In the test: EBL lithium batteries, set of 4, size AA

In the test: EBL lithium batteries

From an article I recently wrote about the use of Batteries in Eve Thermo and tado thermostats wrote, I became aware of lithium batteries, which are also available in sizes AA. After I had discovered them for the first time, my interest was of course piqued and I ordered the two products that I think would be most suitable: EBL and Blackube.

In this post, however, I first took a look at the EBL batteries to see how they fare in the test. The Blackube batteries have a slightly different design, a little less capacity, but charge almost twice as fast. But more on that in another post. First of all, here is the information about the EBL batteries.

One of the batteries apparently has a technical defect in the electronics and creates a low-frequency flickering in my LED flashlight, which is quite annoying (photos: Sir Apfelot).

One of the batteries apparently has a technical defect in the electronics and creates a low-frequency flickering in my LED flashlight, which is quite annoying (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Update: an EBL battery makes the LED flashlight flicker

Overall, I think the EBL batteries are good, but you have to be aware that they have built-in electronics that may be defective. When testing one of the batteries, I noticed that my little LED UV flashlight does not light up continuously, but that there is always a flicker of maybe 20 to 30 Hz. You can see it with the eye. All other three EBL batteries, on the other hand, had produced a continuous light. So I'm relatively sure that something is wrong with one of the batteries. I am therefore sending my EBL set back.

An AA battery that can be charged via a built-in micro USB socket is an innovative idea, but how do EBL batteries perform in everyday life?

An AA battery that can be charged via a built-in micro USB socket is an innovative idea, but how do EBL batteries perform in everyday life?

Technical data of the EBL lithium batteries

Before we go into detail, we should briefly list the specs of the batteries:

  • Set of 4 EBL batteries
  • Battery type: lithium
  • Size: AA / Mignon / R6
  • Voltage: V 1,5
  • Capacity: 3300 mWh (corresponds to approx. 1,5 mAh at 2200 volts)
  • Charge cycles: up to 1200
  • Self-discharge: after 3 years still approx. 80%
  • Charging time: about 2 hours
  • Connection: Micro-USB
  • Protective electronics in the battery: Overcharging, overdischarging (protection against deep discharge), overvoltage, overcurrent and short circuit
  • Weight: approx. 17 grams per battery
  • Power requirement when charging 4 batteries: 5 V / approx. 1,4 A (7 watts)
  • Scope of delivery: 4x AA batteries, 1 battery box, 4-in-1 charging cable
In addition to the four batteries, the delivery of the battery set also includes the distribution cable with the four micro-USB plugs and a storage box.

In addition to the four batteries, the delivery of the battery set also includes the distribution cable with the four micro-USB plugs and a storage box.

Why lithium batteries and not NiMH?

The big advantage that lithium batteries have over conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries is the higher voltage they supply. While the nominal voltage of the NiMH batteries is 1,2 volts, the lithium batteries offer 1,5 volts - just as much as a standard disposable alkaline mignon cell (also AA cell or IEC size R6).

Many devices that expect to be operated with single-use batteries throw a “battery almost empty” message when they have a NiMH battery inserted - even if the battery has been freshly charged.

This is because the devices expect 1,5 volts. Since the batteries only deliver 1,2 volts, they assume that they are dealing with an almost completely discharged battery.

In contrast to NiMH types, lithium batteries not only have a higher voltage, but also a more stable discharge curve, as their cell voltage is electronically regulated down from the normal 3,7 volts to 1,5 volts (photos: Sir Apfelot).

In contrast to NiMH types, lithium batteries not only have a higher voltage, but also a more stable discharge curve, as their cell voltage is electronically regulated down from the normal 3,7 volts to 1,5 volts (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Apple Magic Mouse 1 - a practical example

I've been using my old Magic Mouse from Apple - the model without a Lightning socket - with batteries for years and it happens again and again that the Apple mouse has recurring disconnections even though it has been given fresh batteries. In my opinion, this is also due to the fact that it requires a higher voltage than 1,2 volts and works with batteries at the lower limit.

Yesterday - after trying four different NiMH batteries (including Eneloops!) - I was finally able to achieve success with the lithium batteries. The mouse ran immediately after inserting the batteries until today without a single further breakdown.

With the EBL lithium batteries, my Magic Maus 1 no longer disconnects, probably because they supply more voltage than the NiMH batteries (photos: Sir Apfelot).

With the EBL lithium batteries, my Magic Maus 1 no longer disconnects, probably because they supply more voltage than the NiMH batteries (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Lithium battery warnings

Before there is a song of praise for lithium batteries, I would like to note that this type of battery also harbors its dangers, because lithium is a "highly dangerous" substance. With such batteries, a slight damage to the jacket is often enough to set them on fire, because the lithium reacts strongly exothermically with water and air.

A chemical reaction is exothermic when it releases more energy than was initially supplied as activation energy. (Wikipedia)

You should therefore be very careful with these batteries, do not carry them in your pocket and, if possible, do not drop them or damage them in any way. We had in the forum a longer thread to.

I would even recommend putting them in a so-called when they are not in use Lipo bag to pack if you store them for a long time. This is also what all model pilots who deal with such batteries (mostly with larger capacities) do the same.

If you want to get an impression of how lithium batteries react when damaged, you can go to YouTube and search "Lithium battery explodes" to inform.

In any case, you don't have these problems with NiMH batteries. If you hit them with a hammer, they'll break, but there's no explosion or fire.

Even if you don't read any other instructions: You should follow the safety instructions with lithium batteries, as they have a certain potential for destruction.

Even if you don't read any other instructions: You should follow the safety instructions with lithium batteries, as they have a certain potential for destruction.

Charging of the EBL lithium batteries via the built-in micro USB socket

From my point of view, the innovative thing about the lithium batteries from EBL is that they can be charged via a micro-USB socket that is built into the battery. This brings us to my point of criticism: Micro-USB has been driving me crazy for years. Again and again I fumble with the micro USB plugs on the charging sockets of various devices, only to find that I'm holding the plug the wrong way again.

In addition, the micro-USB connector is always a bit clunky and the socket of the EBL batteries is no exception. I would have liked to see a USB-C alternative to the micro-USB rechargeable batteries, but I haven't found anything on the capital A yet. There are of Hitrends lithium batteries with USB-C charging socket, but these are only available in sizes C and D.

The EBL lithium batteries are charged via a micro-USB port, although I have a personal hostility with this port.

The EBL lithium batteries are charged via a micro-USB port, although I have a personal hostility with this port.

However, charging the EBL batteries works without any problems on any USB power supply unit that has a USB-A output and can deliver at least 7,5 watts. The supplied charging cable, which offers four micro-USB plugs that fit into the batteries, is plugged into the USB-A port.

In principle, it would even work with the old 5-watt mini plug-in power supply from Apple, which used to come with every iPhone. But then you have to plan a little more time for charging.

Advantage of the EBL batteries: charging and protection electronics directly integrated

In addition to the micro-USB socket, charging electronics and protective electronics are also built in. This prevents the battery from being overcharged or deeply discharged or from being damaged by a short circuit. This is also extremely important with lithium batteries, as otherwise there would be an acute risk of fire.

The deep discharge protection also avoids the problem that one has with NiZn batteries: The electronics in the devices in which the batteries are used do not recognize that they are already marginally empty and continue to draw energy from the batteries. As a result, they are deeply discharged and often permanently damaged. The result is that they lose a large part of their original capacity and can actually no longer be used properly.

If all four batteries are connected, you need about 1,35 amps for charging. Most USB power supplies nowadays offer significantly more power and manage to charge the batteries easily.

If all four batteries are connected, you need about 1,35 amps for charging. Most USB power supplies nowadays offer significantly more power and manage to charge the batteries easily.

Signaling of the charging process via LED

At the plus pole of the batteries, there is an LED next to the pole cap, which lights up red when the charging process is in progress. When charging is finished, the LED lights up blue.

The LED does not light up during operation and there are no displays to indicate whether the battery is almost empty. In most cases, this would be superfluous, as the batteries are typically inserted into devices and nothing can be seen from the outside.

When the EBL batteries are fully charged, they signal this with a blue LED on the positive pole (photos: Sir Apfelot).

When the EBL batteries are fully charged, they signal this with a blue LED on the positive pole (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Problem with lithium batteries: no advance warning for "reserve"

A small problem that you have with lithium and NiZn batteries is the problem with the non-feasible “battery almost empty” warning. With lithium batteries, there is no gradually decreasing voltage curve from which you could tell that the battery is almost empty.

Instead, it delivers 1,5 volts almost continuously and at some point, when the discharge electronics find that it is empty enough, they simply cut the connection. This is not so tragic with a remote control or a remote-controlled car, but if I operate my carbon monoxide alarm with two AA cells and it just stops working at some point without sending me a warning tone, then this is dangerous.

For this reason, I would recommend that you consider beforehand which devices you would like to insert the lithium batteries into. If something bad happens, if they suddenly just switch off, then I would prefer to use disposable batteries.

Another way: If you still want to use the lithium batteries, I would create a reminder in the iPhone that reminds you to change the batteries in the corresponding device after a certain time. If the period is short enough, you may never get into the situation where the batteries no longer supply power.

Unfortunately, my Voltcraft Charge Manager CM 2024 does not recognize the batteries as a known type. For this reason, it was unfortunately not possible to measure the capacity.

Unfortunately, my Voltcraft Charge Manager CM 2024 does not recognize the batteries as a known type. For this reason, it was unfortunately not possible to measure the capacity.

Capacitance measurement difficult to implement

I thought for a moment that I could have the batteries pre-charged in mine Voltcraft Charge Manager CM2024 throw it and then discharge it in a controlled manner to find out how much capacity I can actually take. Unfortunately, this did not work because the charger did not recognize any of the batteries.

On the one hand, this is a shame, because I would have liked to have checked the capacity, but on the other hand, it is also reassuring, because that way I know that it doesn't matter if my wife accidentally puts such a battery in the charger. The batteries should only be charged via a micro USB socket and not, like normal batteries, in a charger.

Compare EBL and Eneloop - calculate mAh and mWh

Since I still wanted to know how the batteries compare to the proven Eneloop batteries in terms of capacity, I checked briefly what capacity both types of batteries have:

  • Eneloop: 2000 mAh (corresponds to about 1,2 mWh at 2400 V)
  • Eneloop Pro: 2500 mAh (corresponds to about 1,2 mWh at 2880 V)
  • EBL: 3300 mWh (corresponds to about 1,5 mAh at 2200 V)

In this case, the specification of watt hours is much more suitable for comparison, as the battery types have different voltages.

At this point a reference to my article about the abbreviation "mAh" and the explanation why Wh is the better unit for comparison.

The "simple" Eneloop batteries have 2000 mAh and thus significantly less capacity than the EBL competition.

The "simple" Eneloop batteries have 2000 mAh and thus significantly less capacity than the EBL competition.

If you convert the information into milliwatt hours (mWh), the following values ​​result:

  1. EBL batteries: 3300 mWh
  2. Eneloop Pro batteries: 2880 mWh
  3. Eneloop batteries: 2400 mWh

Price comparison turns out to be to the disadvantage of EBL batteries

But if you look at the price, the EBL batteries have to be in the back of the line, because the Eneloop batteries are significantly cheaper.

  • Eneloop battery (each) approx. 3,50 euros
  • Eneloop Pro battery (each): approx. 4,43 euros
  • EBL battery (each): approx. 6,15 euros

Comparison of charging cycles

When comparing batteries, it is of course also interesting how many charging cycles the batteries can hold out. I don't have any empirical values ​​here that I could give in numbers, but the manufacturer's information is in principle enough to provide a basis for comparison:

  • Eneloop battery: 2100 cycles
  • Eneloop Pro battery: 500 cycles
  • EBL lithium battery: 1200 cycles

You can see that the Eneloop Pro are strong in terms of capacity, but they bring up the rear when it comes to the number of charging cycles. The EBL batteries are even better than the Eneloop Pro in terms of capacity and are in the midfield with 1200 charging cycles.

It is very practical that you can simply charge the EBL batteries with any micro-USB cable on a standard USB power supply unit. A battery charger is no longer necessary. Here I charge the batteries at a tizi filling station, which is also where my Zendure A8 is charged.

It is very practical that you can simply charge the EBL batteries with any micro-USB cable on a standard USB power supply unit. A battery charger is no longer necessary.

In the photo above, I charge the batteries on one tizi filling stationwhich one also mine Zendure A8 is loaded. Both very recommendable devices, which I have not regretted buying.

My conclusion on the EBL lithium batteries

The price of about 25 euros for 4 EBL AA batteries is a bit painful if you are used to the Amazon Basics prices or the cheap Eneloops. Nevertheless, I think the EBL batteries are very good because they have a very low self-discharge and a built-in protection device against possible deep discharge.

On the other hand, I only like charging via micro-USB with the EBL lithium batteries to a limited extent, but the high capacity and low self-discharge are points that I can use in my device environment.

In any case, the Apple mouse and my Eve Thermo are gradually being converted to this type of battery. You probably won't notice the higher price if you gradually increase your range.

If you are interested in the EBL lithium batteries in size AA (Mignon), you will find them here at Amazon.

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6 comments

  1. Simon says:

    Thanks for the detailed test - I also got the taste and will now look around.
    Do you know if something is also emerging in the AAA area? When I look around my apartment, the AA battery has been pushed out of many devices due to its larger size.

  2. peter v. says:

    They are AAA lithium batteries with the USB connection on top next to the positive pole. A 4-way cable was included. But unfortunately it can no longer be found on amazon at the moment. My blood pressure monitor now pumps with 1,5V twice as fast as with 1,2V.

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