Friday, November 14, 2014

Ikea LADDA Batteries and Charger Impressions

I'm not a fan of batteries, just going to throw that out there. Depending on the model and type, they can leak and destroy things, don't last forever, proprietary models are expensive, and you never seem to have enough of them. Wires aren't that great either since you're tethered, need a compatible outlet, and can't take something everywhere. Regardless, batteries are here to stay, even in my life, because some things don't come in wired form and they can be very convenient.

Need Batteries
Recent events had me researching batteries to replace the ones in the few non-lithium based devices that I had. I didn't need anything special or new, only boring AA, AAA, and 9V batteries that had been around forever. The takeaway from all my research was that I should look into sticking to rechargeable NiMH batteries when possible -- not just for the reusable aspect or money saving part. Of course, this led me to take a look at Ikea's own in-house brand. I had a rule about sticking to the big name battery brands so didn't buy any LADDA units, but I found a few interesting facts.

Note: I had not had any firsthand experience with any Ikea battery products when I wrote this piece.

Ikea ALKALISK Batteries
When I checked, the local Ikea website had quite a few options for batteries available. There were ALKALISK batteries available in AAA, AA, C, D, and 9V sizes. Prices were competitive, if not better, in my experience with options from the big battery makers. These ALKALISK units were labeled as alkaline and noted to not be rechargeable. No labels about capacity were noted on the webpages for any of the products. And to give you an idea of the price, all sizes were CAD$ 2.75 for packs of 10x AAA, 10x AA, 2x C, 2x D, and 1x 9V each. Prices were similar on the United States website except prices were US$ 1.99 for each pack except for the AAA pack, which was US$ 2.99.

Ikea LADDA Batteries
There were also rechargeable batteries but only available in AA and AAA sizes. The price was CAD$ 5.99 (US$ 5.99) for a pack of four each. Price was different for the charger across the border at CAD$ 15.99 and US$ 12.99. Unlike the alkaline batteries, these LADDA batteries did have details for voltage and capacity on the Ikea webpages. The AA was noted as 1.2V and 2000 mAh while the AAA was 1.2V and 750 mAh on the website. And it was also stated that both the AA and AAA batteries could be charged up to 500 times.

Here's a link to AmazonBasics AA and AAA rechargeable batteries for a comparison on price and technical specifications.
AmazonBasics 8 Pack AAA Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries

Ikea LADDA Charger
What really interested me initially was the LADDA charger. The technical specifications of the charger, which I found on both the product page and the manual posted on that page (for model YH-990BF at the time), left me quite impressed.

Some of the more interesting tidbits from the manual for model YH-990BF I found on the website in November 2014 (quoted from manual, but accuracy not guaranteed):

- "4 charging channels."
- "Charge is terminated by individual minus delta voltage sensors (-dV)."
- "Safety by separate safety timer and temperature sensors."
- "Non-rechargeable and damaged batteries detection."

The most notable detail for me was that it supposedly had four individual charging channels. Cheaper chargers that I found would only charge batteries in pairs. Considering that I had more than one battery powered device that only used one AA or AAA battery, pairing sounded inconvenient. I also found the detail on the sensors for the LADDA charger to be useful. Some of it made sense to be after the battery charger research I did recently.

Unfortunately, I wasn't completely content with the LADDA charger or batteries, so I decided to get something else. However, the listed product features and price look good. I don't know how they actually work or how reliable they are though. Might look into them in the future.

Panasonic BQ-CC17 Battery Charger Review

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