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Thread: Conventional vs. rechargeable batteries for headlamps

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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Conventional vs. rechargeable batteries for headlamps

    Iím thinking about a new headlamp that is rechargeable. Anyone own one? Would it be a good choice? Any negatives? Will it hold a charge for a safe amount of time? Thanks for any opinions.

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    I took my 3 year old Petzl Reactik on a 4 day trip of the Grafton Loop last week and never had to charge it. In winter I usually get a couple few days of use from it before needing to recharge. I am already carrying a USB bank for my phone so more batteries for a headlamp are just extra weight.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I transitioned to rechargeable head lamps too. When I started hiking my GPS had AA's and I got a headlamp with AA's and got rechargeable batteries so all my gear used same batteries. As my electronics changed I eventually switched over and also carry a USB recharger when needed so I didn't have eighty pounds of all different kinds of batteries. I rarely do more than an overnight unless I'm car camping and generally don't have an issue with batteries dying. Even my fairly inexpensive back up headlamp seems to last quite awhile.
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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    I rarely need need it these days so I don't intend to convert. Only negative I could see is spare batteries for the rechargeable. I mean, not having one. I always carry a set of batteries for my headlamp. Which I have with me on 90% of my hikes.
    Joe

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    More use of a couple of regular headlamps on Scout overnights. I have not planned on any long hikes lately I have to start before sunrise of finish afterwards. Since I am more likely to think my headlamps are charged and then check before the trip, perhaps far from home, I can go to any convenience store, grocery store, etc. and get AA's.
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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    You didn't say if you use them much. I figure you do as your looking into rechargeable s. I don't so I install non rechargeable Lithium's. Best for cold and best power for when you need it.

    I use Panasonic Black Pro's for my GPS's and have excellent results.

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    Bring a back up set(s) of fresh alkalines or lithiums purchased from a reputable vendor.

    There is more risk with rechargeables if you need them for something critical.

    Something could be wrong the charger, and the batteries may not have been fully charged. Design charge capacity (ie 2700mAh for an Eneloop) is what the battery can provide the first time is used. The actual capacity of the battery drops with usage and stress. It will actually get worse more quickly with high current loads rather than something like a GPS.

    Rechargeables get handled more often..they get dropped. This could damage the seal and the battery capacity can be greatly reduced. So inspect them for any odd colors appearing at the terminals, especially the button side.

    I mentioned "reputable vendors" because Energizer has 3 datasheets for AA cells. They correspond to Asia, Europe, and the Far East. People in Asia don't want to spend as much on batteries as we do in the US-- the far east version is vastly inferior to the US version. Batteries from Asia end up being re-imported, re-labeled, and re-sold, especially in metro areas.
    Last edited by Remix; 11-01-2019 at 05:15 PM.

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    Member Chachie's Avatar
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    I started carrying a Nitecore NU25 as a back up a while ago. Slowly it is becoming my primary headlamp. Lightweight (0.99oz), water-resistant, holds a charge, lasts an overnight and then some (160 hours), high output (360 lumens). Rechanges an internal battery via micro(?) USB plug. Cost: $35
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    Senior Member richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chachie View Post
    I started carrying a Nitecore NU25 as a back up a while ago. Slowly it is becoming my primary headlamp. Lightweight (0.99oz), water-resistant, holds a charge, lasts an overnight and then some (160 hours), high output (360 lumens). Rechanges an internal battery via micro(?) USB plug. Cost: $35
    Something like this is what I was interested in. Thanks �� . (Not rechargeable batteries,but a rechargeable headlamp). Sorry for not explaining better.
    Last edited by richard; 11-02-2019 at 12:57 PM.

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    The Petzl Reactik has a rechargeable battery pack which is removable and you can get a spare rechargeable battery pack and/or a battery pack that holds AAA batteries (either rechargeable or alkaline).

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    I stopped carrying spare headlamp batteries years ago. I carry a spare headlamp (or two or more, if it's a long trip with lots of night hiking). Changing headlamp batteries on a dark winter night can be avoided for the rest of your life for under $40!

    I haven't had occasion to try any of the USB-charging headlights (got plenty of older ones that still work well), but as long as you can easily check whether they're fully charged, they should work just fine. (All batteries spontaneously discharge, a little. It's a good idea to test/replace/recharge your headlight batteries once a season, especially your spares that you haven't used since last year.)

    Note that most batteries lose performance in very cold weather. It can be hard to find reliable info for a particular battery, so test yours before use if at all possible. Or, just keep at least one spare lamp inside your jacket where the battery will stay warm.

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    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    I stopped carrying spare headlamp batteries years ago. I carry a spare headlamp (or two or more, if it's a long trip with lots of night hiking). Changing headlamp batteries on a dark winter night can be avoided for the rest of your life for under $40!
    I do the same in winter and for even cheaper money. Believe it or not, energizer makes some great headlamps and even has a 400 lumen rechargeable one for under $30.
    Joe

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    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Having dropped a battery or two in the snow while changing them in the dark, I decided to carry at least 2 headlamps. If the first runs out of juice, I have the option of switching to the second or using light from the second to change the batteries in the first.

    All of my lights (and GPSes) run off AA or AAA batteries, giving me both the choice of battery type (alkaline, NiMH or non-rechargable lithium) and the ability to swap out exhausted cells depending on the details of the hike and the temps. Most of the time I simply use fully charged NiMH cells.

    Doug

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