Choose the Blue Pill...er, Battery

If you’ve been around ChurchTechArts for any length of time, you know I’m a big rechargeable battery fan. I placed my first order with Horizon Battery in July of 2006 for ten 250 mAh 9V batteries and a charger. I was a new, part-time TD and saw how much money we had in the budget for batteries. I knew there had to be a better way, and had seen their ad in Church Production. I figured, why not give it a shot. And I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve personally ordered hundreds of batteries and dozens of chargers. I’ve tested, and used them exclusively for wireless mic’s, flashlights, keyboards, mice and Magic Trackpads for the last seven years (long before Horizon was a sponsor). I say all that to make the point that I’m not just a shill for the company. And while they do spot me a few things here and there, I pay for 95% of all my batteries. 

With that out of the way, I wanted to update you on the state of rechargeable batteries. I’ve been receiving a few reports of late from people who have had trouble with the new batteries fitting in their mic’s, and even damaging battery trays. We ran into the same issue. A while back, Ansmann released these new batteries:

Stay away from these for Shure mic's. They fit OK in Sennheiser, and you'll have to test them in other brands. Or just get the Slimline versions (below)

Stay away from these for Shure mic's. They fit OK in Sennheiser, and you'll have to test them in other brands. Or just get the Slimline versions (below)

They are the same 2850 mAh capacity AA cells we’re used to, but for some reason, they are a little bigger around than the old blue or shiny silver ones we once got. I believe this has to do with new European regulations for rating the batteries, but we have seen issues with them fitting. They are very tight in a Shure UR2 handheld, and they really don’t work well at all in UR1 body packs or PSM wireless in ear packs. 

Unfortunately, like a lot of you, I didn’t notice this until I ordered a whole set of them. I also didn’t notice that the Slimline version has been re-issued. It looks like this:

For Shure mic's, body packs and PSM receivers, you'll want to use these.

For Shure mic's, body packs and PSM receivers, you'll want to use these.

I ordered a set of these and found they work perfectly in all the Shure products—including the PSM packs we had big problems with using the dull silver versions. So, if you’re going to be ordering new batteries anytime soon, make sure you get the Slimline version in the blue wrapping. The good news is that they are the same price, and the same rated capacity. Why not just offer these and not the other ones? As I said, it has to do with the way the batteries are rated, and apparently, the blue ones may not have quite the actual capacity of the new ones. But they do fit better, and the runtime is still far more than adequate (we got almost 14 hours in our test).

I did find that the “full-size” dull silver batteries work fine in Sennheiser G3 handhelds and body packs. So I’m re-deploying my dull silver cells throughout the church in our kids and student rooms where they will work just fine. 

So if you're a Shure house I recommend buying the blue, Slimline version if you’re ordering; that will ensure they will fit in whatever mic you need to use them for. If you just bought a bunch of new, silver ones, this might be frustrating, but keep in mind, if you were using alkaline batteries, you would buy them, use them and throw them away. At least you can use the dull silver ones in your mice, keyboards and other mic's. 

If you’re curious about rechargeable batteries and are new to the subject (or have a bad taste in your mouth from being burned with the bad ones of old…) you can see my comprehensive reporting of the subject here: Rechargeable Batteries

Oh, and if you happen to need any AAA cells, you should order up some of the new 1100 mAh versions. Again, due to the new ratings, we have found these to last far longer (in runtime) than the old 1000 mAh AAAs, at least in our UR-1M. Apparently, to be called an 1100 mAh, they actually have to be closer to that, whereas the old 1000 mAh versions were more like 750-800. So it's a big upgrade. And they fit fine.

Today's post is brought to you by GearTechs. Technology for Worship is what they do. Audio, video and lighting; if it's part of your worship service, and it has to do with technology, GearTechs can probably help. Great products, great advice, GearTechs.