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Author Topic: Supacell digital alkaline battery cells review and testing at ITTSB Blog 2015  (Read 5875 times)

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Offline Kiriakos GR

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While rechargeable batteries’ has somewhat matured regarding their self discharge characteristics, there is no great results from any type of such Nimh cells.

 Double A (AA) Eneloop was the first type with somewhat acceptable Low self discharge behavior, but personal testing shown that battery life degrades even by not recharging them frequently.
My experience with first and second generation of AA & AAA Eneloop in the past four years time, shown that even with less than 80 recharge times,  their internal chemistry degrades and internal resistance build up which making the cells unusable.

Regarding 9V Nimh cells those for unknown reason they never become a target product for further development so these to gain a higher Low self discharge behavior.
Only two brands shown interest to further develop 9V Nimh, Tenergy Centura  is one of them and Ansmann the second.
But the major problem of both is availability and that Ansmann comes in very high price.
 
Professionals’, like me who get involved in electrical and electronics repairs they do end up owning several measuring and test devices operating with 9V battery, and such examples could be:

TV remote control tester,
Infrared thermometer gun,
Distance meter with laser or ultrasonic,
Wires tracker with remote receiver,
Multimeter,
LCR meter,
PC network wires tester (polarity and continuity),
Digital tachometer

All those are useful tools and must always be ready for action, but some of those will not have intensive use and the cost for getting 9V Nimh cells for all of them it does become true bourbon.
By taking under consideration that Nimh degrades by the years even with light use, those thoughts makes even people like me who favor recycling and the green planet concept to give a second chance to Alkaline cells.
 
New added legislation in some countries forcing them using smoke detectors, this as application become the new benchmark for 9V cells.
After some research of my own, I did realize that alkaline battery market is very messed up in 2015.
While most or all cells are made in China, the problem is this tremendous availability of battery cells which most coming from totally unknown sources.

England and Germany was and is from the countries with most strict legislation regarding quality assurance and product specifications even at imported goods.

Supacell brand is UK based, started as small distributor and continuously expands, their alkaline cells according to customers feedback shown good behavior at this smoke detector benchmark, but even so ITTSB blog wanted to test and verify if this promise about 6 times more Power is truly a fact.  ;)
 
Supacell is one division of Multibrands, and I wish to thank them for the generous supply of cells of my choice so theses to be tested.
Some test results will become available sooner and some others will become available in time.
What matters to me today is that Supacell did not afraid this ITTSB Blog challenge, and this detail make me to feel optimistic by assuming that Supacell digital product series, they actually hide in them performance which simply has to be also confirmed due my testing too.

My testing procedure will be made and recorded by the use of precision equipments.   
For example 9V capacity test will be verified by using my Microcal 1030 which is mini calibrator and operates as current source with adjustable output.
This is an almost 400 EUR gadget made by Time Electronics Ltd, Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom.
Data logging will be made too by one of ITTSB Blog high precision multimeter, and because there is many, I will use the one with most suitable software for the specific application.

The plan is Supacell 9V Alkaline to compete with a totally fresh Maxell Super alkaline, and by this opportunity I will do capacity testing even of those 9V Nimh which I have here all ready.   
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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Teaser  ;)
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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I thought to perform an quick test and verification of the 9V Alkaline.
Enthusiasm is a good thing but testing and measurements are what we do here.  ;)

After taking both Supacell and Maxell batteries out of their blister box, the first verification was by measuring plain voltage and I did that with DE-208A multimeter.

Supacell measured 9.70V  and Maxell 9.45

The next step was a capacity test with Ansmann digital battery tester, this causes a flow of 39mA in a test of specific duration of few seconds.
Test results are getting reported automatically.

What I did was using here DE-208A and HIOKI DT4282 at auto-hold mode so to verify the testing current of Ansmann tester.
Under load results: 
Supacell measured 9.40V  and Maxell 9.33V

And about internal resistance:
Supacell measured 1330 milliohm  and Maxell over 2000 milliohm (which made my impedance meter to shown over range warning and not a measurement)


All tests were repeated five times.

ITTSB first impression is that Supacell 9V cells seems more alive out of the box compared to Maxell Super alkaline.

Next test to follow is capacity test, down to cut-off voltage.
And this it must be performed correctly by the first attempt, and therefore I will do some testing first with the rechargeable ones so to verify the stability of the test bed which I am going to use.
 

Some product details which I did noted is that Supacell dimensions are a bit larger than Maxell,  seems like 1.2mm wider.
This made me to search a bit deeper this detail, and I took from the box which I am collecting dead battery for the recycling service, all 9V ones for a plain size comparison. 

Identical size to Supacell has only GP Alkaline and one very old UCAR,  from the other hand this Maxell now looks as skimpy and identical only to VARTA High Energy.
This 9V Energizer among with Philips 9V seems to belong in a category that is between the narrowest and the widest that battery industry is using.
 

   
 
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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After those quick tests of Supacell 9V 6LR61 I thought to test and the AA 1.5V LR6.

This measured 1.60V with the multimeter and with Ansmann digital battery tester which stressed the battery with 125mA drain at testing it, this measured 1.53V

And about internal resistance:
Supacell AA measured 170 milliohm.

According to a technical bulletin document of 2005 written by Energizer regarding battery internal resistance, they mentioning that their 1.5V cells depending on size will be approximately at 150 to 300 milliohm.

The testing of the larger Supacell C LR14 1.5V shown identical measured values compared to Supacell  AA, and the only difference was it internal resistance which this measured at 150 milliohm.

This quick testing worked as verification at least for me, so to be able to say today with confidence  that no matter their size, those Supacell Digital (samples) they are in great shape regarding electrical specifications.
 
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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 Kiriakos did his own 9V battery capacity benchmarking tool, seven LED stages and the first stage can adjust from 10 - 30mA and all stages together can offer adjustment from 10 mA up to 230mA.

LEDx2=30mA (four stages)
LEDx3=50mA  (three stages)
I will dare to say that this setup has an Accuracy / stability of +/- 1% which is good enough for my testing.
Many combinations are possible and fine adjust works in all  ( Made in Greece !! )  8)
Alkaline load limit is specific, but I have also some 9V NiMH to play with, and verify their capacity too, this can handle higher load than 50mA. 

My new DC load is specifically made for 9V battery testing,  there is inside an KIA78R05 over a heat-sink which keeps the voltage and consumption stable until the battery to discharge down to 5.2V, this will be and the cut off voltage in my upcoming tests.

Its one LED stage have it own protection resistor / current limiter (film metal).
The first stage have additionally and a wire-wood pot at 500 Ohm, this makes possible fine adjust 10 - 30mA.

Basically this is a simple design which works very stable and nothing inside gets even warm.
I made the choice to use GDS-320 Oscilloscope at DMM mode, so it trend plot to record time until the cut off voltage.

Yes the box of my DIY DC load was previously an TV booster.  ;)
This gadget for now removed my need for a programmable DC load, and this is good news for my wallet.
 
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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ITTSB Battery benchmarking setup is now 100% ready for action.  8)

Final pictures ! 



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Offline Kiriakos GR

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Supacell 9V digital / Milli-amp-Hours Capacity test results.


Intro,
According to international battery test standards an alkaline battery must be tested at 25C +/- 2.
ITTSB tested this cell at environmental temperature of 26C and the cell it self remained at 27C in all duration of this benchmark.

According to international battery test standards, the cut off voltage is set at 5.4V, ITTSB it did follow this guideline too.

According to international battery test standards there is no specific preset about the test load selection, but 40-50mA seems to be the most common selection for testing high drain 9V cells, additionally the lowest acceptable for such a cell is 25mA load.

Benchmark Result,
Supacell 9V digital regarding Milli-amp-Hours Capacity, this found to be at 550mAH nominal and definably this is great news as test result.

The benchmark was performed at Wednesday 24 June 2015 and it started at 13:00 and ended at 24:00 o’clock, test load was set to 50mA but in a meter with high display resolution to 50000 counts, the actual reading is 50mA plus of these 300 micro amperes.
Therefore the measured capacity is 550 ~ 553mAH as Nominal / Max, within 11 Hours.
   

Comments,
According to personal research such degree of high performance can be found only at similar battery products which using Zinc-Manganese Dioxide (Zn/MnO2) chemistry, and also are listed as high-performance or as industrial grade.
VARTA, GP battery, Energizer, are mainly the major competitors here.

According to ENERGIZER Milli-amp-Hours Capacity calculation method, their similar product, when this is tested at 50mA load, this has a capacity of also 550mAh, but when the load is set to 25mA, capacity can increase at 660mAH.
And I can suspect that such variations are expected, and that they can be charted down only if some one performs capacity testing in several test load conditions.

The quest of ITTSB Blog is simple quality verification, and the measurements’ shown that Supacell 9V Digital is a product which can easily compete and stay side by side next to other battery brands in the arena of  High-performing 9V 6LR61.
The description and marketing point of Supacell about 6X times longer lasting, is something which I can not verify.
Neither this marketing point stands in comparison to low-end 9V 6LR61 as those can have a capacity varying between 200 ~ 350mAH.
Either way, I am now happy with the results of my evaluation, if my expectation is to get a 550mAH 9V battery, now I will not hesitate to get a Supacell.
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Offline Kiriakos GR

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Maxell Super Alkaline 9V  / Milli-amp-Hours Capacity test results.


Intro,
This battery did not looked that good from the start,  internal resistance and top voltage was at questionable levels.
I did contact Maxell Europe, and I received a promise that one of their engineers will contact me back, and this did not happen.
I am suspecting that their production in Hungary has issues.

Benchmark Result,
Under the same test conditions as above, this Maxell managed to do 10 hours plus 20 minutes.
This translates to 516mAH.

Comments,
The numbers speaks by the self's, if this is what Maxell Super Alkaline 9V can do? Then it seems as honest product but it does not deserve any praise.
Maxell Europe ignored even my request about receiving documentation about actual product specifications, therefore I am unable to even compare named capacity with the one which I did measure by my self.
In summary my communication with Maxell Europe it did not impresses me at all, and neither their Top class product.
     
 
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