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Home > Battery and Charger FAQ
 

Battery and Charger FAQ


How often should standard NiMH batteries be charged?

Standard NiMH batteries should be charged before use if they have been off the charger seven days or more and every thirty days when not in use. Sitting uncharged is damaging to NiMH so the more you use your NiMH batteries, the better they will perform.


How often should low self-discharge NiMH batteries be charged?

Low self-discharge batteries can be left off of the charger for up to one full year and still have up to 85% charge left. If they are unused, it is best to charge low self-discharge NiMH every nine to twelve months.


Do NiMH batteries need to be completely discharged before charging?

No, NiMH batteries do not have a memory. They can be charged without adverse effect at any point regardless of their state of charge.


Should I keep my NiMH batteries in the refrigerator / freezer for longer life?

While there are varying schools of thought on this and as long as you warm the batteries fully before use it is harmless, we do not recommend it for the new NiMH batteries now available simply because the degree of difference in run time would be insignificant.


What charger do I need for low self-discharge batteries?

Low self-discharge batteries can be charged in any good quality NiMH charger.


Can I leave my NiMH batteries in the charger so they will always be ready?

If the charger is a smart charger, then technically, yes; however, we do not recommend it. If there were to be a power surge or outage, the charger might reset causing the batteries to be overcharged.


Can older and new batteries be mixed in a device?

It is not recommended that new batteries be mixed with older ones. Your device will only perform to the maximum level of the battery with the least amount of charge.


Can older and new batteries be mixed in a charger?

If your charger has independent banks (charges each battery individually – not in pairs), then yes, older and newer batteries can be charged at the same time. If, however, your charger does not have independent banks and you mix old and new in one pair, it will only charge to the level of the battery with the least capability.


Can batteries of a different chemistry or brand be mixed in a device?

Never mix batteries of different chemistry. It is not even recommended to mix different brands of the same chemistry.


Should NiMH batteries be stored fully charged or discharged?

NiMH batteries should always be stored in a charged state. Low self-discharge batteries can be stored up to one year between charges, but standard NiMH batteries need to be taken out and charged every thirty to sixty days even while being stored. If standard NiMH batteries have been off of the charger for more than seven days, they should be put back on the charger and topped off before use.


When should I first charge my new NiMH batteries?

Low self-discharge batteries do not have to be charged before use, but standard NiMH should be charged as soon as you receive them and at least every thirty to sixty days thereafter.


Do I have to charge my NiMH batteries in pairs?

It depends on what charger you are using. Many chargers have independent banks (or channels) and can charge batteries individually. Check your owner's manual to see if yours is an independent one.


How long should NiMH batteries last in a device compared to alkaline?

NiMH batteries, when fully charged, should last 1˝ – 2 times per charge longer than alkaline. Exact run time depends upon the drain of the device as well as the milliamp rating of the battery and its state of charge.


How long should NiMH batteries last in the long run?

Generally, NiMH batteries that are properly cared for (charged and used often, stored in a cool, dry place, and not dropped) will last for 500 – 1000 charges or approximately two to three years. Remember, the more you use and charge NiMH, the longer they will last.


What is mAh?

Milliamp is the rating for the storage capacity of a battery. The higher the millliamp, the longer the battery will hold a charge.


Are rechargeable lithium AA and AAA batteries available?

No, at this time, there are no rechargeable AA or AAA lithium batteries available. To date, the technology does not exist to put rechargeable lithium in a round package and have it be a reliable, inexpensive power source.


How often should NiMH batteries be conditioned?

New NiMH batteries do not require conditioning; however, conditioning can be helpful when your older batteries begin to lose performance. It can help to jumpstart NiMH batteries that are near the end of their useful life so that you can get as much out of your older batteries as possible.


Does quick charging reduce the life of NiMH batteries?

There are chargers on the market that are made to charge in 15 minutes. We believe that this is too fast and can reduce the life cycle of the battery; however, there is a wide variety of chargers that are called “fast” or “rapid” that charge in as little as one hour which is an acceptable charge time. These chargers will not reduce battery life in any significant degree.


What is trickle or smart charger?

When we refer to chargers that are “smart”, we are talking about chargers that have trickle charge. This means that when the charge cycle is complete, the rate of charge drops so that only a trickle of electricity is going into the battery thus keeping it fully-charged without overcharging. Chargers that do not have this feature usually shut off which means that if left in the charger, the battery will begin draining.


Can a NiCd (nickel cadmium) battery charger be used to charge NiMH or vice versa?

Unless a NiCd charger says it will handle NiMH, it is not a good idea to use it for NiMH. There is too great a possibility of over or, more likely, undercharging. As long as your NiMH charger has a conditioning cycle (so that you can fully drain the NiCD before charging), it should be okay to charge NiCD, but it is best to stick to a charger that is made to handle the chemistry of the battery you are charging. This information can be found on the back or bottom plate of most chargers as well as in the owner's manual.


Can rechargeable lithium polymer batteries be charged in any charger?

No, rechargeable lithiums must be charged in a charger that is specifically made to handle them.


How do I know which NiMH batteries will be best for me?

Rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries come in two types. Not sure if you should be using regular NiMH or low discharge NiMH? A good way to decide which would be best for your application is to consider how much use it will get. If you will be using the device weekly or more frequently and it is a high drain item ( think digital cameras, camcorders and radios ), go with the higher milliamp regular discharge batteries and get the most run time per charge. If your application is low drain ( think remote controls and such ) or a high drain that you use infrequently, get low discharge batteries and know that the lower milliamp will be compensated for by the fact that the batteries will be ready when you need them.


Didn't see your question here? We have live representatives available to answer all of your questions Monday through Friday from 10 to 2:00 pm central time. Call us toll-free at 800-821-2769.