Friday, April 15, 2011

Rechargeable Batteries

Well, the time has finally come. We are now making the switch over to rechargeable batteries.

Several of you have asked over the years why we haven't used rechargeable batteries. Considering the amount of money we spend each year on alkalines, only to recycle them after a few uses, that is a great question.

Until recently, the answer has always been this: Rechargeable batteries drain quickly to a voltage lower than our microphones need. While they may hold some voltage long enough to power most electronics, wireless microphones are current hogs, and rechargeable batteries are just not reliable enough.

But that has now changed. Rechargeable technology has improved enough in the last few years that they not only are a good financial decision, but they also actually last longer than alkalines.

That being said, we have installed the first set of rechargeable batteries in the auditorium. This will require a slightly different process than the use of the alkalines.

Here's what to do:
  • Take two fully charged batteries (green lights on the chargers) and put them into the microphone.
  • Take two batteries from the drawer and put them into the charger for the next person who comes in.
  • When you are done with the microphone, remove the batteries from the microphone and put them in the drawer.
While this is simple enough, please take a couple minutes to watch this video to see more specifics about the charging station.

A few final notes:
  • These batteries are blue and labelled with "2580 NiMH." They should stand out from the others. Please do not throw them away or place them in the normal battery recycling bins. This will not save us money if we have to keep replacing the batteries.
  • If you happen to see rechargeable batteries in the reuse bins, please pull them out. They do not belong there, ever.
  • There is a charger "opener" tool in the drawer. Please do not lose it. While the battery drawers can be opened by hand, it is a bit of a pain.
  • We have enough batteries in the auditorium to have all our wireless units in operation and all the chargers full at the same time. There should never be an empty charger, so please make sure to keep them full when you pull batteries out to use.
  • We haven't purchased enough of these yet to do the Events Center or Edwards Room. However, unless something strange happens, we will be adding them to those rooms in the near future. I'll let you know when that happens.
Let me know if you have any questions.


Nick Fitzkee said...

Hi Dave,

Are you at liberty to say what the current battery budget it and how much switching to rechargeables might save? I figure you've done this analysis, and I'm curious how the numbers work out.


~E. Kelley said...

Note: double-check to make sure BOTH lights turn on when you put batteries in to charge. It's easy to not push the charger slot in all the way. If only one light comes on, push the other side a little until the light comes on.

Dave Wilcox said...

Hi, Nick. I'll have to dig into the accounting records to get exact details, but the cost of the auditorium rechargeable batteries and chargers was approximately what we would spend in a year on alkaline batteries for the whole building. 90% of the cost was the rackmount chargers, though, so - even if we have to replace all of the batteries once a year - we'll still be saving significant money.

Dave Wilcox said...

Good point, Elizabeth. Even in the video, one of the charger slots is not fully pushed in.

Anonymous said...

Dave, off topic: I stumbled across your blog while searching for something else. I like hte name "Undistract". Ministries that play a supporting role need to facilitate rather than distract. An unfortunate side effect of this is that when you are really successful, you are almost invisible, and unlikley to get complimented by the average churchgoer for your efforts ("great camera work today!"). Most of the feedback will be on flaws that stuck out.
All this to say, kudos to you who minister in successful anonymity!