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I require 1.5v battery but rechargeable batteries are 1.2v

10 February 2010 5 Comments

You are right that your normal Dry cells and Alkaline batteries are advertised as 1.5v compared to NiMH / NiCD rechargeable that give an output of 1.2v but you should be able to use most of your devices that are advertised to work with 1.5v batteries should work perfectly fine with rechargeable NiCD / NiMH batteries that give 1.2v because the important thing to note regarding the voltage of a battery is the voltage output  a battery provides to your device when it’s under load.

Alkaline battery have a voltage of around 1.5 – 1.6v off the shelf, but alkaline batteries have a sloped discharge curve, their voltage drops over the life time of the battery until the battery is not usable, hence an  voltage of a alkaline battery quickly drops to around 1.25v under actual load, and around 1v when its almost discharged, also alkaline batteries suffer from high internal resistance thus they are not ideal for high drain devices, whereas an rechargeable NiMH battery voltage is around 1.35 – 1.38v when its fully charged and under load it starts around 1.25v and then stays around 1.2v and continues to provide 1.2v until the battery is almost fully depleted, normally the voltage provide by an rechargeable NiMH battery is much more constant when you compared it with an voltage output of an alkaline battery.

The only problem you can face with NiMH rechargeable batteries is that if you have a device which requires 4 or more cells in series then it can create a voltage drop due to the low voltage of NiCD / NiMH rechargeable batteries and the device might refuse to run or power on, but I have found only a handful of devices which behave in such a manner, almost 90% of the devices I have tested work fine with NiMH batteries which provide 1.2 volts.

Most new electronic gear / equipment manufacturer’s take into account the lower voltage of rechargeable batteries hence you should not have any problems with the same, if some of your devices do have problem with NiCD / NiMH rechargeable batteries of 1.2v and refuse to work due to low voltage you can try out the new NiZn rechargeable (nickle Zinc) batteries which give a voltage of 1.6 volts.


  • jay said:

    I have a model chopper – the battery pack (consists of 7 cells) says 8.4v 650 mAh – Ni-MH
    I understand that the 8.4v is made up of 1.2 v x 7
    what about the current?
    Can I use 7 pieces of 1.2v 4600 mAh sony cells to make the battery – will it damage the device or will it provide longer power??

  • Peter McMahon said:

    Yes you can, if the chopper can lift the bigger, heavier batteries. It will still only take the same current, and will run for much longer. I assume the old batteries were AA & the new ones C or Sub C, so it might have trouble lifting them. If so, try some nickel-metal hydride (Ni-Mh) AA’s. They are available up to about 2700mAh, which will give you over 4x the running time (probably more, as they will be more lightly loaded for their capacity).

  • Fausto Suarez said:

    No, it won’t damage your device. The rated mAh is the maximum amount of current the battery can supply, the important thing is the voltage and not to be below the mAh required for your device. It’s like car batteries, most of them are 12V but the difference is the amperes they can deliver, for a big engine you need more “cranking amperes” to start it than for a small one which just needs a small motor (starter) drawing a small amount of current (amperes) to start the engine.If the battery is over rated the starter will take only the current it needs. The helicopter has an electric motor, and it works the same way.

  • pat said:

    Thank you for telling me that my camera will work just fine when replacing my regular 1.5v aaa batteries with rechargable 1.2v aaa batteries with no harm to my camera.

  • Daniel said:

    Well it’s true most devices will work with the rechargeable batteries, but a lot of devices will work a little bit different, for example I have my mp3 player that uses one battery, it will say my battery it’s low all the time even when battery is fully charged, my wall thermometer works but with rechargeable battery the lcd screen looks more clear, with normal batteries the black numbers look BLACK with rechargeable the numbers look grey, a lot of devices work but they don’t work as they should, I know there should be a reason why the rechargeable battery are 1.2 v but there is a lot of reasons why rechargeable batteries should be 1.5 v it gets annoying but well looks like all batteries are 1.2 v.

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