NiCad "Behavior"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by BradleyK, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    An upfront admission: After 30-odd years as a shooter, I have never - until this past spring, with the purchase of a MD2/MB1 - used NiCads in any of my equipment.

    So, my question: Do NiCads discharge of their own volition? If so, how quickly? Why do I ask? As soon as I picked up the aforementioned drive, I charged up the batteries, bolted on the drive, and went out shooting the same evening. After shooting a couple of rolls, I set the camera aside for a spell (as I mentioned in another post, I rotate through my various bodies over the course of the year). For most of the past several months (excepting the Highland Games in Victoria and the Calgary Stampede), I have spent the bulk of my time shooting black and white (PanF Plus, of course) landscape work with the Blads. This weekend past, I went to grab the F2AS to shoot the Anomie Festival at SFU; to my surprise, the batteries were near death! Is this typical, or is it rebuild time?
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Typical
     
  3. ath

    ath Member

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    NiCds are more or less empty after 3 to 6 months. NiMHs even faster with the exception of the RTU (Ready to use) types. Even the cheap supermarket brand I checked had 86% capacity left after 3 months.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Yea, NiMH are the way to go these days.

    NiCads are extremely fidgety.
    I hate em.
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    They also develop a 'memory' if they recharged before they are completely discharged. I made myself a small device out of a damaged Nikon F90 battery holder where I could fit 4 partially discharged Ni-Cads and they were connected by soldered wires to a 6V bulb and allowed to discharge naturally.

    After several full charges and full discharges the full capacity was attained and they didn't discharge so quickly
     
  6. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    NiCads love to be worked and slowly devour themselves if left charged and stored. If not in use discharge to 1 volt per cell and put them in the refrigerator. NASA runs theirs down to Zero and puts a short across them then stores them cold. Freeze no, cold better.
     
  7. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Also, if you put two more NiCd batteries in series which are not at the same charge level, the higher voltage battery will discharge into the lower voltage one. Then, as time goes on, both batteries might end up going flat.

    My solution has been to keep batteries in groups and to always keep those groups together. Charge and discharge/use the groups together. Having two or three groups of batteries also helps them to last longer. While one is charging, one is being used and the other one is "resting" in reserve.
     
  8. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    The most important thing is the first 3 charge cycles, that sets the tone for the battery's memory, you charge fully, discharge to 3% roughly, then charge fully, then discharge again, then charge fully a 3rd time and it will last a long time, the first two charges won't last as long as the 3rd will


    Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    The results of over-charging are commonly perceived as "memory effect". Cheap chargers can seriously cook NiCads (they should not get hot), causing a major loss of capacity.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Nicad batteries, in my own experiences, are very unpredictable. It may be holding decent charges for weeks and months, and die very quickly in a way it discharges very fast one day. Left unused and discharged, it can refuse to accept charge. Over charge it once and it'll die. Discharge it too far few times and it'll die. I'm not sure about memory effect as commonly stated. There are many many Internet references but it's not clear to me they are referring to true memory effect or just a plain degradation.

    I agree fully with Ian. Cheap charger does not shut off.... and end up over-charging.

    With better technologies around, I would not use Nicads.
     
  11. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    NiCad's are very finicky. The only thing they are good for is very high discharge current (similar to the cold cranking amps rating in car battery). Other than that they don't have nearly as much capacity as NiMH, high self discharge rate, memory and usually goes bad in a few years the most. So in your case if you want to run your MD at high speed then rebuild the batteries with new NiMH cells. Otherwise use AA alkalines which are much more reliable but the MD-2 won't run at top speed with AA and does require the MN-2 to run at top speed.
     
  12. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Don't forget that a NiCD battery has a sharp "knee" in its characteristic discharge curve as compared to other types of batteries. Under normal conditions, they will go for as much as 70% of their useful per-charge life span then suddenly loose power. Other types of batteries gradually lose power over the length of their discharge curve. Further, that "knee" gets even sharper as the battery ages.

    An old, worn out or overcharged NiCd batter can literally work well for a few minutes when freshly charged then suddenly die off in a matter of seconds.
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Thank goodness for rechargeable lithiums. I won't buy anything now that uses nicads.
     
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  15. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Lithiums have their own issues/ risks as well. They're not without trouble - but certainly less than NiCd.
     
  16. StoneNYC

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    I honestly didn't think they still sold NiCd's anymore, thought everything was NiMH or Lion based... hmmm someone's been shopping at the dollar store...

    Go get some Energizer or Duracell NiMH's I use those for my flash for weddings and they take a lot of heat and last me about a year or two, and their chargers actually tell you when the battery is dead and you throw it out..
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Some cameras may place a slight load on the battery, even when switched off. For cameras that may sit idle for long periods, I take the batteries out. This may cause the camera to revert to default settings.
     
  18. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Stone,

    The NiCads in question are the (Nikon) MN-1s that came with the MD2/MB1/MH-1 set that I stumbled upon back in April. This was the set I mentioned in my WTB posting at that time. Having apprehensions about their ancestry, with no prior experience with NiCads, and lacking the original MS-1 set, I immediately began looking for a pair (I have since found and purchased a set and am now looking for a second pair for another MD2/MB1 drive for an F2A body).
     
  19. StoneNYC

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    OH, yes the old NiCad's that were camera specific are rough stuff... I have a Canon 1V with the battery grip, and I had 2 batteries and one wouldn't hold a charge, and the other worked well until it exploded on me leaking acid everywhere... after that I just decided to go without the grip, or insert the special AA adapter cartridge that it came with. That's more useful anyway, I can use my Energizer NiMH batteries in it and plus I can travel anywhere in the world and still have juice as AA's are everywhere ... I'm not familiar with Nikon but if you can get one of those AA cartridges for the Nikon I suggest doing that, if not, I'm sorry but at least for the time being you have a battery that works even if it needs to be recharged often. Just make sure you charge it to full, but then don't over charge it for very long (over an hour) once it's at full capacity, that will let you keep it going the longest, and don't discharge it fully, once it's down to 10% or so, make sure to recharge it fully, the old batteries are the opposite of new ones, whereas with LiIon batteries you're SUPPOSED to discharge them fully, but not NiCad batteries.
     
  20. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Stone,

    I will give the set another charge and use them until they are completely drained to determine their actual longevity under regular usage. If the set won't hold a charge for a "reasonable" load, I will either send them in for a rebuild (numbers on the pair indicate a manufacture of 04/78) or press the set, with charger, into service as a paper weight. :D
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Yes, I know. I wasn't going to get into that, for OP may not really want to know about all the technical details. Maybe he does....

    Nicad is so finicky. I never trusted them.
     
  22. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    The reason I mentioned that is because the OP said that the batteries suddenly seemed to die after sitting for a comparatively short time. I was saying that he was likely seeing that "knee" effect.

    The knee effect gets worse as the battery ages or if it has been overcharged or abused.

    Bottom line: Unless there is something wrong with the camera, which seems unlikely, he's probably observing normal behavior for NiCd batteries that are near the end of their useful life.
     
  23. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    In my post I was referring to used equipment. Nicads are no longer made because of the toxicity of cadmium.

    Rechargeable lithium batteries are safe in the sizes that consumers use, AA size or less. There may be a problem for larger batteries or assemblies of many batteries if heat dissipation is not properly handled. Some laptops have caught fire.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2013
  24. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    78!!!

    As in 1978???

    If you have rechargeable batteries that even work at all from 1978 that's a miracle...


    Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Get Sanyo Eneloop NiMH batteries. They have an extremely long life when charged and they're worth every penny paid for them. They're the only type of batteries I absolutely trust to still hold a charge when I've left them unused for any length of time. I can't remember where I bought mine originally, but Costco also carries them.
     
  26. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Unless the cells have been damaged by overcharge, why wouldn't he? No moving parts here.