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Thread: Rechargeable Battery Conditioning

  1. #1

    Question Rechargeable Battery Conditioning

    Hi,

    I've juz bought some NiMH batteries. Have read in some forums that one should 'condition' the batts once a while. My charger does not have a conditioning function. Just wondering how I should 'condition' my batteries without getting a conditioning unit.

    Thanx.

  2. #2
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    use until exhausted and then recharge to full loh. after a few rounds, the batteries will be conditioned.
    Check out my wildlife pics at www.instagram.com/conrad_nature

  3. #3
    Midnight
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    NiMH cells do not really benefit from conditioning as much as their NiCD counterparts do. Frankly, I think conditioning is extremely overrated when it comes to NiMH; if I were you, I personally wouldn't bother too much about it. Like what mpenza says, just use your cells till they're drained, then recharge them to full capacity again, and that should be more than good enough. No need to go out of your way to condition the cells.

  4. #4

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    Originally posted by Midnight
    NiMH cells do not really benefit from conditioning as much as their NiCD counterparts do. Frankly, I think conditioning is extremely overrated when it comes to NiMH; if I were you, I personally wouldn't bother too much about it. Like what mpenza says, just use your cells till they're drained, then recharge them to full capacity again, and that should be more than good enough. No need to go out of your way to condition the cells.
    Nimh batteries do benefit from conditioning. Clubsnap member "Snapper" shared his experience with some of us.

    His handheld GPS set had been showing "half charged" all those while even when he was using a set of fully charged Nimh batteries. But the GPS set started to show "three-quarter charged" after he did some conditioning to the same set of batteries on his newly bought Maha C204F charger.

    According to him, the GPS set will never indicate "fully charged" unless he uses a set of fresh alkaline batteries (1.5V each) simply because each rechargeable battery is only around 1.4v when fully charged.

  5. #5
    Midnight
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    Originally posted by Barrios
    Nimh batteries do benefit from conditioning.
    Yes, I agree. That's why I only said "NiMH cells do not really benefit from conditioning as much as their NiCD counterparts do"--not that they don't benefit at all. However, because the so-called "memory effect" (or, more technically, voltage depression) is far less pronounced with NiMH cells than with NiCD cells, it's definitely not necessary to perform conditioning on NiMH cells on a regular and frequent basis. This is very unlike NiCD, where one basically had to condition each cell after every single use. Basically, battery cell conditioning is a "good to have" feature, but as I posted earlier, I wouldn't go out of my way just to do this.

  6. #6

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    I quote him (Snapper):

    Originally posted by Snapper
    User Testimonial
    Got to admit ... the conditioning of the batteries were perfect as some of my electronic equiptment are showing higher charges. unlike before. This set also comes with car charger.

    Thanks for bringing them in Barios ...

    Snapper

  7. #7

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    Simply put it - u condition your Ni-cads against voltage depression (memory effect); u condition your Nimh (recommended once every 10 charges) to optimise their performance by obtaining maximum charge capacity.

  8. #8
    Midnight
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    Originally posted by Barrios
    Simply put it - u condition your Ni-cads against voltage depression (memory effect); u condition your Nimh (recommended once every 10 charges) to optimise their performance by obtaining maximum charge capacity.
    Are those two the same thing? If you're not able to achieve maximum charge capacity through normal charging, isn't that voltage depression at work?

    Anyway, yes, theoretically NiMH cells should not need conditioning at all, but the empirical evidence suggests that very occasional conditioning does help, so it's nice to be able to do it. Once every 10 charges certainly sounds a little excessive (and obsessive-compulsive) though, IMHO.

    Come to think of it... since NiMH cells self-discharge pretty quickly, I suppose you can just leave your cells alone for a few months and then charge them again, and that would be more or less equivalent to a conditioning cycle. Assuming you won't need them in the intervening time period, of course.

  9. #9
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    each NiMH can be recharges ~500 times. If you condition every 10 time (assuming the conditioning does the discharge-charge cycle 3 times), you lose 30% of the usage!!!
    Check out my wildlife pics at www.instagram.com/conrad_nature

  10. #10

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    whoa... now I'm confused some say its better 'condition' the batts, others say otherwise.... so I guess ultimately its up to me whether I want to condition or not....

    thanx for all the help! Really appreciate!

  11. #11
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    Don't worry so much about 'added' feature of your charger.

    More important is whether your charger is time-based or 'smart' charger.

    Go for a smart charger in order not to over or under charged your NiMH batteries.

    do a search on this forum about charger and you can learn a lot.

  12. #12

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    Incidentally, I find that all superfast 1hr smart chargers omit the conditioning function. There are claims that a faster charging rate avoids hydrogen buildup(memory effect). Looking at the available 1hr chargers in the market, this might very well be true.

  13. #13

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    What exactly is a smart charger? I've seen this being mentioned a couple of times in the forums but still no idea what is it exactly. What does this 'smart charger' do? Me, still rather new to this charger thingy, so a bit dummy.

    I bought a Rayovac 1-hr charger recently. Is this a 'smart charger' or a normal timer-based one?

  14. #14

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    Originally posted by tanja78
    What exactly is a smart charger? I've seen this being mentioned a couple of times in the forums but still no idea what is it exactly. What does this 'smart charger' do? Me, still rather new to this charger thingy, so a bit dummy.

    I bought a Rayovac 1-hr charger recently. Is this a 'smart charger' or a normal timer-based one?
    The Rayovac is a smart charger. "Smart/Intelligent" refer to chargers which monitor the voltage delta(rate of change -dV) in the battery which allows the charger to determine the charge capacity of the battery and optimally charge it to max.

    Thus they are able to adapt to any battery capacity and will not over/undercharge.

  15. #15

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    Originally posted by Zerstorer
    Incidentally, I find that all superfast 1hr smart chargers omit the conditioning function. There are claims that a faster charging rate avoids hydrogen buildup(memory effect). Looking at the available 1hr chargers in the market, this might very well be true.
    Excerpts from a review:

    The Rayovac 1-hour charger does indeed seem to get the batteries too hot. - I observed with several different sets of batteries from various manufacturers that repeated charge cycles in the Rayovac resulted in a noticeable and continuing decrease in maximum capacity. It's darn fast, and charges the batteries pretty completely, but definitely seems to have a negative impact on battery life.

    To incorporate an additional conditioning function in a charger means extra cost. Nevertheless, the Rayovac's selling point is its fast charging time and not otherwise.
    Last edited by Barrios; 30th October 2002 at 11:13 AM.

  16. #16

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    Originally posted by Barrios
    Excerpts from a review:

    The Rayovac 1-hour charger does indeed seem to get the batteries too hot. - I observed with several different sets of batteries from various manufacturers that repeated charge cycles in the Rayovac resulted in a noticeable and continuing decrease in maximum capacity. It's darn fast, and charges the batteries pretty completely, but definitely seems to have a negative impact on battery life.
    That does seem to be a knock on the Rayovac's reputation but I have not encountered this in my usage, even when I test the max charged voltages with a multi-tester. Perhaps some batteries are more susceptible than others or that it might be more apparent after a greater amount of charge cycles.(20+ on my current set)

    However, I would appreciate it if anyone could shed more light on the conditioning issue, since most all <2Hr chargers that I know of(even the Maha401) omit the conditioning function.

  17. #17

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    Originally posted by Zerstorer


    That does seem to be a knock on the Rayovac's reputation but I have not encountered this in my usage, even when I test the max charged voltages with a multi-tester. Perhaps some batteries are more susceptible than others or that it might be more apparent after a greater amount of charge cycles.(20+ on my current set)

    However, I would appreciate it if anyone could shed more light on the conditioning issue, since most all <2Hr chargers that I know of(even the Maha401) omit the conditioning function.
    A multi-tester can only tell u the voltage and not the capacity. As we are not equipped with a reliable testing device, we can only get the information from reviews by the experts.

    Maha C401 omits the conditioning function because it is using a new technology in charging. Read this:

    "FLEX Pulse also makes traditional "battery conditioning & cycling" unnecessary as the pulse eliminates the memory effect just by charging the batteries."

    At the end of the day, do u want to pay more for the new technology of simply live with an additional conditioning function at a lower cost?
    Last edited by Barrios; 30th October 2002 at 11:20 AM.

  18. #18

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    Originally posted by Barrios

    At the end of the day, do u want to pay more for the new technology of simply live with an additional conditioning function at a lower cost?
    Well.....not if I don't even have to pay more for it considering that other chargers such as the RipVan Lightning 4000 and Rayovac can be had at lower prices compared to the Maha204.


    Maha C401 omits the conditioning function because it is using a new technology in charging. Read this:

    "FLEX Pulse also makes traditional "battery conditioning & cycling" unnecessary as the pulse eliminates the memory effect just by charging the batteries."
    Incidentally a similar claim is made by Rayovac as well.

  19. #19

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    Originally posted by Zerstorer


    Well.....not if I don't even have to pay more for it considering that other chargers such as the RipVan Lightning 4000 and Rayovac can be had at lower prices compared to the Maha204.


    Incidentally a similar claim is made by Rayovac as well.
    Incidentally, the claim on the Rayovac deficiency was not made my Maha. Just because I sell Maha doesn't necessarily mean that I have to say bad things about other chargers. I'm only quoting what is written from reviews. Oh, are they really cheaper than Maha? How much are they costing? What do they incorporate in the package?

  20. #20

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    Originally posted by Barrios
    A multi-tester can only tell u the voltage and not the capacity. As we are not equipped with a reliable testing device, we can only get the information from reviews by the experts.
    That may indeed be so.

    However wouldn't the following be a case of judging by the maximum charged voltage as well?

    His handheld GPS set had been showing "half charged" all those while even when he was using a set of fully charged Nimh batteries. But the GPS set started to show "three-quarter charged" after he did some conditioning to the same set of batteries on his newly bought Maha C204F charger.

    According to him, the GPS set will never indicate "fully charged" unless he uses a set of fresh alkaline batteries (1.5V each) simply because each rechargeable battery is only around 1.4v when fully charged.

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