21st Century Dad
One Dad's Thoughts, Ideas, and Feelings.
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Babies Require AA Batteries

January 18th, 2008 . by 21st Century Dad

Why is it that battery operated baby toys take 3 batteries? These things are sold in multiples of 2, with a 4-pack being the most common. I don’t own enough clocks and keychain-sized flashlights to utilize all the leftover AA or AAA batteries. As for larger toys, I haven’t found a use for the orphaned single C or D cells.

As your baby grows, so will her toy collection. Some 3th grade math will tell you that buying 24 batteries will power 8 toys. You can keep these magic cylinders out of the battery orphanage.

Being Green Saves You Greenbacks

It doesn’t make sense to use alkalines. Nickel metal hydride (or NiMH) rechargeables are your best bet. You will recoup their premium over alkalines after two charges. They are good for many more charge/discharge cycles. This makes sense for your wallet and for the environment.

Sometimes you can score a deal and get a charger bundled with some batteries. You might even get lucky and get a 60, 30, or 15 minute rapid charger. Brute force charging will shorten the lifespan of these little metal cylinders. These little metal cylinders are an integral part of maintaining your child’s pleasant disposition. Your batteries deserve better.

A Better Battery Charger

The La Crosse Technology BC-900 AlphaPower Battery Charger is the best battery charger available today. You don’t give much thought to a battery charger. Pop the batteries in and wait for the red LED to turn green. Thoughtlessness will kill your batteries as fast as the child who just discovered how to make Dora say “¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?” enough times to make you think you live in Miami.

I shelled out full-pop before the price drop to $39.95. I didn’t buy an iPhone, but I paid the nerd tax on this one. It’s worth every penny, even at the original price of $79.95. Here’s why:

  • Trickle charge or rapid-charge your AA’s and AAA’s. Trickle charging gives you more battery life per charge and many more charge/discharge cycles.
  • It’s smart enough to keep batteries topped off after they’re fully charged. You’ll have full-capacity batteries ready to go. Typical NiMH’s lose charge while on sitting on your shelf or in your kitchen junk drawer.
  • Can be set to fully discharge partially drained batteries before recharging them, further enhancing battery life.
  • There’s a “Refresh” mode that reconditions poor performing batteries.
  • Each charging slot is discrete and works independent of the others. Perfect for when you have to charge the 3 batteries from one of those pesky 4.5 volt devices.
  • Works on archaic nickel cadmium rechargeables too. Battery type is automatically detected.
  • It doesn’t get hot when plugged in and unused.
  • The charger is bundled with 4 AA’s, 4 AAA’s, and 4 C and D cell adapters. Now you don’t have to try and find rechargeable C or D cells. The extra batteries and the C and D adapters are worth $30 alone!

The Savings Continue

Every time you charge a set of batteries, you save $5 or more. Between your child’s toy collection and your own gadgets, this charger will pay for itself quickly. I bought mine on Amazon a year and a half ago and the savings continue to rack up. I love the smell of nickel metal hydride in the morning.

Don’t be seduced by false economy and settle for “basura barata” when it comes to battery chargers. The BC-900 maintains healthy batteries long after a rapid charger has finished sucking the life out of these magic little cylinders. The refresh feature has saved a few batteries I thought were toast.

The manual is written in “Engrish,” but well worth your diligence to decipher. The demo video on the manufacturer’s site is of some help, but it’s more of a sales pitch than an informative video.

If I stopped you from buying a bunch of alkaline batteries, pass some of the savings along and make a donation.