Sorting Out and Choosing Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers

Getting up to speed on the use of rechargeable batteries (and the chargers that juice them) to replace familiar disposable batteries is the topic I discuss in this section. In the "Finding Rechargeable Battery Packs" section, near the end of this chapter, I go over your options for replacing the rechargeable battery packs supplied with your cordless or mobile phone, electric toothbrush, portable handheld vacuum cleaner, and notebook computer.

I also cover out-of-the-ordinary rechargeable solutions, such as flashlights and radios, that recharge with good ol' elbow grease (or, technically speaking, kinetically powered gadgets and gizmos), which I describe in various chapters in Part IV.

Before I get into the details of rechargeable batteries (and chargers), here is a list of general tips:

✓ Use rechargeable batteries in any gadget that takes alkaline batteries.

✓ Recharge rechargeable batteries hundreds of times (typically) — to save lots of money over the long haul.

✓ Avoid mixing new rechargeable batteries with old ones because a weaker battery (or more) prevents the combination from offering maximum capacity and performance.

The phenomenon of memory effect, which causes older rechargeable batteries to retain less of their total charge capacity over time, doesn't plague modern nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries.

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