UPDATED 10 december 2010


    I prefer to work with collections of single AA type Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

    That way if a cell dies I do not have to throw out a whole battery pack which is a waste of money and destroys the environment.

    I usually put six AA cells in a holder that gives me 8.4v which is plenty of volts to power the regulator that drops the volts to 5v (or 3.3v) for robotics applications.

    Do not connect this versatile power pack to equipment from manufacturers other than www.robotscience.co.za unless YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING or they say it's okay to do so.

    Certain PARALLAX robot motherboards put the input volts straight through so you have to put lower volts in otherwise you may burn out expensive servos and microchips and other stuff. You have bee warned. We will not be liable for destroyed equipment.

    I charge this pack without taking the individual cells out of the plastic battery holder with an adapter cable I made to the MW 9v intelligent charger from COMMUNICA.

    The connect cable can be made from two 9v battery connect clips. Connect the red wire from the clip connected to the charger to the black wire from the clip connected to the battery pack you've made up with six 1.2v AA batteries. The black wire from the charger side must be connected to the red wire of the battery side. This sounds illogical but it's right because the clips are being used the other way round on the other side if you get what I mean...

    You can test this yourself - if you connect red wire to the red wire the RED charge LED on the charger simply won't light up and show the charger is in fact charging.

    So once you've connected this correctly you will see the red LED on the charger light up.

    If you leave it to charge (usually overnight) it will eventually turn green.

    Watching the battery or charger or both won't make it charge faster.

    Remember this is a gentle charging system that will make your batteries last and last...

    Once the LED charge light turns green that means the battery is fully charged and trickle charging...

    I seldom if ever use the discharge button on this delightful MW charger.

    That's more for nickel cadmium (NiCad) batteries that have that annoying "memory effect"

    NiMH nickel metal hydride batteries are much less toxic in landfill and hold their charge for long periods of time and have no memory effect.

    NiMH batteries should give around 1000 recharges ...

    However, eventually even NiMH batteries can become dodgy.

    Then you might be able to "recondition" or revive them with the yellow discharge/recharge button.

    The way to tell if any battery is going bad is to connect a single cell to a small bulb.

    A good battery (properly charged) will keep the bulb bright over a sustained period of time.

    With a bad battery (or good but flat) the light will rapidly grow dim...

    Batteries identified as bad should be kept separate and taken to a specialist.

    Please don't dump any battery into the rubbish.

    Find out where your nearest recycling centre is and then do due diligence that they in fact recycle batteries properly and it's not just a marketing front to sell you their brand of battery and then they dump this terrible waste into the environment behind your back...


    more info and pictures on this important topic coming soon ...

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