All the good intentions in the world don’t count for anything when you’re fumbling in the dark to change batteries for your head-torch, only to find that those rechargeables have gone flat since you last used them. Since then, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been using chuckable batteries as my spare batteries as i know they’ll work, and feeling suitably guilty in the process.
Of course, like all technology, things move forwards and the ‘good to go’ type of battery have been around for a few years now.
The thing is, regular rechargeable batteries will lose a great deal of their charge before being used, making them really useless as emergency batteries. If not downright dangerous, as a backup to your torch could be a matter of life or death in winter.
The low discharge batteries, pioneered by the Sanyo Eneloop offer a solution by apparently* retaining 70% of their charge over 5 years. So at least you know they’ll be 70% full or better when you come to use them. So being cheapskates to the last, we went for 7dayshop Good to Go batteries as they’re rechargeables have always served us well in the past. They were £4.99 compared to over £8 for the Eneloop batteries. After adding a couple of quid for postage, it made sense to buy two sets of four.
They arrived fully charged, compete with standard 7Dayshop plastic cases which is very convenient. Certainly more convenient than taping them up with masking tape as I have done since my previous 7Dayshop cases somehow found legs.
We don’t get into all that comparing drain times and getting really technical about batteries, but we did get plenty of practical use out of these over the last month and they work. You can rely on them to not die on you while sitting in the torch, which in the summer months might not get much use, whereas previously I’d only trust regular alkalines, along with a spare set in the pack somewhere, rather than rechargeable batteries that would be close to dead by the time I’d need them. While the capacity is only 2150mAh compared to higher capacity batteries, you still *probably* get more juice out of these in day to day use due to the standard types discharging.
In winter however, I use my head-torch 4 or 5 times in a week, with batteries needing replacement once in that time. If they died while on a run, the spares would be Duracells, which would then in turn be replaced by rechargeable batteries. However, on more than one occasion I found they barely held enough charge to finish the run partially down to the cold but primarily as they’d been in my bag for a few weeks and simply lost charge. Using ‘Good to Go’ or Eneloop batteries in that scenario, I can still use my rechargeable batteries and keep these as spares without worrying overmuch if they’ve been in my bag since the spring. Now I’ve seen how much more useful these are I’ll be passing the old batteries to someone else to make use of and sticking exclusively to these as all I need the juice for is my head-torch and occasional use of an ageing SLR for night photography.
*we didn’t have the time to put this to the test.