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Free Batteries for Life… Really

October 25, 2011

Don’t Throw Those AA and AAA Batteries Away, Use Them Over and Over!

We use them everyday and by the dozens, in flashlights, tools, toys, remotes, MP3’s, appliances, the list goes on and on. I’m referring to AA and AAA batteries. They used to be so affordable you wouldn’t have any problem using and tossing them. Well, those days are over. Brand name batteries can run as much as a buck or more a piece and when they’re low they’re worthless. The amazing thing the battery companies don’t want you to know is that much like a car battery or rechargeable NiCad, regular disposable batteries can easily and safely be recharged, and not just once but several times. For applications like remotes, LED flashlights and MP3 players, the difference between a new and a charged battery is imperceptible and the gradual decline in output is only noticeable after several charge cycles.

Now imagine never having to buy a battery again. Think of the tens of thousands that are put into recycle bins at hardware, grocery, office supply and other stores every single day. The absolute vast majority, perhaps 9 out of 10 are still good, but have fallen below the optimum voltage. Amazingly, when some people aren’t sure, they simply replace the batteries and over the years I’ve found numerous batteries that didn’t even need a charge.
While you probably could go to the recycle bin and grab a handful, if you tell the manager what you’re up to, chances are you’ll get their blessing to root through the pile and get as many as you want. If they take a charge, you’re set and can start to use them immediately. The tiny percentage that might not recharge can simply be returned to the recycle bin. They also make a great gift. Nothing says “I Love You” more than a bunch of free batteries.

We really plow through batteries here at the recycle ranch, and we received 60+ commercial AA batteries (from hand held radios) that were on their way to the recycle bin. That was over three years ago and we’ve still got a dozen good ones left that I use in led lights and our other gear.

This is a win-win. All that’s required is a one time expense for a battery charger (which runs from $20.00 to $80.00) and you will pay for it in a few uses, from there on, your batteries are free. We’re testing a couple of lower price chargers at the ranch to make sure the batteries stay within a safe heat range, and should have results shortly. Our first unit has a micro chip with a temp sensor built in. It tells you immediately if the batteries are full, low or can’t be saved. So far, I’ve charged over a hundred batteries and haven’t had a problem. The new microprocessor controlled charger uses a small amount of power to charge them over a long period of time, so they don’t even get warm. NOTE: If youuse an older nicad charger or any charger that isn’t designed for alkaline batteries, you will get into trouble. For info, go to for an update.

(Update) Talk about irony, a strong stormfront just came through and took out the power for miles around. I grabbed all of my led storm lights and put some freshly charged recycled batteries in them. Life’s great.

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