Part 1: Understanding Your Electronic Devices
We all use rechargeable batteries. Cell phones, digital cameras, and a host of electronic devices are prevalent in every household and business. In this three part series, we provide some important guidelines that will save money, prevent frustration and disappointment and ultimately make the most of using rechargeable batteries.
First and foremost, everything depends on what you are trying to achieve by using rechargeable batteries. How do you plan to use them? More importantly, what are the specifics of your portable electronic devices? Let’s explore some of the “need to know” rules about your electronic gear in order to effectively use rechargeable batteries.
1. Is it a high drain device? Wireless microphones, in-ear monitors, flash units, digital cameras, CD and MP3 players and other high-drain devices all work just fine with rechargeable batteries. In fact, rechargeable batteries are preferred because of their faster recovery times between power usage. For example, a photo flash unit will recycle faster using rechargeable batteries over a standard alkaline. In addition, man times, the overall strength or capacity (measured in milli-amp hours or mah) of a rechargeable battery is much higher than a standard alkaline battery. Some other examples of high-drain devices are portable fans, paintball guns and hoppers, and portable TV’s.
2. Is it a low drain device? Not many people realize that devices such as smoke detectors, wireless mouse and keyboards, video game controllers and remotes can also utilize rechargeable batteries. Personal electronics such as hair trimmers and electric toothbrushes, as well as thermostats, penlights and LED lamps can all use rechargeables. Typically, these devices do not draw a large amount of current and are used intermittently. With new advances in rechargeable technology, just about any household item that uses AA, AAA, 9V, C or D’s can be powered by a rechargeable battery.
3. Know your run-time requirements. To properly choose the right rechargeable system, you need to know the run-time requirements of your wireless devices. For example, you may need to run a wireless microphone for 2 hours or 12 hours per use. It may be used daily or once a week. A digital camera may be used professionally everyday for 4 – 6 hours or a couple hours twice a month for personal consumption.
4. Here are a few other factors to consider: How long does the device sit dormant or in stand-by? A video game controller may be used for 2 hours but only once a week. Are your electronics stationary or on-the go? Is it important to be portable when considering a charging unit? Understanding your pattern of usage and run-time requirements will help in choosing the best batteries and minimize frustration.
5. Finally, consider what you are spending a year on throw-away batteries. Is it $50 or $5000? When we switched all the Cirque du Soleil touring and resident shows over to rechargeable technology, they were spending over $1000 per week in disposable batteries. Talk about saving money! In contrast, a church or school facility may spend $250 -$1000 per year. Even most families spend an average of $150 -$200 per year. As a family, that adds up to over $10,000 in a lifetime! Have you ever thought about how you could be spending 10K instead of on throw-away batteries?
Your first step in making the switch to rechargeables is to compile a list of all your wireless gear and classify it by low-drain or high-drain and by battery size. Also jot down a note about your usage pattern for each device. You’d be surprised how many batteries you use in your facility or household.
In Part 2, we discuss the various types of rechargeable batteries – and how to choose the proper ones for each of your electronic devices.