Terminal TLC

Seven battery survival strategies to get you by.

by Dwight Eschliman

Dwight Eschliman

1. Pick up a USB charging adapter. In a pinch, you can siphon power from a computer to revive dead cells.

2. Charging AA or AAA cells can take 15 minutes with Rayovac's NiMH rechargeable system, which equalizes internal pressure. $40; rayovac.com

3. Buying a digital camera? Check the shots-per-charge spec from the Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) for an apples-to-apples comparison.

4. When your cellphone roams on an analog network, you get 40 percent less talk time than you would on a digital connection. To conserve battery life, program your phone to stick to digital networks.

5. Fully draining lithium-ion batteries ages them prematurely. Instead, top them off regularly, and keep them cool (but not refrigerated).

6. If you use alkalines in a high-drain device, don't toss them when they're dead--because they're not. Use their remaining capacity for your TV remote.

7. Batteries contain hazardous materials--cadmium, nickel, and so forth. So don't just trash them; find a recycling center near you at rbrc.com/consumer.