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Thread: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

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    Gold Member Marcos's Avatar
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    Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    I just want a cheap little device that can test single AA batts, I have a load of rechargeables (Xbox controllers, wireless kb & mice) and i find it hard to keep track sometimes.

    On the same note, any deals at the moment for good Hybrio type batts? Tempted to get Apple's battery charger still

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Buy the Technoline BL700 charger and change your batteries for low self discharge types ie sanyo eneloops, hybrio, duracell 'stay charged', recyclo etc if you want no more battery problems. On a test cycle the BL700 charger will tell you how much charge your battery actually holds. If it falls well short of the claimed mAh rating try a refresh cycle and if that fails you've found a bad battery. It's truly not that easy to weed out the bad batteries from the good ones without a decent charger/tester.

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    unapologetic apologist fuddam's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    cheap battery tester on www.7dayshop.com - usually around 2 quid. been using one for over a decade
    One can never stop saying Thank You

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    Get in the van. Fraz's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Yes: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=6058

    You can find them cheaper in high-street hardware/electrical shops. Very good - had one for years.

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    Gold Member Marcos's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Quote Originally Posted by ed^chigliak View Post
    Buy the Technoline BL700 charger and change your batteries for low self discharge types ie sanyo eneloops, hybrio, duracell 'stay charged', recyclo etc if you want no more battery problems. On a test cycle the BL700 charger will tell you how much charge your battery actually holds. If it falls well short of the claimed mAh rating try a refresh cycle and if that fails you've found a bad battery. It's truly not that easy to weed out the bad batteries from the good ones without a decent charger/tester.
    Interesting, i already have a few Hybrio type batts, it makes sense to pay a couple quid more for that intelligent charger than the Apple one.

    Any tips on finding deals on hybrio type batts?

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    7dayshop do some hybrio/eneloop battery's for around £6 a pack. I have tried various makes and not seen any noticeable difference between brands.

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcos View Post
    I just want a cheap little device that can test single AA batts, I have a load of rechargeables (Xbox controllers, wireless kb & mice) and i find it hard to keep track sometimes.

    On the same note, any deals at the moment for good Hybrio type batts? Tempted to get Apple's battery charger still
    Two short bits of wire, a torch bulb and 30 seconds with a soldering iron. Solder one wire to each bulb terminal. To test battery, touch one wire to battery +ve and the other to battery -ve. If the bulb glows, the battery has charge, and the brighter it glows, the better the charge.

    It might be crude but ... well, you did say cheap.

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    My cheapish multimeter has a battery test setting. Basically the same as voltage measurement, except it puts a small resistive load on the battery at the same time. And it measure other stuff too

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    unapologetic apologist fuddam's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fraz View Post
    Yes: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=6058

    You can find them cheaper in high-street hardware/electrical shops. Very good - had one for years.
    yep, same as mine, but 7dayshop does it for 2.99 delivered!
    http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/prod...ucts_id=107330

    One can never stop saying Thank You

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Two short bits of wire, a torch bulb and 30 seconds with a soldering iron. Solder one wire to each bulb terminal. To test battery, touch one wire to battery +ve and the other to battery -ve. If the bulb glows, the battery has charge, and the brighter it glows, the better the charge.

    It might be crude but ... well, you did say cheap.
    Not two bits of wire and a tongue? No need for soldering (unless you're a glutton for punishment!)

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    I once sent the power from 4 AA batteries through one of my stepdad's rings.

    In this instance, the burn marks proved that they were working.

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    A word of warning, some if not most cheap battery testers are useless, all they tell you is the no-load voltage so they will tell you the battery is pretty much full until it has like 5% charge left. The wire+light bulb method would be more effective. And most are rubbish at measuring rechargeables, ones meant for alkaline batteries will tell you they're empty pretty much all the time because of the lower voltage (1.2 vs 1.5 open-circuit). It's actually pretty hard to get a remotely accurate reading on NiMH batteries as they have a very flat discharge curve compared to primaries i.e. they start a bit high but that quickly drops off then they stay at around the same voltage until they're almost empty - ideal for power output but it makes them very hard to test as the voltage between batches might be greater than the main voltage drop.
    +1 for that Technoline charger (available here) it's a bit of geeky thing as there are loads of settings to choose from but it's great if you don't mind that. I also highly recommend the LSD batteries, I use some cheap NiMHs in my Xbox controller which self discharge in about a week, I use Recykos in other stuff including a torch, GPS, etc and even a cordless mouse and they barely self-discharge at all - 2 AAs lasted about a year in the mouse, the same as alkalines.

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    I usually just stick my multi meter on 10 amps and stick the prods across the battery. If I get more than three amps for more than five seconbds, battery is good.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    You could mark the batteries with a permanent marker so you know which are which to make it easier to keep track of them/avoid mixing up sets. But don't worry about completely draining them before charging, the memory effect is an urban myth based on batteries that lost a bit of capacity on satellites being cycled on a very regular basis, and even then it can be cured with deep-cycling. In fact, it's best to only cycle Ni-MH batteries occasionally, firstly because of the chemistry and if they're used in series one will often empty before the other and the full battery will reverse charge it, permanently damaging it or rendering it unusable if it goes far enough. Some devices designed for rechargeables will sense the drop in voltage and cut out but most will just leave the circuit open.

    LSD batteries aren't usually very expensive, except maybe in shops. 4xAAs for about a fiver seems pretty good though. You don't need a special charger for LSD batteries, any good charger will do but a cheapo one can damage them with overcharging, cook them. I bought one of these a while ago, I don't remember paying that much for it but I could be wrong, maybe it was on offer or something.

    I have no idea about that Apple charger, I can't seem to find any proper reviews on it either. It might be good or bad but it's expensive for a 2pc charger and I can't see it being better than the products from proper battery companies, at best they probably just re-brand their stuff and triple the price.
    Edit: Hmm, and it doesn't help that they don't seem to openly provide any specs whatsoever...
    Put it this way, I wouldn't buy it.
    Last edited by watercooled; 14-12-2010 at 12:18 AM.

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    Gold Member Marcos's Avatar
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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Yeah, i dont like that no one in the know has put the Apple battery charger through its paces

    If i buy one of those Technoline chargers (£28), and borrow one of the Apple battery chargers from work, would I have what i need to do a pretty good test/review of the Apple charger? Because then I can test the condition of the batteries in the advanced charger once they've been charger by the Apple one?

    Give something back to the review community

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    Re: Is there such a thing as a basic cheap battery tester?

    Err, well you could but all you would gather from that is the final charge capacity - any charger can fully charge a battery. You wouldn't be able to tell the charging method/current and charge detection/cut-off methods which are more important. Unless you really want an Apple one for some specific reason I don't see any reason to get one over a known-good charger. It just looks like more overpriced Apple tat to me.
    Hmm, I've just looked at an unboxing video on Youtube and caught a glimpse of the manual - it says
    To charge batteries fully, allow at least five hours of charging time.
    Now, I don't like that because it could mean A. It's a slow charger, which is bad for Ni-MH batteries because slow chargers tend not to cut off properly so overcharge batteries, B. It doesn't manually cut off, C. It does fast charge then switches to a trickle like most chargers but it's not great advice telling you to leave them in the charger, Ni-MH batteries don't like to be trickle charged and because they're LSD (I think) it's not really necessary anyway. Or it could just mean the manual was written by admin staff rather than the engineers/data is recycled from a Ni-Cd charger which is quite common unfortunately.

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