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Subject: "Sanyo Eneloop batteries" Previous topic | Next topic
Gene 1 NYC Registered since 30th Dec 2009Sat 13-Aug-11 02:32 AM
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"Sanyo Eneloop batteries"


New york, US
          

I have a few gift cards and am thinking of using them to get some of these batteries for my SB800 and battery pack. Like the idea that they hold their charge for a long time and my current batteries are several years old. Are my old chargers ok to use- (pearstone 8 battery and impact 4 battery); I think they are but just wanted some confirmation. Also: has anyone had a problem (less power) with the 2000 mAh rating when using flash? Thanks in advance for any help.

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSat 13-Aug-11 02:43 AM
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#1. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I have a few gift cards and am thinking of using them to get
>some of these batteries for my SB800 and battery pack. Like
>the idea that they hold their charge for a long time and my
>current batteries are several years old. Are my old chargers
>ok to use- (pearstone 8 battery and impact 4 battery); I think
>they are but just wanted some confirmation. Also: has anyone
>had a problem (less power) with the 2000 mAh rating when using
>flash? Thanks in advance for any help.

Yes, any NiMH charger will work with the Eneloops.

The mAh rating of a battery is like the gas tank on a car. The bigger the tank, the longer the car will go before it needs refilling. The size of the tank does not change the power or performance of the car.

The only effect that 2000 mAh has versus 2800 mAh, is that 2000 mAh reduces the number of flashes you get on a single charge.

However, you will only notice the difference if you use freshly charged 2800 mAh batteries. After a few days, the 2800's self-discharge down to 2000 mAh. After sitting a week or so, they self-discharge to less than 2000 mAh.

I get about 400 flashes per charge when using Eneloops.

I replace my Eneloops after four years, because the mAh capacity decreases with age, and they drop down to about 300 flashes per charge.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Gene 1 NYC Registered since 30th Dec 2009Sat 13-Aug-11 02:58 AM
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#2. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 1


New york, US
          

Thanks for the helpful and informative reply.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSat 13-Aug-11 12:31 PM
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#3. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 0


Powder Springs, US
          

Yes, but eventually you will want to get the Maha MH-C9000. It can measure the battery's capacity and recondition it as well. In the long run, it might get more life out of your batteries, I believe, and wind up maybe saving some money.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Sat 13-Aug-11 04:46 PM
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#4. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 3


Norcross, US
          

Scott,

I have the MAHA MH-C800S. It seems to have the same capabilities. Is there any reason to get the C9000?

Bob

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSat 13-Aug-11 07:47 PM
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#5. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 4


Powder Springs, US
          

Bob,

I have one like that too for charging several at a time, but what you do to one battery, you have to do to all of them...no? IOW you must recharge them all or recondition them all. You cannot recharge one, discharge another, test another, or recondition the fourth one all at the same time.

You cannot test the batteries condition either. The C9000 will charge the battery and then discharge it under a known load to report its mAhr rating so you know what condition it is in. You can also select specific charge and discharge rates. The one you have only allows regular or soft charging.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Sat 13-Aug-11 08:15 PM
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#6. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 5


Norcross, US
          

It also has a conditioning charge. You do have to apply the same action to all batteries.

I'm looking to purchase a second charger. I just don't know if I would use the individual discharges, controlled rates, etc. I threw 8 in for a conditioning charge and do that about every 6 months for the 30 batteries or so that I have.

Do one of the other two Maha chargers that charge 8 batteries have this extended functionality? If so, I would consider one for the extra money but feel that having the capabilty to charge 8 batteries is more important to me.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 13-Aug-11 09:09 PM
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#7. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 6
Sat 13-Aug-11 09:16 PM by nrothschild

US
          

I have the C9000 and the 801D, which I think is fairly similar to the 800S.

I use an SB-800 with the 5th battery in the door so I really need an 8 slot charger. I like the 801D because I just throw the batteries in and walk away, or press a button or two and I'm done.

The C9000 is a very feature rich charger but it is truly a pain to use in anything other than the default mode. Not only can each battery be programmed individually but they *must* be programmed individually. Me being me, I'm lucky to get 30 or so button presses perfect . I've never had a good reason to do a bunch of different modes at once. Since my cells are in sets, what I do to one I generally do to the set.

All of the above is why I have both. I typically only use the C9000 for testing, or for default charging. I have to admit though that the test and measurement features are invaluable to keep tabs on the health of a set and to weed out any weaklings.

I mention this because I don't think it's a trivial matter in terms of ease of use. My model is old; maybe they've made them smarter?

I am not aware of any 8 slot equivalents to the C9000. It would make my life easier, maybe, but only if they made the programming easier, allowing one setup to be applied to all 8 slots. Otherwise I would never get all 8 set up right . Be careful what you wish for

Edit: I have around 40 Eneloops. I will never again go back to standard NiMH. As Russ points out, a 2800 mAh cell will only beat an Eneloop for a week or so (when new!) and if you have a large herd of cells it is not pracatical to charge them all every week or before every shoot just in case you need them.

_________________________________
Neil


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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSat 13-Aug-11 09:32 PM
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#8. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 7


Powder Springs, US
          

You are right about the MH-C9000. For each battery you must select the mode, charge rate and discharge rate. For me it is so worth having it on hand, as I can tell which batteries are starting to falter and which batteries are best grouped based on their capacities. It says "HIGH" when a battery's internal resistance is too high and therefor NG. It has culled a few batteries for me because of that and saved me headaches.

OTOH, the default charge rate is 1000mAh and discharge rate is 500mAh, so I just insert the battery and hit the enter key 3 times to select charge mode and default rates. I do have the 8 bay charger for general recharging.

Although it is more of a Swiss Army knife as opposed to a general charger, I think it is good to run your batteries through it 2-4 times each year. I use it regularly, because I find hitting the enter key 3 times for each battery to be no big deal and well worth the peace of mind.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Sat 13-Aug-11 09:36 PM
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#9. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 8
Sat 13-Aug-11 09:37 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

Decisions, decisions. Thanks for all the good info. I wonder why they don't do it for an 8 cell? You thing there would be a demand.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 13-Aug-11 09:52 PM
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#10. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

>> so I just insert the battery and hit the enter key 3 times to select charge mode and default rates.

If you are doing a default charge why do you have to press any keys at all? I just pop mine in and let it go. Am I missing something? (which would not be a revelation).

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSun 14-Aug-11 01:35 AM
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#12. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 10


Powder Springs, US
          

Neil,

I guess it's to enable the other options. Maybe on the next go around they will offer a quick mode, but then that's what the 8 bay chargers are for.

Most batteries should be charged at .5C and discharged at .25C. With the standard chargers, you cannot control that and the MH-C9000 gives you that option. The price you pay is complexity, unless you can come up with a charger that can detect capacity and act accordingly.

I find it very quick to push the button three times, not much slower than popping them into the other charger. What you cannot do with the other is analyze your batteries.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 14-Aug-11 07:22 PM
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#13. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

The Maha MH-801D charger has a standard charge rate of 2000 mAh and a soft charge rate of 1000 mAh. Discharge rate for conditioning at 250mAh.

The Maha MH-800S charger has a standard charge rate of 1000 mAh and a soft charge rate of 500 mAh. Discharge rate for conditioning also at 250mAh.

For Eneloops the 800S by default provides about a 2 hour (0.5C) charge rate or an optional 4 hour (0.25C) charge.

(actual charge times are somewhat longer because "C Rate" is based on current applied to the cells, not current actually absorbed. What is dissipated as heat is "lost" from that calculation.)

I bought the 800s because I am comfortable with a 0.5C charge rate for a default (and fastest) charge, and as I understand it slower is better as long as the charger catches the negative delta-V that signals full charge. I've never seen a problem (overheating due to overcharge) on the soft charge so I assume it catches it and I use that unless I'm too lazy to push the button or I'm in a hurry. And it was a couple of bucks cheaper and even the 800s is a rather expensive charger as these things go.

The combination of 800s and C9000 both, by default, do a 1000 ma charge so I they make a nice pair I don't have to think about too much for general charging. And I can charge 12 cells at a time, which is 2 sets of 5 cells for the SB-800 w/battery door or 3 sets of 4. When charging two sets of 5 cell packs the charges on one of the packs may not be 100% equal since they are different chargers that may use different cutoff formulas or circuitry. So I only do that in a pinch. I figure it is better when possible to charge a married set in the same charger at the same time (using the same charge rate).

If you have AAA rechargeables, typically around 700-800 mAh rated, be aware that the C9000 will charge them at 1000 mAh by default, same as AA. Although the instruction manual more or less suggests that the default 1000 mAh charge rate is appropriate for cells ranging from 500 mAh to 1500 mAh it also says that charging below 0.33C or above 1C is "not recommended" so there is some inconsistency (and ambiguity) in all that. I think the default rate is rather high for AAA's.

1C = 1 hour charge rate or a charge rate equal to the capacity. For example, a 2000 mAh rated battery charged at 2000 mA is charged 1C. A 0.5C charge rate would be 1000 mA.

The C800S and C801D both claim to charge AAA's at 700 mAh or 350 mAh, or typically 1.0C or slightly under as a default and about 0.5C in soft mode. I have a few sets of AAA's that I usually charge on the 800S in Soft mode because of the extra effort needed to program each slot on the C9000 to a reasonable rate.

I just mention this for those trying to decide between them or considering an 8 and 4 cell charger.

_________________________________
Neil


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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSun 14-Aug-11 07:58 PM
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#14. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 13


Powder Springs, US
          

Yes Neil,

I understand all of that and do in fact select a lower charge rate for my AAAs "when" I use the C9000. I also select a higher rate for AAs that have greater than a 2000mAh capacity like standard NiMHs.

For those collecting information, I just wanted them to be aware of the added capabilities of the MH-C9000 and its ability to analyze batteries and report when they are NG, before one takes them into the field.

Ironically, although I bought it a special charger, I find myself using it more than the 8 bay unit. When I am into my photo season and using several batteries every week end, I rotate groups of 4 through the C9000 while the others go to the 8 bay. That way every 3 to 4 weeks, each battery gets tested for condition.

This charger has also shown me that my Eneloops perform much better than my Imedions. Eneloops seem to maintain their full charge capacities better than the Imedions. I like having that information.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 14-Aug-11 09:00 PM
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#15. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

>> Eneloops seem to maintain their full charge capacities better than the Imedions. I like having that information.

That's interesting. I bought my first Eneloops not long after they came out. I've been happy enough not to venture into other brands. There is just nothing wrong with them after at least 2 years now.

Well, of course, everyone wants their cake and eat it too (me too!). We all want Eneloops with 2700mAh capacity.

The more I research batteries the more I realize there is very little truly credible information out there.

One thing, though, that I have read, and it makes a lot of sense to me, is that Eneloops are not so much fundamentally different in engineering or chemistry but simply "built right", not pushing the capacity envelope. While there may be some tinkering with the chemistry that tinkering is based on staying well inside the basic battery envelopes.

The idea is that the chemistry and physics of NiMH is such that higher capacity cells discharge faster and generally live shorter lives. They are inversely proportional specs. And also that older, lower capacity standard NiMH actually performed better than modern "high end" 2700 mAh cells, for example. And I guess that leads to the idea that trying to educate the public that "new low capacity" cells were a good idea was a very tough sell, whereas it was easier to come up with "new technology" called "LSD", and brand it with a catchy name like "Eneloop" (and it worked!).

That reasoning also noted that Eneloops and other LSD cells behave identically as NiMH in old NiMH chargers. There were no special chargers developed for this "new technology". For example, older NiCads cannot be charged in the same chargers as NiMH because they are fundamentally different technology that require different charging strategies.

Marketing of batteries and chargers is such that there are only two important numbers to the marketer and the lay public: mAh ratings and how fast the charger charges. Like camera megapixels. As a result the market is flooded with fast chargers that surely charge a battery in 15 minutes - the easy marketing spec - but kill the batteries in short order. That spec you never see.

And similarly ever higher capacity cells resulted in lower charge shelf life and overall shorter lifespan but that never shows up in the specs either. For sure, though, no one ever gets the "up to 1000 charges" advertised for typical standard NiMH cells.

At the time I read this idea about what makes an Eneloop an Eneloop, a couple of other Low Self Discharge (LSD) makers had just come out with 2100 and 2200 mAh cells- obviously trying to one-up Sanyo and each other in the same old mAh marketing game. The discussion at that time suggested these "high capacity LSD" cells were marketing BS, and the makers were basically starting that long uphill climb back to where we are with high capacity 2700ish mAh cells that discharge quickly and likely have shorter life spans.

Now, considering all the above, which is quite speculative and by definition does not come from battery makers but people who think they know more about these things than most, your comments about the Imedions are quite interesting because it fits that theory's prediction quite well .

Given that much of the battery business is based on marketing BS, like you, I find the C9000 invaluable. Not just to keep tabs on the health of my cells but to learn something about the real truth behind these products. Although I like the convenience of my 800s and use it for most of my day to day charging, I find the C9000 to be a must-have.

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Neil


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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSun 14-Aug-11 09:21 PM
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#16. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 15


Powder Springs, US
          


That was a very good read Neil!

>
>Now, considering all the above, which is quite speculative and
>by definition does not come from battery makers but people who
>think they know more about these things than most, your
>comments about the Imedions are quite interesting because it
>fits that theory's prediction quite well .

Interesting. The Imedions are 2100mAh and the Eneloops are 2000mAh, so pushing the envelope might be the problem with the Imedions. In either case, they outperform higher capacity NiMH batteries that are not LSD.

>Given that much of the battery business is based on marketing
>BS, like you, I find the C9000 invaluable. Not just to keep
>tabs on the health of my cells but to learn something about
>the real truth behind these products. Although I like the
>convenience of my 800s and use it for most of my day to day
>charging, I find the C9000 to be a must-have.

It is a great tool, but it obviously doe not replace the 8 bay chargers. My next purchase will be an 8 bay that can handle D cells as well.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 14-Aug-11 11:31 PM
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#17. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 16


US
          

I thought you had the newer 2400 mAh Imedions. That would be an interesting test on the C9000 after a break in. It is interesting, of course, that even the 2100 Imedions don't perform as well for you. But Sanyo has the gold plated rep in the NiMH biz (not just Eneloops).

Years ago I got interested in building various high end headphone audio amps. As part of that project I built a few battery chargers. Some were for 1x or 2x 9V NiMH and generally did very simple 0.1C always-on charging to keep it small and simple for small portable amps, but one charged a 15xAAA pack using a very flexible charging logic chip. Not too many people string together 15 cell packs and try to charge them- it pushes some interesting envelopes related to the rest of the design. I used Sanyo AAA's in that pack because even pre-Eneloop those were considered the best.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about charging theory and what is supposedly good for those battery packs and what isn't. A 15 cell pack is a bit expensive to put together so the idea was to try to make them last and not blow them up.

After all this talk I might do an annual physical on my AA herd (actually 51 as I counted them up, with another 5 or so MIA. I bought my first set of 8 or 10 in Aug 2007... four years ago. It will be interesting to see what they hold now. I don't run my mine heavily but from time to time I need a lot because I have three SB-800's. There is no spec on the shelf life.

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Neil


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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Mon 15-Aug-11 12:27 AM
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#18. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 17


Norcross, US
          

Can you check the resistance of the batteries with a simple multi-meter? If so, what setting do you use and what readings reflect a bad battery?

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 15-Aug-11 01:14 AM
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#19. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 18


US
          

No, at least partly because a multimeter runs a small current through the circuit it's testing, measuring the voltage drop. Because of that, you can't measure resistance in a live (powered) circuit and a battery is always "on". Plus other reasons, resistance and impedance being two slightly different things.

In theory you could put an ammeter directly across the terminals, creating a short circuit, measure the current and calculate the resistance using Ohm's law. A fresh battery would probably burn the meter out (and/or melt the battery) unless it was a very robust meter.

Internal impedance increases as the battery discharges. For example, the spec sheet on an Eneloop specifies an internal impedance of 25M Ohms when the battery is discharged to the point that the voltage reaches 1.0V, which is effectively dead. That's very high but the battery is very dead (effectively except for tiny current draws).

I've never shorted a well charged AA to try to measure the current but it would have to be on the order of many tens of amps, implying internal resistance of some small fraction of an Ohm, less than 1/10th.

It seems to me that when a flash recycles after a full discharge it appears as a dead short load to the battery pack. The amount of time it takes to recycle is probably a very good indication of the internal impedance. We'd need to know how much current is stored in the capacitor. We'd also have to figure some idea of the current flow curve, the current probably declining with time as the cap fills up.

I just did a back of the envelope calculation, based on Nikon's SB-800 specs, suggesting that 12 amps flows during the recycle. That assumes the current draw is constant for the entire specified 4s because I have no way to plug in a better number . That suggests a total circuit impedance of 0.1 Ohm. I have no idea what fractions of an Ohm of impedance is built into the electronics side because even a piece of fairly stiff wire has *some* impedance at those current levels.

I'm sure Russ will check my math

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 15-Aug-11 03:30 AM
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#20. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 19


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>No, at least partly because a multimeter runs a small current
>through the circuit it's testing, measuring the voltage drop.
>Because of that, you can't measure resistance in a live
>(powered) circuit and a battery is always "on".
>Plus other reasons, resistance and impedance being two
>slightly different things.
>
>In theory you could put an ammeter directly across the
>terminals, creating a short circuit, measure the current and
>calculate the resistance using Ohm's law. A fresh battery
>would probably burn the meter out (and/or melt the battery)
>unless it was a very robust meter.
>
>Internal impedance increases as the battery discharges. For
>example, the spec sheet on an Eneloop specifies an internal
>impedance of 25M Ohms when the battery is discharged to the
>point that the voltage reaches 1.0V, which is effectively
>dead. That's very high but the battery is very dead
>(effectively except for tiny current draws).
>
>I've never shorted a well charged AA to try to measure the
>current but it would have to be on the order of many tens of
>amps, implying internal resistance of some small fraction of
>an Ohm, less than 1/10th.
>
>It seems to me that when a flash recycles after a full
>discharge it appears as a dead short load to the battery pack.
> The amount of time it takes to recycle is probably a very
>good indication of the internal impedance. We'd need to know
>how much current is stored in the capacitor. We'd also have
>to figure some idea of the current flow curve, the current
>probably declining with time as the cap fills up.
>
>I just did a back of the envelope calculation, based on
>Nikon's SB-800 specs, suggesting that 12 amps flows during
>the recycle. That assumes the current draw is constant for
>the entire specified 4s because I have no way to plug in a
>better number . That suggests a total circuit impedance of
>0.1 Ohm. I have no idea what fractions of an Ohm of impedance
>is built into the electronics side because even a piece of
>fairly stiff wire has *some* impedance at those current
>levels.
>
>I'm sure Russ will check my math

Hi Neil,

Not bad!! I'm impressed.

You are right that it is impossible to measure the internal series R directly with a low cost multimeter. One of the biggest issues is that the wires used to hook up a test circuit have resistance that is in the same order of magnitude as the Ri, and that throws off the measurements. What you have to do is use several precision R load values and plot the Voltage across them on a graph. Then, you can extrapolate the resulting straight line to the axis and read the short circuit current that would flow if the load resistor were zero.

But that's a lot of work.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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odds Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Feb 2009Mon 15-Aug-11 04:02 PM
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#22. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 12


Sandnes, NO
          

> I find it very quick to push the button three times, not much
> slower than popping them into the other charger.

Hmm, I normally just insert the batteries and the power plug. After a short while the MH-C9000 gives up on waiting for my input and just starts charging the first battery at a default rate (1000 mA I think) and repeats the default setting for the other three batteries. Lazy me do not press any keys for straight forward charging. I never tried to enter a different mode (refresh/analyze/break-in...) for the first battery and then just wait to see what the MH-C9000 will do to the remaining three batteries.

--
Odd

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberMon 15-Aug-11 08:29 PM
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#23. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 22


Powder Springs, US
          

LOL....I must try that! I'm impatient and figured you had to set it up. Yes, the default charge rate is 1000mA and the default discharge rate is 500mA.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Mon 15-Aug-11 08:56 PM
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#24. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 23


Norcross, US
          

OK. Just when I thought I was confused.

So if I understand correctly, if I buy one of these gadgets, the default setup is the proper charge for AA and AAA batteries so I can just put the batteries in for charging. I can then use the increased functionality when I want to to check my batteries.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 15-Aug-11 09:15 PM
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#25. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 24


US
          

>> So if I understand correctly, if I buy one of these gadgets, the default setup is the proper charge for AA and AAA batteries so I can just put the batteries in for charging. I can then use the increased functionality when I want to to check my batteries.

Yes, you got it right . I tried to explain that previously but it may not have been clear.

To summarize, the C9000 *could* have two possible disadvantages:

1. It is only a 4 slot charger

2. It might not, by default, charge the way you might want it to. Then again it should be fine for most people and unless you have a predetermined opinion on that don't worry about it. This may have been a source of confusion based on my prior obsessing over charge rates

#2 above is just for total completeness.

The advantage over the 800s and 801D is it's cheaper and does far, far more once you start pushing buttons.

The default 1000ma charge rate is, I think, just about universally considered to be a safe (easy on the cells) rapid charge for AA's. Not so for AAA's but unless you charge those regularly it's moot.

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Mon 15-Aug-11 09:36 PM
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#26. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 25
Mon 15-Aug-11 09:36 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

Thanks Neil. I'm sure you were clear but this turns out to be a complex subject.

I'll probably get one of these this week.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberMon 15-Aug-11 10:45 PM
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#27. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 25
Tue 16-Aug-11 05:50 PM by ScottChapin

Powder Springs, US
          

I think it's when you previously said this:

"Not only can each battery be programmed individually but they *must* be programmed individually."

....that I figured you were saying that you could not easily just recharge them, I didn't know that it would default to charging at 1000mA, if you didn't push any buttons.

Again, if I am charging AAAs, which I sometimes do for my HP calculators, I do bump it down to 500mA.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Tue 16-Aug-11 03:53 PM
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#28. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 27


Norcross, US
          

Still reading. One thing I noticed is that the C800S has a soft charge built into the unit where the C9000 doesn't. The soft charge is advertised as the route to routinely go as it maximizes the life of the battery by charging at a lower current.

I'm assuming that to do the same thing with the C9000 but you have to program in the charging current rather than push a button. Is that the case?

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 16-Aug-11 05:56 PM
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#29. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 28


Powder Springs, US
          

Hmmm. I think the answer is yes and no. I think the 8 bays default to 2000mA, which is really too high for my liking. The soft charge is 1000mA, which is cool, but (as you know) you have to select that by pushing a button.

Yes, the C9000 should be set to the desired amperage, if you are not happy with 1000mA. So the defaults work great with AAs, but I have to bump the rates down on AAAs (including discharge rates when testing).

Scott Chapin
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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Tue 16-Aug-11 06:35 PM
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#30. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 29


Norcross, US
          

This unit has a default charge rate of 1000mA with a soft rate of 500mA. It's half the power of the C801D.

I always charge at the soft rate.

Any reason to purchase the new XX eneloops? They are basically twice the price.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 16-Aug-11 06:48 PM
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#31. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 28


US
          

>> I'm assuming that to do the same thing with the C9000 but you have to program in the charging current rather than push a button. Is that the case?

Yes and no .... .

I think I mentioned some of this above but it bears repeating and elaborating.

The C9000 by default charges at 1000ma, which is 0.5C for a 2000 mAh Eneloop or equivalent. For a high capacity cell (2700mAh it works out to about 1000/2700 = 0.37C. Some/many would consider 0.37 - 0.5C a "soft charge" since many people consider 1C a "regular rapid charge". I'm leaving out 15 minute type chargers in this discussion because they are evil tools of unscrupulous marketers . And of course, the C9000 has roughly 19 different programmable charge rates so you can make it as soft as you want.

The 800S, by default, charges at the same 1000 mAh rate as the C9000. It has a 500 mAh Soft Charge. That 500 mAh soft charge is equivilent to 0.25C or less (tuck that factoid away).

The 801D charges at 2000 mAh, or 1C for an Eneloop. It Soft Charges at 1000 mAh, which is the default rate of the other two chargers. This is what I actually own now, after briefly owning an 800S that I sold to a desperate friend in need for an imminent trip but mentioned 800s in one of my discussions above.

Thomas Distributing claims the only difference between the 800s and 801D is the higher charge rate, which may or may not actually be an advantage depending on how you view things. They are supposed to otherwise use the same charge logic protection, have the same build quality, etc. I think they look identical except for the tiny model# printed on a sticker underneath.

Now... if you are going to try to pick "the best" charger and/or "the best" soft charge mode you have to get into the complexities and unknowns of the charge rate decision. This is a very complex subject because the battery makers don't even clearly specify the practical impact of various charge rates in their data sheets. What follows is a summary of my understanding, complete with the ambiguities and unknowns as I know it.

Let's consider the full possible spectrum of charge rates.

Trickle Charge. Much less than 0.1C is considered a "trickle charge". Typically around 10-30 mA, I think would be a good general range. There is some question as to the ability of a charger to charge a depleted battery at less than 0.1C but trickle charges are used to maintain charge levels without harming the battery. This was useful with NiMH, especially modern high capacity NiMH because they self discharge so rapidly. It is of little use with Eneloops or other good LSDs since they don't self discharge very quickly.

You can supposedly trickle charge a battery forever without harming it.

The C9000 adds a 1 hour 100mA top off charge at the completion of the standard charge in order to absolutely, positively shove the last possible mAh into the cell . The standard -deltaV cutoff occurs before 100.00% charge. This is considered safe because it is only 0.05C for an hour. Thereafter the C9000 trickle charges forever to maintain full charge, which is also considered safe.

0.1C is a "special rate" because it is the rate specified by the IEC as part of their charge procedure for determining capacity and you will find that specified on manufacturer's datasheets. That standard charges the cell for 16 hours at 0.1C (a rate that should guarrantee the cell is as fully charged as possible) followed by a discharge at 0.2C to 1.0V.

I have often seen the IEC procedure discussed as the "recommended best charging procedure" or similar but I do not know that they picked it for that reason or if it was a number pulled from a hat of possible reasonable and safe charge rates.

"No one" routinely charges at or near 0.1C because it requires a lot of patience or a lot of chargers, depending on your needs. But in principle the best info out there suggest that is what you would do if the cells cost more than gold per gram

Some chargers are sold as "overnight chargers". These typically try to approximate 0.1C for a "typical battery", whatever that is. Most of these chargers are NOS now because the market is too impatient for this gentle treatment. These chargers probably use timer cutoffs because a little overcharging at these rates is quite safe.

It is interesting that 0.1C is considered the "best charge rate" yet good luck finding a charger that does that . C9000 is a rare exception and does it with precision in Break In mode, asking for your cell's rated capacity in order to precisely compute the 0.1C charge rate. Running a cell in Break In mode precisely emulates the full IEC specification. In theory that is the only way you can truly benchmark a cell against its specified rating. I am unaware of any other commercial consumer charger that does this. The battery makers must engineer their own test chargers- or now use C9000's?

0.33C is considered by Maha (maker of the C9000) to be the minimum recommended rapid charge level, at least per the C9000 instruction manual. That number is frequently quoted in internet forums that obsess over chargers like we obsess over lenses (yes, those people exist, mainly heavy flashlight users- see candlepowerforums.com but you may need to register). Quoted mainly because it came from Maha and Maha is a favorite among those with battery and charger OCD.

The reason for the 0.33C floor is that chargers determine the correct cutoff by sensing "negative DeltaV", which is a very tiny reduction in cell voltage that occurs just prior to the cell reaching it's maximum possible charge. You can see that in the charge graph on the bottom left of the datasheet I linked.

The lower the charge rate, the tinier and more subtle (or nonexistent!) the -DeltaV decline. At some point, as the charge rate is continually reduced, the charger will miss the cutoff signal. The charger will just keep charging, trying to stuff electrons into an already fully charged and hot battery, which is getting hotter as it dissipates all those surplus electrons.

At some point the charger will turn off anyway because good chargers employ backup termination procedures in the event they miss the -DeltaV cutoff signal. Cheap chargers may not do that and in that case they may charge until they literally melt down. That is why you should not trust cheap chargers.

The backup termination procedures include any one or all of the following: time based (simple reasonable timer interval like 2-3 hours or whatever), temperature (using one or more thermistors beneath the cells) and certain total voltage level computations. None of these backup termination calculations are ideal because they all by definition wait until it is too late for the health of the battery. And they may be employed in different ways with various degrees of cost cutting to get the charger to the price point.

For example, the C9000 uses a thermistor under each cell (4 total on the charger) which detects outlyer temperatures in a weak or faulty cell, or a cell that had more charge than the other cells. A cheap charger might only use one, which cannot detect individual cell problems. Not sure about the 800s and 801D because I've never seen a tear-down.

It is impossible to generally predict a charger's minimum safe charge level where it can detect -DeltaV and in fact it varies by battery model and individual cell and the cell's health and current charge state. I know, from old research in the candlepowerforums circa 2007 when I bought my C9000 that Maha was, at that time, turning out several (non-upgrade-able) firmware changes a year.

In my humble opinion, it wasn't so much that Maha did a poor job of the original design as the fact that because the C9000 is programmable to the point where you can program in a charge rate that will likely make it fail to catch the -DeltaV signal. Maha was probably reacting to all the user furor in the forums that arose from each reported case of termination failure. And often these cases were based on problem batteries or unusual charge configurations. It may also be the case that the detection logic needs to be varied based on charge rate and other factors.

In other words, if you try to slow the charge rate too much it can be very counterproductive because if the charger misses the first termination signal the cell(s) will overheat even worse than if you charged at a higher rate!

You can read from the above that if you start tinkering with charge rates too much it becomes an end in itself and another full time hobby.

I stopped following all that drama after I got my C9000 and found that it just worked without apparent overheating or signs of missing the termination cutoff. I think the firmware updates have slowed down and are now refinements of less consequence than poor termination.

0.5C is considered a "safe" charge rate, and generally considered the "safest" charge rate because it is not so strong as to heat the cell badly during a normal charge (shortening cell life). It is also a charge rate likely to catch the -DeltaV signal. This charge rate, is, on average, likely to be the best, safest charge rate unless you want to make a hoddy out of it.

If you just want to charge your SB-xxx cells and get as much life out of them as you can without becoming a battery engineer, just use 0.5C and be done with it

1.0C is considered the fastest charge you can do without risking at least moderate degradation of the cell's useful life. How much 1.0C degrades the cell lifetime is unknown, as far as I am concerned, because the maker's datasheets are totally silent on this issue. Datasheets are supposed to be the engineer's opportunity to override the marketing department. Datasheets, to the extent they disclose any data, separate fact from fiction. Datasheets tell us little about our batteries and that is a fact of life.

My own opinion is that I charge at 0.5C because I am usually not in a hurry and I almost always have plenty of spare cells. If I were a wedding photographer or doing some other time sensitive mission critical shooting I would not hesitate to carry a 1.0C charger with me and I would not hesitate to use it in a pinch. For that matter I might carry a 15 minute charger because the life span of my cells is small potatoes compared to the wrath of the bride and her mother. Or maybe a corporate client. I would charge at 0.5C back at the ranch when time is not of the essence. That is the best I can summarize all the above.

There is a huge contradiction between what Maha says about the C9000 (less than 0.33C charge not recommended) and the 0.25C soft charge rate of their own 800S and maybe other models. If I were sitting next to a Maha engineer in a bar that would be my first question!

If I owned an 800S now I would apply the finger test, as I would with any new charger and as I do routinely with my own chargers. A battery should get warm to the touch when charged but if you cannot leave your finger firmly on the battery without pain then you should investigate further because something is likely wrong. How wrong is only a question of degree (pun intended). That is not a science but a rule of thumb. And interestingly, the datasheets are also silent on the maximum acceptable cell temperature during charging, keeping all of this voodoo and opinion, in my opinion (pun also intended).

All of the above is almost surely more than you wanted to know but you asked for it!!

Here is my advice, in a nutshell:

1. C9000: use the default (~0.5C) charge for AA and set a programmed rate of about 300-500mAH for AAA and be happy. Program it when you need to analyze or break in cells, or if you try to salvage old cells. If you are in a huge hurry, use up to 1.0C without too much concern but use the finger test to make sure the battery is reasonably happy with it and the charger cuts off properly.

2. C800s - Use the standard charge (~0.5C). If you use the soft charge then do the finger test on each set of your cells for the first several recharges (test full and partial charges) before trusting that the charger is catching -DeltaV in soft mode. If the battery gets hotter than it does with a standard charge then don't use the soft charge.

3. C801D - Use the soft charge whenever possible for maximum useful cell life. Use the full charge when in a hurry. I've never noticed unusual heating with my 801D and Eneloops- it appears to do a very good job controlling heat even in regular ~1.0C mode. Your mileage may vary and my model is old, with older firmware, for better or worse.

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Tue 16-Aug-11 07:44 PM
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#32. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 31
Tue 16-Aug-11 07:54 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

Thanks Neil. Very helpful information. I went back and read the whole set of posts. It brings together information from other sources in a cohesive manner.

I'm getting ready to purchase the C9000, 8 more AA batteries and some battery holders.

I mostly have the 2000mAH eneloops. It seems that most people stand by those batteries as generally "the best", Any reason to buy the XX eneloops with the higher ratings. I read higher is good per se, but then I read about ability to hold a charge over time, resistance, etc. and my eyes gloss over.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 16-Aug-11 09:34 PM
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#34. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 32


US
          

The XX Eneloops are very new- I did not see them on Thomas Distributing yesterday but they are listed now? I think they have been marketed in Europe for 6 months now, maybe 8?

For 2x the cost I would like to see some knowledgeable user reports - not a credible one that I have found. But I don't have a huge need for more capacity. If I did I guess I would be the first kid on the block to give them a test drive.

The problem with batteries is that it is very time consuming testing them and there is only one test for life span - the test of time

That makes me leery but then again I don't need the capacity and I don't need more AA ells. I could use higher cap AA's for my 15xAAA pack in my head amp (somewhat desperately) but since I would need 16 I don't want to be the 1st kid on the block when they come out.

Next year or two they will probably either be $12 or $50, depending on the economy

One more thing about the chargers- unless you are doing a stock default charge it is a very good idea to run them on an UPS for two reasons:

1) A C9000 break in cycle requires about 40 hours. You don't want your lights blinking 39 hours into it.

2) I have read some user reports suggesting that Maha chargers, if set to a custom mode, will reset to a stock charge if they lose power for even a fraction of a second. You would never know it but your soft charge on even an 8xx series charger could revert to a full charge.

Most of use should have an UPS for our computers. Computers do even uglier resets when the power blinks

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 16-Aug-11 09:44 PM
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#35. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 34
Tue 16-Aug-11 09:59 PM by ScottChapin

Powder Springs, US
          

Yeah, I'd be leery of these until I hear good things. Considering that they have only 25% more capacity, cost 2.5 times as much and can be recharged only 1/3 as many times, it doesn't look great to me.

IF they perform as rated, comparatively, they would cost 6.25 times as much. I think you'd have to have a real serious need not to change batteries 80% as often?

edited to add:

The old Eneloops purported to retain 85% of their charge after one year. The XX batteries boast only 75%....hmmmm.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Tue 16-Aug-11 09:58 PM
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#36. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 35


Norcross, US
          

They are on the Thomas Distribution site today.

I'll stay with the standard eneloops.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 16-Aug-11 11:26 PM
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#37. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 35


US
          

Scott,

Don't forget the XX's are factory charged by solar energy. They will be best sellers . Actually the "new" standard Eneloops are also supposedly solar charged.

Your math suggests you really need that extra 500 mAH to make it worth it.

This brings up another interesting subject, which is shelf life.

My experience with conventional NiMH is that 3-4 years is about it, even if they are lightly used. And because of the self discharge characteristic lightly used cells can be "abused" simply by not using them and letting them drain to zero, where they can suffer polarity reversal if they are stored in equipment, in series, as they usually are.

The Eneloops came along and they were rated for around 75% remaining capacity after a year. That more or less suggests that an unused Eneloop might die a natural shelf death before it's first discharge. Assuming they had the same 3-4 year shelf life regardless of use. And that of course was a huge unknown. I think Eneloops were first available in early 2006 or so. I bought my first set of 8 or 10 in Aug 2007 and they are code dated 2006.

My original now 48 month old Eneloops (about 60 months from manufacture) have, on average around 1750 mAh left in them- I think; needs some more testing if I get around to it.

The new standard Eneloops are spec'd to retain 75% of their original charge after THREE years. That makes me wonder how long they would actually last if lightly used.

I suspect most people are somewhat like me and lightly use their cells. Even if charged every single day, a set would only see 1000 charges after almost 3 years. Even someone like a security guard using them in flashlights every night probably has a backup set for each primary set, cutting the average use in half.

Because of the above I don't get excited about how many million times I can recharge a cell. I am more interested in long term shelf life. But I've never seen a statement from Sanyo about that.

Russ says he's down to 75% after 4 years, which is not as good as my experience but then I'm sure he is driving them much harder than I am. I think that is about the first statement I've seen about actual long term user experience.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 17-Aug-11 02:02 AM
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#38. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 37


Powder Springs, US
          

I was amused by the solar charging too! You are right about the recharging cycles. The chemistries will die long before they run out of recycles.

If I weren't such a skin flint over battery costs, I would buy a set of XX batteries just to compare.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Fri 19-Aug-11 05:50 PM
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#39. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 38
Fri 19-Aug-11 06:21 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

I bit the bullet and bought one. Once I opened the wallet I went over to the RRS sight and really did some damage.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 19-Aug-11 06:17 PM
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#40. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 39


US
          

Then I take it the C9000 was just a lubricant?

- -

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Fri 19-Aug-11 06:21 PM
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#41. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 40


Norcross, US
          

When you put it that way.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 20-Aug-11 09:28 PM
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#42. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 41


US
          

- -

One thing that was not mentioned here is that the C9000 terminates a bit early compared to other chargers. It also cuts off charging at 1.47V where some strong performers like Eneloops can be charged higher, up to around 1.55V or so.

The upside to the C9000 strategy is that the cells don't go through a final hot "cook" in an attempt to fully charge the cell at the rapid charge rate of typically 1000mAh or more. That should result in longer cell life and a generally better performing cell in it's middle age. Cells heat up more or less exponentially as they approach full charge.

To a great extent the desire for an absolute full charge is arguably mutually exclusive of the goal for longest possible cell life (er even "long life" depending on your view of battery voodoo).

The downside is that when the charger says "Done" the cells (especially Eneloops) are typically about 95% charged.

The C9000 applies a somewhat poorly documented top off charge of 100 mAh for two hours after it says "Done". At the end of that additional two hour stretch the cells should be fully charged. There is no indication on the charger display that the top off is in progress or complete.

Pulling the cells on the initial "Done" will not degrade their lifespans and some would argue that leaving them on for the top off could possibly shorten their lives (this is where heavy battery voodoo comes in). It will just result in a few dozen fewer flash cycles- maybe.

The other major and often misunderstood quirk of the C9000 is that it is very finicky about what it will charge. I've never had one reject a cell that I thought was still viable but if you research the charger you will find many people complaining about this.

The cells it rejects typically have high internal impedance and would probably not be ideal for more than casual camera flash use. They are often fine for low power applications like my Logitech smart A/V remote. The important point is that if your C9000 rejects a cell you may be able to charge it in other chargers, for better or worse. If you try another charger I would advise keeping an eye on the cell(s) with the finger test to make sure they do not overheat.

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Sat 20-Aug-11 11:04 PM
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#43. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 42
Sat 20-Aug-11 11:04 PM by Bob Chadwick

Norcross, US
          

Thanks Neil. Bring this up AFTER I buy it. :>). All kidding aside, thanks for your input.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSat 20-Aug-11 11:17 PM
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#44. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 43


Powder Springs, US
          

Those are all positives to my way of thinking. Rejecting cells that are going bad or near death is a good thing. I have not noticed a practical impediment to the earlier cut off. The longer life is much preferred.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 21-Aug-11 02:06 AM
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#45. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 44


US
          

One man's feature is another man's product defect

Back in 2007 when I bought my C9000 there was a "charger/analyzer" war of sorts going on between the C9000 and Lacrosse BC-900 (still sold today but under an evolved model number and the war continues).

Owners of both would come into a forum and basically rattle off their litany of complaints about the C9000:

1. It's almost twice as big as the BC-900, which is about the size of a standard 4 cell charger.

2. The C9000 display read-out was designed by an insane engineer (and I happen to agree with that- the BC-900 has a far easier to read display and better solves the problem of how to present 4x the data that can fit on one display).

3. The C9000 advertises that it will rejuvenate and salvage older batteries. That's why I bought it. Now it's telling me that I have to buy all new batteries but my BC-900 charges them to near rated capacity.

4. My BC-900 charges all my cells at least 10% higher than the C9000.

Now, there are two important additional factoids:

1. The C9000 is a far more sophisticated device in terms of sheer numbers of options. The additional charge and discharge rates may not mean much to most of us but to a dedicated battery geek it doesn't get better than a C9000 in that regard.

For brevity here I won't go into the reasons why unless asked, but the unique C9000 Break-In mode is quite a powerful tool although little understood by new users and prospective buyers comparing the two chargers.

2. The BC-900 is infamous for it's predilection to melt down. I don't know the statistical odds but a google on "BC-900 meltdown" should give anyone pause before buying one, that rep earned or not.

This is all a great example of how one man's feature is another's product defect.

Take complaint #1 (the C9000 is big) and consider that any time you try to miniaturize power circuits that generate significant heat you are making severe compromises. Then do the google . I know enough about this through my electronics DIY work to know sometimes bigger is far better. If I need a travel charger I'll buy a compromised travel charger.

Complaint #3 I already discussed- the refusal of the C9000 to charge marginal cells. I can only add that these two chargers have different design philosophies and neither is a free lunch. If I had enough marginal cells I would probably buy a BC-900 just to take care of them and rejuvenate them as best can be done. And I'd buy a small fire extinguisher too .

It may be possible to build a charger/analyzer that will charge anything and still run cool but no one has done it in an under $100 4 cell charger, of which there are only two games in town, both discussed here.

Complaint #4 (BC-900 results in fuller charge) is especially interesting because early C9000 owners that bought later (mid-late 2007 and later) versions had the same complaint.

I saw arguments suggesting the differences were somewhat illusory and related to different discharge methods. But mainly it was thought to be due to a 2007ish firmware change to the C9000 that added the 1.47V cutoff. This was aggravated by the fact that the top off charge is not well documented, not indicated by the charger, and whatever capacity it adds cannot be accounted for in the calculations.

My own C9000 has a date code in between the supposed change dates and may be a weird Frankenstein. It appears to have the 1.47V cutoff but also appears to yield the higher capacity ratings of Eneloops that I saw reported for the earliest versions so I'm not sure what creature I own . But it works great.

I far prefer the C9000, even with a few warts. But bugs and design defects are in the eyes of the beholder.

Anyone researching these two chargers can use the above as a starting point to get a frame of reference. It may oversimplify some issues so do your own research if you care to wade into that debate

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Neil


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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 16-Aug-11 07:45 PM
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#33. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 31


Powder Springs, US
          

>There is a huge contradiction between what Maha says about the
>C9000 (less than 0.33C charge not recommended) and the 0.25C
>soft charge rate of their own 800S and maybe other models. If
>I were sitting next to a Maha engineer in a bar that would be
>my first question!

That has bugged me too, but then I am OCD when it comes to these things. I stick with .33C rounded up to the next 100mA to be sure the -DeltaV cuttoff is caught and it certainly isn't too aggressive a charge rate. OTOH, I predominately use .5C rounded down to the next 100mA,

>2. C800s - Use the standard charge (~0.5C). If you use the
>soft charge then do the finger test on each set of your cells
>for the first several recharges (test full and partial
>charges) before trusting that the charger is catching -DeltaV
>in soft mode. If the battery gets hotter than it does with a
>standard charge then don't use the soft charge.

I have often wondered whether soft charging shortened the life of my regular NiMHs. Having the time to charge batteries between shoots, I thought I was being nice to them, but they certainly didn't maintain their vitality.

I guess the ability to set the rates on the C9000 is important to me, because the variance between batteries is so broad that a single routine cannot be good for a lot of them. With AAs though, a default rate of 1000mA pretty much has you covered in most cases.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Gene 1 NYC Registered since 30th Dec 2009Sun 14-Aug-11 12:27 AM
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#11. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 3


New york, US
          

Thanks for the tip.

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dbenson Registered since 03rd Apr 2006Mon 15-Aug-11 12:35 PM
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#21. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 11


Winnipeg, CA
          

Thanks all.... it has been a very interesting read....

Based on use only... without proper understanding... I have come to appreciate benefits (performance) of my Eneloop batteries.... they just work much better....

Dave Benson

..take time to make time

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Ruahrc Registered since 09th Jul 2007Tue 23-Aug-11 09:20 AM
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#46. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 23-Aug-11 09:32 AM by Ruahrc

Ann Arbor, US
          

Looks like I'm a little late to the party but a very interesting read.

I too did some researching when buying a "good" charger and ended up with the LaCrosse BC-700. I was a little leery of the BC-900 due to the purported "meltdown" issues but also when it came time to make my purchase, the BC-700 was cheaper, and I did not see the need to charge my cells at 1000-1800mah which is the main benefit of the BC-900. Also the BC-900 only comes in a package that includes 8 or 12 junky NiMH batteries that I did not need because I had a load of Eneloops ready to go.

Anyhow I have been very satisfied with my BC-700. I always charge my AAs and AAAs at 500Mah, which I have found to reliably terminate and not put too much heat stress on the cells (even though they get pretty warm to the touch right before they are done charging). I used to charge at 200mah but I had some problems with the charger missing the -deltaV cutoff.

In general I liked the LaCrosse model because it was more compact, and has a far superior display and programmability than the Maha. As I don't really need the high end features of the Maha, it was an easy decision to make- better usability over some advanced features I would have rarely or never used.

I've been using my set of Eneloops now (16 AAs and 8 AAAs in total) for I think a little more than 1 year and have had great success. I use them in my flash, and also in various electronics (game controllers, wireless mouse, wireless keyboard, etc.).

One last thing- if you have some spare time, have a troll through the candlepowerforums (www.candlepowerforums.com) section on batteries. It is the most comprehensive source of battery knowledge and end-user testing/experiences that I have come across. I don't remember specifically if they have covered any of the topics put forth here (Eneloop XX vs standard Eneloop, shelf life of NiMHs, etc) but I have been able to find quantitative data on a variety of available cells, including several stress tests of popular brands like Eneloops. For example, there was a "glove box test" where they stuck a fully charged set of eneloops in a car glove box and measured the voltage over the course of a full year (I will say that the results were very impressive, after 1 year in the heat of the car they still only had ~80% the runtime of a freshly charged Eneloop cell!).

Norman

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Tue 23-Aug-11 08:42 PM
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#47. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 46


Tacoma, US
          

Now, if only they made CR123A Eneloops.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 23-Aug-11 09:20 PM
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#48. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 47


Powder Springs, US
          

Exactly, and then we can all go out and buy the next generation of chargers

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 23-Aug-11 09:32 PM
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#49. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 48


US
          

I could think of a lot of reasons why this would never happen....

1. Sanyo came out with "fake" C&D cells but they are not sold in the USA for some strange reason. These are AA and AAA cells bundled up in the C and D size cans. I suspect there are far more C/D size flashlights out there than R1 kits yet there apparently isn't an interest in real full density C and D and not here at all.

2. The CR123A is lithium and 3.2V, which would require a similar bundle of tiny 1.2V cells (likely 3 in series). That would put the voltage for a nickel based equivalent at 3.6 - 4.2V, which might not make the flash happy?

I'm not sure if either of you were serious . Have you tried rechargeable CR123A's? Are they "recommended" or "permissible" or "non-explosive" in an R1? The reason I ask is that where I've seen rechargeable CR123A's advertised they often or always say something like "not recommended in {certain high powered flashlights} so I figured they might be temperamental in certain apps and not sure why their use is "restricted". Speedlights are actually far more high powered than even high end flashlights- for 3 or 4 seconds.

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Tue 23-Aug-11 09:46 PM
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#50. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 49


Tacoma, US
          

You actually can get the "Fake" C&D size housings as part of an Eneloops "kit". They came with one I bought from B&H or Adorama a few months ago. I've never used them. But is was a good price on the package deal for a multiple AAs and AAAs plus a charger. (And a nice carrying case, too!)

I did try some rechargable CR123s a few years ago. They were Wawa brand. Very bad. Only 800MaH, I think and wouldn't hold a charge in storage for more than a week and took forever to cahrge. I did buy another brand more recently, but haven't had a chance to test them extensively. Can't remember the brand or details. I'll check when I get some later today.

Mick
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 23-Aug-11 10:41 PM
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#51. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 50


US
          

We're talking about two totally different fake C and D cells. There are fakes and then there are really fake fakes

You are talking about the containers that hold one AA or AAA. That works in a pinch but you end up with a huge device (or huge battery compartment) with the same power as the AA or AAA inside.

These Sanyo "fakes" are configured with 4xAAA Eneloops in the C or 3xAA Eneloops in the D. That gives you 3200 mAh in the C and 6000 mAh in the D. Actually I understand they are rated a bit lower to conform to the 1900 mAh spec of the AA and AAA Eneloops.

I should not have called them "fakes" but I wanted to differentiate them from a fully packed container with cells custom sized for the container. Maybe I should have called them "slightly fake" or something along those lines

Just to be clear on that

Rechargeable CR123A's are only rated at 700-800 mAh, verses about 1500 for the standard primary (single use) flavor. The number of flashes would be cut in half in the best of circumstances. The main problem likely was not the rating but the source . Hopefully you will have better lick with the second batch.

I think there is, in the best of cases, a lot of fantasy behind battery ratings, especially off-brand and generic but including many name brands. I know a lot of people report getting as little as 2300 mAh out of supposed 2700 mAh AA's, for example, and rarely report more than 2500. And that is right out of the box but after some conditioning.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 24-Aug-11 01:16 AM
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#52. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 49


Powder Springs, US
          

I was half way serious, but I have never met a 123A that didn't get sucked down very rapidly. That makes me skeptical to try rechargeables. My intuition says they would die much more rapidly. The reason I am tempted is due to the fact that they are so expensive otherwise.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006Wed 24-Aug-11 01:48 AM
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#53. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 52


Tacoma, US
          

Well, here's the CR123As that I got:
Tenergy 4 Pcs RCR123A 3.0V 900mAh Rechargeable Li-Ion Protected Batteries w/ Smart Charger $19.95 from Battery Junction
Rechargeable CR123A Li-Ion Batteries with 3.0V working voltage.
Fully protected against over-charge, over-discharge, over-current and short-circuit.
Replace the most of non-rechargeable CR123A primary Lithium battery for a digital cameras and flashlight
Modified Voltage to achieve 3.2v at full voltage; once loaded, cell voltage drops to 3.0v.
Internal over-charge and over-discharge protection to prevent battery over use. The current will be shut off when the battery voltage drops below 2.5V.
Capacity:
Nominal: 600mAh
Maximum:900 mAh
Internal Voltage Regulators.

I think the Wawa I had, and disposed of, were rated at 600mAh.

I haven't had a chance to fully test these, but figured it would be worth a try. Otherwise, back to disposables.

Mick
www.mickklassphoto.com

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 24-Aug-11 12:37 PM
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#54. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 53
Wed 24-Aug-11 12:41 PM by nrothschild

US
          

The SBR-200 draws an average of 1.5 amps over the 6 second recycle. That is a computation based on the specs - 6s recycle, 290 full power flashes per battery. These (primary/non-rechargeable) batteries are typically specified as 1500 mAh.

That's an average. If the actual draw is a straight level line then the flash will draw 1.5A continuously for 6 seconds. I suspect that the actual draw is a declining line, and an "exponentially declining line" according ot the standard capacitor charge line but it would have to be measured by someone with the speedlight, test gear and some creativity to wire it up and measure it.

Here is a conceptual chart showing the current flow and total charge to a typical capacitor. It is exponentially declining. The actual curve of the flash charge depends on the details of the actual circuit.

The Tenergy specs indicate that it has 3A over-current protection. I don't know what happens when you exceed 3A because I don't have any experience with those particular cells. It could just cap the draw, it could shut down, or the protection circuit could melt down . Just ticking off possibilities, not probabilities.

Most likely it would just cap it and the result would be a slower recycle than you might experience with a primary (non-rechargeable) cell. However, if the over-current protection is triggered, it will be triggered each time you fire the flash. It may not be designed to withstand such regular "use". Typically it's something that might happen once or twice in the life of the battery, generally an accidental short.

There could be a reason Nikon does not specify use of those cells (and it is certainly outside the warranty). The sellers of these rechargeable CR123A cells generally recommend or suggest they not be used in certain high performance flashlights. It might be helpful to determine the precise reasons why and then apply them to the duty cycle we might expect from an SBR-200.

Just thinkin' here.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 24-Aug-11 12:45 PM
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#55. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 54


Powder Springs, US
          

If you cannot use them in high performance flashlights (whatever that technically means) then they might not be worthy. I have a small Bushnell flashlight that has a "B" that glows green so you can find it at night and the green turns to red when the batteries are about shot. It goes through the 123As pretty fast, so I am reluctant to use it much.

I like to use it when shooting groups at night. It's a great focus assist light.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 24-Aug-11 01:27 PM
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#56. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 55


US
          

I've seen some discussion about voltages. The typical non-rechargeable CR123A puts out 3.2V. These rechargeables put out 3.6V for about 12 milliseconds before an internal voltage regulator kicks in. If you put two in series (as would be typical in a flashlight) you get 7.2V. Some flashlight bulbs are rated for exactly 7.2V max. That's tickling edge of the envelope for those bulbs and something to this effect is sometimes mentioned in the recommendation discussion.

I'm not sure if we would care about a little extra voltage for a fraction of a second but that depends on the speedlight circuit components. For sure though, over most of the charge the speedlight would see only 3.0V instead of the 3.2V it is expecting. That does not sound like much but it would probably increase the recycle time by as much as 7% or so. That on top of whatever the speedlight specs are expecting for an initial charge current in excess of about 3A or so because these cells by design cannot deliver it.

Just to say there are two issues here- a momentary higher voltage (followed by a lower voltage to confuse the issue ) and a current cap. My idea of a high performance flashlight is the most powerful light I can buy at Home Depot for under $10, including a starter set of cells . I'm a flashlight heathen; I've just never explored these issues.

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GTF Registered since 03rd Dec 2002Sun 30-Oct-11 01:57 PM
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#57. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 56
Tue 01-Nov-11 01:03 AM by GTF

Mastic Beach, US
          

Whats wrong with the battery chargers Sanyo sells?
If their capable of manufacturing such good batteries why wouldn't they also be able to design & manufacture a charger for them.
Why use a charger from a company that makes batteries that aren't supposed to be very good?
Something doesn't make sense here.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 30-Oct-11 03:04 PM
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#58. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 57


US
          

Hi George,

>> Whats wrong with the battery chargers Sanyo sells?

Not sure of the context of your question. Most of this thread discussed the charger/analyzers due to their unique features. As far as I know the Eneloop charger that Sanyo sells is a good charger, but have never used one.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSun 30-Oct-11 07:21 PM
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#59. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 57


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Whats wrong with the battery chargers Sanyo sells?

Well, there is nothing really 'wrong' with them. They are just low-end chargers. MaHa makes some low-end chargers as well.

The AA NiMH chargers that I have seen from Sanyo are all simple 4-cell chargers that charge the batteries in pairs. The problem with charging in pairs is that the two batteries have to be well matched in order to both get fully charged. If you put an old battery and a new battery on charge, the charger will stop long before the new battery is full.

Also, the simple Sanyo chargers also do not have any conditioning cycles or alternate charge times that I am aware of. That means that old batteries that might be capable of being rehabilitated must be discarded and new ones purchased.

The smart chargers from MaHa that have been discussed here, charge each cell individually with precisely the correct current and voltage that is best for that cell. This means that each cell will be fully charged, and they can all be various ages and conditions. You can also charge an odd number of batteries at a time. For example, the SB-800 speedlight had a fifth battery option, and the 8-cell MaHa charger was great for charging all five cells at a time.

Also, the MaHa chargers have various cycles, like soft charge that will slowly charge your cells over a longer period of time. This will extend their lives. And for old cells that won't take a full charge, you can use the reconditioning cycle that will often squeeze another 30% charge into old batteries you would otherwise discard.

Russ
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Bull Camera Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2008Sun 30-Oct-11 09:31 PM
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#60. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 59


Winston-Salem, US
          

Thanks for the information. I was just about to ask the same charger question.
I was recently told about the eneloop batteries. I went to Costco and bought 8 AA and 4 AAA plus the Sanyo 4 battery charger for about $25. I had become discusted with rechargable batteries and their constant need for recharging. I had switched to Energizer Ultimate Lithum batteries which seem to last forever comparatively. Eight of these cost about the same as what I paid for the 8+3+charger at Costco. Haven't even had a chance to try the Eneloop batteries. Just wandered if the constant need for charging was a universal problem for rechargables or can I expect them to perform like the Ultimate Lithum batteries?

Thanks for you comments.

Bull Camera

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sun 30-Oct-11 09:49 PM
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#61. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 60


US
          

Eneloops live up to their claims. They will hold about 70-80% of their charge for a year.

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Bull Camera Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2008Sun 30-Oct-11 11:26 PM
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#62. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 61


Winston-Salem, US
          

I was more referring to the number of flashes for the eneloop vs the ultimate Lithium.

thanks again.

Bull Camera

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 31-Oct-11 12:08 AM
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#63. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 62


US
          

I rarely drain a pack of batteries in my SB-800's and never count flashes. However, I did recently test my 50 odd AA Eneloops in the Maha C9000 and got the following results:

10 cells - 48 mo old - avg capacity: 1796mAh. Worst: 1687 Best:1984
20 cells - 20 mo old - avg capacity: 1989mAh. Worst: 1950 Best:2020
36 cells - 36 mo old - avg capacity: 1995mAh. Worst: 1942 Best:2028

My conclusion is that they are good for 4 years or more, and like new for 3 years or so. My use is very sporadic. I keep them fully charged at all times. Some have been used in my mouse and a couple other miscellaneous uses.

Those were all 2000 mAh rated, and the older version. Although there are higher rated cells available the Eneloops seem to have real reproducible capacity ratings, which is not easy to find, as I suspect you have found.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 31-Oct-11 01:29 AM
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#65. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 62


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I was more referring to the number of flashes for the eneloop
>vs the ultimate Lithium.
>
>thanks again.

Well, there are huge differences with the technology between Lithium and LSD NiMH batteries. Li will never be capable of delivering the high currents required of things like speedlights, due to the very high internal series R that is inherent with Li-ion cells. Li work well in equipment that doesn't require high currents, like laptops and cameras. Actually, the only real similarity between Li and LSD NiMH is that they both retain their charge for years.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
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elec164 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jan 2009Mon 31-Oct-11 11:37 AM
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#66. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 65


US
          

>>I was more referring to the number of flashes for the
>eneloop
>>vs the ultimate Lithium.
>>
>>thanks again.
>
>Well, there are huge differences with the technology between
>Lithium and LSD NiMH batteries.

I believe a distinction needs to be made between Lithium (primary cell) and Lithium Ion (secondary cell) batteries.

Energizer Ultimate Lithium’s are primary non-rechargeable batteries which will last longer than any rechargeable battery in that it can hold more of a charge but must be discarded after use. Lithium Ion holds less charge therefore will provide less use time, but can be recharged hundreds of times and thereby are more cost effective

Also I believe that it’s not that Lithium Ion batteries can’t supply the current need for Speedlites when new, but doing so is more damaging to the cell than lower current draws and will significantly shorten their lifespan. Also every charge cycle slowly raises the internal resistance which will reduce its ability to provide the voltage necessary to power the speedlights as they age.

So it’s the combined damage caused from high current draws and the increase of internal resistance with each charge cycle that makes Lithium Ion batteries unsuitable for use in high current draw equipment such as Speedlights.

Pete

Pete

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 31-Oct-11 12:22 PM
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#67. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 66
Mon 31-Oct-11 12:33 PM by nrothschild

US
          

We're bouncing back and forth here between primary and secondary Lithium batteries .

The original question wanted to compare the *primary/non-rechargeable* Lithium Ultimate (L91) to the Eneloops.

The L91 (Ultimate) Product Datasheet suggests that at the maximum specified current draw of 2000 mAh the Ultimate delivers 3000 mAh of capacity.

My Eneloops are rated at 2000 mAh and they test out at that capacity, at least at 500 to 1000 mAh continuous drains (my chosen test discharge rate).

That suggests the Lithium Ultimate should deliver about 1.5x flashes as compared to Eneloops, but at considerable expense since they are one time use primary batteries.

I am personally unaware of any "stress tests" on Eneloop batteries that test them in the very peculiar discharge pattern inherent in Speedlights, where the speedlight essentially puts a short circuit across the battery pack for a couple of seconds in order to charge the capacitor. Then typically idles for 15-60 seconds on average, in order not to melt down the speedlight or trigger a thermal check. That is not nearly the same as the standard battery cell discharge test, which discharges the cell at a stated rate continuously (*), and typically at 1C (2000 mA) or less, until they reach some voltage level considered to be discharged.

* - some discharge testers (such as the C9000 I think) actually may discharge in pulses but the pulses are very fast (multiple times per second) so can be considered "steady and continuous" in the context here.

I'm not even sure of the exact current draw of a speedlight during its recycle. I did some rough computations that suggested it was as high as 12 amps (12,000 mA) but that did not make sense in some ways.

I based it on Nikon's rated recycles for 2000 mAh AA NiMH cells, per the SB-800 manual, not even taking into account an initial higher cell discharge rate that trended to zero over the 5 seconds or so of the recycle, in accordance with standard capacitor exponentially declining charge curves. But there may be current limiters in place that tend to level that out to a greater or lesser extent.

The SB-800 is rated at 150 recycles that take 4 seconds each, suggesting that 2000 mAh is exhausted in 600 seconds or 10 minutes of effective continuous discharge. That is a 6C discharge rate, or 12,000 mAh discharge rate, assuming a level discharge rate over the 4 seconds.

That computation suggests that the maximum specified 2 Ah discharge rate of the Lithium Ultimate is totally insufficient to get a quick recycle, and suggests a 24 second recycle time. Maybe David can comment on his actual recycle rate but I assume it is far better than that.

And that suggests there is something wrong with my calculations .

All the above is just to suggest it would be difficult to calculate total flashes from published specs and private discharge tests you may find on the net because no one tests cells the same way speedlights use them. So my 1.5x estimate is very tentative and would need to be tested to verify it. But it is probably a good rough guide.

Edit: some or all of the disparity in my discharge calculation is surely due to the fact that cell capacity declines as discharge rate increases and at the rate a speedlight discharges the cells it is unlikely that even high quality eneloops deliver their rated capacity. Candlepower Forums, where I saw these tests, appears to be down at the moment so I can't immediately check whatever high drain tests were reported there.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 31-Oct-11 02:40 PM
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#68. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 67


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>We're bouncing back and forth here between primary and
>secondary Lithium batteries .

The problems with recycling a speedlight are the same with either primary or secondary Li batteries.

The biggest problem is that the Li battery cannot deliver sufficient current for a reasonable recycle time. This is because the short-circuit current of a Li battery is limited severely by its internal series resistance.

With NiMH batteries, the maximum short circuit current is well over 30 Amps while the maximum short-circuit current of a Li battery is less than 3 Amps.

A speedlight requires a battery that can deliver at least 20 amps of short circuit current to achieve the rated recycle times.

Capacity (mAHr) just tells how many flashes you will get from a fully charged battery. Li has a very high capacity density, so for the same physical size batteries, Li will deliver lots more flashes than NiMH, but the recycle times will be prohibitive.

Also, as Li batteries discharge, their internal resistance increases drastically and that quickly makes the recycle time too long to be useful.

Russ
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Russell MacDonald Photography
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 31-Oct-11 03:34 PM
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#69. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 68
Mon 31-Oct-11 04:05 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Hi Russ,

When you mentioned "Li-Ion" in the previous post I thought you were referring to rechargeables because I usually see "Li-Ion" in that context. That was a good explanation of the problem. People tend to forget that the element Lithium is not terribly different than hydrogen in terms of its chemical reactivity and therefore its explosive capability. It's not quite as explosive as hydrogen but I think it's fairly close? So they are "crippled" to prevent the kind of abuse speedlights put on a battery pack.

Because of the current limiters (for safety) in all Lithium cells I am curious about the recycle times with those Lithium Ultimates. You seem to agree with my calculations, which are even more conservative than your suggestion of a 20 amp draw because I had trouble factoring in the charge curve... Just because the numbers are so enormous and also because I see some contradictions in terms of what I've read about NiMH cells . But there is surprisingly little practical discussion to be found on the subject of max current draw. Photographers are the only people I know that routinely and intentionally short their batteries out . The rest of the world calls that "gross abuse". (Maybe RC modelers excepted)

I found an interesting test here in candlepowerforums, where a tester prepared a chart of "Energy Efficiency (%) vs Discharge Current (A)". That suggests all NiMH cells, including Eneloops, lose total capacity (number of flashes) as the discharge rate increases, to the tune of about 55-65% of total capacity at light discharge rates when drained at 10A. That is only half of what you suggest and if you are right about the 20A that chart would extrapolate quickly to well below 50%, which is one reason I had some reservations about a number greater than 10A. However, the 20A draw would likely be for only a fraction of a second (per the "Q curve" on any capacitor, which I know you are very familiar with) and the average over the roughly 4s recycle may well be in the neighborhood of 10A or so.

The main point being that the way we use these batteries is very contrary to the assumptions of the basic industry standard battery specs and that is why some cells that work fine in more pedestrian applications do not serve well in speedlights. (Lithium being a good example). And the precise facts are difficult to come by because few if any ever test duty cycles that emulate our flash units.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 31-Oct-11 09:33 PM
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#71. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 69


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Hi Russ,
>
>When you mentioned "Li-Ion" in the previous post I
>thought you were referring to rechargeables because I usually
>see "Li-Ion" in that context. That was a good
>explanation of the problem. People tend to forget that the
>element Lithium is not terribly different than hydrogen in
>terms of its chemical reactivity and therefore its explosive
>capability. It's not quite as explosive as hydrogen but I
>think it's fairly close? So they are "crippled" to
>prevent the kind of abuse speedlights put on a battery pack.

Yes, all Li batteries are quite dangerous and must be protected from thermal runaway and the ensuing explosion that follows. Remember the early cell phones that blew up while against someone's head? One of the problems with Li batteries is that as they heat up from heavy current flow their internal resistance GOES DOWN! The resistance can actually reach negative amounts, and when that happens the cell goes into thermal runaway and explodes.

>Because of the current limiters (for safety) in all Lithium
>cells I am curious about the recycle times with those Lithium
>Ultimates. You seem to agree with my calculations, which are
>even more conservative than your suggestion of a 20 amp draw
>because I had trouble factoring in the charge curve... Just
>because the numbers are so enormous and also because I see
>some contradictions in terms of what I've read about NiMH
>cells . But there is surprisingly little practical
>discussion to be found on the subject of max current draw.
>Photographers are the only people I know that routinely and
>intentionally short their batteries out . The rest of the
>world calls that "gross abuse". (Maybe RC modelers
>excepted)

Well, the Li Ultimates that were discussed in this thread are limited to 3 Amps if I recall correctly. That would drastically slow down the recycle rates of the typical speedlight. I have no specific numbers to share, but I believe a recycle time of 8 seconds or so could be typical for fresh Li Ultimates, compared to under 4 sec with NiMH.

>I found an interesting test
>here
>in candlepowerforums, where a tester prepared a chart of
>"Energy Efficiency (%) vs Discharge Current (A)".
>That suggests all NiMH cells, including Eneloops, lose total
>capacity (number of flashes) as the discharge rate increases,
>to the tune of about 55-65% of total capacity at light
>discharge rates when drained at 10A. That is only half of
>what you suggest and if you are right about the 20A that chart
>would extrapolate quickly to well below 50%, which is one
>reason I had some reservations about a number greater than
>10A. However, the 20A draw would likely be for only a
>fraction of a second (per the "Q curve" on any
>capacitor, which I know you are very familiar with) and the
>average over the roughly 4s recycle may well be in the
>neighborhood of 10A or so.

This is all true, and you hit it right that the maximum current is only applied for a brief time in the speedlight application when the capacitor is totally empty. Then, it decreases on a very steep curve as the square of the voltage. Then, after 5 time constants, or about four sec later the current arrives at zero as the capacitor is completely filled. The high currents are not applied long enough to reduce the stated capacity significantly.

The other thing to realize is that even though a NiMH battery may be capable of 40 or 50 Amps short circuit current, there is resistance between it and the capacitor in every speedlight design that limits the current to far less than. The interconnect wires, solid state switches, and even the DC-Dc converter (which has about 95% efficiency) all translate to considerable effective series resistance in the charging circuit. It doesn't take much resistance limit the maximum current in a circuit when the voltage is only six volts or so.

>The main point being that the way we use these batteries is
>very contrary to the assumptions of the basic industry
>standard battery specs and that is why some cells that work
>fine in more pedestrian applications do not serve well in
>speedlights. (Lithium being a good example). And the precise
>facts are difficult to come by because few if any ever test
>duty cycles that emulate our flash units.

All true!

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 31-Oct-11 04:42 PM
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#70. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 67


US
          

One more quick note for David. Sanyo has new 2000 mAh Eneloops claimed to be good for 1500 recharges. I think the original was 500? Or 1000?(not sure)....

Sanyo also recently introduced Eneloop XX, which is a 2500 mAh AA cell.

I have not tried the 2500's because I have a "lifetime supply" of 50-some 2000 mAh Eneloops and I will use them until they die a natural death. The new XX costs over twice as much ($20-$21 vs $8-$10 for a 4 pack) as the 2000 mAh versions and I think are rated for only 500 cycles. So they cost 2x and may get only 1/3 the life, or cost 6 times as much per charge. That is quite a premium for many users.

I've seen some cycle tests on NiMH, including Eneloops and my recollection is that especially with high current drains (maybe up to 10A, not sure now) these user tests suggest none of these batteries get anywhere near the promised lifespan. But not many people do that kind of long term testing.

The numbers I've seen are more like 150-250 cycles until the cells are down to about 75% of original capacity or so. Based on those numbers, with heavy use "500 charges" might go by quite quickly because it may be more like 150.

So for me I'm happy to get 125-150 full power flashes and then do a swap... but if I were concerned with getting the most flashes from a charge AND concerned about low self discharge I would bear the expense of the new Eneloop XX 2500 mAh cells. And they are certainly cheaper than single use Lithiums. If I were doing weddings or something equally critical I would surely spend the money and take a small risk that they don't live up to expectations- if another 25-35 flashes were important for that job. It does necessarily take years for new batteries to stand the test of time. We will know more in a couple more years.

_________________________________
Neil


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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberMon 31-Oct-11 10:39 PM
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#72. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 70


Powder Springs, US
          

> The new XX costs over twice
>as much ($20-$21 vs $8-$10 for a 4 pack) as the 2000 mAh
>versions and I think are rated for only 500 cycles. So they
>cost 2x and may get only 1/3 the life, or cost 6 times as much
>per charge. That is quite a premium for many users.

Considering that I don't need to change batteries in the middle of a job with the 2000 mAh batteries, that is too rich for my blood. Besides, changing batteries is no big hassle.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 31-Oct-11 01:25 AM
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#64. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop battery charger's?"
In response to Reply # 61


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Eneloops live up to their claims. They will hold about
>70-80% of their charge for a year.

The new Eneloops claim to hold at least 75% of their charge for three years!

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Bull Camera Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Apr 2008Mon 31-Oct-11 10:45 PM
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#73. "Eneloop Batteries"
In response to Reply # 64


Winston-Salem, US
          

Thanks for all the help. I am fairly new to flash. Two SB-800's, SB-28 and some older Nikons. Recently took a couple of speedlite courses. I was forever changing the old rechargeable batteries in my camers and speedlites so swithched to the ultimate Li. Greatly increased the time between battery change/charge.

I am know the owner of the new Eneloop batteries rated at 1500 charges.

From what I have learned from you guys, I will have to recycle batteries more often than the Ultimate LI but not near as often as the older rechargable batteries. And at a great financial savings.

I also learned someting else I didn't know. Std chargers chage batteries in pairs. Maybe that was why I was having to recharge so often. My F100 can eat batteries.

Thanks for you help.

Bull Camera

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Mon 31-Oct-11 11:22 PM
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#74. "RE: Eneloop Batteries"
In response to Reply # 73
Mon 31-Oct-11 11:30 PM by nrothschild

US
          

There is a whole science behind fast chargers, plus much more voodoo sitting on top of that science . Chargers use different charging strategies and circuits to determine the optimum cut off.

It can be hard to spend $50 - $70 for a known very good charger, like the Maha chargers, to charge $25 worth of batteries.

One alternative, if you have patience, good planning and don't use the batteries every day, is to buy an inexpensive 16 hour timed charger. These are the old "dumb chargers" that can be bought now for under $20. Because they are dumb they can't do much wrong to the cells .

The dumb charger strategy is to run a charge rate equal to 1/10 the nominal rated capacity (known as 0.1C) for 16 hours. That is thought to be safe even with a fully charged cell, and 16 hours should be enough to fully charge a totally exhausted cell. In fact, that is the standard charge method used to measure capacity, likely because it will charge a cell to its absolute capacity, thereby giving the best possible measurements. Even expensive fast chargers only charge to 85-95% of full charge unless they have a good "top off charge" mode and you leave them on to cook for a few hours.

The big problem with slow chargers is that you may find you don't have 16 hours between shoots.

Another thing to check is how it handles AAA cells. Most 16 hour chargers I've seen assume the AA cells are 2000 mAh, which is an old "standard", more or less, so they blindly run a 200mAh charge current. That is perfect for standard 2000mAh Eneloops.

It is possible the charger can not differentiate between AA and AAA and therefore may cook the 800-900mAh AAA's at the same 200 mA (0.25C) rate for 16 hours, which I think is considered excessive and potentially unhealthy for the cells. In all cases here knowledge is king and it pays to check specs and only buy chargers that specify these things.

In any case, and with any charger, it is a good idea to give it a finger test well into the charge, and as near to charge completion as possible, to make sure the cells are not overheating. Even good chargers can be defective. If the cell is too hot to leave a finger on it, then it is probably overcharging. The critical temp is around 45C to 50C or so, and that borders the "comfort zone" for a typical finger.

It is difficult to determine if a charger undercharges without having a charger/analyzer.

_________________________________
Neil


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adangus Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Tue 01-Nov-11 02:40 PM
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#75. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 01-Nov-11 04:00 PM by adangus

Franktown, US
          

All you techies may be interested in the comparative analysis of the SB800 and Alienbees studio lights here.

Assuming that author's calculations are correct, the SB800 stores and discharges 75 Joules of energy at maximum power. Converted into the same SI units, 2000mA-hr is 7200 Coulombs of charge (2A times 3600 seconds in an hour). Assuming the battery voltage is 1.2V, this corresponds to 8640 Joules, (where energy is charge stored times terminal voltage in SI units). So if you had a four AA battery configuration on an SB800, you'd have 34.5kJ of energy with fresh batteries. A simple calculation suggests that you ought to get about 460 maximum power flashes out of four 2000mA-hr batteries and an SB800. However, the Nikon manual states a minimum number of flashes at 150 for this configuration. The limits are given in terms of performance between the rated recycle time of 4s and a 30s limit.

From looking at this test review it appears that one of the practical limits in getting beyond 150 flashes in sequence is not the energy storage itself, but rather the accumulated energy dissipation as heat. As a consequence, by around 150 flashes, the recycle time rises to 30s as heat in the system has increased. In this test, the author exceeds the 150 flash limit by letting the speed light/battery system cool for several hours and then beginning again. By doing this, the recycle time went back down to reasonable 4 seconds or so. However, the recycle time rises rapidly to 30s within another 50-60 flashes. In short, any remaining charge becomes increasingly difficult to recover, at least in the context of practical speed light operation, because of what might be described as a dynamic internal resistance. That is, the internal resistance is dependent upon the remaining charge and the history of discharges. The 150 flash limit is about 33% of the 460 that I calculate using the first site's 75J per flash energy value for the SB800.

It could well turn out that one could get close to this 460 flashes in some odd schedule by simply continuing to let the SB800 cool down and then firing off more flashes. Say you get 150 the first time, then 50, then 25, then 15, then… and keep doing this until you hit 400 or so. But outside of some lab, who’s going to do this?

This last test is flawed in some ways and unique in others. It was performed, quite purposely, with eneloops straight out of the package; that is, without having been charged or conditioned in any way. Another limitation of this test is that it was only done at maximum power. Considering the analysis given in the first article, in which it is shown that the SB800 operates very differently at M1/4 or lower power levels, it might be expected that the speedlight/battery system would behave quite differently in terms of the total number of flashes at a constant recycle time than it would at M1. More specifically, one might expect that at M1/4, one might well get more than 4x150=600 flashes at a recycle time of 4s/4=1s.

In my studio, I use my speedlights (SB800s) and camera (D700) in manual mode, with the speedlights set at M1/4 or less wherever possible. I also use five AA batteries for each speedlight. Typically, if one group is at M1/4, then at least one other group is at M1/8 or less. If necessary, I'll up the ISO to 400 or so in order to get this result. For similar reasons, I find that adding more speedlights in a group to get more power is a superior approach than exceeding M1/4 from a single speedlight. Being able to get low recycle times throughout an entire studio session without having to stop and change batteries is a huge deal.

This is, I think, one of the best arguments for rechargeable as opposed to non-rechargeable batteries for speedlights in studio use; namely, with non-rechargeables, as the remaining charge is reduced, the number of shots available at a reasonable recycle time is rapidly reduced. One can never get all of the charge out of these things in a practical way in a studio. Even the 150 shot limit for fresh batteries at M1 is, IMHO, too small. By purposely avoiding any configuration higher than M1/4 unless absolutely essential, and by using recharged batteries, almost any session can be conducted without concern about the lighting. That includes, among other things, variations in the color temperature reference from start to finish. About the only time I'd wind up with power at M1 is for Auto FP high speed sync outdoors or some similar exotic setup.

Having gone through all of this faffle-jazz, the single biggest selling point for eneloops over any other rechargeable battery would simply be the overall lifetime of them. If I can get them to operate for a studio session on full charge at M1/4 for many hundreds of shots at a 1s recycle or so, that's big; and if I can reuse them for years in this manner; that's big too.

For me, that's it in two points, complete with the why and wherefore.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Tue 01-Nov-11 04:36 PM
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#76. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 75


US
          

One comment... I've bought three batches of Eneloops. The first (10), purchased from BatteryBob 8/2007, who at that time had very good pricing, was 12 months old at purchase based on the date code stamped on the cells.

The second batch (24)was purchased from ThomasDistributing 9/2008. That batch was 13 months old per the date code.

The third batch of 24, also from Thomas Distributing, 12/2009, was only 5 months old.

I bought a set of 8 Eneloop AAA's from Thomas 12/2009 that were 15 months old per date code.

I recall seeing a LOT of complaints about "old stock" (typically 12-15 months old at purchase)on Candlepowerforums over the years. Just to say my experience was not atypical or a single bad supplier.

For that reason I would be careful assuming the cells were fresh and anywhere near fully charged if they were pulled form the pack and tested. In fact, I think that is an egregious error on the part of the tester. Is he testing the self discharge rate, the initial factory charge rate, or the full capacity charge rate?

I've never discharge tested my cells right out of the pack for capacity but from what I've read 70% is not an unreasonable number. It is not clear if the cells are even fully charged when they leave the factory.

I do not know if this age problem still exists today with the newer versions. Personally I think I was "robbed" of about 20-25% of the useful shelf life of my cells, which is probably around 4-5 years but in the grand scheme of things it is just the way it is and there is likely no better overall deal in town. In fact, many or most other brands of cells do not even disclose a date code so their age at purchase is totally unknown.

_________________________________
Neil


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adangus Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Wed 02-Nov-11 07:06 PM
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#77. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 76


Franktown, US
          

Well first, the reviewer was a woman; and the review was for Professional Photographer Magazine. If I understand her intent, it was to see how well the eneloops would perform without being charged; that is, to verify the low self discharge property.

What I came away with was that fully charged or not, a significant limit in the number of flashes from any set of batteries was heating within the speedlight system itself. There was a strong implication from the test that any set of batteries that had sufficient charge to deliver around 150 M1 flashes was likely to run into a brick wall, or a heat wall if you will, very rapidly after that. Whether the batteries were subject to a temperature rise because of internal heating, or warmed because they were in close proximity to a source of heat within the speedlight, or both, was not determined. (I mention this because I know at least one other photographer who prefers external battery packs, Quantum SC Turbo, so that they do not get heated by the guts of the speedlight itself.)

In fact, anything I've seen that seriously challenges the 150 flash limit involves using some external pack like the Nikon SD-8A or SD-9 or the Quantums. Some folks have complained that it's quite easy to blow out a speedlight with the Quantums though. Of course, the eneloops are completely compatible with using an SD-8A or SD-9, and considering the price of a Quantum SCT at around $500 c/w cable, I'm not sure that I see the bang-for-the-buck in that proposition.

I think the main point of the review in question was how well the eneloops performed even without being recharged. Performance should be better with fully charged batteries; but in terms of total number of full-power flashes, I'm not certain how much better if the problem is heating in the speedlight and not the charge remaining in the batteries. If that's the case, then the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario comes with eneloops in an SD-8A powering your SB-800 (or an SD-9 & SB-900).

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberWed 02-Nov-11 08:27 PM
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#78. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 77
Fri 04-Nov-11 01:41 PM by Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Well first, the reviewer was a woman; and the review was for
>Professional Photographer Magazine. If I understand her
>intent, it was to see how well the eneloops would perform
>without being charged; that is, to verify the low self
>discharge property.
>
>What I came away with was that fully charged or not, a
>significant limit in the number of flashes from any set of
>batteries was heating within the speedlight system itself.
>There was a strong implication from the test that any set of
>batteries that had sufficient charge to deliver around 150 M1
>flashes was likely to run into a brick wall, or a heat wall if
>you will, very rapidly after that. Whether the batteries were
>subject to a temperature rise because of internal heating, or
>warmed because they were in close proximity to a source of
>heat within the speedlight, or both, was not determined. (I
>mention this because I know at least one other photographer
>who prefers external battery packs, Quantum SC Turbo, so that
>they do not get heated by the guts of the speedlight itself.)
>
>
>In fact, anything I've seen that seriously challenges the 150
>flash limit involves using some external pack like the Nikon
>SD-8A or SD-9 or the Quantums. Some folks have complained that
>it's quite easy to blow out a speedlight with the Quantums
>though. Of course, the eneloops are completely compatible with
>using an SD-8A or SD-9, and considering the price of a Quantum
>SCT at around $500 c/w cable, I'm not sure that I see the
>bang-for-the-buck in that proposition.
>
>I think the main point of the review in question was how well
>the eneloops performed even without being recharged.
>Performance should be better with fully charged batteries; but
>in terms of total number of full-power flashes, I'm not
>certain how much better if the problem is heating in the
>speedlight and not the charge remaining in the batteries. If
>that's the case, then the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too
>scenario comes with eneloops in an SD-8A powering your SB-800
>(or an SD-9 & SB-900).

I'm not sure of what value this M 1/1 excercise really is.

I have run the Eneloops down literally hundreds of times, using TTL and bouncing at weddings, and I get between 400 and 450 flashes per charge every time. I have also used speedlights that have been partially discharged. If I shoot 200 flashes on a set of batteries and let the speedlight sit a couple of months, I will get the other 200-250 flashes whever I use it again.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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adangus Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Thu 03-Nov-11 04:05 PM
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#80. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 78


Franktown, US
          

I could not agree more on the whole M1 business. As a boy who's been a practicing PE in EE for over 25 years, I can see the engineering POV on reporting performance under maximum stress. That goes to what, say, Nikon might want to spec for the SB800 or Sanyo on the eneloops. However, for a practical review for photographers using eneloops in speedlights, I'd be more interested in real-world performance with manual mode or TTL mode settings that make sense.

I'm not saying that M1 isn't of interest; but frankly, for me at any rate, the number of shots I take at M1 is almost always limited and in some specialized case where recycle time is much more important than the number of flashes in a session.

In any case, I think we're in great agreement on eneloops, properly treated, versus the alternatives.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 02-Nov-11 09:49 PM
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#79. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 77


US
          

>> If I understand her intent, it was to see how well the eneloops would perform without being charged; that is, to verify the low self discharge property.

I understood that. My issue was that she did not check and disclose the date code so there is no way to know how long they sat after manufacture. I later saw she ran some other tests but I did not study the report in detail.

Despite her spin on it, her tests suggested that the 2000 mAh Eneloops held their own against a set of 2560 mAh regular NiMH and that is very believable. A lot of brands and models deliver much less than the rated capacity. I've seen tests of new (and well conditioned) cells in the 2500 - 2900 mAh rated range come in 200-300 and even 400mAh lower. And that's when they are new. On the other hand some high cap cells seem to do pretty good but it takes some research to find them.

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Neil


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adangus Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Thu 03-Nov-11 05:29 PM
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#81. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 79


Franktown, US
          

Point taken. Reporting the date code would have provided useful information for interpreting the results of the test.

In terms of the similar performance of the "raw" eneloops versus the other NiMH batteries, I took that as raising a possible hypothesis that the number of M1 flashes from the speedlight/battery system could be limited by some other factor than the charge storage of the batteries themselves. A natural culprit would be poor thermal dissipation in the system overall. It's not like speedlights come with big heat sinks and fans.

If the speedlight is dissipating 75J every 4s, that's nearly 20W. Keep that up for 150 M1 pops and you've run the speedlight at 20W of power for 10 minutes. Some of that power flies away as light, over course, but those lamps aren't that efficient; and a lot is going to remain in the speedlight/battery system as heat. The Wikipedia article on flash tubes states that Xenon is about 50% efficient in terms of light conversion for energy in; but you have to assume that there will be other energy losses in the electronics themselves. Let's say that the speedlight/battery system is getting 15W of heat for continuous M1 operation dumped into that plastic shell.

In principle, one could work out the temperature rise on the basis of knowing thermal resistance for the speedlight's components. In practice, I bet that no operating speedlight ever gets into a state of equilibrium as far as temperature and heat dissipation is concerned at M1; so that's a pointless exercise to bother with. We just know they get too damn hot quickly and the SB-900 seems to cut off operation when the temperature rises above some safe limit even faster than the SB-800.

With that in mind, I was willing to cut Betty, I think that's her name, some slack on the whole full charge business since she may have displayed, perhaps inadvertently, a more fundamental limit to maximum power operation than battery charge; viz., thermal behavior.

Having said that, I have to go back to what RKM pointed out; namely, who cares about continuous M1 power operation anyway outside of engineers in Nikon or Sanyo labs looking for an extreme stress test to write up in their spec sheets? Any practicing photographer would know that that's the road to perdition and steer clear unless absolutely necessary, n'est ce pas? Keep that up too long and your photo shoot is over for a half hour while the speedlights cool down (not like you can run them under cool water, huh).

So, people don't do that and the test isn't representative of actual practice as a result. It is difficult to extrapolate real world results from it as well (I think) so that it's even more pointless.

Here's what comes to mind as a more reasonable spec. At what power level (M1/4, M1/8, etc) with a given battery configuration (4 in, 5 in, SD-8A) and at what recycle rate could you run an SB-800 continuously and not trigger the internal thermal shutoff? Running under those conditions, the number of pops should be charge-limited and not thermal-limited. That would give one a good idea of the continuous maximum power operation of the speedlight.

I mean, wouldn't it be a useful thing to know that Nikon had specified that the SB-800 could run on four fully charged 2000mA-hr NiMH batteries at M1/4 with a recycle time of, say, 1s, indefinitely until the batteries were depleted. Or maybe 1.3s, or 2s or whatever. If it was five batteries, then maybe you get a recycle time of 1s instead of 1.3 for four batteries. If it's the SD-8A with 5 batteries in the speedlight, then perhaps it's a recycle time of 0.1s indefinitely. Then you're limited not by flash recycle time but by the buffer in the camera.

Then if Nikon confirmed that the M1 energy dissipation was 75J or whatever, and at M1/4 it's 18.75J, and we can work out that one fully charged 1.2V 2000mA-hr NiMH cell has 8640J, then we can figure out for ourselves what number of M1/4 or M1/8 pops we can get out of a pack of four, five, or eleven cells.

That would be some practical information that would drive real buying decisions. That would give me a safe operating configuration for speedlights that could get me to the buffer speed on the camera in the studio. Then I could set that up and hand the camera to my wife, who likes to run it in continuous high mode with her finger on the shutter release, and I could go get a coffee without worrying about needing to call on the PPA's equipment insurance.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 03-Nov-11 07:07 PM
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#82. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 81
Thu 03-Nov-11 07:09 PM by nrothschild

US
          

It was my understanding that SB-800's do not have thermal cut-off's. They just melt down when they are run too hard.

I have seen many complaints over the years by people that melted down their SB-800's. I don't ever recall seeing complaints about thermal cutoff.

It is my impression that most of the complaints about the SB-900 thermal cut-off are at least partially due to the fact that it is a new feature in our speedlights. I'm not suggesting the complaints are not valid and/or that possibly the thermal cut-off is too conservative. I have no opinion on that. But the nature of many complaints is such that it appears many do not understand the thermal risks or quite what is happening- because it is a new feature never before seen by (at least) Nikon shooters.

But correct me if I'm wrong on this- I'm going by recollections of complaints and the fact I can't recall thermal cut-off discussed in the SB-800 manual.

I actually do tend to use my speedlights at full power but only because much of my flash work is wildlife shooting on long lenses with a better beamer that isn't better enough to fully light my bird 100 feet away, or I'm in FP mode at high shutter speeds . But that is a very niche use and typically I might fire a burst of 5-10 shots and then it sits idle until I find another bird. Which could be next month . In other words I'm not driving it into the ground at M1.

The chart on the link I posted previously suggested that if a 0.5A draw is the reference point (that is the standard test for capacity) then a 2.5A draw will get 88% of the capacity of the standard 0.5A. At 10A it's only 64%. I suspect 10A (average over the cycle) is fairly close to M1 and 2.5A would then be close to M1/4. So it is clear there is a substantial hit from the M1 draw.

Batteries don't like heat and certainly internal dissipation is an issue and it's easy to test or demonstrate with an external source. The problem with external sources, if my first point was correct is that they just make it oh so easy to destroy the speedlight. It's probably better, in many cases, to have internal cells throttling the user back unless the user's needs are so critical he can treat them as disposable or otherwise has a good sense of where the invisible line lies.

_________________________________
Neil


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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 04-Nov-11 02:16 PM
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#83. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 82


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>It was my understanding that SB-800's do not have thermal
>cut-off's. They just melt down when they are run too hard.

Actually there is a thermal cut-off in the SB-800. It is located on the power supply board near the voltage multiplier IC. It is set very high and is intended to protect the circuitry, which it does quite well.

However, there is no thermal protection at the flash tube itself. So, if you use a high voltage external battery like a Quantum Turbo, it can cause the tube to overheat and melt the plastic lens. This happens because the external battery bypasses the internal thermal protected power supply circuitry leaving the speedlight completely unprotected.

If you use a Nikon SD-8A external battery pack, its inputs go to the internal power supply of the SB-800 which keeps it thermal protected. I've have had several thermal shutdowns while using an SB-8A.

As far as I know, there has never been an SB-800 that has melted down when using the four internal batteries. If the fifth battery option is used, then there have been a handful of cases where the unit has been damaged by heat. I suspect that the thermal protector malfunctioned or was set wrong in those cases.

So now, in my wedding business, I just use SB-800s with the four internal batteries. The speedlights never overheat and the recycle rate is tolerable.

It is my professional opinion that on the SB-900 the engineers went way overboard with the thermal protection; far beyond what it needed to be. I'm hoping they come to their senses on the next speedlight they design.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 04-Nov-11 03:39 PM
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#84. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 83


US
          

Thanks for the clarification, Russ. I know I've heard about SB-800's melting down but I don't recall exactly how they were powered. Your answers are very helpful for me as an SB-800 (x3) owner.

My SB-800's melt down, but from the outside in, thanks to the better beamer I use . Whole different matter

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adangus Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2009Fri 04-Nov-11 07:23 PM
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#85. "RE: Sanyo Eneloop batteries"
In response to Reply # 82


Franktown, US
          

I wouldn't dispute the point that the SB-800 doesn't have a thermal cutoff designed in, as the SB-900 so apparently does. My observation about thermal effects potentially dominating the M1 performance in a way that was independent of battery charge was based on a couple of points. First, dumping 10-15W of heat into the speedlight's plastic shell is guaranteed to generate a temperature rise. Second, in Ms. Betty's test there wasn't an appreciable difference in recycle time versus flash count for the "raw" eneloops and other NiMH batteries. Third, the phenomenon that arises after around 150 sequential M1 flashes is an exponential rise in recycle time.

Since we're talking about time to recharge a capacitor from a voltage source, which is based on an RC time constant, and assuming the capacitance, C, is fixed, then it's natural to hypothesize that some circuit resistance, R, has a strong thermal dependance. IMHO, a natural candidate for that would be an effective internal resistance of the batteries themselves. This is further emphasized by the recovery of recycle time in the test back to 4s just by letting the speedlight/batteries cool down. This in itself implies that the batteries were not discharged, since Ms. Betty got another 60 or so M1 flashes out of them before seeing another sharp rise in recycle time.

As you aptly point out, external power sources are reputed to have a greater propensity to burn out an SB-800. This is apparently true of the Quantum TSC for example, and perhaps less so for Nikon's own SB-8A. I am just taking this information from various Internet sources such as customer reviews on Amazon and other suppliers. I haven't used a Quantum myself or blown out an SB-800 personally. But that's also consistent with my hypothesis that a sharp rise in effective internal resistance due to ambient temperature inside the SB-800 contributes to the correspondingly sharp rise in recycle time above 150 M1 sequential flashes.

Since an external battery pack would not be so prone to temperature rise from internal sources in the speedlight, probably the xenon flash tube itself, it would be more likely to burn out an SB-800 with external batteries. The next logical design step would be to deliver a speedlight with a cutoff designed around the flash tube's temperature, and call it an SB-900. Et voila.

I'll allow that what's really going on inside the batteries is likely to be more complex than just a rise in internal resistance due to heat. If you look here you'll see material about the discharge profile for a typical NiMH cell from 1.2V to 1.0V or so, after which residual internal charge becomes unavailable at the terminals. In that same author's comments on pulse discharge for NIMH cells, he suggests that this battery chemistry performs well in analog load systems, which is what our speedlights would be.

As well, internal resistance in a battery with good state of health (SoH) is usually reduced with increasing temperature (see here). However, the measurements for internal resistance reported on the site that I'm referring to, and most everywhere else, are not dynamic pulse discharge behaviors of the sort in Ms. Betty's test.

Another problem with my internal resistance story is that only 60 or so M1 flashes were available from both the eneloops and the other NiMH batteries in Ms. Betty's second round of tests after letting the system cool down for 2 hours. This suggests that either there is a charge-dependent effect or the speedlight hadn't cooled back to room temperature yet, and that last idea isn't likely in my thinking.

A somewhat more accurate tale may be that at least one of the cells in the battery pack is going into terminal voltage reversal as it nears discharge. (See here.) Since the cells in either the four or five battery configuration are stacked in series, the speedlight presumably has an internal voltage regulator for most of its circuitry. Since the capacitor is charged to 325V or so, by various reports, it is also necessary that some voltage multiplier circuit is involved to get the 4.8V or 6.0V from the battery up to the nominal capacitor voltage.

Then, as at least one of the cells nears discharge and goes into voltage reversal, the current accessible from the battery pack for capacitor recharge is sharply reduced. My argument would be that the combination of temperature and available charge together play a role in this phenomenon. That the phenomenon is to some extent dynamically reversible suggests that it cannot be due only to a complete discharge of one of the cells or only to temperature. Since the cells are in series in the battery, the weakest cells cannot be recharged by the stronger ones.

Also admittedly, Sanyo themselves make stronger claims for performance of their eneloops in speedlights. (See here.) At this page, Sanyo claims 460 M1 flashes for four XX batteries and 360 M1s for the straight eneloops in a Canon 430EXII. I have no knowledge of this speedlite or how it would compare technically with an SB-800. But there's fine print on the Sanyo site about "brief breaks to better simulate realistic shooting conditions". This immediately suggests that Sanyo aimed to avoid any thermal problems in order to get the best out of the batteries; and their results are much closer to my calculations for the SB-800 with four 2000mA-hr batteries fully charged.

As well, the Wikipedia site on LSD NiMH batteries states that the new "eneloop plus" comes with a PTC thermistor to shut the battery down when it overheats. This development, not yet incorporated in eneloops on the market in the US, I think, is another sign of the times about battery heating.

A couple of interesting reviews on eneloops are at here and here. These reviews include performance straight out of the box as well as after being recharged and conditioned. They are also useful for spanning a period from 2007 to 2011 in terms of data presented and for comparing several new brands against the Sanyos. There's nothing here though that speaks directly to the 150 M1 flash limit that is in the Nikon specs for the SB-800 or as observed by Ms. Betty. In fact, the table reported here shows a 1588mW-hr per cell for Sanyos fresh out of the box, which is equivalent to 22.9kJ for four cells or 305 M1 flashes at 75J per flash. After charging and conditioning, the four-cell battery would deliver 31.9kJ (according to Steve) or 425 M1 pops. This is, again, pretty consistent what the Sanyo site says for that Canon speedlite considering it may be different in terms of its energy discharge per M1 flash that the 75J I've been using for the SB-800.

All this suggests to me that there is some thermal phenomenon associated with the sequential M1 flash test that Nikon specs for the SB-800 and that Ms. Betty tested. This doesn't have to be a design cutoff as in the SB-900 on in the eneloop plus cells. It could just be the physics of the speedlight and battery.

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