Wii Rechargeable Battery Problems

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Nintendo recommends using a pair of high-quality AA alkaline batteries for the Wii controller. However, many Nintendo Wii users prefer to employ rechargeable battery packs to increase the battery life of the Wii Remote and avoid creating excessive waste. While this seems to be the proper choice, rechargeable batteries also have problems, such as the risk of becoming a fire hazard and the eventual decrease in performance.

Types of Rechargeable Batteries

  • Numerous third-party manufacturers offer bundles that include rechargeable battery packs and a charge base for the Nintendo Wii controllers. They include Nyko, ezGear, MadCatz, CTA and GameGear. Well-known battery makers sell “all-purpose,” rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMh) batteries as well as battery chargers that can be used for the Nintendo Wii Remote.

Wii Battery Consumption Factors:

  • Batteries last more or less time depending on how old they are, the Wii game you’re playing, the attachment or attachments connected to the Wii Remote (Wii MotionPlus, Nunchuk and Classic Controller, for instance), Wii Remote speaker volume and rumble settings.

How to Check Battery Levels

  • You can check the battery levels at any time during play by pressing the “Home” button on the Wii Remote and selecting “Wii Remote Settings” (or pointing at the Wii Remote icon). The number of bars for each battery icon indicates the amount of charge left in each of the Wii Remotes that are currently turned on and synced up with the Wii. You can also check the amount of battery left by removing the battery cover of the Wii Remote and pressing the red “Sync” button. The amount of blinking light-emitting diode (LED) lights represents the battery strength.

Known Problems

  • NiMh batteries tend to decrease in performance over time. Manufacturers can only guarantee a limited number of charges for their batteries, so the more you charge them, the less time they’ll last, until they can’t hold a charge anymore. On the other hand, alkaline batteries will consistently provide users with up to 35 hours of play, according to Nintendo.

    A specific battery model called “Psyclone” or “React,” distributed in the U.S. by Griffin International, was recalled in August 2009 due to burn and fire hazards. Six incidents of overheating have been reported, and two consumers have reported minor burns to the hands. Ingestion and inhalation hazards have also been linked to defective rechargeable batteries, but that risk is also found with non-rechargeable batteries.

How to Maximize Battery Duration and Avoid Fire Hazards

  • To avoid fire hazards and get a long life from your batteries, turn the Wii Remote speaker volume down and don’t use the rumble function unless you need it. Turn off controllers you’re not using. Charge your batteries before they’re completely drained, and make sure they’re fully charged before using them again. Remove the batteries or battery pack from the Wii Remote if you won't use it for a long time. Never put your Wii battery charger base near fabric materials or in an enclosed space while it's charging.

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  • Photo Credit positive and negative battery terminals image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com
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