How to Charge RC NIMH Batteries

Written by matthew cote
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How to Charge RC NIMH Batteries
When it comes to charging: not all batteries are to be treated equal. (electric a battery image by Yuri Bizgaimer from Fotolia.com)

A battery's performance is directly related to how well it is charged. NiMH batteries are somewhat touchy when it comes to quicker charges, though it can be done if the proper precautions are considered. Understanding how to properly charge your NiMH battery pack will reduce any risk of permanently damaging the cells, while ensuring that your pack continues to perform at maximum capacity.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Charger
  • NiMH Battery Pack
  • Insulated Clips

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Instructions

    Overnight Charging

  1. 1

    Make sure all knobs are set to zero, and that all fuses are functional. Plug the charger into the wall and turn it on, then clip the battery to the charger. If your charger doesn't use manufactured connectors, affix the positive (+) and negative (-) leads to the battery using insulated clips.

  2. 2

    Locate the charging rates on the device. It is recommended that you charge a NiMH battery at 10% its capacity (a figure referred to as C/10). In other words, if you have a battery rated at 3000 mAh, then you need to set your charger to 300 ma.

  3. 3

    Set the charger's timer for at least 13 hours, maximum 15 hours. Setting a timer will prevent overheating of the battery, which could permanently damage the cells' capacity and overall performance.

    Quick Charging

  1. 1

    Make sure all knobs are set to zero, and that all fuses are functional. Plug the charger into the wall and turn it on, then clip the battery to the charger. If your charger doesn't use manufactured connectors, affix the positive (+) and negative (-) leads to the battery using insulated clips.

  2. 2

    Discharge you battery until there is only 1v per cell remaining. This will prevent your battery from overheating, while also reducing any risk of battery memory, which could cause a reduction in your battery's total capacity.

  3. 3

    Set your charging rate to C/3.33, and the timer to 5 hours. It is possible to charge a NiMH battery at 1C (or 100% capacity) for a duration of 1.5 hours, but this requires constant observation of the battery's temperature.

Tips and warnings

  • Most modern NiMH battery cells aren't at risk for damage in the event of an overcharge, if the rate of charge is C/10.
  • Overnight charging is the best and most efficient way of charging NiMH batteries.
  • An overheated battery is a damaged battery, keep a close eye on your battery's temperature during quick charges.

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