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12-06-2016, 10:49 AM   #1
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AA and AAA Rechargeable Battery Tester

I use rechargeable batteries (mostly for flash AF360FGZ). Most of the time I would be recharging batteries the day prior to use. If I want a battery tester for an occasional test/check, would something like the following be accomodating, or is there a possibly other inexpensive alternative? Thanks ahead for any recommendations/opinions.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Amprobe-BAT-200-Battery-Tester-New-/331891526618?hash=item4d4646cbda:g:wzEAAOSwbYZXb102

12-06-2016, 11:12 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have one - simple, cheap item, it does the job of quickly checking whether a cell has charge or is flat. Sold by numerous sellers - that's not the cheapest.
12-06-2016, 11:41 AM   #3
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The problem I've had with a tester like the one you linked is that it is set for disposable 1.5V batteries. Rechargeable AA batteries have lower voltage (my Eneloop are rated at 1.2V) but higher amperage than disposable types. That's what makes them so fast for flash recycling. I'd recommend any type of digital multimeter so you can see the actual voltage. They are more expensive, but you'd be surprised how often over the years you'll come back to it. Just this past weekend, I replaced my old car speakers, but used (for the first time) the ohm meter function to discover my OEM speaker were 2 ohm in my car's JBL system and not the more standard 4-8 ohm speakers found in OEM and aftermarket speakers.

RadioShack 22-Range Pocket Digital Multimeter

Alternately, if you can find a battery tester like the Amprobe that has a switch for rechargeable batteries in the 1.2-1.35V range, that would be handy.
12-06-2016, 11:52 AM   #4
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Basic--and accurate--digital multimeters are dirt cheap at Harbor Freight. If you get their catalogs in the mail, they'll sometimes even have a coupon to get one free with any other purchase. The only thing you have to keep in mind with a multimeter is they don't test the battery under load so the battery may test better than it actually is.

12-06-2016, 12:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
that it is set for disposable 1.5V batteries.
It's an analogue device, the needle is pushed a bit further into the green by an alkaline non-rechargeable but otherwise no difference in use NiMH/alkaline.

Slightly pricier versions use a 9v battery, they also check fuses.
If you browse ebay there are sellers offering those auction 0.01p/c start!
12-06-2016, 12:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
It's an analogue device, the needle is pushed a bit further into the green by an alkaline non-rechargeable but otherwise no difference in use NiMH/alkaline.
According to reviews, it will work with rechargeable batteries, but a 1.5V battery would be considered just OK or Weak if it were measuring 1.2V on a rechargeable cell. I guess it all comes down to if you're okay with interpreting what is red/yellow/green for something designed for 1.5V, not 1.2V, or if you want to know the actual voltage without having to interpret. I used cheap analog meters for years, but once I upgraded to a digital multimeter, it's hard to accept the vagueness of a needle on a big band of green goodness.
12-06-2016, 12:30 PM - 1 Like   #7
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You cannot test a battery, using a multimeter alone. You must have a load in conjunction with the multimeter. All batteries have an internal resistance. This resistance increases as a battery is discharged. This resistance limits the available current as the battery is discharged. The higher this internal resistance is, the lower the available current. But the voltage will remain the same until you pull enough current out of the battery, then the voltage will drop considerably. For further explanation see this series of videos.

https://www.eevblog.com/batteries-charging/

This guy is an electronics engineer and knows what he is talking about.

Joe.
12-06-2016, 02:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
I use rechargeable batteries (mostly for flash AF360FGZ). Most of the time I would be recharging batteries the day prior to use. If I want a battery tester for an occasional test/check, would something like the following be accomodating, or is there a possibly other inexpensive alternative? Thanks ahead for any recommendations/opinions.

Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester New | eBay
You might consider one of these Powerex MH-C800S

Day before a shoot, I run all mine through, AA's & AAA's sometimes Soft Charge and when things are slow, reconditioning. It's also how I find cells that won't charge any longer. You can mix and match sizes and see individual status. I consider it a must have, especially with a bag of four speed lights and a bunch of triggers..

12-06-2016, 02:28 PM   #9
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I was going to get a digital multimeter, which I would like because it does give you a reading. I was thinking that if I did get the multimeter, I would test a battery that was just fully charged/functioning and see what the reading was on it in that situation. From then on I would look for a similar reaction from batteries that appeared fully charged on my charger (green light) to see if it was a functioning battery. I like the idea of the multimeter in that way. If I noticed a battery functioning for a shorter period of time or not at all I would test it with with multimeter and see what the reaction was for that situation, note the reading I got, and if I tested another battery similar battery and got a similar result I would just assume that the battery was not functioning normally anymore. I like the idea of the battery tester, and it probably works fine for some people, but as was said just seeing a three color range as opposed to a digital reading is not as specific as the digital reading of the multimeter. So, maybe I could just get an inexpensive multimeter on ebay with free shipping and see what it does and does not do. Not that the battery tester I originally mentioned would not be effective to some extent, but as I mentioned if I noted how a multimeter behaved with different batteries that were either performing well or not I would be able to tell what was actually going on in most instances.

If any of you recommend an inexpensive digital multimeter that does perform with the rechargeable batteries safely/effectively, please let me know. I may find one on ebay without much looking.

Thanks to everyone. I appreciate the advice.

Last edited by C_Jones; 12-06-2016 at 02:56 PM.
12-06-2016, 05:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
If any of you recommend an inexpensive digital multimeter that does perform with the rechargeable batteries safely/effectively, please let me know.
In my post #3, I linked what I consider the best because it is very small and portable, has a digital readout for voltage, but most importantly, has an auto range feature so you donʻt have to manually switch to the correct voltage range youʻre testing for. I bought mine on sale at RadioShack. There are cheaper multimeters, but they are larger and take a little more thought in selecting the mode.
12-06-2016, 06:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
In my post #3, I linked what I consider the best because it is very small and portable, has a digital readout for voltage, but most importantly, has an auto range feature so you donʻt have to manually switch to the correct voltage range youʻre testing for. I bought mine on sale at RadioShack. There are cheaper multimeters, but they are larger and take a little more thought in selecting the mode.
Thanks Alex645. I saw a multimeter on ebay that uses a 9 volt battery. Does it make a difference if a multimeter has a battery or not in reference to its capability to do AA battery testing? Below is the shortcut to the one that I saw that requires a battery.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-Voltmeter-Ammeter-Ohmmeter-Multimeter-Volt-AC-DC-Tester-Meter-US-Seller-/271496690158?hash=item3f3676b9ee:g:qgUAAOSwHnFVkYPk
12-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
Thanks Alex645. I saw a multimeter on ebay that uses a 9 volt battery. Does it make a difference if a multimeter has a battery or not in reference to its capability to do AA battery testing?
My son is an electrical mechanical engineering major at RIT, so he would probably know this for sure.....but Iʻm pretty sure the battery is used to power the display and for the ohm meter functions and not the volt meter functions. Analog meters like the one you initially inquired about do not require power.

So a battery is needed for digital meters vs. no battery on analog volt meters.
12-06-2016, 07:42 PM   #13
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My old Radio Shack analog multimeter needed a battery. It did not have lights on it.
12-06-2016, 07:44 PM   #14
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If I did get a multimeter, would I set it on the "20" setting on the DC side of the meter to test rechargeable AA and AAA Ni-MH batteries such as my EBL or for another example Eneloop type batteries?

---------- Post added 12-06-16 at 10:37 PM ----------

I noticed this digital battery tester at Harbor Freight in case anyone is interested. It measures up to 9 volts on one side and up to 1.5 volts on the other side showing lesser voltages on both sides also.

http://www.harborfreight.com/digital-battery-tester-69892.html

Last edited by C_Jones; 12-06-2016 at 10:23 PM.
12-06-2016, 09:54 PM   #15
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I repeat, you cannot test a battery using a multimeter by itself, the battery must be under a load. A battery that is almost dead Can give you the same voltage as a battery that is fully charged. But when you apply a slight load to it the voltage will dropped considerably. You need a battery tester that is designed for the batteries you wish to test. If you rely only on the multimeter, You might find yourself out on a shoot thinking your batteries are charged only to find out that they were nearly dead. If you want to find out more about batteries how, to charge them and how to test them, see the link above. The only reason the battery indicator on your camera or other device works is because the camera/device is turned on. It is under a load. If you are using the battery indicator by itself, No other device hooked to it, the battery would be showing fully charged until the test unit pulled more current than the battery could put out. Then the voltage would drop.

Do not rely on a multimeter by itself to test batteries. It doesn't work.

Joe.
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