I’m currently in the middle of my two week break off the tour; have been busy sorting through a whole bunch of things (mainly the pileup of mail at home!) and seeing my friends down in London. I’m on the train up to Liverpool as I write this so if you’re around and fancy a catch-up in the next week or so, gimme a bell!
I thought i’d just quickly do a post about our new rechargeable batteries what we’re now using on Dreamboats. I was a bit skeptical when I first heard that we’d be making the swap, but I’m growing to them, and hopefully we’re helping the environment whilst saving some money at the same time!
We’ve got 4 rack-mounted charger units with 104 AAA and 8 AA batteries from a German company called Fischer Amps. They each have four bays that will take either 4xAAA or 4xAA. At first I thought it would be a bit of a pain in the arse putting the batteries in and taking them out of the little trays but you get used to it after a while. The time it takes to do it is probably comparable to the amount of time it takes to take Alkaline batteries out of the small cardboard boxes they come in anyway so no problems there! Once they’re all charged, I’ve got two tupperware boxes, one for each set, to store them in. We always have one set charging whilst the other is in use. The time it takes to fully charge is never more than a couple of hours so we charge them during the show rather than overnight. They appear to hold their charge very well when they’re not in use so a quick blast when we power up is usually all they need before I put them in the radios.
As for battery life, I’ve found that they’re just as good, if not better than the Energizer batteries we were using before. They do however need a few full cycles to reach they’re maximum capacity. I’ve changed the settings of all our packs so they now show the pack life for NiMH batteries. They seem to stay at “full” for a lot longer, but drop quicker towards the end of their life whereas the alkaline would drop at a fairly steady rate. Still, we get through more than a whole show with them. On a matinee day, I will battery up at about midday and they’ve still got a bit of life in them when I do it again for the evening show at about 6:30pm which is pretty good as far as i’m concerned! There are some that drop quicker because the packs are having to work a lot harder (mostly our acoustic guitar and brass instruments that have a pretty hot input) but this is not surprising and isn’t really a problem. Positive reaction all round!
The chargers are pretty clever, and can determine whether or not it is a AA or AAA battery that is inserted and will automatically change the charging current from 800mAh for AA to 400mAh for AAA’s. Each cell is treated individually so those that need less charge will finish before the others. Finally, we assumed the chargers would get really hot, so we left gaps in the rack rather than putting all 4 together. The bays and batteries themselves heat up quite a bit but the rest of the unit stays pretty cool. They’ve got small fans in them to help with this.
I know that quite a lot of the Kenwright shows are making the swap so we’ll see what the others all think of them in a few months time. I’m really happy with them and it means I don’t have to go wondering around to find the battery bin that the venue may or may not have on-site to recycle the dead batteries anymore!
I’m heading back out for our final four weeks of the tour next weekend with Dreamboats – we’re going to Luxembourg for a week in that period which is going to be really cool! I’ll probably write another post about the theatre over there because it looks pretty impressive!
Thanks for reading!