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Old 02-14-2015, 02:00 PM   #1
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Basics: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

OK you electrical gurus, your suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have a bag pf probably 30 AA and at least that many AAA batteries which I have collected from the consoles of the van and the other vehicles which are kept around to power 2-way radios, headlamps, flashlights and other portable devices which we use when we are out on our SMB type adventures.

Is putting a multimeter on DCV and just comparing the readout with the volts listed on the battery label sufficient? Or is there another multimeter test I should do or a load tester I should buy?

I found this video which suggests an unusual way to test. Is it valid?

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Old 02-14-2015, 04:01 PM   #2
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

The only way I ever test them is by putting them in something like flashlight and comparing the light output. Dim = not so good; Bright = good.

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Old 02-14-2015, 04:20 PM   #3
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

That's a cool test. Thanks for sharing. I use this though.

http://www.amazon.com/Amprobe-BAT-200-B ... ery+tester

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Old 02-14-2015, 04:33 PM   #4
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

I have that exact tester that 86Scotty posted, but there is a catch to using it. It doesn't put any load on the battery so if you test a battery, it may test as being good but it might have a short life span.
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Old 02-14-2015, 04:47 PM   #5
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

mkracer and 86scotty: I usually do what Ford_6L_E350 says, but most of my flashlights require more than one battery making testing one battery impractical... However, the Amprobe which you guys discussed may be the thread which can unravel this puzzle. It led me to this $11 load tester (and there may be more):



which says this:

"A battery tester works by putting a load on a battery and measuring the voltage at the battery terminals. The reason is that this voltage, measured with a good voltmeter that draws almost no current, changes little as the battery wears out. What does change is that the battery's internal resistance increases, which wastes energy, and the amount of chemicals available to generate current decreases. By putting a load on the battery, the meter can see whether the battery is still able to do its job."

http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-Bender...6P83BEP50TZTAN

Or check out this one:



"The ZTS Mini Multi-Battery Tester (Mini-MBT) provides a comprehensive means of testing more than 15 battery types. The Mini-MBT's microprocessor-based design makes battery testing simple - using a patented, high accuracy pulse load test. After a fully automatic test cycle, percentage of remaining battery capacity is indicated on the LED bar display. Battery types are clearly labeled next to appropriate contacts. There are no settings, and test results are easy to understand. Its small size makes it ideal for the gadget bag, toolbox, or home utility drawer. Negative test lead/probe conveniently stores in seam at side. Tests 1.5v alkaline (AA, AAA, C, D, N), 1.2v NiMH/NiCd, 3v photo lithium, and 9v alkaline."

http://www.amazon.com/ZTS-MINI-MBT-M...ref=pd_cp_hi_1

Whoa! baby!

Read about this one. I am not sure I can justify it over the mini:



"Yes, the tester has separate terminals for lithium AA and lithium AAA cells. The Energizer Ultimate Lithiums can be expected to have somewhat longer useful life than "ordinary" lithium cells, but the tester will accurately show their condition. This is simply the best tester out there, and if you're like me, you'll quickly realize what a good investment it is."

[url]http://www.amazon.com/ZTS-MBT-1-Multi-Battery-Tester-Battery/dp/B000FQG1XE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423959305&sr=8-1&keywords=ZTS+MBT-1[/url

My bag of batteries may have to wait until I save up enough for that baby...

Thanks! (back to packing wheel bearings...)
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:23 PM   #6
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

Get a coupon out of the Harbor Freight add for their free Multi-Meter - I've probably got 15 of them.

Keep one in the van and you can check all kinds of batteries, AC Outlet...
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Old 02-15-2015, 04:29 AM   #7
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

On the other side of all this is testing and/or keeping batteries of this size that big a deal? I mean when does the cost of buying a tester exceed the cost of replacing these things?

I buy Duracel ProCel in AA, AAA and even the 9 volt style for such good prices it's crazy to be too concerned with a bag of collected suspect batteries like this. When in doubt they're sent to a recycling facility, grab some fresh ones and rest assured they'll last unused at least a year or more.

Just MHO ya understand.................
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:51 AM   #8
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

JWA mentioned buying Duracell batteries and I was a Duracell fan for decades. However, their quality control or something changed a few years ago and I ended up with dozens of leaky Duracell batteries in remote control devices, flashlights, remote thermometers, $250 model railroad radio-controlled throttles, and on and on. I've gone through and thrown away the Duracell batteries from every device we have in the house and in the van.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:06 AM   #9
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

JWA: I knew if I posted on this forum long enough, someone would call me "crazy." But I didn't think it would be you or over batteries... BTW yvrr my experience is the same as yours with Duracell, they have been leaking in some pretty expensive devices. Helmet cams, etc.

So a related question, any suggestion on how to clean that white/gray corrosion off the battery contacts in a device?
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:13 AM   #10
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Re: How to test AA and AAA Batteries?

I use a couple small brushes I have or a small flat head screwdriver, and most importantly, as with everything including my children, blow the gunk off with compressed air. Not the light duty can, but a real air compressor with a hose. Blow the hell out of it, whatever it is. Cleans everything. Kids haven't needed a bath in years.
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