Low self discharge (LSD) NiMH batteries

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Common NiMH batteries have a high rate of self-discharge, which means that in most cases they need to be charged before (and after) use, and also at fairly frequent (2 month) intervals as they don't like being stored when discharged.  New "hybrid" or "low self discharge" types overcome these problems. They come pre-charged with a shelf life of about a year before needing to be re-charged.  As a result this new generation of rechargeable batteries outperform both "heavy duty" and alkaline batteries in most applications.  They are particularly well suited to high drain applications such as torches and children's motorized toys, especially as you just recharge them when they are accidentally left on!
Made by various manufacturers and sold as "Eneloop"  "Ready-2-use" "ReCyCo"  they are available in AA, AAA and PP3 (9V) and are little more expensive than the older type.

Forget the old rules about looking after NiCd batteries, they don't apply to NiMH batteries.  Most important things to remember for NiMH cells are:
  • DONT charge them in NiCD chargers - they cant tell when they are fully charged. However you can charge NiCd in most NiMH chargers.
  • DONT let them become completely flat - NiMH cells need reconditioning after a deep discharge, and may never fully recover.
  • DONT store them when discharged and remember even if not used they will need recharging every 6 months or so (2 years for the LSD types).
  • DONT draw excessive current. NiMH batteries degrade rapidly if asked to supply current at more than half their capacity per hour (i.e. 1A for a 2Ah cell)
Keep your batteries in sets (use an indelible marker to label them) and dont mix new with old or higher with lower capacities.
Store both Li-Ion rechargeables and NiMH batteries in a cool place (the fridge - not the freezer) to reduce self-discharge.
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