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Charging "Non-Rechargeable" Batteries and Saving Money

Charging "Non-Rechargeable" Batteries and Saving Money
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Synopsis: The Watts Clever SBC1001 Smart Charger - charging up "non-rechargeable" batteries, seems somehow naughty and saves cash.


In autumn 2011 I visited the offices of a company called Watts Clever in Hong Kong. I remember it distinctly because I was greeted by a friendly Yorkshireman, given Yorkshire Tea and a Penguin biscuit. It all seemed more Halifax than Hong Kong and the incongruity of it made it all seem a little unreal.

One of the products they showed me also seemed somewhat unreal. A Smart Battery Charger that actually recharges non-rechargeable batteries. The obvious question is that why do they call them non-rechargeable if they can, in fact, be re-charged?

A conspiracy theorist might argue that the companies with a vested interest in selling more and more batteries might label them non-rechargeable to keep us all coming back to buy more and more batteries. They even print things like “may explode if recharged” on the side of some of these batteries. It was this that made me a bit nervous about testing my AA alkaline batteries in the sample Watts Clever SBC1001 Smart Battery Charger I brought back from Hong Kong.

I was careful to follow the instructions, batteries in good condition and no completely dead. I thought about mixing AA and AAA batteries, which you can do with this Smart Charger, but I decided to keep things simple for this first test.

Putting the batteries into the Smart Charger felt a bit naughty somehow, and I found myself watching them carefully at first. However, it's strange how quickly a human being gets bored with nothing happening, and I soon wandered off to do something else.

A few hours later my “non-rechargeable” alkaline batteries were re-charged. No drama, no explosions.

Our sample has saved us a lot of money, we've been using it in our office since the beginning of 2012 and haven't had to buy a battery yet.


About the Author

Steve Farr Electrical and Electronics blogger for, Steve also writes much of the copy that appears on the BestStuff web site.

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