Letter Re: Batteries and Chargers


If rechargeable batteries aren’t charged regularly then they are useless during emergency. I keep about 2-3 dozens of AA and AAA in a battery organizer and rotate them. To rotate them, I use battery powered LED strips in bathrooms and in closets. I do that to save energy and to practice blackout situation. For gadgets that run on C or D cells, I use a 2 AA converter case. I have them on my 3D maglite and Coleman lantern and they work great.

For chargers, I use Nitecore brand that has different charging current and 12V car adapter. I try not to use quick charge mode because it tends to heat up batteries and that shortens the life. I also own an USB charger just in case power goes down and I can hook up a portable solar panel if needed. – P.L.


  1. Those are cool products! Wow! Cheap too. I want to add those to my gear. Thanks for the product links. The light strips are a fun idea. Bet they make the arae look like some sci-fi movie doomsday bunker.

  2. I’d like to open a discussion on this subject if possible:
    Seeing as how batteries can last 10 years on the shelf is the cost of these and the charger along with the headache of maintenance really worth it?
    I’ve had rechargables that a year later even being kept properly no longer worked. I had 2 out of the package that never worked. The bad part was once I pulled them from the charger I really had no way of knowing. Now this has been a few years back so has something changed in technology that negates this?

    1. The batteries pictured (Eneloops), should retain up to 70% charge after 10 years. My experience with these batteries is that they are amazing. I really like them and have used the exclusively for about 5 years without any issues.

  3. P.L. is right. They have to be charged. I have learned to recharge several D, AA, and AAA on a regular basis of every 2 months. I set aside a day to get this done when I will be around the house and can keep loading and charging batteries into the charger. One thing I realized a couple of weeks ago when doing the recharging was that I have way too many AA for the devices needing them. Another thing I realized is that I need to buy based on millamps/hour and NOT price. I have regular batteries as back up should I get caught with my charge down and need a few days of solar powered recharging to get my supply recharged.

  4. I always have assumed that storing new-unused rechargeable batteries was the way to go. The useful life and need to constantly recharge didn’t start until you put an initial charge into them. I guess I’d better look into that.
    There are several items I have overstocked on, one is 2-way radios with rechargeable batteries. I envision a radio net set up between neighbors and I won’t have to worry about having enough comms equipment.

  5. Low self-discharge NiMH batteries, like the Eneloops shown in the picture, do not need to be charged often if they are not being used. They will hold a charge 3 years or more if kept in a good environment. I tested my 3 year old AA cells and found them at 1.2 V. I topped them off and found them at 1.4 V. I will probably charge them once a year until placed in service.

    Lead acid batteries should be charged too. I have a 32 Amp hour AGM battery that is now 10 years old. I used a West Mountain Radio CBA analyzer to test it recently. At a C/20 rate (1.6 A) it held 30 Amp hours (down to 10.5 volts). Not bad for an old workhorse. It’s kept in a basement, on a trickle charger. Never let unused lead acid batteries sit without a smart charger or trickle charger, or they will sulfate and self destruct.

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