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Archive for the ‘Rechargeable Batteries’ Category

New Shure Products and Rechargeable Batteries

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

I’ve spent the last couple days conversing with a representative from Shure’s Product Management Team.  Recently, Shure has released a few body packs and one transmitter that are not currently compatible with NiMH rechargeable batteries.

The problem lies that unlike conventional alkaline batteries, it seems that on all NiMH rechargeable batteries there is little or no insulation around the negative contact.  With a few affected Shure products, there is a data contact that sits in between the two AA negative battery contacts. (see below)

Shure Body NestSince rechargeable batteries are slightly wider than alkaline batteries, and/or  provide little or no insulation around the contact, it can cause the battery to short out. Due to the power densities of NiMH batteries, this could cause a situation where the packs heat up – or in worst case – melt.

Shure is in the process of making the necessary product modifications.  In speaking with Shure, they are looking to make a running change to their design that would go into production in the next 2-3 months.

Please note:  The majority of Shure body packs/transmitters are not affected, just these 4 specific models: 

ULXD1 – wireless mic transmitter

UR5 – portable receiver for camera mounting

P9RA – in-ear monitor receiver

P10RA – in ear monitor receiver

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on any new developments with the Shure product line.

High Quality Rechargeable Batteries

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

What constitutes a high quality rechargeable battery? This is not as simple as some may think.  As the public becomes more aware of the “green” value of rechargeable batteries, there is a growing list of new battery brands popping up.  It  reminds me of the “natural foods” phenomenon that occurred when the major food brands were challenged about the nutritional value of their products. Suddenly, every cereal, bread, snack, etc.,  starting touting the label “all natural.”

And so it goes with the rechargeable battery industry.

Here a few ways to tell if you’re getting  high quality rechargeable batteries:

  1. Check who’s using them.  The professionals that rely on high quality rechargeables have been using the best brands for quite some time. They’ve already done the research by trial and error.  This is a good time to point out some of our high profile companies – like Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, plus thousands of production facilities and professional photographers who all use the Ansmann batteries and chargers.  This should be a huge “hint.”
  2. Check the warranty.  Is there a performance guarantee outside the 30-day refund? (Some brands won’t even provide the 30 days!)  Professional grade rechargeable batteries will offer a two-year guarantee on the ability for a nimh rechargeable battery to hold a charge. That doesn’t mean that the battery will still be able to be charged to 100% capacity – as this will vary greatly by frequency of use and drain applied to the battery. The warranty has more to do about internal shorting of the battery and it’s ability to continue to be used for more recycles.
  3. Check the Label.  Just like everyone in the supermarket is reading the nutritional value of the foods they consume, your batteries should provide a bit of truth to “what’s inside.” Recently, the European Union forced battery manufacturers to provide the “minimum capacity” on the package of rechargeable batteries and on the battery itself.  (EU Battery Directive 2066/66/EC)   This is a step in the right direction as  you will now see the differences in what the stated “maximum capacity” is and the minimum capacity.  If it differs by more than 10%, you going to see a lot of “re-labeling” occur.  Some brands out there that have been purporting AA 2900 mah reflect a minimum capcity of 2400 mah or less!  Although this new labeling is not mandatory here in the US  (yet) the Ansmann brand is already providing both the maximum AND minimum capacities on their labels.

All though you’ve heard it before, I’ll say it again.  You get what you pay for. Competition is the battery field is fierce. This is good for consumers with one caveat: Always compare apples to apples.  In a slow economy, price is king – however – saving $1 on a 4-pack of batteries that you’ll need to replace 3-4x times sooner makes no sense at all.

High Capacity Rechargeable Batteries Are Still Preferred For Professional Use

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

While there has been an onslaught of low discharge rechargeable batteries on the market over the last several years, most professional users of rechargeables still prefer high capacity rechargeable batteries.

Why? Two reasons.

First, most professionals are using their rechargeable batteries on a daily basis, so the need for batteries that have a long shelf life is not necessary. Most pro-users choose a good reconditioning charger like the Energy 8 Plus or Energy 16 battery charger and leave the batteries on the charger until ready for use. This assures the batteries are fully charged for maximum usage. With a low self discharge battery, there is always guess work as to how much remaining capacity exist in the battery, even when using a battery capacity tester.

Secondly, the high capacity rechargeable battery is exactly that – a higher capacity. Most low discharge batteries do not match capacity of the high capacity batteries. So, when a photogragpher is shooting, he/she wants the maximum amount of run-time available, which a the low self discharge battery cannot provide.

However, where the low self discharge battery shines is for the more occasional user — such as family use with game controllers, digital cameras, wireless mouse and keyboards, etc. The low discharge battery is truly the battery of choice in these instances.

Still not sure what battery to use? Let us help you. We have a free report and evaluation service regarding rechargeable batteries which you can find here on our website.

Reasons Why It’s A Good Idea To Employ A Reconditioning Charger

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

As increasing numbers of families make the move to re-chargeable batteries, the call for excellent battery chargers will get more significant. What is the point of employing re-chargeable batteries in the event that you’re not able to accomplish optimum recycles from them? Let’s take into account, the true reason for utilizing rechargeable batteries to start with is to try to lower your expenses and save the earth from the extreme wastefulness of use-and-throw batteries.

So, how do you get the most from your nimh rechargeable batteries? I advise having a battery charger which will refresh or recondition the batteries. Before moving forward, I’ve already presumed you have chosen a high-quality, high-capacity re-chargeable battery like the Ansmann type. And, before I explore things to look for in a charger that reconditions, allow me to discuss what it’s not.

There are several battery chargers that offer a “discharge” process, which merely discharges the cell right down to a base level – generally around 1.0 Volts. This discharge concept was related to the use of Nickel Cadmium batteries and was fairly good at preventing “memory effect.” After discharging the cell, the battery would then be recharged back up to full charge. Despite the fact that sounds like an acceptable, clear-cut tactic, just discharging a battery does almost nothing in order to keep the chemistry with the nimh cell well balanced. As the nimh battery ages, it could develop “crystalline” creation inside of the cell. Even though this does not result in memory effect as seen using the older Ni-cad batteries, it will minimize what number of recycles you can acheive at maximum capacity. A basic discharging of the cell does not address this event.

To stop or diminsh crystalline formation in the cell, refreshing or reconditioning of the cell is well-advised. So what does a refresh cycle involve? With Ansmann energy series battery chargers, the Ansmann technical engineers have designed a proprietary algorithim of charge and discharge cycles at numerous voltage values. When the cell is in need of refresh, this circuit occurs automatically and is undertaken on the cell right before recharging. By applying this type of charging process, you will notice a boost in power with your rechargeables as well as more life. Practically speaking, our assessment of this benefit, as well as those of our clients gives roughly a 20%-25% amplified life span of your cells. By way of illustration, let’s presume for your usage the batteries could in theory be recycled one thousand times. This would be under ideal conditions, with the use of a top-quality battery charger that refreshes the cells. Without the refresh option, your usage of the batteries could decrease down to seven hundred and fifty cycles instead. So, as an example, you use your batteries, in a wireless microphone, 2 times weekly. An addtional two hundred and fifty charge cycles might mean another 2-3 years of use before being forced to remove and replace them. That is a substantial savings – and really worth the few additional bucks you would spend choosing a battery charger that can refresh your batteries.

Choose The Right Batteries And Minimize The Effect Of Batteries On The Environment

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Although many electrical items these days feature inbuilt rechargeable lithium batteries, many of the items we use such as flashlights still need to use standard 9v batteries.

Children’s toys in particular seem to go through an alarming volume of batteries. There is no excuse these days.  However, having said that for not using 9v rechargeable batteries. Not only does it make sense from a financial standpoint but also from an environmental one.

It normally requires a large quantity of energy to manufacture batteries in large volumes, meaning the burning of fossil fuels. The burning of such fuels is not only using a limited resource but also widely considered by scientists to produce excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which is considered to cause a greenhouse effect main to global warming over and above the natural global warming of the world.

Although rechargeable batteries can be recharged many instances there comes a point when they will no longer hold a charge, so it’s worthwhile expending in the better made brands of rechargeable batteries such as Ansmann rechargeable batteries. As even rechargeable batteries have an environmental impact. All rechargeable batteries comprise rare earth metals which need to be mined meaning the  converting of more hydrocarbons into gas in the form of carbon dioxide and being pumped into the atmosphere possessing a detrimental effect on the environment.

Also the better made brands of batteries charge up quicker and hold their charge far longer than inferior brands. Buying a premium brand such as Ansmann cuts down on the quantity of energy needed and makes further environmental perception and well as financial perception by cutting down the cost of your domestic electricity expenses.

To really get the most out of your batteries you really should always aim to use them as soon as doable after charging as all batteries no subject how good lose a certain quantity of charge over time. You really should also buy a good charger as a good charger will monitor the charging of the individual cells placed on charge to prevent overcharging. A Microprocessor managed charger is a very good investment to guarantee that your batteries are charging as efficiently and safely as feasible.

When your batteries have reached the end of their current lifespan you should consider recycling them as the rare earth metals contained in rechargeable batteries such as lithium and indium are very much in demand. You are also helping the planet by reducing down on the sum of mining which has to be done to retrieve these rare metals. There are specialist recycling vegetation who’s sole reason to exist is to specialise in retrieving these rare earth metals from batteries and other electric appliances.

If you do go through a lot of batteries then buying the premium brands such as Ansmann makes a lot of sense. Batteries can become expensive when you throw them away in high volume and poor chargers and rechargeable batteries will add to your electricity payments over time. finding out to properly care for you batteries as well as getting the appropriate equipment will have a important improvement on their lifespan.

Rechargeable Wireless Mic Batteries – Do they Work?

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

After working with over 25,000 churches, schools, and theater groups – and supplying them with high quality microphone batteries, the answer is a resounding yes.  In very few instances have we found that rechargeable batteries will not work as wireless mic batteries. In fact, a majority of the wireless mic manufacturers now design their microphones to work with rechargeable batteries.  If you’re throwing money away on disposable batteries, you should at least check out the possibility of going green with your pro-audio equipment.

Rechargeable Batteries – The 1 Year Test

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

This article is REPOST from Mike Sessler at Church Tech Arts. Mike is a Tech Director that blogs about a wide variety of information in the Pro-Audio/Video arena. I have found his information to be exceptional in content. (No Fluff) If you are a tech director for a church, school or production facility, you should consider following Mike at http://www.churchtecharts.org

We were very pleased with Ansmann’s results the aa rechargeable battery review as well as the 9v rechargeable battery review

Rechargeable Batteries: The 1 Year Test

Mar 14th, 2011 
by Mike.

Last year, I wrote a series on rechargeable batteries. I’ve long been a proponent of them, having started using them in wireless mics in 2006. In that series of posts, I did some pretty extensive testing to see exactly how long two modern, NiMh AA batteries would run a Shure UHF-R mic with an SM58 capsule on it (with music played through a wedge to simulate the mic processing audio). I compared the run time to a brand new Duracell ProCell (considered the standard for alkaline–aka disposable–batteries). I expected the NiMh batteries to hold their own against the ProCell, as I’ve had good experience with them for years. What I did not expect is for the ProCells to be completely trounced by the rechargeable cells.

In that test, the best NiMh cells ran for 14 hours before the mic switched off. The ProCell only managed 9.75 hours before going dead. So not only do rechargeable batteries save you a bunch of money, they also run longer than a ProCell (by over 4 hours!). Faced with that clear and decisive victory, many people made the switch. However, some remained unconvinced. “Let’s see how they hold up in a year,” was a comment I heard often. So here we are, one year later. This time, I pulled three sets of NiMh batteries from our regular stock. These are batteries we’ve been using every week for a year. I have no idea how many cycles are on each one, because we have more stock than we actually need. I can tell you we don’t baby them, nor do we abuse them. They’ve always been charged at the soft charge setting (500 mah), and we always pull straight from the charger.

Last time around, I tested two low self-discharge chemistries, the Ansmann Max-E and the Sanyo Eneloop. Neither provided the runtime of the higher capacity NiMh batteries, but they both outlasted the ProCell. As I don’t see any compelling reason to use low self-discharge batteries in wireless mics, I’ve pulled them from our stock and didn’t re-test. I have the charger capacity to always fill mics from the charger and suggest that to everyone. I do use Eneloops at home, however, and they’re fantastic. But let’s get on to the results, shall we?

Battery Testing GraphI think this speaks for itself. Click for a larger version 

Results
As you can see from the chart, the ProCells once again lost. Big time. This time, we got 8.5 hours out of a fresh set of ProCells, while the worst NiMh battery ran over 12.5 hours. Just as importantly, the “fall off the cliff” point (as indicate by the vertical red lines) is 7 hours for the ProCell and 11.25 hours for all three NiMh batteries. I define “fall off the cliff” as the point where you really should replace the battery as the life declines very rapidly after this point. Interestingly, last year, the Sanyo ran the longest at 14 hours (beating the Ansmann by 45 minutes); this year however, the tables turned and the Ansmann outlasted Sanyo by well over an hour.

It’s also interesting that all three NiMh batteries fall off the cliff at roughly the same point, however the Ansmann lands a little softer, giving you a little more time to get them changed. Now, with that said, quibbling over the last hour of run time in the scope of a total run time of 14 hours is rather academic. And I don’t recommend you push them this far anyway, you’re really asking for trouble after about 8-9 hours with any of them. Again, it’s interesting to note that the Ansmann indicated 3 bars far longer than the rest of them, which is consistent to what we observe each weekend.

In Use
In our use, we battery up the mics around 12:30 on Saturday, and power them off at 6:45 or so. Most of the time, the mics are reading 3 bars, though the Ansmanns tend to be reading 4 at that point. When we use them in our PSM900 IEMs, we rarely see them report less than 4 at the end of the day. Sundays are similar, though the runtime is shorter.

We’ve gotten pretty confident in the run time of these batteries; to the point where we really don’t spend much time thinking about it. Sure, I have Workbench open at FOH and glance over occasionally, but it’s more to make sure they’re all turned on; I rarely consider the battery gauge. For me, that’s a big benefit of using the rechargeable batteries; I just don’t think about them anymore. When I’m at FOH, I’d much rather spend my time thinking about the mix than wondering whether my batteries are going to hold out for one more song (and I’ve been in that boat far too many times with ProCells).

Other Observations
Last time around, I gave the nod to PowerEx batteries as the winner, though I acknowledged the other two as being so close that it really doesn’t matter. A year of use has changed my mind. We have a bunch of all three batteries, but we use the Ansmann more than the others most of the time. This is for a few reasons. First, the Sanyos are bigger than the others and don’t fit well in the UR2s. We have to pull them out, and that’s caused some degradation of the plastic wrap on the outside. Some of them are really coming apart. The PowerEx are also breaking down a little bit, and again are slightly bigger than the Ansmanns. They come out of the mics better than the Sanyos, but the smaller Ansmanns fit the best. Overall, the Ansmann cells are holding up very well, both in charge capacity and physically. We have had two Ansmann batteries short out internally, however. I’m not sure what caused this; the vocalist noticed the mic heating up, so we pulled the cells and found a clear dark line on the top of the cell. This happened twice in the first 6 months of operation, and hasn’t been repeated. We assume we got a few bad cells, because I’ve used at least 150 Ansmann batteries over the years and these are only two to ever go bad.

As I’ve said over and over, we’re saving a ton of money every year on batteries; at least $1,000 and probably more. Given that it cost us less than $300 to get into it, it’s a pretty fair bargain. I expect the batteries to last 5 years before we have to replace them, our savings is pretty significant. It’s also considerably more environmentally friendly to not dump thousands of used AAs in the trash every year. We use them and don’t think about it, which I really like.

I’m not sure how you could remain unconvinced about the effectiveness of rechargeable batteries at this point, but in case you are, we’ll revisit these same cells a year from now and see how they’re doing. Until then, I’m going to find something else to spend that $1,000 on. Maybe some new mics…

It’s About Time

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Well, we realized that all this good information we share with our customers when they phone us could sure be duplicated here on the Horizon Battery Blog — and help a lot more people.  So, check back weekly to catch up on all the tips and tricks of rechargeable batteries.  We have a boatload just waiting to make it’s way to you.  Stay tuned.

Stewardship and Rechargable Batteries

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Equipment Planning and Purchasing

Balancing the desire to make wise decisions with the need to save money.

by Jim Kumorek

Any technical ministry leadership role includes planning for equipment purchases. For the typical church tech, this can be a daunting task—there are so many options, and the desire to make wise decisions can be overwhelming.

Here’s what some of the experts have to say about different aspects of planning your acquisitions.

Long-Term Planning

It’s important to consider the long-range goals of your ministry when adding equipment. Donnie Haulk, President of Audio Ethics in Charlotte, N.C., promotes the Technology Master Plan approach. “We look not only at what the church wants to do for the first service after the technology installation, but what the long

term goals are,” Haulk says. “This allows us to choose technology that not only works for the pressing need but can be a part of the bigger picture. When looking at the whole instead of merely individual components, we can enable a technical ministry to grow through multiple phases, with each phase become easier to manage as the long-term goal starts coming together.”

So, consider the long-term, and let that drive your short-term decisions. If your plan is to add moving lights to your sanctuary in the next year or two, and your current lighting consoles dies, don’t replace it with a new console that can’t handle moving lights. Doing so would force you into buying another console in the near future, wasting what you spend to solve the short-term problem.

 Volunteer Skill Level

“The skill level of the operators is always a concern,” adds John Fuqua, vice president/COO of All Pro Sound in Pensacola, Florida. “We make sure that our training sessions are oriented to the abilities of the operators. However, with the ever-growing desire for more complex systems, the operators are typically working with more advanced equipment , requiring dedicated efforts.”

“The skill level of volunteers definitely enters in to the equation,” states Eric Myers, AVL Manager of Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, N.C. “When it came time to put in a new lighting console in our 600- seat student chapel, I went with the exact same piece of equipment that was already installed in our  gymnatorium. Our lighting volunteers already knew it well, so there was no learning curve, and we’re training folks for one console.”

 Track Record

Both the track record of a specific product as well as the track record of the company should be considered. Should a church install the latest and greatest, or the tried and true? Fuqua comments, “This is tough territory. Even though we must stay on the cutting edge of technology, sometimes what is considered to be the latest and greatest ends up with some problems that are only realized after it is installed and put in service. As an integrator, we rely on our relationship with manufacturers to stand behind their products and to be there if something does occur. There is a lot to be said for using proven equipment as much as possible. The track record of the manufacturer plays a big role in this process.”

Glenn Peacock, contracting division director at Sound Image in Phoenix, Ariz., adds, “The track record of a product and a company is a very significant concern with Sound Image. We don’t like to experiment on our clients.” 

When Myers chose his lighting console for the student chapel, he also considered reputation. “The manufacturer, ETC, is rock solid, and furthermore, that piece of gear has a rock solid reputation. This results in a lot of peace of mind.”

 Training

When you need to purchase equipment that is beyond the current skill sets of your team, you need to plan for training sessions and support mechanisms for your volunteers. When specifying equipment that’s beyond the capabilities of the technical team, Haulk sees this as a critical issue. “We see what the various skill sets the ministry team has in place and talk about recruiting new assets if the ministry goals are outside of the existing talent. We can then also set up training sessions to help the team achieve these new skills that are required to operate the various new technologies.”

 When you decide to go with new gear that’s going to stretch (or stress!) your team, make sure you can announce an effective training and support plan at the same time you inform them of the decision. For training, provide no-stress times where the volunteers can gain experience and confidence. After formal training, make sure that the first few times they use the equipment in a “live” environment, someone experienced is at their side to support them. No onewants to work “without a net” before they have developed their confidence.

Stewardship

Peacock defines good stewardship in the A/V environment this way. “Always make sure that there is a direct correlation to the church’s mission. Should we upgrade the mixer we purchased last year with the latest and greatest model when the business case or return on investment is not obvious to the church leadership? The answer should be ‘no’.” 

JamesWojtowicz, worship leader at Grace Point Church in Las Vegas, adds, “The main thing for me is, how will it benefit us over the long haul? Does it add value to our overall worship environment, or is it just ‘cool’ to have? We avoided getting a digital console this year because of the fact that it really wouldn’t bring a noticeable change in our sound compared to the price. We ended up purchasing a higher-end analog board for half the price instead. I am all for digital consoles, but it made more sense for us both from a technical/functional side and a stewardship side to go analog. In addition, our volunteers didn’t have to learn a whole new way to run a console.”

 Myers adds, “It means buying the right tool for the job, so you aren’t buying it three times. It means buying something that saves volunteer man hours. It means buying something that entices volunteers to want to serve because it makes your productions look or sound better. Nothing grows a team and saves you labor hours like doing your job really well. The best way to do your job well is with the right tools.”

 Myers comments further on the topic of good stewardship: “Good stewardship also means listening to good tips. Our senior pastor sent me a link about several churches using Ansmann rechargeable batteries. I researched this, and read a Shure report on the use of rechargeable batteries. Then, when I went to the InfoComm show in Las Vegas last year, I found out that all of the Cirque shows were using them. That, combined with the Shure study, was enough of an answer for me. These Ansmann rechargeable batteries will save us almost $1,000 a year. And they work flawlessly. So, that system paid for itself in about a year.”

Support

Another key consideration in equipment selection is the question of how much support you are likely to need, and on the support reputation of the company you are considering purchasing from. Haulk comments, “You want to have the support of a company that is going to be there not only when you buy the equipment, but also three to five years down the road to support it.”

For most churches, their critical time of equipment use is Sunday morning. When you get into the church at 7 AM and the lights don’t come on, will your consultant or the manufacturer’s tech support department answer the phone when you call?

Getting Assistance

So when does it make sense to go it alone on a purchasing decision, and when should you seek outside help? The first thing to consider is experience—will the selection process benefit from the experience of someone in the industry?

Peacock explains, “It is common for a church to go through two or three system purchases before they begin to benefit from the experience and realize that they needed professional advice. The more experienced churches tend to find and enlist the help of full-time professionals.”

Another Rechargable Battery Recall

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Mar 3—Frontrow recalls PA System Microphone BATTERIES

Manufacturer: See Below
Product: Electrical
Start Date: 2009-03-03  End Date: 2009-04-03
Frontrow Recalls to Replace Rechargeable Batteries Sold with PA System Microphones Due to Burn HazardThe following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by the firm in cooperation with the CPSC. Consumers should stop using the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: NIMH AA Rechargeable Batteries

Units: About 41,000

Distributor: Frontrow, of Petaluma, Calif.

Manufacturer: Gold Peak Industries, of San Diego, Calif.

Hazard: The batteries can rapidly overheat, posing a burn hazard to the user.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received four reports of batteries overheating during use in wireless public announcement systems and microphones. No injuries have been reported.

Description: The recalled 2400-mAH NIMH batteries are used in the 930TM, 930HT and 940TM public announcement system microphones. Only batteries with part number 374-30-400-00, printed on the light green sleeve of the battery, are included in the recall.

Sold by: Frontrow distributors nationwide from June 2005 through December 2008 for about $7 for the battery only and about $300 when sold with the transmitter.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled batteries and contact their FrontRow agent to receive free replacement batteries. Alkaline batteries can be used while waiting for replacement batteries. All known purchasers have been contacted about the recall.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Frontrow at (800) 227-0735 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (800) 227-0735      end_of_the_skype_highlighting between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s Web site at www.gofrontrow.com/battery


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