/ Beacon Batteries

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Xharlie on 14 Feb 2019

I've learned that my new Mammut avalanche beacon (that will see its first outing, tomorrow) requires three AAA batteries -- either alkaline or lithium but definitely NOT rechargeable. There are some, in the box, but I was wondering: what batteries do YOU recommend for one's beacon?

It feels odd to trust one's life to things one finds, dying, in a cheap, plastic alarm clock and one buys from the side of an Aldi check-out.

So... questions:

  1. Do you find that Lithium (non-rechargeable) batteries are worth the extra price? Truthfully, I haven't managed to find anyone who even sells them so I have no idea how much they cost but all my German colleagues scoff and say that they're insanely expensive so I shouldn't bother -- Alkalines last long enough and, if you don't forget to remove them in between outings, they don't cause any problems.
  2. What about the cold. Alkaline batteries are supposed to be susceptible to cold, aren't they?
  3. Assuming you use Alkalines, do you buy any old Alkalines (off the side of an Aldi check-out, for example) or look for a specific brand?
  4. Following up from previous, are there any brands you absolutely avoid?
  5. My wife has some "industrial" Alkaline batteries (Varta) left over (unused, still sealed) from one of her laboratory studies and has said I'm free to take them. Whatever are "industrial" batteries, anyway? They're still AAA and they're still Alkaline so what's the difference?

Maybe these are dumb questions but if my life could depend on the adequacy of my cells or my partner's life could depend on me being able to engage search-mode without watching the device keel over and die like ones smart-phone when one is trying to find a friend's house and late for a dinner invitation, I guess I'll feel better having asked.

EDIT: I'll use the batteries in the box, obviously, but I'm asking for future reference.

Post edited at 09:10
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OwenM - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

How much is your life worth?

Yes lithium batteries last longer than cheapo ones from out of the out of date bin. 

You've just spent how much on a beacon but won't spend a couple of quid on decent batteries.

Post edited at 09:26
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Xharlie on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to OwenM:

> You've just spent how much on a beacon but won't spend a couple of quid on decent batteries.

Did I say that?

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Doug on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I've always bought new batteries from a known brand (eg duracell but not supermarkets own brand) before each longer trip & even if doing occasional day trips, changing them once they show as less than maybe 75%. Maybe changing them too often but I'd rather not take the chance of a battery failing just when I most need it

And then I use the partially used batteries for other things - tv remote control, headtorch, etc

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tomsan91 - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

In my ortovox beacon I always use a new duracell battery at the start of any trip, typically keep at 99% charge for the week if you dont use the search mode. I take this out at the end of the trip and use a fresh one next time. I personally wouldnt bother with the lithium, just take a pack of AAA's with you  and change as required (I assume your beacon gives a battery % reading on start up?)

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StuDoig - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

Having used both lithium and Alkaline batteries (pulse transceiver), lithium definitely last longer, esp if using search a lot.  I don't think that cold is a big issue as normally your transceiver isn't out exposed to the elements, so kept fairly warm.  I've currently got lithium batteries, but wouldn't worry about using alkaline batteries if that's what I had to hand.

I normally change out below 80% but never go through more than 2 sets in a season.

One downside to lithium is that (on my generation of pluse anyway) the battery % displayed is a pure extrapolation based on hrs run rather than actual power levels from the battery.  If you disconnect the batteries, then re-insert and tell the device it's a new set of batteries it'll tell you they are at 100%......

Cheers,

Stu

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daWalt on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

what Doug said.

normal alk batteries, just not the cheap supermarket own-brand ones (because yes they are less good - although they would do just as well, I just would be less certain that they would last for a weeks hut to hut tour with plenty left in the bank on the final day. maybe they would, never tried it)

because  you change the batteries out long before they are running low, you would be paying over the odds to do with this lithiums.

Post edited at 14:35
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TobyA on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I've never had any problems with 'supermarket' batteries - I've used IKEA ones, or Biltema - which is like a Nordic version of Halfords and B&Q rolled into one (but better than both) - AAAs and AAs for years with really no problems. Alpkit do (or have) sold Duracell Industrials at a very good price if the brand name is important, but I got told by engineer who dealt with battery technology for a phone giant that there really isn't much between different labelled alkaline batteries.

I bet if you buy really expensive lithiums, you'll take them out after your trip, put them in the bag along with the beacon, then next year when you get it out you'll think "those batteries cost me 15 quid, I'm sure they are still OK" (and they probably are) and just pop them back in the beacon. Whilst if they were IKEA ones, you take them out after the trip and pop them in some little gadget in the house where it really doesn't matter if the batteries are flat, and stick completely new ones in the beacon come next winter!

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AdrianC - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I've always used alkalines - usually one of the well known brands.  The cold shouldn't be an issue since you'll be wearing your transceiver under your outer and mid-layers - won't you?

A couple of practical steps you can take to avoid a flat battery at a critical moment:-

1.  Make a battery level check part of your morning transceiver check routine.  For example, when you check each other's transceivers for send and receive before you head out, verbally confirm to each other your battery percentage (the transceiver will tell you this - usually as part of its self check when it's turned on.)  Look at the manufacturer's recommended trigger level for changing them and, as others have said, use them in non-critical applications after that.

2.  Have a spare set of batteries in your pack.  Ideally they'll be the same type as in your headtorch so you only need one spare set.

The modern digital transceivers do seem to get through batteries faster than the old analogue ones, especially in search mode.

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OwenM - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> I bet if you buy really expensive lithiums, you'll take them out after your trip, put them in the bag along with the beacon, then next year when you get it out you'll think "those batteries cost me 15 quid, I'm sure they are still OK" (and they probably are) and just pop them back in the beacon.

Where are you going for your batteries, four lithium AAA's cost me £5.25 at the Co-op? 

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Dave - on 14 Feb 2019
In reply to TobyA:

I use lithium in my Mammut Pulse. They last a long time (310 vs about 250h for alkaline) and are lighter and one very important advantage is that they don't leak acid. Alkaline batteries can leak, in my experience especially the cheaper ones,  and if they do then you are likely looking at a new beacon or an expensive repair. Unlike alkaline batteries you should not take lithium batteries out of the transceiver after the winter season. Keep them in until the power percentage drops to whatever you feel comfortable with and then use them in something else. Lithium are a bit more expensive and only seem to be available from the big name manufacturers. Lithium are not recommended in many beacons, so check what the instructions say. Mammut recommend to use a branded battery from one of the well known names and check that the negative terminal is not recessed as some are. More info here. https://tinyurl.com/y6t5a7cs

> I bet if you buy really expensive lithiums, you'll take them out after your trip, put them in the bag along with the beacon, then next year when you get it out you'll think "those batteries cost me 15 quid, I'm sure they are still OK" (and they probably are) and just pop them back in the beacon. Whilst if they were IKEA ones, you take them out after the trip and pop them in some little gadget in the house where it really doesn't matter if the batteries are flat, and stick completely new ones in the beacon come next winter!

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JuneBob on 15 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I did a training session on Monday in the snow at around -2C, and my mammut pulse had 45% at the start with alkaline batteries. It lasted about 1hr and was in search mode about half the time.

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Siward on 15 Feb 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

I misread the title of this thread as Bacon Butties. It must be that other thread on my mind

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