This. Not to mention the extra hassle of taking batteries in and out of devices (to charge) more often than you'd with regular batteries. This problem gets worse near the end of the life cycle of re-chargeable batteries.
I still have Energizer 1200 and 1600maH rechargeables from the 90's that are within 10-15% of stated capacity that we use.
We have 3 kids and use the heck out of batteries and just haven't seen the problem you mention.
We have Rayovac, Eneloop, Energizer (old), Duracell, and a couple other brands and they are lost before they ever lose capacity.
Which class of math (not even electronics!) did you flunk? If 1.2 == 1.5.... what else can I say... Amerianos educatiotos.
It's not that they have the same rated voltage, it's the discharge curve that tends to negate the difference. Alkaline's have a linear discharge curve which means the voltage will slowly drop as they are run down. They can still have some capacity left but be putting out under 1.2V. NIMH/NICD on the other hand have a very flat discharge curve, which means they put out about 1.2V whether they're 10% charged or 90% charged. That's why it's very hard to tell how much of a charge a NIMH/NICD has remaining.
Also, NIMH/NICD have a much lower internal resistance than Alkaline batteries. This means that their voltage tends to hold up better under higher loads.
In the end most devices should work fine with either type. That .3V difference in rating usually does not make a big real world difference. Personally I use NIMH or NICD batteries in high drain devices and use alkaline or even carbon zinc or zinc chloride batteries in low drain devices (clocks, remotes, etc.)
Rechargeables are nice for devices that change batteries often, but I have found them to be unreliable. Some of them last a long time, nearly as long as disposable batteries, but some don't last 1/5th of the time as disposables. It's a crapshoot.
I recently used my LaCrosse charger to charge all my batteries --- some were a few months old, some a couple years old.
When I went to use a couple AA's from my "freshly charged" stock, 2 or 3 of them were dead, within a week of having charged them. 2 or 3 dead out of 5 or 6 batteries tried is awful.
So, they do have their place, but this attitude that some people in this thread have of "LOL disposables are for idiots, I'm a Rechargeable Snob, you are morons for buying reliable batteries" is way off.
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