Author Topic: Battery Life? How long is good enough?  (Read 6616 times)

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bluelamb03

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Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« on: February 17, 2011, 09:37:44 »
Nikon Guy has posted in a "GEAR" thread, http://canadascapitalcachers.ca/forum/index.php?topic=496.msg4520#new :

Quote
I found from Garmin that the Oregon will last about 4-5 hours on 2700mAh NiMH batteries with the battery saver function off.

Batteries are expensive, and will only last so many charge/discharge cycles. As a heavy user of them I expect them to last. My MAP60Cx will run for a week or more before I swap out a set of batteries. I get some support from the car's power cord while I'm driving around, but I'll run on internal power a good portion of the day as well. I'd be very disappointed if my GPSr was going through batteries like a sailor on shore leave going through beer!

I've never given battery life any thought, so I suppose the MAP60's performance is adequate. As a new owner of one the various Oregon iterations do you find that you're going through batteries faster than before?

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cron

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 11:05:09 »
Cold and night caching are two major factors, but I would say swapping batteries once a week for casual use (12-15 hours) is about what I'm expecting of my 60CSx (backlight on for 30 seconds whenever I push a button at night, compass always off).

I've got two dedicated pairs of Eneloops for the GPSr and they've been through quite an amount of cycles so far. They're still holding power well enough.

bluelamb03

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 11:29:55 »
I'm well satisfied with the Enloops as well. That thread has references to PowerEx issues but I'm not sure if that's a common complaint.

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kirok

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 12:58:22 »
I've had no issues with my PowerEX batteries. I have many pairs, and they all work fine. 
In my 60csx they last well over a week. In my 62 they last max 3 days.

The red-haired witch

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 13:07:34 »
My older rechargeable batteries (some are 4 or 5 years old) don't last as long as the new ones that came with my Oregon, but I always carry several pairs.  The ones with less mA have to be recharged more often, but I see no reason to throw them away as long as they take a charge.  When they die, I'll look into those Eneloops, the "not losing their charge while in storage" being the main reason.

The Oregon, having a larger brighter screen than the 60cx, may empty batteries a bit faster, but I don't mind using the "back light off after 1 minute" feature (I only set it to always on when velocaching).

CocaColaCacher

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 14:03:51 »
I'm using some Energizer 2400's and I find they last me a week or two (I am truely a casual cacher  :D ).  I always have a spare pair of the same as well plus a set of Duracell Ultra's as a backup-backup set and a set of kirklands in my camera but if I ever got that desperate I'd be concerned about an unplanned campout!  I am in the process of getting more Duracell rechargables for home use when ever Shoppers Drugmart has their sale (and I can get there in time to actually get some).

I have my Oregon set for 30 sec backlight and I find that fine.  I keep the compass on, I like that feature but I have chirp detection off most of the time.

When working on LADITH for example, I did keep my backlight on for the whole trek but this was a specific mission so I didn't mind burning through a charge.  That is the nice thing about rechargables, you can knowingly use up a set of batteries quickly and not worry about having to throw them out afterwards.

-------

On a bit of a side note:  I hope people take advantage of proper battery disposal facilities rather than throwing them in the garbage.  We have facilities at my workplace so please feel free to give me your old batteries at the monthly workshop if you don't have easy access yourself.  I don't mind dropping them off.

Nikon-Guy

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 18:03:54 »
As I was saying in my last reply to the other thread..

I'm going to have to try a fresh new set of batteries.

Garmin shows that the Oregon 450 should last about 16 hours.  

There's also a bunch of other things you have to set up.  Battery saver mode to turn off the screen when the backlight times out at 2 minutes set at 50%.

Also they recommended using NiMH or Lithium over alkalines, but since we are currently in a climate that dips below freezing, this may impact battery life and Lithiums are recommended.  This could get expensive.

However, I've tried a fresh charge of my PowerEx batteries, Eneloops and Alkalines.  All with similar results.

Last weekend, when I grabbed my 1700 find, I had put in a fresh set of alkalines (out of the box) and about an hour later (battery saver mode off, backlight timed out at 30 secs) the unit beeped at me stating that "Battery power was too low, to use full backlight and tones" (funny, I wasn't even using full backlight).  The Oregon lasted about another 3 to 4 hours before it completely shut off.

I don't seem to remember these shortened battery capacity lengths with my Colorado, but then again, the Oregon does have a slightly larger, high resolution screen, improved ANT transceiver and faster processor.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 18:17:03 by Nikon-Guy »

missbug

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 18:06:25 »
i have duracell white top rechargeables (recent.. i can't think of the amperage or whatever right now). i can't go caching for a whole day with my oregon 550 without changing the pair. i always keep the screen at a reasonably modest setting, depending on when and where i am.

Nikon-Guy

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 18:16:23 »
i have duracell white top rechargeables (recent.. i can't think of the amperage or whatever right now). i can't go caching for a whole day with my oregon 550 without changing the pair. i always keep the screen at a reasonably modest setting, depending on when and where i am.

Do you remember how long until you've had to change your batteries?

RDLtrekker

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 20:09:29 »
I have the Oregon 300 and I have Enaloop rechargables. When it's really cold, I can go a full "GeoMob caching day" without changing but by the next day... kaput!

When we were in Nevada, we cached for about 10 hours the first day NON-STOP and I still had some life in the batteries. The only reason I changed them that night was I did not want to slow down the pace the next day once we got going - but I probably could have gotten another few hours out of them. So, if the GPS had not had the screen on at all times, I most likely could get the stipulated 16 hours of normal caching out of one charge. I certainly would not want to put non-rechargables in though - that could get really expensive (new batteries every other Saturday ;) )
Just one more... :) !


inkyfiller

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2011, 09:09:28 »
I have an Oregon 450 and find batteries variable. Some days 4-6 hours on freshly recharged eneloops or white top duracells. Other days a lot less. I keep a rotation of 4-5 pairs in my swag bag, and have gotten used to a change in the field. Pretty sure the batteries themselves aren't getting back to full potential after about 50 recharges. My old Maggie 600 went for days. (The price of progress.)

Nikon-Guy

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2011, 00:33:19 »
I have an Oregon 450 and find batteries variable. Some days 4-6 hours on freshly recharged eneloops or white top duracells. Other days a lot less. I keep a rotation of 4-5 pairs in my swag bag, and have gotten used to a change in the field. Pretty sure the batteries themselves aren't getting back to full potential after about 50 recharges. My old Maggie 600 went for days. (The price of progress.)

Okay... so it isn't just me...

It seems the power draw on the Oregon is quite demanding.  After removing the batteries that I used today from the Oregon, after the Oregon shut down by itself, I put the AA's into a Mini-Maglite and there was enough power to run the mini-mag for another hour or so...

However, I've decided that I was going to do a test... I've bought 5 different brands of rechargable batteries.  Energizer, Duracell (white tops), Eneloops, PowerEx and Imedions.  Over the next month or so, I'm going to do my own test on self-discharge.  After that I will see which ones last longer in the Oregon 450 at Max use, ie.  full backlight, map screen, battery saver mode off, etc.

inkyfiller

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 08:05:31 »
I'll look forward to the test results.

Nikon-Guy

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 11:27:02 »
I have noted the percentage retained by each battery, from the full charge on day 1 to day 2.   :o

PowerEx  98%
Imedion   98%
Duracell   97%
Eneloops  97%
Energizer  97%

I'm testing 4 batteries per group and averaging the results.

It seems to be a tight start in the beginning...   Anyone wanna take bets?   ;D

CocaColaCacher

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Re: Battery Life? How long is good enough?
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2011, 15:29:32 »
I got curious when looking at the spec sheet for my Energizers so I did a little googling.

I found this in the groundspeak forums with regards to the Oregon 450

http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=262344  ETA: found better numbers further down the post
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Main screen: 110-120 mA
Sat status screen: 130-140 mA
Compass screen: 230-250 mA
Compass screen blanked by "power save" option: 230-250 mA
Map screen when idle: 110-120 mA
Map redraws (either caused by movement or panning the map): momentarily 280 mA until done
Map screen blanked: 100-120 mA
--
Backlight: Turning it up to 50% adds an estimated 10-20 mA to the power usage, 75% backlight about +30 mA and 100% backlight about 70-80 mA additional current.
-----------

So, taking in to account the worst situation of lots of map redraws and the backlight cranked up to 100%, I'd say the you could hit a draw of more than 350mA on the battery.

Now looking at my energizer battery specs  http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/nh15-2300.pdf  a draw of a steady 350mA should allow for a battery life of about 7-8 hours.  A draw of 230mA (1/10 of the mA rating of the battery and probably a more realistic drain of the battery by the GPSr) should result in about 10 hours of use).  All of these are for a temp of 21C.  They do say that performance of the battery outside of the 0C to 50C operation range will be significatly reduced so taking in to account a typical winter in Ottawa I'd figure life of  ~6 hours would be expected.

The poster also came to the conclusion "that neither WAAS nor compass has a significant impact on battery life" and " would estimate that having Chirp searching enabled draws an additional 10-15 mA."

« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 15:46:23 by CocaColaCacher »