(Off topic) Rechargeable Batteries for toys

I have noticed that almost all of my son’s toys that require batteries also warn you should only use alkaline batteries. Is there any reason that alkaline should be used over NiMH rechargeable batteries?

This is an odd question for the Republic Wireless forums, but the basic answer is that alkaline batteries (AA, AAA) put out 1.5V per battery. Rechargeable batteries on the other hand put out 1.2V. While some devices can handle the voltage difference, not all can and therefore recommend alkaline batteries.

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Thanks, louisdi. Makes sense. Can’t anything be posted in general discussion per the pages description? If not, I apologize for the off topic post.

Anything can be posted, but it doesn’t mean that this community has expertise to be able to answer it! :slight_smile:

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Hi @akerson23hu,

I think it speaks volumes about the people who participate in our Community that you’d post here with a more general electronics question.

I’ve updated your title just so anyone browsing knows it’s not a phone-related question.

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Note that it won’t do any harm to try out rechargeable batteries in these devices, but you’ll probably find that they don’t work very well. Possible problems to expect: dimmer lights, less power in motors, “low battery” warnings even though the rechargeables still have a charge.
Also, many rechargeable batteries are just a tiny bit (less than a mm) thicker than their alkaline counterparts. If the battery compartment is snug, they may get stuck.

Thanks. Yeah I wasn’t too worried since I’ve used rechargable batteries in my son’s various toys without any noticeable difference.

We got a bunch of hand me down toys and had to switch out a ton because they were leaking. This led me to my original theory that toys stated alkaline batteries because if they do leak they may not be as toxic as compared to nickel cadmium or nickel metal hydride batteries. This is just my theory which isn’t backed up by science. Ha.

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Another reason not to use NiCd or NiMh batteries in the toys is that unlike alkaline batteries, they have flat discharge curves meaning that they won’t show much sign of lower voltage as they discharge, right up until they don’t work anymore.

They will not leak but they are damaged when they are discharged too much and the low self discharge NiMh batteries also lose their “low self discharge” traits when they are discharged too much.

If the toys don’t have some indicator that the batteries are low then you run the risk of damaging the rechargeable batteries through draining them too much. Just use alkaline batteries and keep an eye on them and you should be good.

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