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07-07-2016, 07:16 PM   #1
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Using Eneloops

For how long can I leave Eneloop batteries unsed, before they drop juice?

I never had good experiences with Sanyo XX batteries - never got enough juice out from them and had to charge them all the time. Then they all died - way earlier than I had anticipated.

Now all my AA/AAA batteries are Eneloops and one thing is still unclear: how often do they need to be recharged in order to operate at full or near full capacity? While the Sanyo batteries were used for flashes and mainly camera, the Eneloops are only used for flashes and triggers.

Weddings are pretty much all I do and it happens, that a charged set didn't get used at a wedding - right now I charge it for the wedding a week after, but is it needed?

My charger says they are fresh, but with the experiences from Sanyo XX batteries, I'm not trusting this too much.

Any thoughts?

07-07-2016, 07:26 PM   #2
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@Zafar, I use Eneloops (or Duraloops) exclusively for all my event and wedding photos.

The first thing I would suggest is to invest in a very good charger; the one I use is Powerex MH-C9000. It does everything you need including analyzer, refresh, break-in functions which is needed in order to keep the battery in top shape all the time.

The second thing is to label the batteries in 4-s (ex. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4), so that they always paired together when you put them in the flash. For each outing, depending on the venue (indoor at night), I always bring spares of 4-each in this own small pouch properly labelled. That way, I don't get them mixed up. And I sometimes, re-charge it the day before the event.

Good luck...
07-07-2016, 07:42 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zafar Iqbal Quote
For how long can I leave Eneloop batteries unsed, before they drop juice?
If I remember right that was one of the advertised advantages of Eneloops, that they hold a charge a long time. I think the brag was up to 75% for over a year.

That said, any time I go on a gig, I freshly charge all batteries whether they need it or not. Use an intelligent charger like the Maha ones and they will only top up the batteries if needed. And yes I know charging when not needed might reduce the life span by using one of the charge cycles. So what? Somebody is paying me to do a job, and me not being ready because I THOUGHT those batteries were charged up is just not acceptable. YMMV.
07-07-2016, 08:36 PM   #4
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It's different for the white ones and the black ones. The white ones hold charge longer and can be recharged many more times, but have a lower power capacity than the blacks. There are also different generations of both models.

07-07-2016, 08:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

I may be mistaken but I think it's something like the amps lasting longer, while the voltage drops faster - problem with this was, that the camera body needed a minimum voltage to be able to turn on, even though if the batteries had enough amps, and probably because of the more delicate nature of cameras vs. flashes, which I didn't notice same issues with when it came to flashes - or maybe Pentax is/was too sensitive.

Anyhow, in practical terms and whatever it was, it meant I had to recharge the Sanyo batteries just before a gig even if I had charged them only few days before.

At the end of the day, I'm being paid so it's not that I'm cheap, but if I'm charging when I don't need to, then I'm just shortening the lifespan of the batteries and there are lot's of expenses in this business.

The Sanyo batteries were purchased less than or up to 3 years ago, in 2 settings. First a handful and then a larger bunch some time later, totaling 36 AA batteries and they pretty much all died at the same rate - first the few ones and then all of them.

Now, I suspect my charger, an Ansmann Engergy 16 Plus is to blame for this, because surely I didn't charge the batteries so often, that I topped or got close to the 500 recharges, that Sanyo XX should be able to last. I'm almost sure of this, but not entirely.

So my main concern is not to suddenly realize that all my Eneloops also just died and I have no physical shops who sells them so I can't run out in lst minute either - of cause, I could buy more and just never use the extras until that day comes. That is maybe a good idea, just came to think about it

I also think I might be ready for a charger like the C9000 now - I previously read lot's of good stuff about it, but never felt I needed it. With so many batteries prematurely failing on my, I think now is a good time to invest in one - or perhaps a few.
07-07-2016, 09:00 PM   #6
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Here is an article about rechargeables that has a nice curve showing the difference between Eneloops and Alkaline batteries. The reason the Eneloops work better is they hold the voltage fairly constant as they discharge, right up until they die at which point the voltage drops rapidly. With other battery chemistries the voltage slowly drops as the battery is used up.

The Best Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers Of 2016 - MetaEfficient

QuoteOriginally posted by Zafar Iqbal Quote
The Sanyo batteries were purchased less than or up to 3 years ago, in 2 settings.
I have 5 sets of AA Eneloops, all purchased in 2010 or 2012. All still work though whether they still hold as much charge as when new I do not know. They are used in flashes as well as flashlights or whatever around the house. They were originally for my k-x camera and flashes. Now not used nearly as much yet I have no problem picking up and using a flashlight that has been in the drawer for a year.

I bought 5 different brands of rechargeables in 2010 to test what was the best. The original set of Eneloops, marked #1 is still going strong. A set of Powerex brand died last year. All others had died by the end of 2013. I decided the Eneloops were the best and bought four more sets in 2012. All of those are still in daily use, though no longer in my cameras.

I think a good charger is at least part of the good success I have had. I bought a MAHA C801D back in 2010 and have only used it on all the rechargeables. I'm sure there are better ones out there now. Look for one that analyses and charges each cell separately.
07-07-2016, 09:18 PM   #7
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I think you can have your eneloops sitting in your pack for months if unused or lightly used. Fantastic batteries and I would not consider anything else.
07-08-2016, 08:48 AM   #8
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Its all about time and facing the pinch time.
I use and don't use LSD (Eneloops is one of them) cells and here is why.
LSDs have a lower capacity than the highest capacity rechargeables that may exist in the market. Usually around 2000mAH. I don't use them as my primary source of power as in I always have them on me but don't necessarily use them as my first power source. I only use them if I am not prepared enough for my event as they keep the charge longer they can be pre-charged way ahead of time and can sit in the box without loosing a lot of juice. But when I carefully plan my batteries I use my regular NiMH that has capacity of 3000-3200mAH for my shoots to begin with. The only disadvantage with these higher capacity NiMh batteries is that they don't hold the charge much longer like LSD cells but have higher capacity and hence more pops or pics if used soon enough after charging them. Sometimes they last me all day when I am shooting with my K-X due to their higher capacity.

So in short
LSD: As a back up and when I am not prepared/planned for a photo shoot
Regular highest capacity NiMH: When I carefully plan and charge them the night before I use them so that I get maximum work time without having to replace them sooner like LSD cells. LSD cells are in my bag as a back up but regular NiMH are stilll my first choice due to their higher capacities,

07-08-2016, 09:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by shardulm Quote
Its all about time and facing the pinch time.
I use and don't use LSD (Eneloops is one of them) cells and here is why.
LSDs have a lower capacity than the highest capacity rechargeables that may exist in the market. Usually around 2000mAH. I don't use them as my primary source of power as in I always have them on me but don't necessarily use them as my first power source. I only use them if I am not prepared enough for my event as they keep the charge longer they can be pre-charged way ahead of time and can sit in the box without loosing a lot of juice. But when I carefully plan my batteries I use my regular NiMH that has capacity of 3000-3200mAH for my shoots to begin with. The only disadvantage with these higher capacity NiMh batteries is that they don't hold the charge much longer like LSD cells but have higher capacity and hence more pops or pics if used soon enough after charging them. Sometimes they last me all day when I am shooting with my K-X due to their higher capacity.

So in short
LSD: As a back up and when I am not prepared/planned for a photo shoot
Regular highest capacity NiMH: When I carefully plan and charge them the night before I use them so that I get maximum work time without having to replace them sooner like LSD cells. LSD cells are in my bag as a back up but regular NiMH are stilll my first choice due to their higher capacities,
Interesting thoughts...
However, I have a different view on using higher power NiMH batteries. It may be good for other applications, but for flash photography, I would rather use a slower release and lower power battery to get the non-flash look, Most of the time, I just need a tad of light to lift up the shadow area instead of a full blast of flash. Again, it is just a matter of style and taste, as yours would be different from mine.

Well, as long as it works for you... that's all it matters.
07-08-2016, 09:22 AM   #10
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I use either Eneloops or Rayovac rechargeables , which are similar to the Eneloops in holding a charge, for the vast majority of my AA/AAA needs. (I can buy the Rayovacs locally at Walmart, and sometimes Target; they don't do quite as well as the Eneloops, but they are close and a little cheaper. Eneloops have to be mail ordered.) A few days before I leave on a trip, I charge the batteries I expect to use for photography, and then recharge them as needed. I use these things in everything including flashlights, clocks, TV remotes, etc. (with suitable adapters). For most non-photo uses, I seldom have to recharge more than once a year. I write a date on my batteries when I buy them. I am still using some that are 8 years old. About the only thing that I have found don't work well with them are indoor/outdoor thermometers which use wireless outdoor sensors; these seem to not tolerate the lower voltage of rechargeables. For these uses, I buy lithiums. I haven't bought either alkalines or other rechargeable AA/AAAs in years.
07-08-2016, 09:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zafar Iqbal Quote
I may be mistaken but I think it's something like the amps lasting longer, while the voltage drops faster - problem with this was, that the camera body needed a minimum voltage to be able to turn on, even though if the batteries had enough amps, and probably because of the more delicate nature of cameras vs. flashes, which I didn't notice same issues with when it came to flashes - or maybe Pentax is/was too sensitive.
I've found similar performance issues - my k100d always had the newest set of eneloops I had, and I was always sure to top them up before any major photo outing. It doesn't take a huge voltage drop for the camera to stop functioning outright, but these slightly depleted batteries could then go on to power a flash for quite a few pops.

Lower voltage in the flash will mean longer recycle times, which may or may not be important to you. If you never have the need to rapidly fire off bursts of the flash, then you can probably let regular eneloops sit for several weeks or even months and still have them ready to power your flashes. It really depends on your use.

If I was shooting weddings, or any other paid thing, I'd probably be paranoid and top all my batteries up the night before. MaHa does have 8 bank AA/AAA-chargers to speed this up.
07-08-2016, 12:31 PM   #12
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Lower powered batteries would take longer to charge a flash unit, but its doubtful the type of battery would influence the intensity of a flash, as the final stage of flash energy comes from a large capacitor which gets its energy from an oscillator circuit that transforms the low battery voltage to higher voltage, gradually building up the charge until a certain threshold is reached within the capacitor.
07-08-2016, 02:11 PM   #13
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I should mention that the other device I have that has problems with rechargeables is a k100d. I recently bought this used mostly to use as a "dock" to change my 300mm f4 to screw drive autofocus since the SDM has been somewhat erratic. After I received that camera, I tried it first with Rayovac and standard Eneloop batteries and it would work for a frame or two, then report low battery. It works fine with lithiums. I saw either on this site or elsewhere that this is a problem with the k100d. I have since bought a set of the Eneloop Pros, and it seems to be happier with those, but I haven't used it extensively. I suspect I'll use it rarely for shooting. I guess that it just doesn't like the lower voltage of rechargeable batteries. FWIW, my wife uses a k2000 and a Canon P&S that work fine with the Eneloops and Rayovacs. When I purchased my k-3 it came bundled with a grip (which I have sold). I tried the grip with the AA rechargeables and it worked fine. I suspect the k100d problem is an isolated one.
07-08-2016, 07:39 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies. I think the thing to do for now, is to get a better charger.

QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
The first thing I would suggest is to invest in a very good charger; the one I use is Powerex MH-C9000. It does everything you need including analyzer, refresh, break-in functions which is needed in order to keep the battery in top shape all the time.
How about their chargers that take more than 4 batteries? Would you recommend them? I sometimes shoot on 2 and even 3 sequential days which is the main reason I'm using the current charger I have. It charges 12 AA/AAA batteries at once.

Or, would a single C9000 be enough to do periodical maintenance stuff, if such a thing is even recommendable?

Btw, I've always labeled my batteries in sets of 4, but thanks for the tip.

Edit: The C9000 appear to be very hard to come by - none what so ever in my country and only few listed on Amazon UK.

Last edited by Zafar Iqbal; 07-08-2016 at 08:19 PM.
07-08-2016, 10:56 PM   #15
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I use an Imax B6 LiPro Balance charger for all my AA and AAA (and other) rechargeable batteries. Does NiCad and Lithium batteries. Fiddly and not for most people I suspect.
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