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Battery life comes alive

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Your digital camera, torch and television remote all share one thing in common ‚ when their batteries run out, the device is completely useless. One solution, SEAN BACHER discovers, is Duracell’s new range of rechargeable batteries. We’re also giving away six of their charging kits.

When I was young, remote control cars were my favourite. The idea of controlling them from a distance was fascinating. The range at which I could control them ‚ sometimes to the point where I nearly lost sight of the car ‚ never ceased to amaze me.

However, these and many similar toys brought with them one major problem. They all used batteries ‚ and when I say used, I mean they literally drained them quicker than downloading a full-length DVD from the Internet would drain your data bundle.

It got to the point that I had to limit myself to the amount of time I played with the cars. Usually, ten minutes a day was the maximum time I allocated to myself before returning to the front of the television.

Then I stumbled across rechargeable batteries. Would my problems be solved? Get the batteries, play with them until they are flat, recharge and carry on. However, when I arrived at the shop back then and learned the price ‚ around R40 per penlight battery (a lot when you received R20 pocket money a month) ‚ I quickly realized that this was not going to be easy.

My magic car at the time used six batteries in the remote control device and another four in the car. A quick calculation told me that 10 batteries, at R40 each, totaled R400. And I would need a charger ‚ another hundred odd rand! At a rate of R20 a month in pocket money, I was going to have to save up for years before I could afford my new power pack. Time for plan B: nag, nag, nag and then nag some more.

As expected, this worked wonders and after a few weeks my parents bought me the charger and batteries out of pure frustration and a need for peace and quiet.

But this brought me to my second problem. The batteries would take over 16 hours to charge, and I didn’t have 16 hours to sit around and wait before I could go chasing the dogs around with my car again. So I had to buy a second set of batteries to put on charge while using the first set.

That was then, of course. Although my remote control cars have long been retired to the storeroom, along with the batteries, newer and better rechargeable batteries and units are coming out all the time.

One such example is the Duracell Mini Charger. Included are two NiMH AA batteries, complete with a funky charging device that plugs straight into your wall socket. This charger makes quite a difference from previous charging units as its petite size makes it good to look at – and it’s unobtrusive when plugged in on your desk.

Furthermore, the batteries come fully charged and maintain their charge for up to five times longer than other brands we’ve been trying. Although we haven’t had enough time to test this, Duracell claims that the batteries will be able to retain up to 80% of their charge if not used after a year. They take only eight hours to charge and are suited for powering high-drainage devices.

The charger accepts both AA batteries and AAA ‚ which are becoming more and more common in remote controls.

I inserted a fully charged set of batteries into my Nintendo Wii controller and have been using the remote for around a week now. The batteries are showing no sign of weakening.

The Mini Charger complete with two AA batteries retails for around R120.

Duracell have also released a Value Charger. It can be thought of as a big brother to the Duracell Mini Charger, as it included four pre-charged batteries along with a charging device. Although the unit is not as attractive as its sibling, it is still small enough to plug into your electrical socket without taking up too much space.

Once again, the batteries keep their charge longer than others and the unit accepts the smaller batteries too. These batteries have been powering my digital camera for over a week now and are also showing no signs of giving up the ghost.

The Duracell Value Charger retails for around R160.

In conclusion

With new, power-hungry toys and gadgets arriving fast and furious on the market every day, rechargeable batteries are a must. The Duracell range is especially suitable as it caters for a wide range of products and is exceptionally well-priced.

Follow Sean on Twitter on @seanbacher

Want to win a Duracell Charger? Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/gadgetza and we will tell you how to be in line to be one of six winners.

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