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Author Topic: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?  (Read 742 times)

Steve Litcher

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I recently sold off my Shure SBRC units and all of my SB-900a batteries in the interest of saving some weight while touring. The band I work with usually does direct support, so sets are relatively short (around 30 minutes or so).

We have 14 channels of Shure wireless (6x ULXD, 4x PSM1000, and 4x Axient).

I've been studying Shure's resources, watching Project Farm YT videos, and trying to find other information about the best rechargeable battery options (all of the units require AA batteries). It's really interesting to see how the rechargeables behave under load - the voltage drop, the longevity vs marketing/specs...

So, with all of this in mind, what are the preferred rechargeable, non-Shure batteries for Shure devices?

I was looking at the Fischer rack mount unit for recharging, now trying to find best options for the cells. The thing that scares me about the cells is when reading reviews on various retail sites, it sounds like it's a crap-shoot as to whether or not they'll die after a month of use, or if they'll match-up to the performance specs.

Real world experience/feedback is appreciated. I've used ProCells before, but would really like to avoid having to deal with dead batteries, recycling, and so on. I do have a bunch of these in two different colors (for "new" and "dead"), and love them.

Steve-White

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 02:59:01 pm »

Subscribed to thread.  Years ago, I recharged nicads, then the NIMH - because shelf life was so poor on charged cells, I then began using Lithium non-rechargeable for the best overall performance to include output and shelf life.

Wondering where things are today - might be time for a change from non-rechargeable Lithium to something rechargeable.
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Uwe Riemer2

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 03:57:03 pm »

weve been using Panasonic eneloops for two years now ( or more precise used them one year and then practically stored them away for another year ).
The white ones ( not pro )

So far they work pretty well. Size wise they fit tight into the Sennheiser ew units but not too bad, no idea about Shure.

Charging: Batteries get warm so I would not want to put them in isolating boxes while charging
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Russell Ault

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 04:06:28 pm »

{...} So, with all of this in mind, what are the preferred rechargeable, non-Shure batteries for Shure devices? {...}

It depends on your application. Historically, as Steve White mentioned, the biggest challenge of NiMH batteries (if you aren't doing 8 shows per week, anyway) is their relatively-high self-discharge rate, but this has been improving over the years. Maha recently replaced their Powerex model (which was basically the standard in theatre when everything shut down) with their new Powerex Pro, which is spec'ed to only self-discharge 25% per year. I've also used their Powerex Precharged model (~15% self-discharge per year, but lower capacity) with a group that only performs occasionally (I use two sets of batteries for that group: the previous-show's performance batteries are used for the current show's soundcheck, and the other set is recharged during soundcheck so they'll be fully-charged for the performance).

The two pieces of practical advice I can give are: (a) always carry at least one full set of alkalines, just in case, and (b) don't trust battery metres when using NiMH batteries.

-Russ
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 04:40:58 pm »


The two pieces of practical advice I can give are: (a) always carry at least one full set of alkalines, just in case, and (b) don't trust battery meters when using NiMH batteries.

-Russ
On many newer wireless systems (vague enough for you??) you can go into a menu and select what type of batteries you are using. In some cases, the manufacturers have taken the time to measure battery performance with the different types and allow you to select the type you are using so the metering is more accurate. That said, it's anybody's guess what brand of each type of battery (or brands... if they really did their homework) they used to do the modelling.
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David Sturzenbecher

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 05:36:57 pm »


If you were looking to save weight, why didn't you just axe the SBCR for the SBC800? 
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Russell Ault

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 05:53:04 pm »

On many newer wireless systems (vague enough for you??) you can go into a menu and select what type of batteries you are using. In some cases, the manufacturers have taken the time to measure battery performance with the different types and allow you to select the type you are using so the metering is more accurate. That said, it's anybody's guess what brand of each type of battery (or brands... if they really did their homework) they used to do the modelling.

The accuracy problem is ultimately due to the discharge voltage curve on NiMH batteries being so shallow that there just isn't an accurate way to measure capacity from voltage (special metering mode or no). Li-ion cells suffer from the same problem, which is why most state-of-charge indicators for modern batteries rely on other methods (like coulomb counters). This can work great when you can integrate the smarts directly into the battery packs themselves (which is also pretty common for Li-ion batteries), but obviously not when you're swapping out individual cells.

As far as I'm concerned, the most reliable "battery meter" for NiMH batteries is a stopwatch (as long as you're keeping track of the actual capacity of your batteries, anyway).

-Russ
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 06:20:00 pm »

With only 30 minute sets, it gives you a lot more flexibility in your choices.

For that purpose, you can buy the cheap bulk throw away alkaline batteries and put new ones in every show. Of course, that generates waste, but it's an option.

For rechargeable batteries, there are lots of options on the table, all with trade offs.  The biggest problem is there are SO many choices on the market, it's hard to know what's going to work and how well and for how long.  And even if you buy the same thing next week, it could be completely different internally and behave differently.

Rechargeable batteries have a finite lifespan, and how batteries are cared for will impact how long they live.  Different types need to be cared for in different ways.  Also, as previously noted, the meters on the mics are likely not going to give you anywhere near as accurate of a representation of remaining battery life.  Many LiON batteries have internal voltage controls that give you perfect power - until they don't.  No indicator given to the device that is being powered, so it's impossible to truly meter!

Regards to charging and battery life, again, knowing how many charge cycles each battery has gone through can help predict their lifespan.  LiON batteries are happiest if kept between 20 and 80% charge. If you do that, they can last pretty much forever.  But, keeping them in that happy charge range can be difficult to do.

There's no real right answer to this problem.  The Shure batteries were probably the 'best' choice for rechargeable batteries. Using anything else is going to open you to compromise.  Is the weight savings you get from not having that briefcase (and trading with another slightly smaller one) worth it?
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Russell Ault

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2021, 08:18:23 pm »

{...} For that purpose, you can buy the cheap bulk throw away alkaline batteries and put new ones in every show. Of course, that generates waste, but it's an option. {...}

I hate the waste, but if the OP's number one goal is saving weight, their absolute best-bet is to make alkaline batteries a rider item. You'll still need to carry a full set to cover the inevitable screw-ups, and you'll lose control over the quality of said batteries (although if they're only touching your equipment for 30 minutes at a time it'd hard for them to do too much damage), but that's definitely the lightest option.

Personally, I sleep better at night using rechargeables because I know that (a) I'm producing less waste and (b) all the show batteries are known entities (which, in my mind, is the sleeper advantage of regargeables: if the goal is to change nothing after the show opens, then why the heck are we willing to use new batteries directly from the packaging?).

-Russ
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Steve-White

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Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2021, 11:03:51 pm »

Russ why Alkaline's?  I men over like the non-rechargeable Lithium's.  I keep a couple of drawers full of them in the parts bin, different sizes.

Just curious and always want to learn.  I know the why for backup batteries of course.  Just curious about Alkaline -vs- other types. 
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Not another battery thread.... but yes. Best battery options?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2021, 11:03:51 pm »


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