Switch to Eneloop AAA batteries. They cost more up front, but in the long
run you'll save a lot of money (and avoid throwing away so many batteries).
You can buy the Panasonic BK-4MCCA8BA Eneloop 8-pack on Amazon for about
$16. That works out to about $2 per battery.
The package claims you can recharge them up to 2100 times. I have a hard
time believing that figure, but even if you recharge them just 100 times,
that brings the per battery cost down to just 2 cents per battery.
Yes, you'll need to buy the additional charger, but that's a small
investment for long term savings.
I've been using the Eneloops for a few years now. Unlike the old Nimh or
Nicad rechargeables, I can charge these up ahead of time and have batteries
ready to use when I need them. I have about a dozen AA and a dozen AAA,
with about half of those in various devices around the house (remote
controls, clocks, etc.).
I wish they made C and D cell eneloops (not just those little plastic
adapter tubes) for longer life in lanterns and whatnot, but I have very few
devices that use those battery sizes anymore. It would also be nice if they
made 9V eneloops for smoke detectors.
In general, NiMH cells (i.e., Eneloop) have a higher self-discharge rate
than, for example, alkalines.
However, the Eneloops have been optimized for low self-discharge. Their
open-circuit voltage quickly falls but remains relatively flat. Total
capacity after ~6 months "on the shelf" falls by ~20%.
If you wanted it to be usable a year (or five) down the road, go for good
alkalines. Note that the NiMH chemistry yields a 1.2V cell voltage
whereas the Alkalines will be 1.5V. (This is more pronounced when the
NiMH's sit unused vs. "right off the charger") So, a two-cell flashlight
is already half a volt "low" with NiMH's.
[Note that you also need a flashlight with a mechanical power switch so
the "switch" isn't stealing power waiting for you to use it]
I keep "crank lights" in my BoB as its not the sort of thing I
remember to check up on regularly (and I *need* the lights to work, there).
However, even the crank lights rely on (rechargeable) batteries internally.
So, I've been planning on modifying one of my "wind up" (different from
"crank") radios to act as a power source for the flashlights (though bulky).
Also, trying to find a convenient way to package a larger "generator"
for bigger loads (~10-20W)
IIUC, that's really bad with incandescent flashlights. Maybe not so
bad with LEDs?
Someone claims: "While rechargeable batteries are ideal for many
applications, the classic "alkaline" battery is still a superior
solution for devices that do not have a high current draw, that are
usually off, or that need to provide full power for longer periods of
time, such as remote controls, flashlights, and electronic toys. "
They have those?
Basement Office Bar?
I've trained a monkey to crank a medium-sized generator so I have the
monkey carrry the generator with me. (monkeys are strong and have a
lot of endurance.)
I do have one or two of those crank lights. Styled
a lot like the old Star Trek palm phasers. I suspect
the internal batteries are button size NiCd cells.
I'd like some day to drill a hole through the case.
Unsolder the NiCd, and wire to an external three
AA cell battery holder. Then, I can use loose
NiMH or NiCd cells, AA size. Fun some day project.
I've heard that Energizer Lithium AA cells are
very long shelf life.
My own experience is that I've had leakers in
nearly every brand. Energizer, Duracell, Rayovac,
Harbor Freight. All in the last few years.
Just guessing, Eneloops aren't that long life. Yet.
I don't know if they would last a year, but I haven't noticed any
significant decline in storage. I charge them up when they go dead, then
they sit in my desk drawer for several months before I use them again.
If your flashlight is a low power LED type, I would think the eneloops
would still have enough power to run the light for a while.
A rechargeable "emergency light" might be a better option. They plug into a
wall socket so they're always fully charged when the lights go out.
We had several of these and they ended up just cooking their (NiCd) batteries.
It's possible to put a *smart* charger in such a device but too much
price pressure tends to result in stupid chargers that don't know how to
float a battery for the long haul.
I purchased four of the emergency lights several years ago. One died
completely after a couple years. A second one seems to have stopped
charging (never shows the green charged light anymore), but it still lights
up when the power goes out. The other two still work fine.
Still, they weren't that expensive and are handy to have when the power
goes out. Beats fumbling in the dark to find flashlights and candles.
We just have a fair number of lights in places that are easily accessed.
E.g., there's a crank light or one of those dinky HF LED lights on each
end table, I have a pair of the HF lights hanging under my work table
(mainly so I can view the kit located underneath), another of the
HF "floodlights" clipped (magnetic) to the underside of the network
switch fastened to the underside of one of my work benches, 3D maglites
clipped to the walls by the main doorways, another HF light hanging by
the entrance to the garage (so I can see under the car or under the hood
without having to go fetch a flashlight), etc.
As outages are a rare event, here, the lights see more use in daylight
(to see into normally darkened areas).
The cylindrical HF lights looked to be ideal candidates to retrofit
18670 Li batteries. But, they seem to be too large to fit in the place
of the 3 AAA's.
(there's probably another Li cell that WOULD fit but the 18670's are just so
damn common and relatively easy to "rescue")
More specifically, LEDs need to be current limited, usually with a
series resistor. In some cases (like the HF lights) this is accomplished
using the internal resistance of the battery. I've seen the same with
the little coin-cell keychain lights (the battery is stuck between the
LED leads, the switch is a little bit of plastic that holds one of the
leads away from th battery).
The LED itself regulates voltage. That's what a diode does.
Simple Definition of diode
: an electronic device that allows an electric current to flow in
one direction only
Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
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