Keeping the electronics going under all conditions can be challenging.  With a little creativity you can keep almost any gadget going all of the time.  The availability of  Nickel Metal Hydride batteries in almost any configuration has really helped.  While not cheap the number of recharges you get, the enormous power capacity and wide working temperature range make them a real value over the long haul.



     All of the above batteries are rechargeable NiMh and are quite a value in the long run.  They hold about 70 percent more power than a standard AA and can be recharged up to 500 times.  They are very cheap in the long run and much more environmentally friendly than pitching alkalines in the trash over and over.  If you consider yourself a friend of the environment and are not recharging then you may need to reevaluate how you use batteries.

     NIMH AAA's, AA's, C's and D's are 1.2 volts as compared to 1.5 for a conventional AA but I have not encountered any problems substituting the NiMh's in any device.  You will notice in the upper center photo the batteries carry a 1,700 milliamp rating and the batteries on the left carry a 2,450 milliamp rating.  Both are Energizer brand and the difference is date of manufacture.  The lower rating batteries were purchased years ago and the 2450 milliamp batteries are off the shelf in 2008.   From manufacturer to manufacturer there is still a wide range of available amperage to this date.  I was recently in a large electronics store and saw about five different amperage ratings from 1,850 to 2,700.  Be sure and get as many amps for the dollar as you can.

    There are a wide variety of chargers on the market.  They vary in charge times from 15 minutes to several hours.  I have owned two of the fast chargers and were disappointed with both of them.  One of them actually caused a couple of batteries to burst and the other fast charger only seemed to put a partial charge in the batteries.  The Energizer charger above will charge eight double or triple A's at a time, four C's or D's or two 9 volt batteries.  Charge time is three hours and I have been very pleased with this charger.  For emergency "fast" charging I have a charger that will top off an a set of empty NIMH batteries in one hour.

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     The above batteries are Vistalite Nightsticks.  They all are rated at 6 volts and intended to use for bicycle lights.  They see that duty but mostly they are used for running my video cameras.  Their 6 volt output is a very common voltage for all types of devices.  The black ones are nicads and the silver one is Nickel Metal Hydride.  You can buy two of the nicads for the price of one NiMh but I believe it is worth the extra money.  Nicads don't have near the power reserve and cold weather kills them quickly.  All you need is a Radio Shack Adapt-A-Cord set and you can power any device that requires six volts.  Anything that requires 4 AAA's. AAA's, C cells or D cells is a six volt device.

     The lithium batteries above are not cheap, they cost about 10 bucks for a four pack of AA's.  They are not rechargeable either.  They do have the widest working temperature range and highest power capacity of any battery readily available.  A set of these will last over a year in my motor drive Nikons while exposed to temperatures from well below zero to above 100 degrees.  They also weigh about half of other types of batteries.

6V NIMH         6V NICAD

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     When you are going to spend a lot of time in the back country and need to keep power to your small devices then solar chargers are the way to go.  I can charge the batteries for any device I carry from the PDA to the MP3 player.