DON'T MISS: Italian conceptual portrait photographer Sara Lando coming to US for two weekends of workshops in August.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NiZn Batteries: Long-Term Update

Remember those nickel-zinc batteries-on-steroids that came out a few months ago? Long-term usage reports are starting to come in.

The short version: When you send your SB-800 in to get its fried PC board(s) replaced, you might not wanna mention your choice of battery.

Longer version, inside.
__________


Georgia-based photographer Russ MacDonald checked in via the comments section on the original post (which include a couple videos) on his experiences with the hyper-batts.

By the way, Russ, we won't tell Nikon about the NiZn's you have been feeding your SB-800. And no worries -- the internet is great at keeping secrets.

Sayeth Russ:

"Back in March, I had an SB-800 die on me right after starting to use NiZn batteries.

I sent it off to Nikon and they repaired it. I asked them what failed, but they couldn't tell me. They just replaced all the PC boards and that fixed it. After that, I continued to use NiZn batteries in all six of my speedlights for about six more months without any additional failures.

However, I decided to return to regular NiMH batteries anyway, because of one thing: The initial recycle rate with NiZn batteries is fantastic, but after about 50 to 75 shots, the recycle rate slows drastically to where NiMH is faster. This happens because the capacity of the NiZn batteries is so low. I think it is around 1200 mAHr, but it is not spec'd. The batteries deplete much faster than NiMH, and after about 200 shots the recycle rate has gotten so slow you have to replace the batteries.

With regular NiMH I get over 400 shots before they start to become too slow to deal with. The other thing I found out about NiZn is that they self-discharge very rapidly. I think faster than regular NiMH. In summary, I have switched back to regular NiMH (LSD NiMH in flashes I don't use often), for better all-around performance for wedding photography."


So, there you go.

In a couple of key ways, perhaps NiZn batteries are not the end-all. I had so far resisted the siren call of all-internal 1-second recycles, and I think I'll not be changing from my slow-drain NiMH batteries anytime soon.

Oh, and it you are into Nikon CLS, Russ has an amazingly detailed blog series about the internal guts and workings of Nikon's very capable flash cortrol system, here.


__________

Brand new to Strobist, or lighting? Start here.
Or, jump right into our free Lighting 101 course.
Connect: Discussion Threads | Reader Photos | Twitter

44 Comments:

Blogger Brett Maxwell said...

Well, that hasn't been my experience, and I'll continue to risk board and bulb to have my merry recycle times.

I used NiZn batts in 3 SB-800s for 24 weddings in the past year, plus various other shoots. They've been great. I have had a few individual batteries die, but I'm willing to replace a few a year for the benefits that come with.

I'd also have to disagree with his mAH assesment. I find them to be pretty comparable to the 2000 mAH Eneloops.

January 13, 2011 11:20 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

One word:
Eneloops

January 13, 2011 11:32 AM  
OpenID rharrison said...

I have noticed a tendency towards self discharging as well. Frequently I'll pull out unused batteries since the last charge only to find them dead.

January 13, 2011 12:06 PM  
OpenID kaeframes said...

Yeah, right. Sanyo Eneloops. Cheap, and work great.

January 13, 2011 12:49 PM  
Blogger Tyler Rogers said...

I've had pretty good luck with them, I did have one cell die on me (out of 12) but flash performance has been good. I typically run manual flash around half or less, and get 200-300 shots no problem.
But I do have the same issue as the article mentions, once they get down, they completely nosedive and recycle times take forever. But it usually takes quite a while to get there.

I treat these as I do any other piece of equipment - each has it's place and perfect application. For a ceremony or other short-duration event where I need fast recycle speed these rock.

If i'm spending an afternoon in the studio where recycle times don't matter as much I'll run a set of 2800mah Ni-Mh and they'll last all day.

January 13, 2011 12:58 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

I did fry an SB900, had to pay for the repair. I found the batteries have a high failure rate, one out of a bunch will stop working, causing the flash unit to flash the battery sign. So I have stopped using them.

January 13, 2011 1:10 PM  
Blogger Mrkvavle said...

I was using NiZn in an sb600 and it's now fried and it was only set to 1/2 power. Because they are the only batteries I have I'm stuck using them for now.

January 13, 2011 1:43 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

I haven't made the switch to NiZn's either. I always figured there would be a price to pay for such high performance. While I have backups, having to take a flash unit out of service, let alone replacing it, is not a position I can easily afford right now. Eneloops have been very reliable, and I'll be sticking with them for the foreseeable future.

January 13, 2011 2:18 PM  
Blogger nathan said...

Just to confirm the same. The batteries are great for fast pop-pop, but they freak out my Nikon SB80dx's, and so I stopped using them in my Nikon flashes. My Canon 430EXII loves them like apple pie and eats them all day long. I haven't tried them in my 580EXII's because I just sold another organ to buy the Canon battery packs and I'm mostly happy with that for now. I think I'll give them a try soon though.

Out of 24 batteries bought, two have gone south after about three uses. The remainder don't see a whole lot of action right now. (Ranger Quadra's changed everything for me.)

The recycle is AWESOME, and the life is about the same as standard AA's. So if I can use them, I do. Recycle time is just about single most important thing when you are on location with kids. Pop pop pop!

I've decided that batteries are a lot cheaper than missed shots. So I just change batteries a LOT. It's just another CODB for me.

Maybe these will get better. For now, they represent a small but significant risk to the buyer.

January 13, 2011 2:45 PM  
Blogger JeffScottShaw said...

Just wondering where you readers buy your Ni-Mh's and would something like the Pearstone 2600mAh serve me well (event/wedding photography) or is there another option that would be better? I'm looking to finally upgrade to a set up rechargeables and would love some feedback.

January 13, 2011 3:27 PM  
Blogger Will B. said...

Has no one tested the mAh to verify better than guesstimates? I've been looking at NiZns but the maximum charge is a big deal breaker for me.

I could test them if someone wanted to mail me some batteries ;)

January 13, 2011 4:39 PM  
Blogger S2truck said...

I have been using NiZn's on my sigma 530 dg super for months now (since the day after the first post), and they have been working like a charm. Sure I have to moderate my happy-go-snapping tendencies, but the recycle times are fantastic. My only real complaint is that if they are cold (like near freezing temp) even with a full charge, they won't power my flash even once. If I warm them up in my pocket then manage to snap a few times to get them warm... they will work fine for hours.

January 13, 2011 8:51 PM  
Blogger S2truck said...

I love my NiZn's. I have been using them since the first strobist post on them, in my Sigma 530 DG super.In fairness I am careful to not go snap-happy, but the recycle times are amazing.

In low temp (like near freezing) I do have problems with them. Even with a full charge if I let them get cold in my trunk they wont power my flash even once. I have to warm them in my pocket and get a few flashes going to heat them up, then they work for hours.

January 13, 2011 8:54 PM  
Blogger Zeke said...

David, I'm sorry if I sent this twice..I had some issues signing up for a google account.

Anyway I am a strobist reader (and a proud owner of your DVDs). A photo of mine just showed up on AOL news

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/01/13/rush-limbaugh-straight-shooter-tucson-billboard-stirs-controve/.

The reporter was able to track me down after a co-worker of mine posted it on the web.

January 13, 2011 10:29 PM  
Blogger Puggle said...

How about adding a battery pack that can hold eight NiMH batteries, plus the four that are already in the flash unit?

Won't that speed up recycle times and give you many more flashes?

January 13, 2011 11:45 PM  
Blogger cbrunk said...

I used them for part of my wedding season this year, and there was good and bad. The recycle time was fantastic, but I've had several batteries go bad during about 6 months of use. They did also discharge faster than my Powerex batteries, but I expected that to be the case going in. I never had any issues with my 580II's while using them.

The real issue and deal breaker for me were the chargers. I've had two out of my 4 break on me completely when the metal contact point where the battery connects pushed inside the charger itself and I had to take them apart and re-secure it. I've also had issues where the chargers would blink both the green and red lights simultaneously, and wouldn't charge the batteries. It wasn't in the documentation what that meant, and I couldn't find it online. Not sure if it was the charger or the batteries, but it happened far too often unless I got the magical combination of battery and charger.

Ultimately I didn't trust them, and the chargers are too unsophisticated for professional use IMO. They have benefits, but aren't ready for prime time. I switched to a Quantum Turbo3 and Eneloops, and haven't looked back.

January 14, 2011 12:00 AM  
Blogger Morgan Bellinger said...

I fried a 580EX II with NiZn, but the lady at the battery company was quite friendly and has promised me a reimbursement. I switched to Eneloops, and have been quite happy with the Pixel power pack - apparently it's better than the Canon branded one? Something about separate circuits, and it will still work even if one of your eight batteries goes bad? I compared it to the one that FlashZebra sells, and it's a little bit quieter, comparable in cost and build, and just a hair faster.

NiZn's are wonderful for power toothbrushes! I stuck two of them in my little Crest Spinbrush, and it's so powerful that now I only have to brush three times a month.

January 14, 2011 12:20 AM  
Blogger Kiron Kid said...

My Eneloops have been performing flawlessly. But, in extreme cold, nothing beats lithiums!

January 14, 2011 12:29 AM  
Blogger magi9112 said...

I have used the NiZn batteries since January of 2010 as a professional photographer with questionable results. When the batteries were brand new, they recycled quickly but after 3 to 6 months they lose their recycle time and the individual cells won't charge (just blinks red on charger). I returned the dead cells to them and they sent me a new charger and 3 sets of the batteries to replace the ones I returned to them. They have great customer service via phone and email to help you with any questions. I will now try Eneloops to see if they last longer. What are Eneloops longterm life that you have experienced? How often do you need to replace your Eneloops?

January 14, 2011 12:31 AM  
Blogger Douglas Urner said...

Speaking only from the point of view of an SB-800 (and never having used NiZn cells), I don't see why NiZn cells would be any more of a stressor to the system than using the external battery wart. The total voltage is about the same. If the NiZn cells charge faster than the 5-cell configuration (can't remember how fast that charges, for me 5-cells are too much of a hassle relative to the benefit), then methinks that the internal resistance of NiZn cells must be lower than NiMH.

Perhaps somebody with better electronic analysis skills than mine can explain whether or not a lower internal resistance would present a problem, but it doesn't seem to me that voltage alone would be an issue (unless you tack on the wart or use an MD-8a <evil grin>), at least not for the SB-800.

January 14, 2011 12:41 AM  
Blogger Knut said...

Anyone contemplating using NiZn cells in their Speedlights or Speedlites may want to check out Syl Arenas new Speedliters Handbook for an in depth write up on batteries. Specifically you'll want to read page 220 for half a page of experiences with NiZn.

January 14, 2011 2:21 AM  
Blogger angbor3d said...

I couldn't repeat it often enough. Eneloop Fast recycletimes (not that fast but better as normal batteries) and without the downsides of the NiZn. The recycletimes wont brake down until the last pop and then they're empty. One got 1900mAHr. And no powerloss wile they laying around. Totally worth a try.

January 14, 2011 2:39 AM  
Blogger xxberg said...

I'm really disappointed by my NiZN batteries.

I live in France and sourcing NiZN was a real pain. I finally bought 16 batteries and a super fast charger.

Quickly I realised that some batteries were not charging correctly - soon my 16 batteries became 15, 14 and then 13. It was really annoying in the middle of a wedding changing batteries only to find that a "fresh" set was not working. The reliability was just not great in the middle of the wedding season I moved back to NiMH.

When contacting Powergenix I did get a quick and friendly response but I did not want to deal with the hassle of sending back a few batteries from France to the USA.

AFAIK the lead content in these batteries make these "illegal" in France?

Blaise

January 14, 2011 4:38 AM  
Blogger Per said...

I've been using NiZn in my sigma flashes since the first strobist post. No problems so far. NiZn should never be reverse-charged, which could happen if you discharge the series-connected cells completelty. I typically switch batteries after about 200-300 half-power pops to prevent this.

January 14, 2011 4:56 AM  
Blogger brendo_91 said...

Has anyone tried using half half Nizn and Nimh? high voltage nizn, and high capacity nimh... to sort of average out. that way total voltage isn't as high, but it'd still allow faster recycles than nimh... but then with a bit more longevity as the nimhs won't die so quick?

January 14, 2011 10:34 AM  
Blogger Martlet said...

There are 2 types of NiMH:

Low Self-Discharge Nickel Metal Hydride, aka "pre-charged", ex: Sanyo "Eneloop" brand. These hold around 2000mAh (milliamp hours), and are rated to hold 80% of that a year after charging when stored.

Nickel Metal Hydride, which are not sold "pre-charged" or otherwise labeled as low self-discharge. These typically have higher power storage (2700-3200mAh), but they need charged very close to their use time to retain that power... they will drain themselves just sitting in a drawer.



Compare batteries on 3 things:
- Voltage (V)
- Capacity in millAmp hours (mAh) or milliWatt hours (mAh = mWh / V)
- Self Discharge (self life between recharging)

Voltage typically gives an idea of how fast the battery will recharge the flash between shots, but can depend on internal resistance.

Capacity will give you and idea of how many shots before you need to change batteries ( *Not minutes! )

Self Discharge will give you an idea of hassle and versatility**.



* If you want to know how much time you'll get, it all depends how many shots you take over time. Higher capacity doesn't necessarily mean more hours if you're rapid firing with high voltage batteries.

** High self discharge don't last long when stored or in low power devices like tv remotes, wireless keyboards, etc. They are not versatile, and they are a hassle because you have to know you'll need them and plan to charge them right before you use them, or store them in a charger (bad for them).


Rechargables:
NiHM (regular) have 1.25V x ~3000mAh = ~3750 mWh and self discharge fast (20% first 24 hrs, then 15%/month).
LSD NiMH (usually labeled as "pre-charged") have 1.25V x ~2000mAh = 2500 mWh and self discharge slow (15%/yr).
NiZn have 1.65V x ~1500mAh = 2475mWh and self discharge fairly quickly (50%/yr).

Non-rechargables:
Alkaline have 1.5V * ~2800mAh = 4200 mWh, minimal self discharge, but higher internal resistance.
Lithium-Ion have 1.5V * ~3000mAh = 4500 mWh, minimal self discharge, low internal resistance.


For fastest times between recycles, NiZn and Li-Ion are best (assuming the device is rated for the voltages used... NiZn is higher voltage than the standard 1.5V alkaline, so may not be a alkaline substitute), then NiMH (either) and finally Alkaline.

For least hassle and versatility, Li-Ion, Alkaline, and LSD NiMH are best, NiZn is ok for a short time, and NiMH are worst.

For the most shots per set of batteries, Li-Ion and (freshly charged) NiMH are best, then LSD NiMH closely followed by NiZn.


Your best best is to choose a rechargeable battery based on your normal needs, and carry a backup set of low self discharge batteries for your worst case needs.

- A wedding photographer may typically use NiMH or NiZn and carry Li-Ion or Alkaline backups.
- A home photographer may typically use LSD NiMH and carry Li-Ion backups for rapid shooting needs.

January 14, 2011 12:53 PM  
Blogger Martlet said...

There are 2 types of NiMH:

Low Self-Discharge Nickel Metal Hydride, aka "pre-charged", ex: Sanyo "Eneloop" brand. These hold around 2000mAh (milliamp hours), and are rated to hold 80% of that a year after charging when stored.

Nickel Metal Hydride, which are not sold "pre-charged" or otherwise labeled as low self-discharge. These typically have higher power storage (2700-3200mAh), but they need charged very close to their use time to retain that power... they will drain themselves just sitting in a drawer.



Compare batteries on 3 things:
- Voltage (V)
- Capacity in millAmp hours (mAh) or milliWatt hours (mAh = mWh / V)
- Self Discharge (self life between recharging)

Voltage typically gives an idea of how fast the battery will recharge the flash between shots, but can depend on internal resistance.

Capacity will give you and idea of how many shots before you need to change batteries ( *Not minutes! )

Self Discharge will give you an idea of hassle and versatility**.



* If you want to know how much time you'll get, it all depends how many shots you take over time. Higher capacity doesn't necessarily mean more hours if you're rapid firing with high voltage batteries.

** High self discharge don't last long when stored or in low power devices like tv remotes, wireless keyboards, etc. They are not versatile, and they are a hassle because you have to know you'll need them and plan to charge them right before you use them, or store them in a charger (bad for them).


Rechargables:
NiHM (regular) have 1.25V x ~3000mAh = ~3750 mWh and self discharge fast (20% first 24 hrs, then 15%/month).
LSD NiMH (usually labeled as "pre-charged") have 1.25V x ~2000mAh = 2500 mWh and self discharge slow (15%/yr).
NiZn have 1.65V x ~1500mAh = 2475mWh and self discharge fairly quickly (50%/yr).

Non-rechargables:
Alkaline have 1.5V * ~2800mAh = 4200 mWh, minimal self discharge, but higher internal resistance.
Lithium-Ion have 1.5V * ~3000mAh = 4500 mWh, minimal self discharge, low internal resistance.


For fastest times between recycles, NiZn and Li-Ion are best (assuming the device is rated for the voltages used... NiZn is higher voltage than the standard 1.5V alkaline, so may not be a alkaline substitute), then NiMH (either) and finally Alkaline.

For least hassle and versatility, Li-Ion, Alkaline, and LSD NiMH are best, NiZn is ok for a short time, and NiMH are worst.

For the most shots per set of batteries, Li-Ion and (freshly charged) NiMH are best, then LSD NiMH closely followed by NiZn.


Your best best is to choose a rechargeable battery based on your normal needs, and carry a backup set of low self discharge batteries for your worst case needs.

- A wedding photographer may typically use NiMH or NiZn and carry Li-Ion or Alkaline backups.
- A home photographer may typically use LSD NiMH and carry Li-Ion backups for rapid shooting needs.

January 14, 2011 12:54 PM  
Blogger Martlet said...

TCompare batteries on 3 things:
- Voltage (V)
- Capacity in millAmp hours (mAh) or milliWatt hours (mAh = mWh / V)
- Self Discharge (shelf life between recharging, fast is bad)

Voltage typically gives an idea of how fast the battery will recharge the flash between shots, but can depend on internal resistance.

Capacity will give you and idea of how many shots before you need to change batteries.

Self Discharge will give you an idea of hassle (recharging) and versatility (around the house use).


Rechargables:
NiHM (regular) have 1.25V x ~3000mAh = ~3750 mWh and self discharge fast (20% first 24 hrs, then 15%/month).
LSD NiMH (usually labeled as "pre-charged") have 1.25V x ~2000mAh = 2500 mWh and self discharge slow (15%/yr).
NiZn have 1.65V x ~1500mAh = 2475mWh and self discharge fairly quickly (50%/yr).

Non-rechargables:
Alkaline have 1.5V * ~2800mAh = 4200 mWh, minimal self discharge, but higher internal resistance.
Lithium-Ion have 1.5V * ~3000mAh = 4500 mWh, minimal self discharge, low internal resistance.


For fastest times between recycles, NiZn and Li-Ion are best (assuming the device is rated for the voltages used... NiZn is higher voltage than the standard 1.5V alkaline, so may not be a alkaline substitute), then NiMH (either) and finally Alkaline.

For least hassle and versatility, Li-Ion, Alkaline, and LSD NiMH are best, NiZn is ok for a short time, and NiMH are worst.

For the most shots per set of batteries, Li-Ion and (freshly charged) NiMH are best, then LSD NiMH closely followed by NiZn.


Your best best is to choose a rechargeable battery based on your normal needs, and carry a backup set of low self discharge batteries (LSD NiMH, or non-rechargable Li-Ion or Alkaline) for your worst case needs.

January 14, 2011 12:57 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Am I seriously the only one who uses Quantum QB1c's? Fast recycle, all day power and you can use them for years before they need the core replaced. Oh, and they work great at low temps. Yeah, up front cost is high, but I find that they are well worth their weight. Just my 2¢.

January 14, 2011 1:12 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

I use Hahnel Synergy NiMH batteries and the newest ones available are of the 2500MaH variety

And after just checking their website, I see there is a new 2800Mah one available.

Never had these things fail on me and have shot an entire wedding reception with flashes set to 1/8 power

And no, I don't work for them :)

January 14, 2011 4:17 PM  
Blogger Edward said...

btw, anyone that still happens to want the niZn batteries can find them at jameco electronics

January 14, 2011 9:54 PM  
Blogger Sleepy Professor said...

One thing I learned the hard way is to follow the instructions on the charger. In particular, load the batteries when the charger is unplugged and then plug it in. I destroyed one battery (it leaked) and damaged the charger by not doing that. Fortunately, the charger still works, so the harm was minimal.

I live the NiZns in my Sigma 500s. That said, I essentially never do 200 pops in a day...

January 15, 2011 12:18 AM  
Blogger fishtoprecords said...

In addition to the three criteria posted above: Voltage (V), Capacity (mAh), and Self Discharge, there is another critical specification for batteries that is often ignored.

Batteries have an internal impedance (think resistance) that varies depending on the discharge rate. Its caused by the physical layout of the internal parts, and how the electrons can move within the internals.

You will find that while a give battery has a rated capacity of 2000 mAh, you might be able to draw one mA for 2000 hours, but you will not be able to draw 2000 mA for one hour. And for flashes, you for sure will fail when you try to draw 20,000 mA for one tenth of an hour.

January 15, 2011 12:15 PM  
Blogger Alonzo Riley said...

I have definitely returned quickly to eneloops. They are the most reliable. I was very excited by the nizns but they wouldn't hold the charge long enough. I was having to find problems and replace dead flashes much more often than with the eneloops. They just created more uncertainty.

Thanks for putting this up so a discussion could happen.

January 16, 2011 12:45 AM  
Blogger Simon Fuller said...

I've found the powerful 2800mah Powerex and Sanyo batteries to be the most reliable for all day use.. I always keep eneloops for back up because i know they're good for holding a charge.

However, i think a reconditioning charger is essential for keeping your batteries in good health. They don't get much better than the Maha C800S. I recondition the batteries every 3 months after the usual fast/soft charging and it's like resetting the batts to new. Never had a failed Powerex battery out of six sets running in 580ex2s for over a year now.

January 16, 2011 1:05 AM  
Blogger Chris Rioux said...

I use them at every wedding in my two SB-900's, and have never had a problem. I need the fast recycle time. I have only had one battery die on me out of 16. Love them!

Recommendation for SB-800 shooters: DO NOT use the 5th battery compartment when using these batteries. NiMH are 1.2v, Alkaline are 1.5, but these NiZn are 1.6v so I consider 4 of these = to 5 NiMH. Just Say'n!

January 16, 2011 6:43 PM  
Blogger Chris Rioux said...

I use them at every wedding in my two SB-900's, and have never had a problem. I need the fast recycle time. I have only had one battery die on me out of 16. Love them!

Recommendation for SB-800 shooters: DO NOT use the 5th battery compartment when using these batteries. NiMH are 1.2v, Alkaline are 1.5, but these NiZn are 1.6v so I consider 4 of these = to 5 NiMH. Just Say'n!

January 16, 2011 6:45 PM  
Blogger M said...

Been using Imedion LSD NiMH 2100 mAh for quite a while & like the low self discharge aspect, even with the low mAh rating (though higher than the old Eneloops)

Imedion now has a 2400 mAh version (just got some), while Eneloops are now rated at 2500 mAh.

When used in a power pack, they recycle fast enough to fry the speedlight...

January 17, 2011 2:44 PM  
Blogger Thomas Worner said...

I started out buying a set four of these batteries with the proprietary charger. I then purchased eight more batteries. But within six months all but one battery was useless, wouldn't hold a charge. I’m done with them.

January 22, 2011 11:56 AM  
Blogger Dave's Rants said...

I work for a battery distributor and got a set of NiZn batteries to test. I used them in my Canon 430EX II. Great recycle time, but WOW do they got hot if you are shooting fast.

My 3 month-old flash died while doing some painting with light. The manufacturer of the batteries replaced my flash without question. These particular batteries were 1.7V and I don't think the Canon engineers anticipated batteries with a higher voltage than alkalines. Typically rechargables are around 1.2 volts.

I use Eneloops now.

February 13, 2011 9:31 AM  
Blogger David Hill said...

I am writing with the still-lingering bitter stench of fried circuitry in my nose...

I should have just Googles 'strobist NIZN', instead I took advise from an in-store 'expert', I had the NIMH batteries in my hand.. I was happy to buy what Mr Hobby had recommended... I should have checked!!!

The deceased was a (very new) LumoPro LP160, all was working fine until I turned it up to full power.. four pops I think then..

I was in the middle of a shoot
I had a key, a fill and no backup (I know I know!)

May 15, 2012 3:35 PM  
Blogger David Hill said...

Okay, I need advise..

I just had a an engineer from a large electronics store chain in the U.K. tell me that they (the electronics store) recommend NiZn batteries for use in Strobes...

I said they shouldn't be advising people to put them in their strobes..

What is the official line from Flash manufactures about Ni-Zn batteries?

June 08, 2012 9:32 AM  
Blogger David Hobby said...

Really?? What chain, and what did they say?

I'd ask them to put that recommendation in writing, for when your flash goes belly up,,,

June 08, 2012 12:51 PM  
Blogger D.W. said...

I use rechargeable batteries for today's high-tech flashlights (intended for emergencies) and places where I used to use alkalines (headphones). For my uses, the NiMH batteries I use are perfectly fine. Those things work well in flashlights, particularly the low self-discharge batteries that are showing up these days.

However, there are places where the voltage simply will not do. I have battery powered Christmas lights, of the LED variety. These are designed to use alkaline, and the lower voltage of NiMH will not work at all. So, I went out and bought some PowerGenix NiZn batteries specifically to run these Christmas lights. It was an indoor setup, at reasonable temperatures.

The batteries were very good, hot off the charger. When I installed them in the battery holder, the lights lit up nice and bright. After around 24 hours, they dimmed noticeably. No problem, as I had another set hot off the charger and I bought plenty of spares.

I did have a problem with batteries that went bad. I have a voltage checker, and after a few charges, many of the batteries would read less than 1 volt fresh off the charger. They required multiple attempts to get a full charge, and sometimes even that wasn't enough. Bear in mind that I am not referring to hundreds of batteries or many hundreds of charge cycles. With brand new batteries, this was happening after 15 or 20 charge cycles and using only 4 at a time. I did unplug the charger before installing the batteries as you are supposed to, and I recharged them well before they were totally dead.

I think the batteries need improvement in reliability. These batteries were new, were used in civil conditions on equipment that is not subject to excessive demand (the steady drain of LED Christmas lights), and the problems were starting after less than 6 weeks (alternating sets of batteries, this translates to 20 daily charge cycles). I only hope the technology improves to the point where I can get through the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, charging the batteries daily before they run dry, with no more than one bad battery per season.

November 23, 2012 9:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home