Rechargeable Battery care and tips
Follow these simple tips to get the most out of your rechargeable batteries, with proper care you can get around 5 – 7 years of usage with NiMH rechargeable batteries or over 500 charge cycles, these rules are universally applicable to most of the rechargeable batteries.
* A rechargeable battery is only as good as its charger, avoid using rapid fast chargers like (15 – 20 min chargers) as they overheat the batteries a lot, which in turn drastically reduces there life, I have seen rapid chargers reduce life of quality NiMH batteries to just 40-50 cycles.
* New rechargeable batteries apart from the LSD variants come in a discharged state and it might take 3-5 cycles to get to the rated capacity of the battery, also do note that batteries which have not been used for a while might require re-conditioning of the batteries to get their rated capacity.
* It might come as a surprise but never drop your batteries, it can destroy them or lessen their life considerably.
* This is important for NiMH rechargeable batteries, you should never over discharge them you should charge them when your appliance warms about low battery, if NiMH battery is over discharge the charge level falls below .9v its can permanently damage the battery.
* Do not shorten the batteries, a short-circuit can seriously damage the battery and even cause an explosion.
* Do not mix different batteries, always use the same chemistry, capacity, and brand. Never mix rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries or batteries with different voltages.
* Avoid charging a battery at a higher current than the rated capacity of battery, for example if a “AA NiMH” battery is rated at 1300 mAh, you should not charge them at 1800 mAh.
* Select a charger that prevents overcharging and is designed specifically for your battery’s chemistry also its advisable to invest in a quality smart charger, it is also advisable to avoid old dumb chargers as they do not know the state of a battery and just keep on charging a battery for a specified period of time irrespective of the state of the battery.
* Do not leave your batteries in your chargers for more than 24 hours, most of the modern smart chargers resort to a trickle charge that will avoid damage to the battery, but still its advisable to take the batteries out of the charger once they are charged.
* If your charger supports the selection of a charge current use a lower charge current between 250 mAh – 1000mAh as it will prolong the life of your batteries specialty for NiMH batteries, I personally stick to 500 mAh – 700 mAh for recharging NiMH batteries as they give me a fuller charge and at the same time is gentle enough on the batteries.
* If possible pair like capacity cells with each other, avoid using weaker cells with stronger cells.
* If you rechargeable battery is not regaining capacity even after conditioning the same or when the battery has started to hold less than 75-80% of the rated capacity it’s time to retire the rechargeable battery.
* This one is specifically for NiMH rechargeable cells, higher capacities are not always better, I have noticed that for “AA” NiMH batteries which have capacities over 2500 mAh have a very high self discharge rate, so if you device dose not required very high capacity stick with NiMH that are around 2000 – 2100 mAh for AA NiMH as it gives the best balance between capacity and battery life.