Ten myths about rechargeable batteries

Many people are reluctant to use rechargeable batteries because they have heard horror stories about them. This article seeks to dispel ten of the most common myths.

Myth: Rechargeable batteries are expensive compared to disposable batteries.

Fact: Rechargeable batteries can be recharged over 500 times, replacing hundreds of non-rechargeable (disposable) batteries. If a pack of four disposable batteries costs R24, 500 batteries will cost R3000; four AA rechargeable batteries and a charger will cost R125. The saving to the end-user on the purchase of one charger and a pack of four rechargeable batteries is R2875.

Myth: Disposable batteries can be recycled.

Fact: Non-rechargeable batteries cannot be recycled, which is why the WWF encourages the use of rechargeable batteries. Disposable batteries have a chemical composition that makes it difficult to extract the harmful chemicals to facilitate recycling.

Myth: Rechargeables cannot be used in domestic products.

Fact: All domestic appliances that take batteries will work with rechargeable batteries. This includes low-powered devices such as TV remotes and wall clocks. Uniross has designed the Hybrio battery with a long storage life, meaning that the power will be discharged slowly when not in use. It will retain 80% of its battery power over a period of approximately six months.

Myth: Rechargeables do not last as long as disposables batteries.

Fact: Rechargeable batteries last just as long as disposables and in some applications such as digital cameras they will last longer. It depends on the quality of the rechargeable battery.

Myth: Rechargeable batteries have a memory effect, meaning they need to be discharged fully before you can recharge them again (i.e. you cannot recharge your batteries when they still have half a charge without permanently reducing their performance and longevity).

Fact: This is no longer true. Old-type rechargeable batteries would do this, but the technology used in rechargeable batteries allows the batteries to be recharged at any stage of its charge level without any impact on performance or longevity.

Myth: Because standard AA rechargeable batteries are rated at 1,2 V, unlike standard AA alkaline batteries (which commonly have a charge 1,5 V), they will damage electronic equipment or cause it to not function as effectively.

Fact: This is a common misconception. Disposables start losing their voltage as soon as they are in use, while rechargeables maintain a 1,2 V charge throughout their life-cycle, until they have no more charge. So in fact rechargeables maintain their voltage better than disposables do.

Myth: Non-rechargeable batteries are better for children’s toys.

Fact: Children’s toys consume a large amount of non-rechargeable batteries. It is therefore more cost-effective and eco-friendly to use rechargeable batteries because they can be charged over and over again.

Myth: Rechargeable batteries can only be recharged a few times.

Fact: The NiMH in rechargeable batteries allows rechargeable batteries to be recharged hundreds of times.

Myth: Rechargeable batteries cannot be used in any electronic device, particularly old ones.

Fact: Any device can use rechargeable batteries, even old devices.

Myth: Battery chargers consume a lot of electricity to charge the batteries.

Fact: Battery chargers consume minimal power and most are equipped with a cut-off timer which turns the charger off once the batteries are charged.

Source: EngineerIT

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Ten myths about rechargeable batteries