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What is the difference between the available AA battery chemistries?

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  • Marcie Moffa May 11, 2010

    Hi - All types of batteries drain within taking 3 or 4 pictures on my camera. I have changed batteries numerous times and tried several different typed, nothing has helped. Up to this point I have had no problem with taking maybe 100 pictures or so on the same batteries. Please Help...Thanks, Marciem



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AA batteries are available in four basic varieties: Alkaline Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) Photo Lithium (Li-FeS2) Alkaline and photo lithium are non-rechargeable, while NiMH and NiCad are rechargeable. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Non-Rechargeable vs. Rechargeable: Rechargeable batteries are desirable from an environmental standpoint because they are reusable. Self-discharge refers to the fact that batteries lose energy when unused and even when not in a camera or other device. Rechargeable batteries tend to have relatively high self-discharge rates, approximately 1-2% per day for nickel-based batteries. Non-rechargeable batteries generally have very long shelf lives and extremely slow self-discharge rates. This makes non-rechargeable batteries a better choice for infrequent usage. Non-rechargeable batteries are available fully charged in stores all over the world, which makes them a convenient choice for travelers or customers who have dead rechargeable batteries and no time to recharge. Photo Lithium Batteries (Li-FeS2) (non-rechargeable): Photo lithium batteries will yield the longest battery life of any AA battery, surpassing NiMH by 50-100% and surpassing alkaline by 100-500%, depending on the load. While they are more expensive than alkaline batteries, their additional energy capacity makes the cost the same or less per shot than alkaline batteries. Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries (NiMH) (rechargeable): NiMH batteries are the lowest cost overall solution for users that take a lot of pictures (more than the equivalent of a roll of film per month) or use a lot of high-power features. The largest disadvantage to NiMH batteries is their fast self-discharge rate of 1-2% per day whether the batteries are in a camera or not. NOTE: NiMH batteries need to be completely charged and discharged a few times when new to achieve their full capacity. Rechargeable batteries will eventually fail. If you have been getting acceptable battery life and then see a decrease in life, either quickly or slowly over time, a worn-out battery may be the cause. Storing or charging the batteries in high temperature conditions will accelerate this potential failure. Alkaline Batteries (non-rechargeable): Although the cheapest and easiest to find, alkaline batteries yield the worst performance of all the chemistries in a digital camera. They lose capacity at high power drains and at low temperatures. Skiers and other winter outdoor enthusiasts may find them unsatisfactory. Alkaline batteries are frequently available in two types: High drain (ultra, titanium, maximum etc.) Regular The high drain versions are a premium product designed to operate better under heavy loads than the standard product. However, there is a trend of major brands to increase the performance of their standard battery to b

Posted on Aug 30, 2005


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Difference between lithium battery and AA size battery for camera

"Lithium" refers to the chemical makeup of the battery. "AA" refers to the size of the battery. There are such things as lithium AA batteries.

If your camera takes AA batteries then lithiums will give you more shots than other types. They will also cost more.

How to change batteries.does it matter which AA batteries are used.

Basically, doesn't matter which manufacturer. Just don't try to recharge the ones not made for charging!!! You didn't specify the model of your camera, but best way is to buy SANYO ENELOOP charger with 4 AA rechargeable batteries, this way you can have a spare pack if your camera uses two batteries.
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Sample of an MLA bibliography

"Battery." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1990.

"Best Batteries." Consumer Reports Magazine 32 Dec. 1994: 71-72.

Booth, Steven A. "High-Drain Alkaline AA-Batteries." Popular Electronics 62 Jan. 1999: 58.

Brain, Marshall. "How Batteries Work." howstuffworks. 1 Aug. 2006

"Cells and Batteries." The DK Science Encyclopedia. 1993.

Dell, R. M., and D. A. J. Rand. Understanding Batteries. Cambridge, UK: The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2001.

"Learning Center." Energizer. Eveready Battery Company, Inc. 1 Aug. 2006

"Learning Centre." Duracell. The Gillette Company. 31 July 2006

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I can not find a battery for my 520 tom tom go sat nav all are 1300 mAh and mine is 1320 mAh

The difference in capacity between 1320mAh and 1300mAh is minor (we are talking about a 1,6% difference, this is below production variance anyway). If the voltage and battery type is the same and the new battery fits inside your device, there will be no problem.

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Hello ! enyone knows if are a different batteries then AA type? tks

Sure, there are many types of batteries. The standard barrel shaped batteries come in


The "button" type batteries are designated in different ways by their manufacturer.

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I tried using 3 AA NiMH batteries (total DC V=4.2, 1600mA) as a backup/charger for my HP Ipaq 612c battery. I inserted a resistor (4.7 ohms) in the circuit to reduce the current. The red light charging...


You built one of these too, eh?

Yes, there can be a problem doing this. First off, 3 AA batteries does not equal 4.2 volts, they are 1.2volt nominal so 3 * 1.2 = 3.6volts. When they are just off the charger, terminal voltage will be closer to 1.5v, so 1.5*3 = 4.5 volts.

Using ohms law, E=I * R, we can find your current as I = E / R or I = 4.5v / 4r7 as .95Amps (almost a full amp) that you would see worst case. The resistor is doing nothing for you.

The reason that the charge light blinks intermittently is because the charge controller (lithium battery, right?) is pulsing due to low voltage.

Try this: Take *6*, yes, 6, AA batteries, your choice of chemistry, and put them in series. That will give you a nominal (alkaline) voltage of 9v. Connect a low dropout 5v regulator such as an LT1117-5. Then you will be able to use your battery backup much more effectively.

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Where do the batteries go?

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The Impossible Project have started to remanufacture monochrome photo packs, but the chemistry is very unstable and unpredictable and you only get 8 shots per pack instead of the original 10. Colour photo packs will soon be in production as well, currently only available for testing only on SX-70 cameras which use a different system to your model.

Please take a moment to rate my answer.


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