Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Rechargeable 9v Batteries—Q&A

Several people have asked if I will be testing and reviewing 9v rechargeable batteries anytime soon. The short answer is no. I only have one device (a PSM600) that uses 9v right now, and hope to replace that by summer. Still, I’ve used a lot of 9v batteries in the past, so I’ll put up some thoughts and recommendations here.

First, I’ve had great success with Ansmann 250 mAh 9v batteries and chargers. I’ve used the 9v cells in ULX mics from Shure as well as PSM600s and PSM700s. Run time was always more than two services, and as long as we changed them regularly, they never failed us. The batteries themselves lasted a long time; I have 2 churches worth of experience at 2 years each. Given how expensive a disposable 9v is, the payback period is short.

UPDATE 10/6/13: Ansmann now makes a 300 mAh 9v battery, which I would recommend over the 250 mAh version. Horizon Battery also carries a 600 mAh LiOn battery from HiTech. According to reports, this battery will run 12-15 hours. You must use their charger, however, so be aware of that. Still, it looks like a great option if you are still running 9v batteries. END UPDATE

The question was raised about capacity of 9v batteries, and how they appear to be much less than a AA. Simply looking at mAh ratings does not tell the whole story; we need to look at energy capacity, and for that we need to convert to watts (or in this case, milliwatts). Take a 9v 250 mAh battery. The actual voltage is 8.4 volts. We know that Volts x Amps = Watts, so, 8.4 x 250 = 2,100 mW. In contrast, a AA rated at 2700 mAh works out this way: 1.2 x 2700 = 3,240.

So while it’s true that a AA cell has significantly higher energy density (which is why most mics are heading to AAs…), the 9v is not too shabby.

I’ve also use the 300 mAh Powerex batteries from Maha with great success. Do that math on those and you end up with 2,520 mW. iPower also makes a LiPolymer 9v rated at 500 mAh, which gives you over 4,000 mW. So the capacity is there—just know that run times will be a little shorter with the lower power batteries.

If you only need a few 9v batteries, look at the Maha MH-C490F. It’s a 4 position charger and runs about $30. For higher capacity, look at Maha’s MH-C1090F (8 positions, $50) or Ansmann’s 10-bay 9v charger at $70. Personally, I wouldn’t spend the extra money on the Ansmann rack mount chargers (they are over $500), unless you really need them racked.

You can find the Maha chargers, Powerex and iPower batteries at Thomas Distributing. Horizon Battery handles Ansmann batteries and chargers (and the folks there are super-helpful if you have questions).

12 Comments

  1. tgibson@efccl.org

    Thanks Mike for the 9V update. Confirms my leaning towards the Ansmann 10 bay charger. Horizon has a kit w/ the charger and 10 batteries for a good price. I’ll be able to get that next month and another one later this year. Thanks for all this!

  2. tgibson@efccl.org

    Thanks Mike for the 9V update. Confirms my leaning towards the Ansmann 10 bay charger. Horizon has a kit w/ the charger and 10 batteries for a good price. I’ll be able to get that next month and another one later this year. Thanks for all this!

  3. Jeff@protog.com.au

    Hi Mike

    A couple of other notes re 9V vs AA.

    1) Most microphones take 2 x AA or 1 x 9V, so the comparison becomes 8.4 x 300 = 2,520mW vs 2 x 1.2 x 2700 = 6,480mW.

    2) some mics are sensitive to Voltage, particularly older microphones,s ot the Powerex 9.6V 230mA batteries will provide more energy (and longer runtime) before reaching the cut-off voltage.

    2) The iPower 9V are lithium rather than NiMH, while this provides a higher density of energy, and thus higher capacity for the same sized battery, Lithium batteries are a different chemistry, and thus a different voltage. The voltage of the iPower batteries is 7.2V, not 9V, so the energy capacity is only 500mA x 7.2V = 3,600mW. Further, as some mics are voltage sensitive, they will cut out at around 8V, so s the battery depletes and the voltage drops, you won’t be able to access the full 3600mW capacity.

  4. Jeff@protog.com.au

    Hi Mike

    A couple of other notes re 9V vs AA.

    1) Most microphones take 2 x AA or 1 x 9V, so the comparison becomes 8.4 x 300 = 2,520mW vs 2 x 1.2 x 2700 = 6,480mW.

    2) some mics are sensitive to Voltage, particularly older microphones,s ot the Powerex 9.6V 230mA batteries will provide more energy (and longer runtime) before reaching the cut-off voltage.

    2) The iPower 9V are lithium rather than NiMH, while this provides a higher density of energy, and thus higher capacity for the same sized battery, Lithium batteries are a different chemistry, and thus a different voltage. The voltage of the iPower batteries is 7.2V, not 9V, so the energy capacity is only 500mA x 7.2V = 3,600mW. Further, as some mics are voltage sensitive, they will cut out at around 8V, so s the battery depletes and the voltage drops, you won’t be able to access the full 3600mW capacity.

  5. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks, Jeff, for the additional information and clarification!
    mike

  6. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks, Jeff, for the additional information and clarification!
    mike

  7. etumbleson@gmail.com

    We have been getting amazing run times on our Shure 9V stuff with the HiTech 9V 600 mah Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery. The downside is the 500 recharge cycle life, oh well… we were doing three Batt changes a Sunday. Now we just start rehearsal and I could care less if they even turn the stuff off after practice in the morning. Money well spent ( bought from site sponsor, Horizon)

  8. etumbleson@gmail.com

    We have been getting amazing run times on our Shure 9V stuff with the HiTech 9V 600 mah Lithium Ion Rechargeable Battery. The downside is the 500 recharge cycle life, oh well… we were doing three Batt changes a Sunday. Now we just start rehearsal and I could care less if they even turn the stuff off after practice in the morning. Money well spent ( bought from site sponsor, Horizon)

  9. gbmaryland@verizon.net

    Ok,

    So I'm trying something a little different, and I'll give you my experiences.

    I'm using a thermal camera that uses six (6) 9 volt batteries and runs from 3-10.5 hours.

    Batteries tested:

    – Energizer Advanced Lithium 9 volt: 10.5 hours of run time (disposable)
    – Utilitech Alkaline 9 volt: ~5 hours (disposable)
    – IMEDION PowerEx NiMH "True 9.6 volt" 9volt: 3.4 hours (NiMH Recharable)
    – iPowerUS v3 Li-ion "520mAh 9volt": 7.5 hours (Li-ion Recharable)

    So these are in unit testing… and the test was conducted with a time delay camera taking a picture through the other camera's viewer at 60 second intervals to tell us how long the first camera ran.

    The iPowerUS v4 9volt batteries are the CLEAR winner. The NiMH batteries just don't stack up, nor do any of the others – Including Alkaline batteries!

    The iPower batteries are supposed to recharge about 1000 times.

    Compared to Duracell ProCell Alkaline batteries, you'd need to purchase 87 ProCell batteries to break even with the purchase of hte iPower set of 6 batteries with the 4 battery charger.

    The iPower batteries charge in 60 mintues from a state of completely depleted.

    The PowerEx 9.6 batteries require 2-3 hours to recharge from a depleted state. (Wow.)

    You folks can extrapolate the rest.

    (I'm interested the HiTech Li-ion rechargables… and that's how I stumbled across this thread.)

  10. gbmaryland@verizon.net

    Ok,

    So I'm trying something a little different, and I'll give you my experiences.

    I'm using a thermal camera that uses six (6) 9 volt batteries and runs from 3-10.5 hours.

    Batteries tested:

    – Energizer Advanced Lithium 9 volt: 10.5 hours of run time (disposable)
    – Utilitech Alkaline 9 volt: ~5 hours (disposable)
    – IMEDION PowerEx NiMH "True 9.6 volt" 9volt: 3.4 hours (NiMH Recharable)
    – iPowerUS v3 Li-ion "520mAh 9volt": 7.5 hours (Li-ion Recharable)

    So these are in unit testing… and the test was conducted with a time delay camera taking a picture through the other camera's viewer at 60 second intervals to tell us how long the first camera ran.

    The iPowerUS v4 9volt batteries are the CLEAR winner. The NiMH batteries just don't stack up, nor do any of the others – Including Alkaline batteries!

    The iPower batteries are supposed to recharge about 1000 times.

    Compared to Duracell ProCell Alkaline batteries, you'd need to purchase 87 ProCell batteries to break even with the purchase of hte iPower set of 6 batteries with the 4 battery charger.

    The iPower batteries charge in 60 mintues from a state of completely depleted.

    The PowerEx 9.6 batteries require 2-3 hours to recharge from a depleted state. (Wow.)

    You folks can extrapolate the rest.

    (I'm interested the HiTech Li-ion rechargables… and that's how I stumbled across this thread.)

  11. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Gary,
    Very cool! Thanks for giving us those results. 9v batteries have been the Achille"s heel of rechargeable technology. But it's looking more and more like LiOn is the way to go. Thanks for sharing!
    mike

  12. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Gary,
    Very cool! Thanks for giving us those results. 9v batteries have been the Achille"s heel of rechargeable technology. But it's looking more and more like LiOn is the way to go. Thanks for sharing!
    mike

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