Yesterday when I stopped at Landmark to buy a few pairs of rechargeable batteries, it took me about 30 minutes to decide what to buy. My wife and the Landmark staff where all agitated and not able to understand why I am taking such a long time to decide on buying some standard ‘AA’ rechargeable batteries. After all, all of them look the same and are of the same standard ‘AA’. And as we know, all produces somewhere around 1.4 to 1.5 Volts of current.
But, if that’s true then, why all the batteries don’t come at the same price. They vary from 100/- Rs a pair to 1000/- Rs a Pair. Oh, you think it’s due to the brand? Then Think again. For an example Sanyo (a popular battery brand) has AA rechargeable battery pairs for 200 Rs and as well for 500 Rs, and may be even more.
So, where is the difference? The easiest approach to understand the difference is to compare a regular Nippo battery with a Duracell Battery. Both are AA and gives 1.5V of current. But Duracell lasts at least 2 Times than a Nippo.
The answer is in the other Current unit which we generally ignore. And that is Ampere. To understand the difference between the Volts and Amp in the easiest manner, think it as a Tank of water connected to another tank of water. Where water is flowing from tank 1 to tank 2. Both the tanks are connected using a 1 inch diameter pipe. So the diameter will govern how much water at full pressure can gush throw one tank to another. This you can understand as the Voltage.
But the amount of water in tank is the Ampere. So, if the voltage (or the diameter of the pipe) is kept same, the time it takes to empty tank 1 to tank 2 will be directly proportional to the amount of water (the ampere) in Tank 1.
Similarly the time it will take to drain a battery, if Voltage is kept same. Will be dependent on how much ampere of current a battery stores. But surprisingly, most of the battery manufacturers don’t even mention the ampere, and even if they do, it’s mentioned in the smallest possible font. And that’s why some batteries last longer than other.
It’s not magic, neither a better technology, nor something which we can’t check.
So, whenever buying a battery. Keep in mind to check for the ampere. And if the ampere is not mentioned, then most probably the company wants to hide it as its too low and you are going to end up drain that battery too soon.
What to look for
A regular AA battery has amperage of 700 milliampere, whereas a Duracell has a 1500 milliampere. While going for rechargeable batteries, you can get batteries with 800 milliampere to 2700 milliampere. Of course a 2700 milliampere battery will coast quite more than an 800 milliampere one. But you will be saving from charging it every now and then.
I finally settled with a 2000 milliampere Sanyo eneloop battery because that’s what the maximum available was at that time. But I am looking forward for a 2700 milliampere one to buy soon. For the 2000 milliampere one, I spent around 800/- Rs. for 2 pairs (4 individual batteries). So one battery was for around 200/- which I don’t think is a bad deal.
Some Useful Tips
Ready to use: Most
of the rechargeable batteries require an initial 12 hours of charging before you can use them. This is because most of them don’t have a high shelf life plus they are not fully charged before packing. But, you can find some brands which sells Ready to use rechargeable batteries. This means, they are pre-charged and can be used instantly like a normal non rechargeable battery. Plus this also means such batteries have a great shelf life, so you can charge and keep them for months and they will not get drained just like that without any use.
Green: Oh yes, now battery manufacturers have also become nature cautious and have started making batteries which are not harmful (that much) when you use or dispose them. So if you want to save your nature, it’s not a bad idea to spend few extra pennies while buying a pair of batteries.
Have a good backup!! 😉