How to condition nimh batteries

Written by jerel jacobs
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Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries are commonly used to replace AA and AAA alkaline batteries. NiMH holds an advantage over traditional alkaline technology in that NiMH can be recharged. This can add up to a substantial savings over the life of your battery operated device. To get the longest life and best performance out of your NiMH batteries, they must be used correctly.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • NiMH batteries
  • Standard (slow charger)
  • Quick charger (optional)

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    How To Condition NiMH Batteries

  1. 1

    Charge the battery completely before using. The first charge should be a complete and slow charge. Do not use quick chargers to perform this initial charging.

  2. 2

    Use the battery until it is drained. After the initial charge, use the battery until it is drained and then recharge it. The second charge can be done using either a regular or quick charge device. Although, they charge the batteries in less time, your batteries will discharge faster if you use a quick charger.

  3. 3

    Recharge the battery whenever power gets low. NiMH batteries do not need to be completely discharged each cycle. You can connect the batteries to the charger whenever the power starts to get low.

  4. 4

    (Optional) Cycle the batteries to obtain maximum life. Approximately once every 30-60 days completely discharge the batteries by letting the device that they are powering run until shutdown. Allow the NiMH batteries to remain in a discharged state for four to six hours. Then recharge the batteries using a non-quick charge method and resume normal use.

Tips and warnings

  • NiMH batteries are superior to the older NICAD batteries in that NiMH does not have to be completely discharged with each use.
  • Typically NiMH batteries are available in AA and AAA sizes, however some speciality electronics stores carry C and D NiMH cells.
  • Never dispose of batteries in a fire.
  • Take your used batteries to a battery recycling station for disposal. Contact your local government offices for details.

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