Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:more than 1 month
Great way to determine strength of batteries that have been lying around the house for a long time.
This is a good, low cost, easy to use battery tester, that provides basic information about the condition of a battery. The tester has three ranges, `Good' (green), Low (yellow), and `Replace' (red). The sliding red contact is adjusted manually.
The tester is designed to work with various types of 1.5 volt batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, disc or button type). Do not try testing a battery of a higher voltage, as you may fry a resistor, blow a fuse, or otherwise damage the tester. There is a separate set of contacts for testing 9 volt batteries.
To precisely measure a battery's actual output, a voltmeter would be used. A tester like this only provides a rough idea of battery strength. A new 1.5 volt, non-rechargeable battery, delivering the full 1.5 volts, should read at the top end of the green scale. Rechargeable batteries (AA, AAA, C and D size) are designed to produce only 1.2 volts at full output. Because this is 80 percent of the 1.5 volt maximum the tester is rated for, a NiMH battery will normally read somewhere in the middle of the green section. This may lead some to believe that the battery is `weak', when it is actually at its full rated power. While a lower reading is normal for a NiMH battery, a 1.5 volt non-rechargeable battery with the same reading, is actually down about 20 percent from full voltage, and may not have that much useful life left. Rechargeable 9 volt batteries are rated at only 7.2 volts, and would similarly produce lower readings, even at full power.
I have also tested batteries that I use in devices that take multiple batteries and can quickly determine if one or all of them need to be replaced. There are similar products on the market that likely work as well. This was one of the least expensive, is easy to use, seems durable and does the job.
Not really cons, 1º) If you want a basic tester for batteries, this is a good choice. If you need more precision, look at a voltmeter or multimeter. 2º) Because the sliding red contact is adjusted manually, you must place the battery on the contacts correctly and hold it in place for the meter to read properly, but that's really no problem.
This inexpensive device does exactly what you want a battery tester to do - tell you if a battery is good or bad. No need to interpret a multimeter or fiddle with electrodes. The needle bounces to "good" or "replace." Easy, this inexpensive little piece of plastic has improved the quality of my life. No more swapping out batteries with working flashlights or Wii controllers or whatnot to see if they're truly dead. And I've developed a nice green system around it: all batteries that flunk the test are put into a bag that periodically gets emptied at a battery recycling collection spot.
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