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Rechargeable Batteries - Yes or No? 896

Posted by Cliff
from the they-keep-going-and-going-and-going dept.
TheFifthElephant asks: "I currently use quite a few devices that require various size batteries and I feel horrible just tossing them when they die. I saw a recharger at a retail store today and was thinking to myself how much waste it would reduce by using rechargeable ones. Which units have you used happily and/or which units have you heard of/read about satisfying someone else? Are the more expensive units better? What chemical rechargeable batteries last the longest/recharge the most?"
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Rechargeable Batteries - Yes or No?

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  • Don't sweat it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by skryche (26871) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:48PM (#6564615) Homepage
    Batteries are tiny tiny compared to what gets thrown out. (Like CDs: yeah, the world landfills are filling up because of AOL.) And they stopped putting mercury in 'em so they aren't even that bad for the environment.

    You want to make a difference? Drive an efficient car (if you must drive one at all) and recycle what you can.

  • by jstoner (85407) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:49PM (#6564618) Homepage
    I don't know if they last longer, but they have less battery "memory" issues. NiCads you have to drain all the power out to fully recharge them.
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lobo (10944) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @05:50PM (#6564648) Homepage
    I feel horrible just tossing them when they die.

    Well you should be recycling your old batteries to begin with.
  • Always! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by teqo (602844) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:01PM (#6564810) Journal

    NiHM accus are fine for everything I ever used, at least when you need AA or AAA types. They offer the same voltage, last long, are cheap, don't have that memory effect, and not to forget, they are nice to the environment!.

    The only reason to occasionally use batteries is when you really don't have any accus handy as on journeys, and you can get some at the next kiosk of something. Otherwise (and this means 'usually'): accus! (This might be a redundant, but still, why would anybody use evil throw-away batteries on a regular basis today?! Mind the children...

  • Re:NiMH (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rsborg (111459) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:11PM (#6564937) Homepage
    The downside is that the LiIon battery costs about $8.

    Add to this the fact that consumer grade AA Li-Ion batteries are non-rechargeable (unless you know where I can find LiIon rechareable AA's?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:13PM (#6564963)
    I don't see why people worry about batteries.

    Hell, if you want to reduce your impact on the environment, try a few other sacrifices:

    1) Adopt instead of breed.
    You might as well adopt one if you plan on having kids (at least as ONE of them). If you don't feel adoption is your civic duty, they'll just accumulate and become a local nuisance. Then you'll need to pool your money with local businessmen, and hire off-duty cops to "clean up" the problem.

    2) "Disposable diapers"
    Need I say more?

    3) Of course... don't expect a woman to give up this convenience while you parade around in a HumVee and a mow your lawn with a 20hp rider tractor. Otherwise you're forcing the burden on someone else.

    4) Actually, you need a "push mower" like the old days. Save money and slim that fat ass of yours.

    5) Lawn?? Plant a fucking tree you egotistical prick. You can still plant grass that's not harmful to the environment... it's called NATIVE grass. You'll not find it at the nearest local golf course...

    6) Trees mean you don't need to water your lawn.

    7) Or CHEM-LAWN(tm)
    Actually, if you're stupid enough to lay toxic chemicals on your lawn, you have penis-size issues.

    8) Don't listen to me... you'll end up spending more money on viagra...

    Moderators: If the above ON TOPIC SARCASM offends your sensibilities, go ahead and mark me as Flamebait or Offtopic. The meta moderators will get you...

    I know some of you will agree though :-)

  • Re:NiMH (Score:2, Insightful)

    by philipgar (595691) <pcg2@NoSpAM.lehigh.edu> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:24PM (#6565100) Homepage
    Actually, unless the designers of an LED flashlight are complete morons you shouldn't have that problem. There is always the possibility that they have a 1.5V LED that is made to work at exactly that voltage, but chances are good its more like 1.4V or something slightly off. With LED's IV curves, a difference in .1 Volts can change the current tremendously, so they most likely have a resister in series with the LED to prevent this problem. Also, if they don't have a resistor in series, the voltage the battery would supply would end up being much less, because I don't think a standard battery could supply the current necessary for a 1.5V LED running at 3.6 volts, the current would just be enormous. Sorry for rambling and being a bit off topic, but the EE training in my won't allow myself not to respond.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:39PM (#6565236)
    You're talking about supporting value systems of the countries producing them, but then you say go to TARGET or WAL-MART? If you activists want to have an impact, how about starting at home. China doesn't give 2 shits about whether or not you buy a pack of batteries. It's a pointless gesture designed to make YOU feel better. If you want to make a real impact, don't shop at Target or Wal-Mart. Those big box stores are blights.
  • Taiwan??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:40PM (#6565247)
    Why are you saying "Made in China" = "Made in Taiwan"?
  • by ichimunki (194887) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:41PM (#6565258)
    I like the way you go on and on about "Made in China" but actually recommended shopping at Wal-Mart.
  • by zulux (112259) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @06:41PM (#6565259) Homepage Journal


    Hmm...

    do I patronise the Chinese manufaturer so that their employees can eat?

    or do I patronise the American manufacturer so that their employess can buy A BIG SCREEN TV's at AL's TV EMPORIUM - SUNDAY SYNDAY SYNDAY - Save BIG at AL's on SUNDAY. Free hot-dogs, and baloons for the kiddies!.
  • by seney (244786) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:37PM (#6565768) Homepage

    You don't support American Multinationals working out of foreign countries because it's colonialism, economic albeit - but the same difference.

    Go read No Logo by Naomi Klein [nologo.org].

    For the most part, multinationals working out of Economic Protection Zones (EPZ's) attempt to get the highest rate of young girls from the countryside to work for them. This allows them to::: treat their workers like shit, pay them little, threaten them easily if they try to unionize, etc etc. - all leading to poor working conditions wherein the girls feel threatened and scared, wherein the girls feel they _have_ to keep working and sending piddly change home to mom and pop, all the while suffering so we can get Gap shirts [behindthelabel.org] and all sorts of consumerist b.s. for as cheap as possible [sweatshops.org].

    So no, you are not supporting the Chinese. You are bringing them into economic slavery [maketradefair.org]... Chinese gov't loves it.. the jobs bring in technology profit - but for the workers it is not an advancement [maketradefair.com].

    Go read Small is Beautiful by E.F. Shumacher [www.sfu.ca] to see how I think one should work to bring the Third World to a good standard of living.

    And as if they dude in the battery factory in the U.S. is living the large life. Give me a break. At least he may have a proper working environment where he is safe, he doesn't work his ass of for jackshit, and he may even be able to join one of those union thingies.

    Too bad sweatshops are on Big Al's T.V.

  • by thdexter (239625) <dexter@@@suffusions...net> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:40PM (#6565812) Journal
    I like that you went from saying don't buy Chinese products because of political reasons, and you should buy American and Japanese products because of quality ones. Anyway, given the current political climate I wouldn't say America is spectacularly better than China--or if we are, America certainly isn't as good as some other nations (Canada, Sweden, say.)

    Also, Taiwan is the Chinese nationalists. Taiwan != China.
  • Re:NiMH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shellbeach (610559) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:50PM (#6565916)
    NiMH batteries are great but they have the downside of losing charge very quickly "on the shelf" so you can't keep a bunch of charged MiMH batteries ready to use.

    This is not the case in my experience. I have used 650mAh AAA NiMH batteries with my Palm IIIx for about three years now. I have two sets of batteries (so one can recharge while still using the old set) and when travelling for long periods of time (several months) I've just charged both sets and used the second set a month later. There was a small loss of charge, but it wasn't a big deal.

    Sure, you can't charge the things up and leave them for half a year. But when are you ever going to need to do that? In the very worst case scenario, you could always pack a travel charger - they're small and light.

    I don't think I could begin to count the money I've saved by not having to change two sets of Alkaline AAAs each month (well, actually I could - it's several hundred dollars as opposed to an initial outlay of $40 for the batteries and the charger). And the capacity of NiMH batteries keeps getting better - you can now get 650mAh AAAs and 1850mAh AAs just about everywhere, which is a huge improvement on rechargables five or ten years ago

  • by FFFish (7567) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @08:29PM (#6566232) Homepage
    Patronize the American manufacturer, as the taxes they (and their employees) pay will, in part, include school taxes. One hopes that this, in turn, will benefit you, as you've obviously received a substandard sort of education, as evidenced by your atrocious spelling.
  • by devnullify (561782) <ktims.gotroot@ca> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @08:30PM (#6566244) Homepage
    Please mod the parent up, buying the cheapest batteries you can find is definitely bad advice. There is even a large quality margin in standard non-rechargable Alkaline batteries, not to mention the more complex rechargables. I always buy Duracell or Energizer alkalines, since they generally last 2-3 times longer than the el-cheapo brand. As for rechargables, the Alkaline rechargables (Energizer has some, as does a company called PureEnergy) are pretty good for the cost. The chargers are inexpensive, and the batteries don't cost much more than standard alkalines...the downside is they only last for 20-50 charges.
  • Re:NiMH (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @08:34PM (#6566274)
    A good set of NiMH here in Sweden will set you back at least ten times as much as a good set of alkalines.

    Ouch. Order some online [digibattery.co.uk] instead.
  • by _xs_ (14098) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @08:40PM (#6566328) Homepage
    Remember that "Made in America" does not guarantee the item was made in America. It means that most of the labour (by dollar value, not hours) that went into the product, came from the United States. For example, most electronic components (resistors, diodes, transistors) are manufactured in countries where labour is cheap, and enviromental and safety concerns are minor. These are then shipped in bulk, to North America, where they are soldered into a printed circuit board, and then assembled into a chassis. Harley does this too. Less and less of a Harley as made in America, it's just assembled in America. So by buying these "Made in America" products, you consume more of the raw components produced in China (Mexico, Taiwan, etc.)

    Are you willing to pay a premium for the "Made in America" label? If not, the company will be forced to price it's product competitively. With the ridiculously low (less than $7US per hour including labour, burden, and markup) for offshore manufacturing, American companies can't compete! So the American companies will start to contract out more and more of the work involved in their product. It's the same thing that happens in my company. We have to compete on terms of quality and lead-time (how long it takes between when you order an item, and when it's in your hands). For high-volume standard consumer goods, it just doesn't work. Warehousing a container load from China is just cheaper than building to order.

    Here's a question for you though, do you think that by improving the economy in a country, the quality of life in that country improves?
  • Re:Taiwan??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Silver Eagle (77971) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @09:24PM (#6566682)
    Lets see:

    Taiwan has a democratically elected government. China has ...

    Taiwan has freedom of speach (which the local press take *way* too far). China has ...

    Taiwan attempts to take part in world organizations such as UN and WHO. China actively suppresses Taiwan from joining these organizations. During the recent SARS outbreak, China lobbied to prevent WHO officials from visiting Taiwan.

    Taiwan has a National Health Scheme that leaves the US system for dead.

    The US claims to support Democratic Governments, yet actively attempts to have Taiwan "reunified" with China, thereby replacing a Democratically Elected government with a Dictatorship.

    Of course ... I can see how people could get "China" and "Taiwan" confused. [sarcasism] Maybe we should also include Singapore in the list as it is a predominately Chinese (ethnic) country also? [/sarcasism]

    (For the purists, yes Taiwan is officially called the "Republic of China", not to be confused with the "Peoples Republic of China", and did start out 50 years ago as a Military Dictatorship. The current President is from the "opposition" party, which clearly indicates that it is not a "rubber stamp democracy". The primary reason it has not shed the old name is due to the US's less than stellar performance in supporting Democracy, ie stating that if Taiwan changed it's name they would allow China to invade them.)
  • by phutureboy (70690) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @09:26PM (#6566698) Homepage
    you should select the brand based on country of origin. Remember. When you buy a product, you indirectly support the value system in the country of origin. In other words, avoid "Made in China". You can find enough reasons for avoiding "Made in China" at Amnesty International or Tibet Online . "Made in China" also includes "Made in Taiwan" or "Made in Hong Kong".

    I strongly disagree. Trading with people in other countries builds cultural bridges, helps to lift people out of poverty, spreads the values of freedom and democracy, and promotes peace between nations. Granted, the situation in China is bad, but do you really think cutting off contact is going to make it any better?

    I don't question for one second that your intentions are good, but I do believe that the prescriptions you suggest are a recipe for starvation, poverty and war.

    Further reading:

  • by ezberry (411384) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @09:35PM (#6566758)
    Hey, I think you missed his point. Well, first of all, China most certainly does give 2 shits if you buy their batteries. In fact, if they can "modernize" and grow their economy using their present value system, then they will see no reason to change it. Only by making clear that China's admission into the collective of successful economies hinges upon not only its economic capabilities, but also the ethical system upon which they are based, will their government see reason to change. Your issues with Target and Wal-Mart are, indeed, well founded but not entirely relevant to the parent's post.
  • by Ty (15982) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @12:26AM (#6567813) Homepage
    4) Actually, you need a "push mower" like the old days. Save money and slim that fat ass of yours.

    actually, better yet, hire the neighbor boy to push mow the lawn

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:21AM (#6568862)
    You, sir, are an idiot.

    citicens, caput, russioa, irak... the list goes on. You really have no idea how large the US is. One state is as large as Italy or Britain, it is a pain in the ass to get around. (BTW, we have 50 of them) Not that I'm saying we are cleaner, but we are somewhat disadvantaged. We've tried recycling, but almost all of those companies fail because they cannot turn a profit. The "pushing their (my god, you used the right form of their, but couldn't spell Russia) own oil industry" is an oversimplification of the US populace. The government went over there. The oil industries lobby for tax breaks and use of petroleum based products in everything (and have a tendancy to buy up superior energy technology patents). We had protests in the US against the war in Iraq, same as all over the world.

    Honestly, I don't want to protect my government, because I see its flaws, but you are mislead. There is a war in Liberia, the US is who they are demanding to have help them. How do we get to Liberia... Oil! Sorry, we send people all over the world to help out. As much as you want to complain that we are the worlds police force, there are countries that ask for help. We are not all shit heads (okay, the deep south has some inbreeding and bigotry left over). Peace Corps sends doctors all over the world.... blah blah blah. We are not idle resource-mongers as you'd love to believe. In fact, at my work alone we've sent three trucks full of recycleables to recycling facilities within the last two weeks.

    I recycle, I drive a 4-cylinder engine car, probably much like you. I don't have the option to use mass transit, the infastructure is non-existant in many parts of the country. For anyone to get to their job it is at least a 20 minute drive, and that is because of the distance as much as anything else.

    So, in conclusion, George Bush is a pig, Oil companies are full of pigs, and for the love of god we spawned Microsoft. However, good things do happen. They wanted to drill for oil in Alaska, and that was blocked. Microsoft is constantly hounded by various federal and state authorities. Car companies are making a push in the US for alternate fuel cars. Petroleum is going to fade soon, and hopefully the oil companies will go with. For now, though, we need it. Sorry.

    But don't blanket label us as pigs, you fucking ignoramus.
  • by managementboy (223451) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @04:25AM (#6568879) Homepage
    I am sorry but I disagree, and to put the record straight, I vote the green party and am socialist of nature (German ;-). Most of my life I grew up in South America. I know these "sweat shops" you are refering to, because I visited them regularly, as my father was in the business of importing/servicing/consulting cloathing manufacturers. Yes, compared to current US and European living standards the workers at such factories are not living well, but ask any of them and they will tell you they are gratefull to have this job, as it provides them with the oportunity to move into the middle class over time. Buy their own home, start their own business, and for them most importantly: send their children to school!

    Don't believe me? Well, my fathers business went bancrupt after a kidnapping by "leftish" guerillas. He had to let go 500 direct employees, and the indirect losses can be counted in the '000.

    Anyhow, my advice to you is to live in one of these countries you want to "help" and get the big picture. You will soon realize that it is the trade barriers we have build up in the US and Europe that makes it hard for them to grow out of missery, as no export no growth...
  • by larien (5608) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @06:06AM (#6569148) Homepage Journal
    I'll add something to that; a friend of mine had a baby last year and asked the midwife how to tie a cloth nappy (UK name for diaper); she didn't know. The grandparents couldn't remember either.

    In short, cloth nappies are becoming much rarer, simply because people are forgetting how to tie them properly (i.e. in such a way as they don't fall off as soon as you lift the baby).

  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @08:59AM (#6569757) Journal
    countries as an act of job-creating altruism back in the 1980s

    BS BS BS. The jobs left (and are leaving) not out of good will, but because of CAPITALISM.. you know, the most efficient (cheapest) manner of production wins.

    The Rich Plutocrats who rule the USA dont care about the USA, they are rich citizens of the world, able to buy themselves into living *anywhere*... the Ken Lays, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Bush Family -- WHOMEVER -- all protray themselves (happily) as "great and proud americans" because YOU YANKS are so blinded by Jingoism that you dont see their irresponsible and selfish actions as being clearly against the good of YOUR OWN COMMUNITY (remember all those jobs are gone...)

    Then you yanks go down and BUY BUY at walmart, who imports EVERYTHING from abroad to get you "low low prices". Those low low prices are at a cost of a sustainable, local economy...

    what you dont see (just yet) is that the "liberals" you blame for this altruism of off-shore manufacturing has been CONDEMNED by the left ALL ALONG. The Capitalists amoung you are *telling* you that foreigners want these jobs, sending these jobs are helping these other economies, and we want free-trade deals to help these other nations is *a fucking lie*. If the 250 million working americans are interested in seeing the USA drop like a stone in water, as the longest to fall in the looming Race To The Bottom... you BETTER start to realize that unfettered Capitalism is at fault. That the economy must be steared and directed by law.. labour law, environmental law, incentives, disincentives, tarrifs, taxes, subsidy etc etc etc... if you DONT start to direct the economy, those rich bastards will suck the USA dry and move on to some other host.

    the real tragedy is that the USA, long an 'advocate' of free-market capitalism WONT DO THAT because the masses believe that this Free Market Capitalism is *good for them*... in the 21st century, you'll begin to realize that whats good for GM is not necessarily good for the USA.

    welcome to reality.

  • by KUHurdler (584689) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @09:07AM (#6569822) Homepage
    How many extension cords have you replaced?
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @09:09AM (#6569834) Journal
    and they encourage urban sprawl with this 'big-box-bs'. highways to outside of town to guy a bag of groceries? no f'ing way, you car drivers can start to *pay* for this idiocy. Im tired of my tax dollars going to build highways so *WALMART* can plop a massive, local-retail-destroying mega-shop on inexpensive land...

    Do you see that your tax dollars go to enable Sprawl which in turn makes helps walmart mark "low prices"... "low prices" indeed.

    this says nothing of pollution and habitat loss...

    ive never spent a dime at walmart, and it *does* make me a better person.

  • by TimFreeman (466789) <tim@fungible.com> on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:09PM (#6572410) Homepage
    For the most part, multinationals working out of Economic Protection Zones (EPZ's) attempt to get the highest rate of young girls from the countryside to work for them. This allows them to::: treat their workers like shit, pay them little, threaten them easily if they try to unionize, etc etc. - all leading to poor working conditions wherein the girls feel threatened and scared, wherein the girls feel they _have_ to keep working and sending piddly change home to mom and pop, all the while suffering...
    The workers must perceive working in the factory as an improvement over working back in the countryside where they came from, otherwise they'd go home, right? Unless there's some systematized coercion to keep them from going home, it's dishonest to call it slavery, even if you tack the word "economic" on the beginning.
  • by mfrank (649656) on Wednesday July 30, 2003 @02:39PM (#6572671)
    Yeah, we shouldn't allow third world countries to advance at all untill we can figure out how to bring them to first-world living standards and human rights instantaneously. Can you honestly say that the average Chinese citizen is worse off now, both economically and in terms of human rights, than they were twenty years ago?

    It took centuries for the first world to get to where they are. It won't take nearly that long for the rest of the world (if it can be done at all). Boycotting and trade barriers will only slow the process.

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