11
Oct
10

AA Battery Chargers for Alkaline Batteries Turning Out To Be a Dangerous, Unreliable Gimmick

Some AA battery chargers promise to revive dead, disposable alkaline batteries. but do these battery chargers really work? And are they safe?

In the world of electronics, smart consumers have to be able to discern between reliable, new technology and gimmicks. As we have pointed out in another article, many electronics accessories turn out to be useless junk that never lives up to the promises of the manufacturer.

But what happens when a new electronic device turns out to be dangerous?

This is clearly the case when it comes to a new, albeit fringe trend in the battery charger marketplace — the alkaline battery charger. The emergence of the alkaline battery charger has come on over the past decade or so, with manufacturers claiming that their battery chargers can full re-charge disposable AA alkaline batteries. For the most part, these battery chargers have failed to gain mainstream appeal and remain relegated to quirky gadget catalogues for people who seemingly have everything.

After all, no one buys disposable batteries with the expectation of recharging them, anyway. If consumers want to recharge batteries, they invest in NiMH rechargeable batteries and a AA battery charger to go along with it.

Of course, this is assuming that the technology works. I recently came upon a thorough review of the Rosewill battery charger by Greg Gazin of the Toronto Sun. This was the first thorough, reliable alkaline battery charger review, and its findings confirmed my own suspicions regarding battery chargers that supposedly recharge alkaline batteries.

At first glance, investing in the Rosewill battery charger would seem like a good idea: at around $40 AUD, it is priced amongst other NiMH battery chargers. However, the fact that these alkaline battery chargers cannot recharge NiMH, NiCad, or Zinc Oxide rechargeable batteries offers an immediate downside to the technology. Further reading reveals a wide range of other limitations: the alkaline battery charger cannot recharge old or generic brand batteries, either. This means that your prospects of gathering all of the AA batteries in your house and having a day of successful recharging is unlikely to bear positive results, as many of the generic battery brands used in remote controls, digital clocks, and other devices simply won’t work in these battery chargers. And those Eveready batteries in your flashlight that you bought back in 1979 are also unlikely to be resurrected, either.

All in all, the reviewer found that the best the Rosewill battery charger could do was 1.55V. Most recharges ranged from 1.21V and 1.39V. And these “successes” were usually with premium, name-brand batteries. The majority of AA batteries he tried failed in the charger almost immediately.

Not only was the battery charger inconsistent and lackluster in its performance, but some of the battery tests were even a bit alarming from a safety standpoint.

The review also reported that, “A number of off-brand batteries out of remotes actually started to get warm. I didn’t want to take a chance on them possibly leaking (I had read instances of that on the Internet) or exploding, so I actually removed the rest of them from the test pile.”

For those consumers out there who see the Rosewill battery charger as a way to extending the life of otherwise disposable batteries as a means of helping the environment, then it can be said that their intentions are honourable. However, given the ineffectiveness of these alkaline battery chargers, in the end, consumers end up purchasing yet another “piece of junk” that will end up in the landfill along with the pile of alkaline batteries that they tried to recharge.

My guess, however, is that any altruism and concern about the environment is not the primary motivation for folks to buy this charger; people like to think that they can “beat the system,” and so the prospect of recharging or reusing what is marketing as being otherwise disposable seems like a novel idea.

In the end, there is no better battery technology that offers reliable performance and eco-friendly results than NiMH rechargeable batteries and battery chargers. The best bet is to let your dead batteries go and make the investment into NiMH technology.

Thanks for reading our article! If you’re ready to purchase some rechargeable batteries, battery chargers, or any other electronics accessory, then visit the Electronics Warehousewebsite and use promo code EWBLOG at checkout for 10% off your entire order, plus FREE shipping Australia wide!


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