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How to charge NiMH batteries

Old 02-12-2013, 10:11 PM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I don't know just exactly what is different between the lengthy SANYO data sheet and red's clinic. The Sanyo sheet gives you directions on establishing a .1C charge rate at one point. Spog if you could specifically cite the differences you think are significant that would make digesting your opinions easier
.
The sanyo data sheet specifies that NiMh cells are unsuitable for slow charging *section 3). What you see in section 2 is a standard test, not an operating recommendation. Red's battery clinic says charging at .1C timed is OK. There is a lot of conflicting data out there, but all the experts agree that you cannot chrage at .1C timed. Here's another source.
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a..._metal_hydride
It is difficult, if not impossible, to slow-charge a NiMH battery. At a C‑rate of 0.1 to 0.3C, the voltage and temperature profiles fail to exhibit defined characteristics to measure the full-charge state accurately and the charger must depend on a timer. Harmful overcharge will occur if a fixed timer controls the charge. This is especially apparent when charging partially or fully charged batteries
.
They also talk about peak chargers not handling mismatched cells very well. I just had a nice discussion on another forum and it seems there is some validity in balancing a new pack with a slow charge, but subsequent charges should be done with a peak charger to avoid the degradation from overcharging.
Old 02-13-2013, 03:03 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Does anyone have a charger they recommend?
Old 02-13-2013, 08:31 AM
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motomike
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries


ORIGINAL: spog1

I don't know just exactly what is different between the lengthy SANYO data sheet and red's clinic. The Sanyo sheet gives you directions on establishing a .1C charge rate at one point. Spog if you could specifically cite the differences you think are significant that would make digesting your opinions easier
.
The sanyo data sheet specifies that NiMh cells are unsuitable for slow charging *section 3). What you see in section 2 is a standard test, not an operating recommendation. Red's battery clinic says charging at .1C timed is OK. There is a lot of conflicting data out there, but all the experts agree that you cannot chrage at .1C timed. Here's another source.
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a..._metal_hydride
It is difficult, if not impossible, to slow-charge a NiMH battery. At a C‑rate of 0.1 to 0.3C, the voltage and temperature profiles fail to exhibit defined characteristics to measure the full-charge state accurately and the charger must depend on a timer. Harmful overcharge will occur if a fixed timer controls the charge. This is especially apparent when charging partially or fully charged batteries
.
They also talk about peak chargers not handling mismatched cells very well. I just had a nice discussion on another forum and it seems there is some validity in balancing a new pack with a slow charge, but subsequent charges should be done with a peak charger to avoid the degradation from overcharging.
A couple things occur to me about the Sanyo write up, which I think is a darn good document for those wanting to know more about their batteries than the really need to. One- the Sanyo write up it seems to me is speaking about NiMh like they are a new and unfamiliar animal. Consequently I wonder if the information is dated. NiMh batteries have come a long way since their introduction. Two, they do state that they are unsuitable for low rate charge, but their reason is that they don't handle overcharge well. If you stop the charge when charged, even they allow that low rate charge is ok. Three- If you read the last sentence of the preamble 3-2 charging methods, you'll see that they say "Depending on the the model of the battery, charging at a constant current equivilant to .1 IT is also possible. .1 current total is .1c.

As someone has mentioned, you collect the information that seems correct to you and go with it. I don't think Red is some know it all cowboy who is laying out half baked ideas. If you look at his background you'll see he has sufficient credentials to make his claims. Then he has been working with batteries for our hobby fof a good long time and add's experience to the mix. As I said, if you follow Reds recommendations, I doubt you'll find your batteries failing you. My two cents.

Mike

Old 02-13-2013, 10:55 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries



Those are excellent observations Mike for which I have no answer. I posted this stuff in the hope someone here can enlighten us on those details.
However,
There are other sources which claim the same regarding slow charging.
http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/a..._metal_hydride
It is difficult, if not impossible, to slow-charge a NiMH battery. At a C‑rate of 0.1 to 0.3C, the voltage and temperature profiles fail to exhibit defined characteristics to measure the full-charge state accurately and the charger must depend on a timer. Harmful overcharge will occur if a fixed timer controls the charge. This is especially apparent when charging partially or fully charged batteries.
Regarding newer technology, eneloop chargers are all peak detect and/or temperature based I believe, so it seems that timed charging may be bad for those too.
http://www.eneloop.info/eneloop-prod...r-manuals.html. Some of those however run in the dreaded .1-.3C range??

Old 02-13-2013, 02:58 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I've reviewed a number of data sheets on-line for currently available Sanyo cells. An example is attached. They're all consistent in that they provide charging curve data based on a 1C charge rate. So in ByronRC's case, charging at 1.6A. Although, their capacity specification is based on a slow charge (250 mA for 16 hours) and a light discharge (500 mA down to 1V). I guess this speaks to the fact that they can be slow charged at what I can only assume is an ideal current for max capacity. Otherwise, why would they use it?

I've always charged my packs at a 1C rate and I've had good results with this approach. ByronRC didn't provide an explanation for why he feels that he's been charging incorrectly. Are the batteries failing too quickly? Are they not accepting a full charge?

http://www.eneloop.info/fileadmin/we...R-3U_2500_.pdf
Old 02-13-2013, 05:27 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Although, their capacity specification is based on a slow charge (250 mA for 16 hours) and a light discharge (500 mA down to 1V). I guess this speaks to the fact that they can be slow charged at what I can only assume is an ideal current for max capacity. Otherwise, why would they use it?
The .1Cx16hrs is a standardised test, not an operating recommendation. They rate all their NiMh and Nicad cells this way. The same was done in the datasheet I posted, but the charging recommendations are different from their test standard. It won't kill your battery to charge onceat .1C, but repeatedly doing it will degrade the cells. I always wondered why my NiMh packs degraded immediately and continuously throughout their relatively short lifespan, but that may be because I was charging at .1C x 15 hrs. So the poor battery was being repeatedly overcharged, and thus degraded (according to sanyo)
Old 02-13-2013, 08:43 PM
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ByronRC
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

So what I can gather, for the first few charges I can charge at .1C and afterwards .5C?
Old 02-13-2013, 08:50 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries


ORIGINAL: fly24-7

I've reviewed a number of data sheets on-line for currently available Sanyo cells. An example is attached. They're all consistent in that they provide charging curve data based on a 1C charge rate. So in ByronRC's case, charging at 1.6A. Although, their capacity specification is based on a slow charge (250 mA for 16 hours) and a light discharge (500 mA down to 1V). I guess this speaks to the fact that they can be slow charged at what I can only assume is an ideal current for max capacity. Otherwise, why would they use it?

I've always charged my packs at a 1C rate and I've had good results with this approach. ByronRC didn't provide an explanation for why he feels that he's been charging incorrectly. Are the batteries failing too quickly? Are they not accepting a full charge?

http://www.eneloop.info/fileadmin/we...R-3U_2500_.pdf
How long should they last?
Old 02-13-2013, 09:55 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I always wondered why my NiMh packs degraded immediately and continuously throughout their relatively short lifespan, but that may be because I was charging at .1C x 15 hrs. 

Exactly what happened with mine many years ago when I started using them. I thought I was being 'nice' to my packs, but they wanted to be treated a little rough.  [8D]
Old 02-18-2013, 11:53 AM
  #35  
motomike
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Spog

You are probably on to something. And I doubt you'll have any problems with your batteries.Once or twice a year I discharge my NiMhbatteries to 1 volt per cell and then charge them at .1c. Myreasoningis that with5 cells in the pack theywill, owed to manufacturing tolerence becomeimbalanced. When you bang them with .5 to 1C current, the negative delta Vwill be pronounced and stopthe charging, even ifnot all the individual cells reached that level.

The reason for not charging at .1Call the time is that the indications that the battery reliably exhibits to indicate full charge when at .5C to 1C charge rate are not reliably exhibited at .1C. If you are lucky or conservative or aware of your charge state through rigorous monitoring, you might be able to charge them at .1C and never overcharge them.


Though it makes sense on one level to not feed them a steady diet of .1c charging, I still do it when doing the forming charges to get new batteriesall working the same or whenperiodically you want to make sure they are balanced.When you do you will in all likelyhood have a cell or twothat reaches fullcharge before the others, but since the charge current is low, heat buildup is lowgas production is low and adsorbsion is possible without overheating or over pressurizing the cells so they can handle the occasional light overcharging while you are bringing them all up to snuff. The fact thatNegative Delta V is hard to see at .1Cis what letsall the cells be fully charged without early termination.


Though Sanyo is certainly a respected name in batteries, Panasonic and Power-Sonic are not paupers and their data sheets specifically mention .1C as the standard charge. And they expect more than 500 cycles from their batteries. I included their data sheets below. While looking I noted that there area lot of battery manufacturers who recommend the samebut don't provide data sheets at all.

I expect that some manufacturers who also make consumer grade wall wart type chargers, give these figures because that is what their cheaply produced chargers provide. Unless you are in our hobby, you won't likely have the high zoot chargers we all have with multi chemistry and user selectable options.

I still contend that Red won't steer you wrong.


With all things, one needs to use common sense, look at the info available and decide what is best for them.

http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/...H_HHR300CH.pdf

http://www.power-sonic.com/images/po...Catalog-Lo.pdf
Old 02-18-2013, 12:09 PM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Thanks for the data sheets motomike. I think your assessment of the available info is sound.
Old 02-18-2013, 12:30 PM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

What's interesting to me in the powersonic data sheet is that maximum cycle life is obtained by slow charging. It should be noted however this is based on a discharge to 1V and a .1C charge for 12 hours only, which is inconsistent with their charging method of .1C for 15 hours. (that's the cycle life graph I'd like to see).Based on their charging characteristics,12 hrswould stop the charging at pretty much exactly when the battery achieves full charge, and very little if any overcharging occurs. I think my mistake in the past was to not discharge the battery and just charge it at .1C for 15 hours which overcharges the cells every time. Like sanyo, they state that repeated overcharging can deteriorate performance.
Old 02-18-2013, 08:32 PM
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motomike
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

GG
I didn't see where anyone answered you on that and I am not surprised. it is like the chevy/ford/dodge or evenrude/Johnson/Merc debate. lots of brand loyalty out there.

I have a Dynamite Vision Ultra which does everything I need. But I have considered that as my airplane count grows, I do wish I had a charger that could charge more than one pack at a time. If I was looking now, I'd find one that could do all the various chemistries, could charge more than one battery at a time. If I was into electric power, I'd make sure it could balance LIPOs and probably would want a temp sensor. auto discharge would make life easier as my method is to plug a resister into the pack and monitor it's voltage to get it down to 1v per cell. with auto discharge with user selectable set point. user selectable charge rate. and if you will be using the charger at the field, I'd want a charger that had dc and ac power sources as options. Another nice feature would be power cords that unplug so that if it is mostly used AC, as mine is, you would not have the DC cord hanging there and getting in the way.
I know that doesn't really answer your question, but it depends on what you need the charger to do. If you just need a basic charger, I'd recommend mine. but there are a lot of chargers out there and plenty of reviews to consider.

good luck

ORIGINAL: GallopingGhostler

Does anyone have a charger they recommend?
Old 02-19-2013, 10:41 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

motomike, thanks for replying. Reason why I ask is that nicad availability is slowly dwindling and I already have nimads in AA and AAA sizes. I've been using the overnight chargers that come with these pencells (you know, the ones packaged for $12 for 4 AA's and charger). They take overnight to charge. They turn off after charge is reached. However I have noticed that some of the older ones a couple years old don't seem to holding a charge well.

Then I came across these forums and seemingly good info overall from the posters, with their various experiences and observations, particularly those indicating that slow charging can degrade the batteries.

I've observed some don't seem to be holding a charge well now, found out in use with my hand held glow plug ignitor. The 2000 mA cells, a more recent buy work flawlessly, but can't get the 2500 mA Energizers to light.

Those features you mention sound like they would help, particularly auto discharge and AC / DC options. I'll take a look at the Dynamite Vision Ultra.

Thanks again.
Old 03-01-2013, 03:07 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

NiCad and NiMH batteries are amongst the hardest batteries to charge. Whereas with lithium ion and lead acid batteries you can control overcharge by just setting a maximum charge voltage, the nickel based batteries don't have a "float charge" voltage. So the charging is based on forcing current through the battery. The voltage to do this is not fixed in stone like it is for the other batteries.

This makes these cells and batteries difficult to charge in parallel. This is because you can't be sure that each cell or pack is the same impedance (or resistance), and so some will take more current than others even when they are full. This means that you need to use a separate charging circuit for each string in a parallel pack, or balance the current in some other way, for example by using resistors of such a resistance that it will dominate the current control.

The coulometric charging efficiency of nickel metal hydride batteries is typically 66%, meaning that you must put 150 amp hours into the battery for every 100 amp hours you get out. The faster you charge the worse this gets.

The minus delta V bump that is indicative of end-of-charge is much less pronounced in NiMH than NiCad, and it is very temperature dependent. To make matters worse, new NiMH batteries can exhibit bumps in the curve early in the cycle, particularly when cold. Also, NiMH are sensitive to damage on overcharge when the charge rate is over C/10. Since the delta V bump is not always easy to see, slight overcharge is probable. For this reason PowerStream does not recommend using simple minus delta V as a termination criterion for nickel metal hydride batteries.

However, modern algorithms have been developed to enable accurate charging without using a thermistor. These chargers are similar to the -delta V chargers, but have special measurement techniques to detect a full charge, usually involving some kind of pulse cycle where the voltage is measured during the pulse and between pulses. For multicell packs, if the cells are not all at the same state of charge, and if they are not balanced in capacity, the cells may fill up one at a time, bluring out the end-of-charge signal. In order to balance the cells it may take several charge-discharge cycles. Luckily, NiMH does not mind being overcharged at C/10 or less, which allows the charger to balance the cells during the trickle charge.

As the battery reaches end-of-charge oxygen starts to form at the electrodes, and be recombined at the catalyst. This new chemical reaction creates heat, which can be easily measured with a thermistor. This is the safest way to detect end-of-charge during a fast charge.

Old 03-01-2013, 03:27 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Luckily, NiMH does not mind being overcharged at C/10 or less, which allows the charger to balance the cells during the trickle charge.
This is incorrect according to sanyo and battery university.
Old 03-01-2013, 05:40 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I gather there is much passion about charging model batteries as there is in the so called superiority of motorcycle oils over cage oils.
Old 03-01-2013, 08:50 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I see the possibility of misreading C/10 as C10. C.1=C/10

Mike
Old 03-01-2013, 10:27 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Where x is the battery capacity:

Cx = C divided by x, or C/x .  Ex:  1,000 / 10 = 100. 

xC = x times C, or x x C. 10 x 1,000 = 10,000. 

If the C is first, divide. 

If the C is last, multiply. 
Old 03-01-2013, 12:48 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Everyone has their own system.......I stick close to Red's advice at Hangtimehobbys will some minor mods due to the charger...........the charger their's a fickle device that can drive you crazy or give you no trouble sometimes . On my charger I would charge 700ma batt to 770ma 10% overcharge. I like round numbers so I would do 780ma and that gives a nice round 13hours at 100ma(auto) if delt-v cut off.
I also use temp probe set at 5 degrees over normal temp......just in case heat is the killer hear.

I just finished testing my new charger and almost new NIMH 2000ma 5 cells. Hear is what my auto charger gives me after a 22hr 100ma form charge that I always do with a wall charger and timer twice(2)form charges.............

I set up auto charger for a 2200ma charge at .2(200ma) for 11 hours 660min. I set my temp cutoff at 74 degrees 5 above normal........the charger cut off with delta V at 2050ma...short of the 2200 I ask for and short of the time and temp also...........during discharge I got 1950ma back out and she cut off at 5v...1 volt per cell.....my digital meter showed batt at 5.2 v.....sweet!!!!!! so far the new charger has treated me well. I do slow charges at home at 10% of the batt a 2000ma batt is 200ma at 10% above max capasity this case 2200ma I have had good life out of my packs this way.

I do peak charge at the field at .5 to 1.0 depending on how fast I need a little extra to extend my day.

Good luck....and test that charger!!!!!!!
Old 03-16-2013, 08:48 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

My experience is with nicads for power tools, drills and drivers and such. Working at Lowe's customers were coming in to buy batteries for a near new tool saying they had bad batteries because they would not charge or hold a charge after being on the charger all night. In our training we were taught that nicads have a memory and you can't put a full charge in a half charged nicad because of it, they need to be discharged first or run down in the tool. Thats why you usually get 2 batteries when you buy the tool. Does'nt the same apply to our RC nicad batteries when it comes to charging. I have'nt had the problem charging after a day of flying using the charger that came with my radios. I have never used any other batteries but just bought a 5 cell 6V 1500 NIMH that said to charge for 12-14 hrs. before use. Guess I will need a charger now but don't know much about them.

I guess it's time to go to school so I know what I'm doing, unless I can get it here. Thanks, Leroy
Old 03-17-2013, 03:05 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

nicads memory, if you don't drain it it will start and see the low state as empty, or if taken of the charger early. then the capacity shrinks until it's only taken a few mA
If you use it until 50% is still left in then that 50% becomes the empty state quite quickly. Why people who buy tools need replacements, the D.I.Y.'er will never drain a pack, Tradesmen use it with no load until it's very slow.

nimhs also have a memory effect, but is different to the nicad's. Charge a nimh slow and it will discharge slow, this is why some companies want you to charge slow, thier battery will last longer. Charge it fast and it will discharge faster. But charging it fast shortens the life very quickly also.
Old 03-17-2013, 04:59 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I see the myth of NiCad memory is still alive and circulating. For some good ACCURATE info on batteries, check out the following sites:

Battery information
http://www.hangtimes.com/redsbatteryclinic.html
http://www.camlight.com/techinfo/techtips.html
http://www.whenshtf.com/showthread.php?t=2153
http://www.srbatteries.com/nimh.htm
http://dansdata.com/gz011.htm
http://users.frii.com/dlc/battery.htm
Old 03-17-2013, 05:45 AM
  #49  
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

http://www.repairfaq.org/ELE/F_NiCd_...ICDBATTERY_014

2.9) Does the memory effect exist?
<Flame shields on> YES

Just as everyone is running around and saying that the memory effect is a myth, here I am, saying that it is true. OK, so, why is this? First of all, the term memory effect is quite unscientific. People tend to attribute any failure of a NiCd to memory.

Let us define memory as the phenomenon where the discharge voltage for a given load is lower than it should be. This can give the appearance of a lowered capacity, while in reality, it is more accurate to term it voltage depression.
Old 03-17-2013, 07:06 AM
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trax de max
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Voltage depression, thats the word I been trying to think for a while.

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