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Rechargeable Battery Operation

Q1. Can I use 1.2 V rechargeable batteries in devices that usually take 1.5 V throw away batteries?

Q2. Do I need to charge my new rechargeable batteries when I receive them before the first use?

Q3. My batteries get warm when I charge them. Is this normal?

Q4. How many times can I charge my NiMH batteries?

Q5. How can I maximize my rechargeable battery life?

Q6. Can I leave my batteries in the charger until I need to use it?

Q7. Why is it important to keep my batteries together in matched set of 2 or 4?

Q8. How long can the batteries hold their charge if I leave them on the shelf (shelf-life)?

Q9. Why does the battery display on my device indicate plenty of battery power remaining just before it stops working?

Q10. I have not used my NiMH batteries in several months and they are not holding their charge. How can I fix this?

Q11. Can I recharge ordinary alkaline throwaway batteries?

 

Rechargeable Battery Operation Answers

 

                                                                             

Q1. Can I use 1.2 V rechargeable batteries in devices that usually take 1.5 V throw away batteries?

 

Answer Yes, most definitely. Using 1.2 V rechargeable batteries will have no effect on the use of the equipment. Indeed, an alkaline battery only benefits from 1.5 V voltage at the beginning of its discharge. Then, it drops constantly to well below 1.2 V. Finally, it drops to around 0.6 V. Most equipment will work happily on anything between 0.9 V and 1.5 V. Unlike alkaline batteries where the voltage drops quickly, rechargeable batteries offer a more constant voltage around 1.25 V throughout the entire period of use. That is why the latest rechargeable batteries will actually outperform alkaline batteries in equipment calling for a constant and high level of energy input, such as digital cameras, flashes, camcorders, computers, portable phones, CD players, toys, gadgets - well just about anything.

 

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Q2. Do I need to charge my new rechargeable batteries when I receive them before the first use?

 

Answer Yes, before you use your new NiMH batteries for the first time you must charge them fully. Please note that for new NiMH batteries, it is often necessary to cycle* them at least three to five times or more before they reach peak performance and capacity. The first several times that you use your NiMH batteries you may find that they run down (discharge) quickly during use. Not to worry, this is normal until the batteries actually form up.

*What do we mean by "cycle"?  

1. Charge your batteries fully.

2. Allow them to cool before placing them into your camera or equipment.

3. Use your equipment as you normally would until the batteries are discharged and need to be recharged. 

This is one complete cycle.

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Q3. My batteries get warm when I charge them. Is this normal?

Answer When charging rechargeable batteries, they do increase in temperature substantially due to internal resistance. Thus, the batteries may feel warm when the charge is completed. According to specification, most NiMH batteries, may heat up to 55° C during a rapid charge. This can certainly feel hot to some individuals.  This is pretty much normal. The amount of discharge and of course the rate of charge will affect this. This is why we recommend the following:

1. Do not close the cover (if your NiMH Battery Charger has one) while your batteries are charging. It is best to allow any heat to dissipate as much as possible.

2. Always allow your batteries to cool before placing them in your camera or equipment.

 

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Q4. How many times can I charge my NiMH batteries?

 

Answer The number of times you can recharge your batteries will depend on the operating parameters, such as drain rate, battery care, etc. In general, under desirable conditions, NiMH batteries can last up to 500 recharges. In absolute best conditions, NiMH batteries can last up to 1000 recharges.                                                                                                                                                                             

 

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Q5. How can I maximize my rechargeable battery life?

 

Answer Although there are many things that will maximize the life of your NiMH batteries we have listed the most important below:

1. Never drop NiMH batteries on a floor or hard surface. This can severely damage them.

2. Be sure to use a well designed charger that will prevent overcharging. This is probably the biggest cause of premature failure of NiMH batteries - improper and over charging. Fastest is not always the best.

3. Never carry NiMH batteries loosely in your pocket. Coins or other metal items could cause them to short, thus causing severe burns, or even fire.                                                                                                                    

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Q6. Can I leave my batteries in the charger until I need to use it?

 

Answer When used with a overnight charger or a rapid charger with automatic switch off, NiMH batteries can be left in the charger for an extended period of time without leakage, explosion, or deformation. However, do not store the batteries in the charger if it is not necessary, and do not leave your batteries in your charger if it is switched on and charging (unless it has an automatic timer to switch it off). Always store charged batteries in a cool location. All our battery chargers come with full operating instructions.                                                                                                                                                                             

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Q7. Why is it important to keep my batteries together in matched sets of 2 or 4?

Answer Simply because you will get better performance from your batteries if you keep them together in matched sets. For example if you have one weak battery in a set it will discharge before the others and result in shorter run times. It is also possible for the weak battery to reverse polarity and damage the battery. In your charger if you have one strong battery it will cause your charger to shut off early resulting in a less than complete charger for the remaining battery in the same charge bank.                                                                                           
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Q8. How long can the batteries hold their charge if I leave them on the shelf (shelf-life)?

 

Answer At normal room temperature, NiMH batteries can generally retain 70% of their charge after 30 days. Normal self discharge of NiMH batteries is about 1 percent per day at normal room temperature. Of course, environmental factors and higher temperatures will play an important role in the above said value and will cause NiMH batteries to discharge at a slightly higher rate.  Lower temperatures (40° to 60° F) on the other hand will cause NiMH Batteries to hold their charge longer.                                                                                                                                                                             

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Q9. Why does the battery display on my device indicate plenty of battery power remaining just before it stops working?

Answer This happens because of the different discharge characteristics between Alkaline and NiMH batteries. Because the voltage of an alkaline battery drops at a very predictable rate it’s possible to estimate the amount of capacity left in an alkaline battery based solely on its voltage.  Many consumer electronic devices have a digitally displayed voltage meter to indicate the battery capacity remaining.  It is important to note that these meters are displaying battery voltage as an estimate of capacity remaining.  When compared with Alkaline Batteries, it is more difficult to determine how much energy remains in a Rechargeable Battery because of its constant operation voltage throughout. These displays will accurately display the voltage of your NiMH batteries but because of the flat discharge characteristics of NiMH batteries they will not accurately estimate the battery capacity remaining.  NiMH batteries tend to show less than full capacity when fully charged (around 1.4V) and drop rapidly to about half capacity (around 1.2V) on these digital meters. They will remain close to these readings until just before cutoff. To extend the cycle life of your batteries, change them at first indication of low battery warning.

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Q10. I have not used my NiMH batteries in several months and they are not holding their charge. How can I fix this?

 

Answer NiMH batteries - like any rechargeable battery - will self-discharge if left unused. Generally, within 30 to 60 days, batteries will become almost completely drained. When using them, you will need to first recharge them. After extended storage, you may need to cycle them several times just as you would for their first time use or even condition the batteries several times to regain normal performance.

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Q11. Can I recharge ordinary alkaline throwaway batteries?

 

Answer No. Throwaway batteries cannot be recharged. You should never attempt to recharge a normal alkaline throwaway battery as this could result in fire. You can only recharge NiMH and NiCd rechargeable batteries.

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