Thomas Lester Photography 9:55pm, 10 January 2009
Hi all -

I haven't used AA style rechargeable batteries in probably 15+ years and they used to be horrible. Is this still the case? or have they improved?

Does anyone use them in their strobes? If so, do you recommend a brand?

Thanks,
Thomas
jvalenc 9 years ago
eneloops, yes.
mbengstonphoto 9 years ago
I use Kodak Rechargeable AAs in my strobes. They work fine enough.
duckgrabber 9 years ago
Has to be at least 30 threads on this subject. While brands of batteries seem about the same, there are two types. Regular NiMH and Low Discharge. Low discharge will stay charged longer (i.e. up to a year if not used) and regular have more power. I use Kodak rechargeables, available from Walmart photo dept. in packs of 4 for $8.97. They work great. I also use a MaHa 8-slot recharger, slow charge. The batteries are reliable down to at least 28 below zero and have been working so far for 16 months for me. I use lithium AA batteries in my CyberSync triggers since they are rated to work down to 40 below, a temperature I've been out in several times.


Kent in SD
fish_ink 9 years ago
I use them all of the time in my strobes and pw's. I use the energizer green colored ones they charge fast and last a long time.
I use duracell rechargeables, with a 15 minute charger. the best thing ever!!!!. so handy when shooting a wedding too
¶åįŊ [deleted] 9 years ago
Aparently Uniross 2700 are quite tasty, and they even have a 20 minute charger ....
LenzCap_AL Posted 9 years ago. Edited by LenzCap_AL (member) 9 years ago
Two great batteries: Powerex (2700 Mah) & Eneloops.

I use eneloops for things I don't use often but want to have a long lasting charge. These are great batteries for that! I use them for my shaver, Telephones and things like that.

I use Powerex for my flashes where I need a lot of power that can withstand continuous surges with quick recycle power. Although these wont hold a charge over idled time like Eneloops; they are much more powerful and offer longer continued use if they have a good charge in them before use.

But the real secret is to make sure you have a good "Smart" charger like Maha or something.

Michael
sdirkx 9 years ago
offcourse. Any brand with a high capacity is fine. I like the new low discharge (Eneloop-type) very much.
David Sr. - 9 years ago
Deja vu
Try not to use the fast chargers all of the time though. Get a 1-3hr charger as they're more friendly to the batteries without being annoyingly slow. Use the very fast chargers only when you are urgently needing a set or in rapid turn around situations.
Thanks all. Sorry if that was a repost. I watch this forum regularly and I didn't notice it before.

-Tom
Brandon D. 9 years ago
The search returned nothing.

:-)
benlovejoyuk 9 years ago
Replaced absolutely all my AA and AAA batteries with Eneloops. Despite a lower nominal power rating, they deliver as many flashes as 2700maH conventional rechargeables, and are ready to go anytime.
John Leonard 9 years ago
Eneloops, and I'll never go back now. 2 sets fro all my strobes.
ajgyomber 9 years ago
I am currently trying the Rayovac Hybrids. They are supposed to be just like the Eneloops and seem readily available.

www.rayovac.com/recharge/hybrid_products.shtml
kirkinaustin [deleted] 9 years ago
All the NiMh batts are highly superior to anything we had fifteen years ago. Even the Alkalines are better. Just discovered the Eneloops at Costco and am in heaven....
I use that highest mAh AA energizer rechargeables I can find in my Nikon SB-600's
Ed_Z 9 years ago
I've been quite happy with eneloops so far. I'm just looking for a bigger charger that can do 8 or even 12 at a time...
thebringer PRO 9 years ago
I go to the dollar store and buy the massive strips of AA batteries for my SB600. I get about 150 - 200 flashes per set of 4, and I get 100 batteries for about 7 bucks.

Not the most environmentally conscious way of doing things, but when you're in a mad rush, it is convenient.
Entropy512 Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Entropy512 (member) 9 years ago
15+ years?

That would indicate your experience with rechargeable AAs is likely limited to:
1) NiCds. They suck (low capacity) and are bad for the environment since cadmium is toxic
2) Dumb chargers. Intelligent charge termination was very rare 15+ years ago. This tended to result in premature cell failure.

For quite a few years, it has been easy to get NiMH batteries (much higher capacity than NiCd, and superior to alkalines in any high-current application such as a photo flash unit) along with an intelligent charger. In fact, an intelligent charger is pretty much a prerequisite for NiMH, as they are a bit more finicky than NiCd. Nowadays premium chargers are not only intelligent, but have independent charge circuitry for each cell. (Such as the MaHa MH-C9000 or LaCrosse BC-900)

A more recent development are ultra low self discharge (ULSD) NiMHs, which are usually marketed as "hybrid" or "pre-charged". They tend to have lower capacity than normal NiMHs (still much higher than NiCds) but keep their charge for a very long time as opposed to losing 2-5% per week. They can be charged in normal NiMH chargers such as the MaHa and LaCrosse units I mentioned above.

I'm surprised that thebringer gets as many flashes per set of battery as he does from dollar store AAs - they tend to be REALLY chepo chemistries, significantly worse than normal alkalines. Alkalines are really bad for photo flash units due to their high internal resistence - Despite having a higher rated capacity than typical NiMHs, their usable capacity is far less because in high-current applications like a photo flash unit, half the energy in the battery is used to heat the battery.
basegrinder 9 years ago
4 slot smart (shuts off) Kodak battery charger from Salvation Army: 50 cents
Mr. Speedlight 9 years ago
I'm currently using Sanyo eneloop NiMH batteries and I'm quite pleased.
Mr. Speedlight 9 years ago
"I haven't used AA style rechargeable batteries in probably 15+ years and they used to be horrible." --Thomas Lester

The problem could be dumb chargers and or leaving the batteries on a trickle charge to long. It forms some kind of crystals that can cause rapid discharge. Some rapid chargers can cook batteries and shorten their life.

I strongly recommend checking out this link fully...

www.batteryuniversity.com

Best,

Dave Hartman
Raoul Ries 9 years ago
Yes they are still horrible. Yes they have improved.
Roger Blackwell 9 years ago
I use GP NiMHs with the matched rechargers. The most convenient ones for slow charging for me are the 2100s.
WB - CMH 9 years ago
Strobist.com has an entry....

strobist.blogspot.com/search?q=eneloop
Luminon Photography PRO 9 years ago
If you use your flashes a LOT and so are recharging regularly (I'm talking shooting several times a week) then the higher capacity, "regular" NiMh are the way to go. Maha Powerrex and Lenmar Nomem are great. Look for the Lenmars in bulk qty for the best price.

thomasdistributing.com/shop/-nimh-rechargeable--aa-nimh-b...

Best price I found...
www.shopping.com/xPO-Lenmar-LENMAR-NOMEM-PRO-AA-20-PACK-N...

If you shoot on weekends only the low discharge are the way to go. Kodak, Sanyo Enloops, Maha Imedion are all great.

Get a really quality charger too. I best one I have is the Maha MH-C401FS. This is an awesome charger and treats the batteries very gently.
thomasdistributing.com/shop/-maha-mhc401fsdc-battery-char...

If you want mass production the Maha MH-C800S. They make a "D" version but it charges fatser and is therefore a bit harder on the cells.

thomasdistributing.com/shop/chargers-by-battery-size--aaa...

And as you can see I've used Thomas Distributing quite a bit and they've been fair to me. Plus their little battery holders they throw in for free are kinda nice.
Mr. Speedlight Posted 9 years ago. Edited by Mr. Speedlight (member) 9 years ago
WB - CMH's link and the...

BC-900
Alpha Power Battery Charger
$79.95


...offers something that would be very useful to me (were I not to broke to buy one). That charger will test and rate the actual mAh(s) or Ah(s) stored so one's batteries can be sorted into matched sets. Having one weak battery mixed into a set of strong ones can damage and destroy the weak battery. I wish the price wasn't so high.
Poop Fish 9 years ago
Mr. Speedlight 9 years ago
Cream,

I just realized I was looking at the manufacture's site. A quick Google search turned up a couple of places selling the BC-900 for $39.95 (USD).

Best,

Dave Hartman
fintasticphotography 9 years ago
NiMH batteries work great in my Nikon 600 and 800 flashes. A good charger with cell charging data is recommended.

One thing to note is that these batteries lose their charge even if they are sitting not being used. Make sure to charge them up before doing your work..
I've been using Delkin 2700 mAh rechargable Ni-MH and they work pretty nice. I like them cuz you buy 4 and you get a charger with them
jeffegg2 PRO 9 years ago
I like the the Hybrid type NiMH best, you can recharge them a lot and they hold their charge longer. Enloop is the most popular of these, but Duracell and Rayovac both have versions now.
Poop Fish 9 years ago
When I bought my BC-900 from amazon a month ago it was 35$.
WDOphoto.com PRO 9 years ago
In an effort to be green I only use rechargeable batteries. I also walk to all of my shoots (ok so that last part is a lie).
jarvisphotography 9 years ago
A good charger is key to getting performance from rechargeable batteries.
Look for one that can monitor the individual cells, slow charge and condition cycle.
NiMh & Nicad need to be run down occasionally to recondition them.
If left too long in a discharged state they can go bad.
Storing them in the fridge is OK.

Lithium don't like to be run all the way down but they like to be stored at 40% charge I hear.
wybnormal PRO 9 years ago
The cross charger is great but too limited with only four cells at a time. I have the D version of the Maha 8 cell charger arriving any day now. The energizer rechargeable have been good to me. Radio Shacks have worked well. I bought some very cheap Tenergy cells and while they work, out of 24, there were a couple of duds. Also, they seem to be just a bit too short compared to a normal AA. I have them not make contact where a normal AA does. I got some "freebie" from one of the "bait and switch" photo stores and, yep, they were junk. The Panasonics I got from Costco did not hold up under the abuse of fast charging.
cfimages 9 years ago
Another satisfied user of Eneloops here.
Making Frames 9 years ago
I use Vapex 2900 mAh batteries and they are fantastic. They last forever and are a lot cheaper than Eneloops. I've left them in my strobes for weeks at a time and they still hold their charge. I bought them on a whim from ebay and I'm going to buy some more.
tvnewsbadge 5 years ago
Old thread but is the info still current? Any suggestions as to MAH? I see they have a brick of 20 1500 eneloops but they are 2000 MAH.

Good price and enough power?
petepixxx Posted 5 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 5 years ago
Almost 4 years! Eneloops got a 50% increase recharge amount, 1,000 to 1,500. No one yet claims to have better internal chemistry to speed recycle time.

Nikon now puts Eneloop number of shot specs in their manuals. Slightly lower than the high mAh batts as expected.

Imedion came out got a bit more mAh, no complaints heard. Some like them, and they now have 9V too.

For those that don't mind high maintenance the MAHA 2700 are still tops.

Costco & Amazon have been price cutting ThomasDist to save us a couple of bucks.
www.thomasdistributing.com/

MAHA chargers still tops. LaCrosse had a few issues, BC-700 QC, and re-designed the internals of their top model 900-909 (BC1000 now) so it wouldn't ever overheat (shuts down @ 127 degrees). Controls on LaCrosse still easier to use.
Oscar Martin LP 5 years ago
Eneloop, no doubt.
;-)
gryphon1911 [A.Live] 5 years ago
I used to use Lenmar 2300mah AA, but have switched a few months ago to Powerex 2700mah with a smart charger. Not looking back!
vfk 5 years ago
I've been using Eneloops for several years now.... if there is a concern, plug in the SD-8a and fill it with Eneloops. Recycle times are perfect on the SB800/900.
petepixxx Posted 5 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 5 years ago
Oops, you missed a number. ;-) MAHA 2700 (the old old PowerEX 2700 batts) QSD, Quick-Self-Discharge version.

I've got a few Imedions also. They work fine also. I just like all my flash batts the same, and even after several years the Eneloops still test full.

edit: It has been pointed out that QSD is a bit harsh to describe the old *normal* self-discharge rate. But...
BobPetUK PRO 5 years ago
Duracell "Staycharged" batteries. Love 'em
jjflopshot 5 years ago
Can anyone tell me if there would be an issue or problem using the charger from Duracell to charge the Eneloop batteries? They are both nimh type .
heavyd2010 5 years ago
I use eneloops in all of my speedlights.
Mr. Speedlight 5 years ago
Can anyone tell me if there would be an issue or problem using the charger from Duracell to charge the Eneloop batteries?

There could be. I had trouble with an older MAHA-C204F charger. It's been so long I'm not sure but I think the eneloops got hot quite quickly under charge. I wanted to use the older MAHA charger for its automated discharge option. I have recycled one eneloop of my first set and have one slightly under performing one. I think those are the ones partly charged in the MAHA-C204F.

I would not mess around. I'd get a MAHA MH-C9000 or two and then if you charge a lot of batteries MAHA MH-C801D. To charge your eneloop batteries with a a MH-C9000 you simply press them in one at a time and walk off. If you want a soft charge with the MH-C801D you hold one button while pressing in the first battery. All the rest will receive a soft charge. For a fast charge just press the batteries in one at a time.

I've been recycling Engergizer 2500, 2100 and 1850 mAh batteries regularly. I've been charging them in the MH-C9000. They've had a long life as some are eight or nine years old. They are just worn out.

The MH-C9000 has features the other chargers do not. I think it's still the best charger but naturally I don't know all that's on the market.

Dave Hartman

Postscript: some say the MH-C9000 has a cumbersome interface. I have no problems save it take more key presses to charge triple A batteries. It does things others don't and those features require extra key presses.


---

Quick-Self-Discharge? I don't think that's a proper term to use for a battery in good heath. The term "Rapid Self-discharge" is a very similar term to describe a damaged battery, damage for which this is no repair.
shillingtonphotography Posted 5 years ago. Edited by shillingtonphotography (member) 5 years ago
I use energizers. I think they're 2800 maH. really fast recycle time when they're full, When they're dead they're dead, and you can hear the capacitor charging and never gets full. They last a good bit though. Usually have to change batts once on a flash intensive shoot over an hour or so but that's rare. I'll have to check out eneloops just cause. I just got a cheap energizer charger hat fits 4 ad shuts off automatically.
petepixxx Posted 5 years ago. Edited by petepixxx (member) 5 years ago
It's nice to see how different folks use ( and abuse) their batteries. I have a tendency to not run them to empty. And if I have a break I'll change them when over half used (guesstimate, of course). Don't know if it makes a difference long term.
TheMalni Photography 5 years ago
I'm using Panasonic Rechargeable 2100mAh Ni-MH and they are OK for my needs :)
tornado.rock 5 years ago
I am using Apeture Trigmaster 2.4 receivers that deplete the ordinary 1.5 AAA alkaline batteries pretty quickly. If the voltage drops bellow 1.2 the receivers stop to work properly. If iGo AAA Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries are more appropriate for my needs?
petepixxx 5 years ago
~tornado.rock: The alkalines are basically good for *occasional* use items. But may work for you if you recharge after each use.

The alkaline rechargables still maintain their old weaknesses - can't deep discharge and keep power levels.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_alkaline_battery
***
If they are discharged by less than 25%, they can be recharged for hundreds of cycles to about 1.42 V. If they are discharged by less than 50%, they can be almost fully recharged for a few dozen cycles, to about 1.32 V. After a deep discharge, they can be brought to their original high-capacity charge only after a few charge-discharge cycles. ***
Roger Blackwell 5 years ago
With 8 battery flashguns and dozens of gadgets using batteries I wonder why i wouldn't use rechargeable batteries :)
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