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How to charge NiMH batteries

Old 02-11-2013, 06:13 PM
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ByronRC
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Default How to charge NiMH batteries

Hoping some here can help me. I'll be using a 1600 Mah 6V hump pack for my receiver. My charger is Surecharge 2010. http://www.racers-edge.com/Racers_Ed.../rcesc2010.htm

I was wondering if someone can describe to me the care and maintenance from opening of package to initial charge and subsequent charges and how to store these batteries. I've been charging at 1.6 amp rate from opening the package til it dies. This has to be wrong. I've never been told how to charge batteries and when I ask I get a multitude of answers that doesn't seem to coincide with other answers Hoping someone out there can help me.
Thanks
Old 02-11-2013, 07:38 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Well Byron, You can ask 12 different people on here and get 12 different answers.

A NiMH battery will not reach its maximum potential until 4 cycles. The 1600 NiMH is a 1.6 amp per hour battery. In other words, if you discharged it at 1.6 amps it would be completely dead in 1 hour. It's best to charge this battery at 160 milliamps at 7.5 volts for 10 hours. The battery will become warm to touch at the end of the charge. You can charge a NiMH at 1.6 amps (fast charge) on occasion, but not everytime. Heat is the killer of these batteries. The heat breaks down the insulator between the plates and a short is formed. A good NiMH battery will actually store 140 % of it listed capacity.

You can store your charged NiMH in the refrigerator, but not the freezer.


Frank



Old 02-11-2013, 08:25 PM
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ByronRC
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

So I should charge out of the package at 160 miliamps for 4 cycles. what are the subsequent charges at? Also after using it for the day should I discharge it. and if so at what settings?
Old 02-12-2013, 02:55 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

A NiMh cell should not be slow charged. The repeated overcharging degrades the battery. A peak charger at .5-1C charge rate would be acceptable. This is according to sanyo.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:59 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Hi Spog,

Slow charging does not mean overcharging? i.e. slow charge for appropriate length of time?
Old 02-12-2013, 03:13 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Slow charging is a .1C charge rate timed for 14-16 hours. The battery is overcharged every time. You should not use a peak charger at a .1C charge rate since the charger may miss the peak.
Old 02-12-2013, 06:48 AM
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Rodney
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

If you really want some good reliable info on how to charge and care for your batteries check out www.hangtimes.com/redsbatteryclinic.html
There is a lot of "not so good advice" often quoted here in the forums.
Old 02-12-2013, 06:51 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries


ORIGINAL: spog1

Slow charging is a .1C charge rate timed for 14-16 hours. The battery is overcharged every time. You should not use a peak charger at a .1C charge rate since the charger may miss the peak.

This happens quite often with my Accucell 6 charger when charging Nicads or NiMh batteries.
Old 02-12-2013, 07:06 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Slow charging does not mean overcharging? i.e. slow charge for appropriate length of time?

The enphasis perhaps should have been on "for the appropriate length of time." If charged at .1C for the APPROPRIATE length of time the Nicd , by definition, will not be over charged?....

Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries



The timed charging was used for NiCads and 14 to 16 hours at .1C was long enough to fully charge the battery, but it was longer than necessary to ensure a full charge. There is no good way to calculate the exact time required for a full charge. NiCads could handle the overcharging, but NiMh degrade under this condition. For that reason sanyo recommends 3 quick charging methods (see sanyo pdf in previous post)

Old 02-12-2013, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

A sure way to know when a Nicad is fully charged is that it should be warm to the touch, NOT hot.
Old 02-12-2013, 07:50 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

If you really want some good reliable info on how to charge and care for your batteries check out www.hangtimes.com/redsbatteryclinic.html There is a lot of "not so good advice" often quoted here in the forums.
From RC battery clinic.
The Ni-MH that are available to us today from Sanyo/Panasonic may be treated essentially the same as Ni-Cds –EXCEPT FOR PEAK CHARGING. You have to be careful here. Some chargers will accommodate them, others won’t - and end up severely overcharging them to the point of destruction.
This is incorrect according to sanyo.
Old 02-12-2013, 11:10 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

This is incorrect according to sanyo. 

Clear as mud now? Nimhs are unique, as you can tell. Youth have to experiment a bit, as some of us have found out. 

The most troublesome trait for NiMh is the false peak. This is when the pack seems to take a charge, charger set appropriately, runs for the correct time, peaks then goes to a trickle charge. But plug the pack in, and it's near dead. Where the energy went is a mystery. 
 I have a 10-cell 3-amp pack for an old-timer that I must charge at 5 amps for ten minutes to enable it to take a charge. Then I charge it at 1C for an hour and it's fine. The pack is over 10 years old, still works good.  The initial 5-amp 'bump' builds a little heat, and allows it to accept the charge. Odd, but I live with it. 

Have you looked at alternatives? LiPo and LiFe are much better overall. NiCad and NiMh are on the way out, although I'll miss Nicads. Nimhs have always been finicky IMO. LiFe is very robust. 2 2300s would give you a trouble-free setup. 
Old 02-12-2013, 11:21 AM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

NiCad and NiMh are on the way out
You'd be hard pressed to find anything that compares to eneloop for Tx use. They are safe, durable, high capacity, very low self discharge, and good cold weather performance. No regulator is needed for most radios. It's the best IMO.
Old 02-12-2013, 11:43 AM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

foget NiMh batteries and just go with LiFes and never worry again.
Old 02-12-2013, 01:30 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries


ORIGINAL: Rodney

If you really want some good reliable info on how to charge and care for your batteries check out www.hangtimes.com/redsbatteryclinic.html
There is a lot of "not so good advice" often quoted here in the forums.
Rodney's got the right plan. Just too much misinformation circulating in the various forums.

Another good source for NiMH information is Radical RC. Check their articles on care and feeding of NiMH batteries. That's whatI followed whenI was running these batteries several years ago, and was steered or ledto the right path....

They also have information on care and feeding of L-ions and Lipos. BTW- their batteries and prices are pretty good too
Old 02-12-2013, 01:38 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Rodney's got the right plan. Just too much misinformation circulating in the various forums.
There's no misinformation in the sanyo data sheet, and it doesn't seem to agree with RC battery clinic or radical RC. I will take the manufacturer's recommendations over anyone else's.

Here it is again.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:18 PM
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spog1
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I wonder if so many people hate NiMh cells because they've been following the charging recommendationa from "reputable" sources like RCbattery Clinic and Radical RC. Charge your batteries with a NiMh peak detection charger at .5-1C and you won't have any problems.
Old 02-12-2013, 02:48 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Charge your batteries with a NiMh peak detection charger at .5-1C and you won't have any problems. 

I've had mixed results with NiMhs. Overnight, .5C, 1.0C, and all different size cells. I find the bigger the cell, the more prone to false peak. Many 1700-1900 mah packs. If I charge my 3-amp pack at 1C without the 5A 'hit', it false peaks almost every time. 
Old 02-12-2013, 02:59 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

It might be your charger eddie. I have charged NiMh on my triton and have never missed a peak or had a false peak, I monitored batteries very closely on my helis. I have charged aaa and aa eneloops, sanyo 3200mah FAUP cells and 3600mah HV cells.
Old 02-12-2013, 03:38 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

It wasn't any of my chargers (Triton, Hitec, Hobbico). Have used Panasonic, Sanyo and Venom, just unreliable. If I have the time, I let them rest an hour or two then retry. Only use them in 2nd or 3rd plane of the day. Lots of my buds have up and switched to other chemistries. These are hard-core RC hobbyists who welcome a challenge. 
The car guys do seem to have good results, tho. I use 2 7-cell Venom car packs on my starter, and I made up the 10-cell 3A pack from matched Reedy cells. That pack is over 10 years old, still works but false peaks if charged per instructions. Hence, I 'massage' it. 
Old 02-12-2013, 08:44 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Wow! All I was hoping for is what I should be setting charger parameters to, and when should do a slow charge and do a discharge. I appreciate all the help and info, but I think this goes a little beyond what I'm looking for.

I'm more interested in what I should do from out of the package and subsequent charges. Also should I discharge after use? and if so to what? I'm using 1600 mah receiver packs. What I've been doing is was setting the charger to 1.6C throughout the life of the battery. For all this time I believed this was right until I notice that the final read out after the charge was decreasing. I wanna do it right to get the most life of the battery.
Old 02-12-2013, 09:27 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

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Byron
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.

I think that if you follow Red's advice you will be happy with your batteries. You state you are charging your NiMh at 1.6C- that would be 2.56 amps. Since you had 1600mah batteries, I wondered if you were charging them at 1.6 amps or 1C. I think 1C is the max you want to charge them at and you need to be on your toes as you get near the end as Red cautions.

I charge new NiMh batteries at .1c a couple times and though my Dynamite charger has never missed a peak even at .1 I watch their heat as Red had suggested. After they have been in service for a few rotations I then charge them at .5 c and have never had the charger miss the peak. I check them before I go to the field with a loaded volt meter. I check them if I fly a lot while at the field. With 60 to 90 sized sport and scale planes (no 3d) with 5 to 8 standard servos the 2000 mah 6v packs have been good for many flights and plenty of reserve.

Since NiMh don't develop a memory you don't need to routinely discharge them.. But to make sure they still have adequate capacity, before the beginning of the season I use a 10ohm 10watt resister to discharge the packs to 1 volt per cell and then recharge them to see how much the charger had to put back in to get them to full charge. It should be somewhere near the stated capacity of the battery.

Good luck

Mike

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Old 02-12-2013, 09:32 PM
  #24  
eddieC
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

I agree there is lots of info out there! Even the experts don't always agree. You will probably need to follow the one that sounds best. 
Countilaw's first post made some good points. Overcharging creates heat, which quickly degrades the battery. They should never get so hot that you can't hold them for a couple minutes. 
It sounds like you're doing fine. Nimhs do increase their capacity a bit with each cycle from first use. Takes about 5-6 charge cycles for them to settle down. If your charger doesn't display milliamperes in/out, you should get one that does. That's the best way to see how much energy (ma) you've put in. 
For storage, the battery shouldn't be stored in a discharged state. Charge to 50% is good. TBH, I've left many packs stored with a full charge and it hasn't hurt them. If not flying for months, it's good to recharge to the 50% point. 
Old 02-12-2013, 09:37 PM
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Default RE: How to charge NiMH batteries

Also, most manufacturers don't recommend cycling NiMhs. I've done it tho, gives an idea of the pack capacity.

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