I bought a Concept2 Model E indoor rower way back in 2008. At the time, the PM4 was the latest and greatest in “performance monitor” (i.e., control panel) technology, so that’s what it came equipped with.
One of the selling points of the PM4 was a NiMH battery pack that recharged while you row. This worked well enough, though it did have a tendency to run down over time and sometimes needed to be recharged via USB.
Dealing with dead batteries
Unfortunately, rechargeable batteries have a limited lifespan, and ours eventually stopped holding a charge. This left us with two options:
- Buy a new PM4 rechargeable battery pack, or
- Switch to plain old D-cell batteries.
As it turns out, removal of the rechargeable battery pack exposes two battery slots that take plain old D-cell batteries. In my view, the D-cell batteries are a better option. Why? Well, consider the following…
Regular or rechargeable?
As you may be aware, rechargeable batteries like the one in the PM4 have a tendency to lose their charge over time, whether or not they’re being used. Thus, even though it might recharge some while you’re rowing, if you don’t row often or long enough, the batteries will go dead on their own.
In contrast, regular alkaline batteries (same goes for lithium) generally hold their charge when they’re not in use. Thus, they only run down as fast as the PM4 draws them down. And the PM4 doesn’t use a whole lot of power, so your D-cells may even outlast the lifespan of the battery pack.
If you want to replace the battery pack, you can do so. Concept2 sells it online (see PN 1493) for $11 + S&H. Or you can just hop over to Amazon (or just about any local store) and buy a multi-pack of D-cell batteries.
Another option, of course, would be to switch to rechargeable D-cell batteries. These are more flexible in usage (e.g., you can stick them in a flashlight) than a dedicated battery pack, while still being rechargeable.
Either of these options will last you a long, long time.