In the past, consumers didn’t want to use NiMH batteries for extended-use devices, such as clocks, pagers, flashlights, remote controls and a host of other devices, including cameras that don’t get used frequently, or have a low current draw. The reason NiMH wasn’t used is because they have a significant amount of power drain while they’re sitting. For me, it was easier to buy alkaline because they lasted longer.
Official estimates conclude that typical NiMH AA batteries lose about 25 percent of their charge after six months and are completely drained within a year. My experience is that after a couple of months of sitting, typical NiMH AAs are about 50 percent drained.
The new NiMH, Eneloop, is made by Sanyo, one of the world’s leading innovators in NiMH battery design. Their estimate for power drain while sitting is only 10 percent after six months and 15 percent after a year.
There are only two reasons I can think of for using the old type of NiMH. One is because the AA size comes in 2,500 and more mAh. The Eneloop’s are 2,000 mAh. So if your current draw device is high, you might want to use your old rechargeable batteries. The other reason is because you may have a significant investment in the old batteries.
Another advantage of the Eneloop is that they ship pre-charged, so they’re ready to pop in your camera when you buy them.
The Eneloops are a little more expensive, but I purchased eight of them for $19.99 at Amazon and added another small item that qualified me for free shipping and no tax. That’s $2.50 each, which is not much more than regular NiMH.
As far as charging goes, I’d shy away from some of the fast chargers because they often overheat the battery and can damage them. The slow chargers usually work fine, but I’m always in a hurry. I use a Lenmar Mach1 Speed Charger, that charges 4 to 2,500 mAh HiMHs in an hour or two depending on how much they were drained.
There is another company or two that sell this new type of NiMH battery, but I haven’t tested them and brand does make a difference. Sanyo’s a great battery company who believes what I’ve always said, “Power to the people”.
Bruce McFarland is an independent computer consultant serving the SCV and may be reached for comment or question at 661-297-1999 or by email at Bruce@Newsbyte.com .
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