Useful Tips for Refreshing Rechargeable Batteries
We use a good number of electronic devices in use in our photography business. Many of these devices rely on rechargeable AA batteries. What follows is a useful tip for refreshing rechargeable batteries.
We talked about our excellent experience with Powerex batteries in this post last year. We are always on the lookout to make a good thing even better.
Using rechargeable batteries has a host of advantages that include highest performance and lowest cost. Not to mention the greatly reduced negative environmental impact. Over time, however, unless special (but simple) measures are taken, things happen. Nickel metal hydride rechargeable rechargeable batteries eventually begin to not take and hold a full charge. They develop a “memory” effect where they remember the last level they were at when they were charged and dischargedEventually, their ability to be charged at all may become lost. There is something that can be done to counteract the loss of strength over time: reconditioning or refreshing.
Refreshing Rechargeable Batteries
The Ansmann brand charger pictured above is a very affordable and well-built device. We purchased it from the always-dependable Thomas Distributing Company (and we suggest you shop there, too. We note, though, that we do not have any affiliation with them other than as pleased customers). What sets this unit apart from other regular chargers is its ability for reconditioning/refreshing rechargeable batteries. The unit slowly charges each battery independently and then slowly discharges the battery. It continues to repeat this charge – discharge cycle, each time increasing the capacity of the battery. And this continues until there is no more gain in the results, up to ten times.
When the process is completed, the LCD indicator on the charger reads ‘Full’. In the meantime, the LCD displays the milliamp rating of the drain – recharge process. Each cell gets treated and conditioned individually as it needs to be. It’s worth noting that this necessarily is not, by design, a fast process. Sometimes it takes a couple of days to run through all the charge-discharge cycles. But, it is worth it, as the batteries end up fresh and as like-new as possible. They will simply last longer with each new use.
We have about 12 dozen Powerex AA cells. We’re at the end of our third season of heavy use with this batch. We’d noticed a couple of times where a set of these AAs was not performing to their usual high level. This prompted the refresh-recondition process. In the height of busy season there isn’t time to do anything but recharge them using our three standard 8-bay Maha Energy chargers (as seen in the other battery post linked above). The workflow to run through the reconditioning process is simple. Start with a pile of all the batteries, and four at a time cycle them through the Ansmann charger using the reconditioning mode. Finally, as they come out, they go back into storage cases, and with a new identifying small mark added with a permanent ink Sharpie pen.
In summary, the use of batteries is all worth it for all the advantages noted earlier, but none more significant than the staggering cost savings of this system, not to mention the performance, of this process versus using disposable, expensive alkaline batteries.