Assault and Batteries: a cautionary tale

I have several electronic devices that run off batteries. (No, not those types of devices — get your minds out of the gutters.) A while ago I got tired of buying an endless stream of AA and AAA batteries, so I figured I’d invest in some rechargeable batteries.

Bad move. I shoulda read the fine print.

The first sign of trouble was when I plugged a AAA into a medical device. It gave me the “BATTERY FAILURE” message immediately, even though the battery had just spent 24 hours in a charger. The second was when my digital camera’s LCD screen wouldn’t light up. That’s when I looked at the tiny print on the side of one of the new batteries, and compared it with a standard AAA.

The rechargeable only puts out 1.2 volts. A regular puts out 1.5 volts. And a lot of modern devices are very sensitive to that 20% shortfall.

I’ve done some further investigating (such a fancy term for “browsing the battery selection at a Wal-Mart”) and all the rechargeables I’ve found put out between 1.2 and 1.25 volts, not the what-I-thought-was-the-industry-standard of 1.5 volts.

I’m posting this embarassing story in hopes of sparing others my expensive mistake. READ THE FINE PRINT. There’s a REASON a lot of gadgets don’t recommend using rechargeable batteries.

So here I am, stuck with almost 30 bucks of useless batteries and charger. I wonder if my gadget-minded friend would mind his Christmas present coming unwrapped, opened, and very slightly used…

J.

Update: Yes, the medical device I referred to is a Paradigm 512 insulin pump (good guesses, Master and JMarler). And I’ll have to double-check on the camera. Maybe I just didn’t let them charge long enough.

And yes, Paul, they were NiMH batteries. I was originally gonna call this posting “Mr. Tea and the Batts of NiMH,” but didn’t write it down when I thought of it and forgot it when I actually posted the thing.

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27 Comments

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