EN-EL4A / EN-EL4 Battery Difference

Started Aug 16, 2009 | Discussions thread
bob elkind Veteran Member • Posts: 5,815
Re: EN-EL4A / EN-EL4 Battery Difference

Some thoughts to consider:

Li-Ion batteries have a limited lifespan. If the EN-EL4 (non-A) battery is an old production unit that has been sitting on the shelf for a year or two, it is likely already compromised. Here is a quote from http://www.batteryuniversity.com:

Aging is a concern with most lithium-ion batteries and many manufacturers remain silent about this issue. Some capacity deterioration is noticeable after one year, whether the battery is in use or not. The battery frequently fails after two or three years. It should be noted that other chemistries also have age-related degenerative effects. This is especially true for nickel-metal-hydride if exposed to high ambient temperatures. At the same time, lithium-ion packs are known to have served for five years in some applications.

A Li-Ion battery's 'life clock' starts ticking once it has been born. An EN-EL4 battery that has been sitting on the shelf for a year will likely give you less useful service (by a year) than a freshly made battery purchased at the same time.

If you purchase a second-hand EN-EL4 battery, its remaining usefulness (or lifespan) can be predicted more accurately by its age than by its extent of use (i.e. number of charge/discharge cycles). Purchase your battery from a store with high turnover (fresh stock). If our local camera store buys a few EN-EL4a batteries once a year for resale, you should purchase elsewhere.

I have some very limited experience with 3rd party EN-EL4a replacement batteries, none of it good. I have yet to see (in my limited experience) a 3rd party EN-EL4 type battery that would charge in my Nikon MH-22 charger.

If you consider that a Li-Ion battery has a useful lifespan of up to 5 years, a brand-spanking new EN-EL4 (non-A) battery has the equivalent capacity of a 1-year old or 2-year old EN-EL4a that has seen its capacity deteriorate by 30% (the difference in rated capacity between EN-EL4 and En-EL4a batteries when new).

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Bob Elkind
Family,in/outdoor sports, landscape, wildlife
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my relationship with my camera is strictly photonic

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