batteries down too far. The old "drain before recharging" rule for NiCD's does NOT apply to NiMH.



Here is a link
to a photography site that contains an excellent page on batteries. Highly recommended reading!
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Old 02-04-02, 09:37 PM   #12
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Hey, Mike had written something about lithium batteries being bad for the enviroment. But then I think he edited it out of his post. What's the deal are lithium batteries NASTY or what?

The thing i like about NIMH is that they don't use heavy metals like Nicad and Lead Acid batteries. And don't Akalines give off Mercury?

I've been considering getting one of those Dyno-hubs as it would be nice to forget all about these batteries.
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Old 02-05-02, 04:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by JonR



Using NiMH in lights you want to be careful not to run the batteries down too far. The old "drain before recharging" rule for NiCD's does NOT apply to NiMH.



Here is a link
to a photography site that contains an excellent page on batteries. Highly recommended reading!
Thanks for the link, interesting reading.

I tend to run my lights until they're turning 'orange' purely because of the length of my commute. The smart charger (I bought from Maplins, after Dixons told me I needed a specialist electrical retailer!) has a discharge/condition button, that I use every few charges and they seem okay so far. It charges the cells individualy and will do AA upto D cells if I ever need them.

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Old 02-05-02, 04:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by thbirks
What's the deal are lithium batteries NASTY or what?

The thing i like about NIMH is that they don't use heavy metals like Nicad and Lead Acid batteries. And don't Akalines give off Mercury?

I've been considering getting one of those Dyno-hubs as it would be nice to forget all about these batteries.
I can't find any sources saying Lithium is terrible for the environment, and it is a light metal rather than a heavy metal. Having said that I don't know what environmental impact the production of Lithium batteries has. I would be surprised if using rechargeables wasn't better for the environment though.

Richard
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Old 02-05-02, 11:46 AM   #15
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As a pack rat first class, I regret ever throwing anything away, and I practically weep when I take out the trash....

So that's one reason I prefer rechargeables.

A word of caution, though: no matter how good a charger is, there's still a risk of fire. I had a battery get sizzling hot in a wall charger once and start smoking, and I had one COMPLETELY MELT in the Radio Shack "smart" charger (lid closed, I didn't even know). I had another start to sputter and smolder, but I was sitting nearby and heard it in time--this was in yet a third charger.

Any of these incidents could have started a fire if I'd been less lucky. As a result, I try always to be present when I charge batteries now--one reason to prefer the one-hour variety of charger!

(BTW, the cells that melted or started to melt or burn had not been damaged in any way that I knew about.)
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Old 02-05-02, 12:18 PM   #16
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Yikes!

Thanks for the warning, JonR. I have a recharger that could be present a danger.

You just might have saved me some misery.

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Old 02-06-02, 04:37 AM   #17
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Good info here. I'll stop letting my NiMH batteries go so low before recharging, and I might move the recharger out of the garage!!
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1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
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