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Xtender
I’m thinking of getting a non-recharable battery recharger to recharge all my alkaline batteries- apparently, with chip controlled recharging of “disposable” alkaline batteries, you can recharge all the batteries you’d normally throw away. Has anyone out there tried one of these before I plunk down $40? Seems like a great investment if it works. [via] Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. kms says:

    Recharging alkaline batteries is not as great as it sounds – the recharged capacity will be very reduced compared to a fresh cell from the store and the number of cycles you can do is anyway like a single digit. You should go with NiMH batteries instead.

  2. MisterMike says:

    You can cahrge them and it works pretty well. Thing is the effects degrade if you wait too long until recharging: That is, after about 30% discharge you should already recharge…

    Once “dead”, they are more or less gone (at least talking in reasonable terms *g*)

    Remember the old Nintendo “Game&Watch” Pocketgames running on those two LR44 batteries ? Well I never bought new batteries, I just recharged them on a 9V block (snap inbetween) – when the LR44 became warm, its done, leave it a while and insert for playing :)

    Funny I never toasted such a Nintendo even though sometimes you couldnt play because due to the overvoltage in the “recharged”, every element on the screen would light up :D Nuh, its still up and running, right here

  3. Porkchop says:

    Years ago, when I was a struggling student, I had an HP-41CV calculator that took N batteries. The batteries were expensive (for me) and I was using them up pretty quickly, so I actually took a small AC adapter and wired it directly to power terminals of my HP-41CV. I used the same set of batteries for a year at a time… BUT

    I did manage to explode a set – the calc didn’t seem to be getting a charge and when I opened it up, the batteries were leaking. I had to wipe the battery compartment with baking soda & water.

  4. Kiler says:

    I had one of these many years ago and used it until it broke. This was before you could get NiMh batteries. I would get ~10 good uses out of each alcaline. As I used them the time they would last diminished each time. I did not do any empirical study on it but it was very regular. I would suggest you figure out how many batteries you use in a year and then decide if you need this device. If you use many batteries then it might be cheaper to get this. If you don

  5. Epicanis says:

    Anybody know if it’s possible to recharge the “disposable” Lithium AA/AAA batteries that Energizer makes? They last a LONG time when new, but they’re expensive. If they’d charge back up to at least around “regular alkaline” battery level that’d be useful.

    Incidentally, the page for this charger claims that it ALSO recharges regular NiCad and NiMH batteries as well, so the money wouldn’t be a total waste even if you ended up deciding to just use “officially rechargeable” NiMH batteries as some have suggested.

  6. yo_tyler says:

    a while back i was browsing the net, and i came across a page that explanes how to recharge regular batts. it said it works but it took all night (12hrs). it also had pictures and a very simple schematic, so you could do it your self. i have been looking for this site ever since, but cant find it :(. if you can find it, share it with everyone here, as well as me!

  7. DrP says:

    Hi Phillip, and others:

    As it happens, I know the gentleman who developed this product. I have, in fact, one of the early protoypes of the Battery Xtender. As I use it so much, I also bought one from the Net. Unfortunately once the Exchange and duties were paid (I live in Canada), it came close to $100 Canadian. So $39.95 with free shipping is a great deal for you guys in the US.

    I am not sure that I have saved back that amount in batteries that I have not bought, but I feel happy that I have reduced the number of batteries that go to the landfill by a considerable amount. When they can no longer be Extended, they really now are ready to go the battery recycler programme we have here.

    An important point, already mentioned by other posters, and which also comes from the mouth of the inventor: unlike rechargable batteries, do not run it down before trying to recharge. Use your battery lightly, then recharge. You can cycle several batteries that way for many months. I have not kept a count of how many times I recharge, but it always goes more than 10, and often up to 50 times.

    Yes, their usable time period reduces as they get older, but since I use them for a short time anyway, before recharging, I don’t mind. Finally the charger will tell you itself that it cannot extend this one any more, so it goes inot the empty margarine pot for me to bring in to the deposit centre on the weekend they collect dangerous products.

    Go for it people. It is far better thing that you extend the life of those batteries, reduce dangerous pollution and keep some of your money for other things than to fill the already-overflowing pockets of the multi-national corps.

    DrP

  8. rubymermaid says:

    To yo_tyler: the web site you’re looking for is:

    http://www.afrotechmods.com/reallycheap/batteries/batts.htm

  9. Jack Blade says:

    I use a lot of batteries and I don’t like the idea of them going into the landfill, though I am not a rabid environmentalist and don’t subscribe to AGW or carbon footprints which I think is just a money making scam. Anyway I do think throwing items which contain toxic heavy metals like lead, antimony, cadmium etc. is an issue so I have been recharging my alkalines using my NIMH recharger and as long as I do not leave them longer than 8 hours it seems to work and has given me quite a bit of extra life from them. I also have NIMH rechargeable batteries. The Rayovac Hybrid rechargeables seem to work quite well and they don’t self discharge like regular NIMH batteries do. That’s the one thing I like about throw away alkaline batteries is that they do not self discharge like regular NIMH batteries do. If you leave fully charged NIMH batteries in your camera or other device and don’t use it for several weeks you will still have to recharge regular NIMH batteries cause they will have self discharged, but throw away alkalines will still be good. The Rayovac Hybrids have solved this issue somehow as they also do not self discharge when left unused for a while just like throw away alkalines. There are several other brands nowadays of rechargeable alkalines out there as well which work quite well from what I have been told. I have never had any of the throw away alkalines blow up or rupture yet, not even the Duracells which I was told would rupture if I recharged them on an NIMH recharger. I will state this though, in no way am I personally recommending anyone to do what I am doing! I am merely relaying the results I have obtained from using an NIMH recharger on throw away alkalines. If you decide to pursue this then you realize it is at your own risk and discretion since the manufacturers do not recommend doing this due to the risk of explosion or rupture of the battery with the attendant risk associated with said occurrence. The cool thing nowadays is that there are quite a few emerging options to the single use of throw away alkalines depending on how much you want to invest in it?

  10. linly says:

    Alkaline battery can be charged, but many technical problems exist

    Alkaline battery charge is partial. this charge way is called “regeneration”, which explains charge characteristics of alkaline battery: alkaline battery charge is actually regenerated but different from actual charge of rechargeable battery

    Please read more at this link: http://www.large-battery.com/news/289.htm

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