Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

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sbw123 Regular Member • Posts: 182
Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

I use rechargeable Eneloop brand AAA and Duracell brand AA batteries in my Meike twin macro flash set up.  In the last few days, the flashes simply stop "flashing" and shut off after a very few number of uses/flashes.  When I place the Eneloops in the charger, a green LED light tells me they are full charged.  Yet, fresh out of the charger, again the flashes simply stop "flashing" after only a few uses.

Do rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after a lot of use?  I don't know if this is a battery issue a flash issue. I think the batteries are  just a little over 1 year old, but to be fair, I use the flash unit a lot.

Thanks,

-Steven

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Phil Shaw Regular Member • Posts: 495
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

I always find that one out of a pair, or set, of NiMH rechargeable batteries has a shorter life (in terms of delivering power) than the others and this will lead to the pair/set failing.  NiMH batteries also only supply 1.2v and appliances will not function as intended with this voltage especially if it drops further.  As a further observation, I have never really found NiMH AAA batteries very reliable, though I have never used the Eneloops in that size.

Chris 222 Senior Member • Posts: 1,703
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

sbw123 wrote:

I use rechargeable Eneloop brand AAA and Duracell brand AA batteries in my Meike twin macro flash set up. In the last few days, the flashes simply stop "flashing" and shut off after a very few number of uses/flashes. When I place the Eneloops in the charger, a green LED light tells me they are full charged. Yet, fresh out of the charger, again the flashes simply stop "flashing" after only a few uses.

Do rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after a lot of use? I don't know if this is a battery issue a flash issue. I think the batteries are just a little over 1 year old, but to be fair, I use the flash unit a lot.

Thanks,

-Steven

Hi Steven,

The answer is yes. It takes just a very little change to the chemistry inside for this to happen.

But just to be sure, what is the exact voltage you see after seeing that green LED?

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Chris
Links to a few resources I published here to help my fellow photographers:
R1: BEST BACKPACK / RUCKSACK FOR HIKING PHOTOGRAPHERS (2021) https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4574941
R2: Most versatile ICU (camera insert) for backpacks and other bags: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4585593
R3: How to make your own custom dividers for any photo bag or ICU (Internal Camera Unit) https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4594146
R4: Reviewed: Cosyspeed mini-pouch, hand strap, waist / sling bag, powerbank https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4585015
R5: Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4446343

Mark B.
Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 28,634
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

Phil Shaw wrote:

I always find that one out of a pair, or set, of NiMH rechargeable batteries has a shorter life (in terms of delivering power) than the others and this will lead to the pair/set failing. NiMH batteries also only supply 1.2v and appliances will not function as intended with this voltage especially if it drops further.

Flash units charge an internal capacitor from the batteries, so the 1.2v from a NiMh vs 1.5 from alkaline is negligible, particularly since the internal resistance of NiMh is low and charges the flash relatively quickly.  I've never had an issue with NiMh in my flash units.  Never tried them in something else that uses the power directly, like say a flashlight.

As a further observation, I have never really found NiMH AAA batteries very reliable, though I have never used the Eneloops in that size.

Never had an issue with any of my AA NiMh and reliability, but again I only use them in portable flash.

Mark

OP sbw123 Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

Chris 222 wrote:

sbw123 wrote:

I use rechargeable Eneloop brand AAA and Duracell brand AA batteries in my Meike twin macro flash set up. In the last few days, the flashes simply stop "flashing" and shut off after a very few number of uses/flashes. When I place the Eneloops in the charger, a green LED light tells me they are full charged. Yet, fresh out of the charger, again the flashes simply stop "flashing" after only a few uses.

Do rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after a lot of use? I don't know if this is a battery issue a flash issue. I think the batteries are just a little over 1 year old, but to be fair, I use the flash unit a lot.

Thanks,

-Steven

Hi Steven,

The answer is yes. It takes just a very little change to the chemistry inside for this to happen.

But just to be sure, what is the exact voltage you see after seeing that green LED?

The charging station I have, that came with the Duracell AA's and accommodates the AAA, doesn't have a voltage meter. The LED is either red, blinking green, or solid green.

-S

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Chris 222 Senior Member • Posts: 1,703
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

sbw123 wrote:

Chris 222 wrote:

sbw123 wrote:

I use rechargeable Eneloop brand AAA and Duracell brand AA batteries in my Meike twin macro flash set up. In the last few days, the flashes simply stop "flashing" and shut off after a very few number of uses/flashes. When I place the Eneloops in the charger, a green LED light tells me they are full charged. Yet, fresh out of the charger, again the flashes simply stop "flashing" after only a few uses.

Do rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after a lot of use? I don't know if this is a battery issue a flash issue. I think the batteries are just a little over 1 year old, but to be fair, I use the flash unit a lot.

Thanks,

-Steven

Hi Steven,

The answer is yes. It takes just a very little change to the chemistry inside for this to happen.

But just to be sure, what is the exact voltage you see after seeing that green LED?

The charging station I have, that came with the Duracell AA's and accommodates the AAA, doesn't have a voltage meter. The LED is either red, blinking green, or solid green.

-S

It sounds like you do not own a multi-meter. I would recommend that you buy or borrow one.

But a quick voltage read is only one part of the equation.  As far as checking the actual charge level and holding capacity, the only meaningful way to do this is to use a battery tester that applies a load to the battery.

I highly recommend ZTS products. they are made in USA and super accurate and reliable (basically a lifelong purchase): www.ztsinc.com

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Chris
Links to a few resources I published here to help my fellow photographers:
R1: BEST BACKPACK / RUCKSACK FOR HIKING PHOTOGRAPHERS (2021) https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4574941
R2: Most versatile ICU (camera insert) for backpacks and other bags: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4585593
R3: How to make your own custom dividers for any photo bag or ICU (Internal Camera Unit) https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4594146
R4: Reviewed: Cosyspeed mini-pouch, hand strap, waist / sling bag, powerbank https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4585015
R5: Best carry on wheeled backpack you've never heard of https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4446343

OP sbw123 Regular Member • Posts: 182
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

Thanks for the recommendation.

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Phil Shaw Regular Member • Posts: 495
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?

You might find this Youtube video interesting Best AA rechargeable batteries

tintifax Contributing Member • Posts: 963
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?
1

I have not noted for the last 10 years that my Eneloops lost power. Approx. 10 - 15 years ago I changed my 1.2-Accus from mixed brands only to Eneloops because they are by far the best! From time to time I refresh it - you need a loader that is able to do that. No problem for years - maybe they lost 5 or 10 % over the years but I don't notice that.

Above this I use original Accus for my Godox-flashes. This batteries seem to last and last and last. I can take a few hundred pictures with one accu, sometimes I need 2 accus for a whole wedding (from 10:00 to 24:00), despite the fact that I use a fill-in-flash on near every picture. But this are no NiMh accus, as far as I know this are LiIon-batteries.

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with best regards from Vienna
Thomas T
If we photographers were taxi-drivers we all wanted a 450 HP Ferrari for our job
A good picture is a good picture, with 6 MP, 12 MP, 24 MP 36 MP or 45 MP. And it does not become better with more pixels

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S Castle
S Castle Senior Member • Posts: 1,331
Re: Do rechargeable batteries lose their charge?
2

sbw123 wrote:

I use rechargeable Eneloop brand AAA and Duracell brand AA batteries in my Meike twin macro flash set up. In the last few days, the flashes simply stop "flashing" and shut off after a very few number of uses/flashes. When I place the Eneloops in the charger, a green LED light tells me they are full charged. Yet, fresh out of the charger, again the flashes simply stop "flashing" after only a few uses.

This suggests to me there might be something amiss with the charger, or the batteries have somehow been damaged. I went to the Meike site and they recommend Ni-MH batteries, so they know the voltage will not be 1.5V each. I am still using Eneloop batteries purchased in 2013, without issues. I have always used a Maha MH-C801D smart charger with them.

Do rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold a charge after a lot of use? I don't know if this is a battery issue a flash issue. I think the batteries are just a little over 1 year old, but to be fair, I use the flash unit a lot.

I would install fresh alkaline batteries to test whether it's a battery or a flash issue, assuming the flash will work with them. And yes, batteries do get old and the discharge time gets shorter. Also, they can lose their charge just sitting around (called "self-discharge"). Most available today are low self-discharge and will hold their charge longer before use.

Unfortunate that you are having battery issues. I am not familiar with the Duracell Ni-MH batteries but all the Eneloops I have used have done very well.

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Shane

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