Tuesday, September 20th, 2005
Review: Duracell 30 Minute Battery Recharger
When it comes to batteries, I’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. Aside from a TV remote and fire alarms, the only device in our house needing batteries has been a Kodak digital camera that I stopped using three years ago. The Kodak sucked 4 AA NiMH batteries every few days.
So when Little Miss made her debut in this world and electronic baby toys began to propagate, I resurrected my old AA NiMH batteries.
Now fast forward six months. I’m walking through Costco and see 30 minute rechargeable batteries. Wha-wha-what? It turns out some companies even make 15-minute rechargers. Costco had a good deal… 4 AA batteries, 4 AAA batteries and a recharging unit that included a separate plug for use in a car cigarette lighter, all for $20. For comparison, for the same price that same day at Target I could score those same batteries, but not the recharging unit. Given my current baby monitor woes, I need to recharge 4 AA batteries every day, so this Duracell deal is a lifesaver.
Plug the batteries in, a tiny fan whirs to keep them cool, and four indicator lights eventually turn off, usually well before 30 minutes has passed. It almost makes me want to go out and buy gadgets just to enjoy the quick recharging time.
Now, when selecting a battery, it’s important to get nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) because older style nickel-cadmium batteries contain toxic metals and require "conditioning" (fully charging and discharging several times to achieve full power).
The battery power is rated in milliamp hours (mAh), and is listed on the battery as well as the store packaging. The mAh value on NiMH batteries runs from 1500 to 2700… the higher the number, the longer the run time in your power-hungry devices.
My Duracell NiMH batteries are 2300 mAh, but some Duracells are sold with a lower 2050 mAh rating â€“ so check before buying. All-in-all, 2300 mAh on the Duracells is perfectly good for digital cameras and children’s toys. Some say that fast-charging batteries reduces their overall life, but the time savings more than makes up for any potential loss.
Hey, that brings up another thought. The last time I strolled through Toys R Us I was shocked by the shear volume of battery-operated toys filling the store walls. It made me wonder how many toy companies are owned by corporations that also own battery manufacturers. Quite a racket.
CEF90NC 30 Minute Charger with 4 AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries [This Amazon.com product is not the same package deal I received at Costco, and I did not see the mAh value of the batteries listed on Amazon's product page. Your mileage may vary.]