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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Rechargeable batteries (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

rowdymagi5
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Inner circle
Virginia
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Is it best to always run these batteries down before recharging, or no?

thanks
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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Depends on the type. I believe the older Ni-Cad (nickel / cadmium) batteries need to be discharged but the newer Lithium Ion's do not.

If this is backward, then someone will call me on it...and quick!

Mark. Smile
marty.sasaki
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Do not run down Litium batteries all the way. They won't recharge if you do so. NiCd's and NiMH can take a lot of abuse so I wouldn't bother with doing anything special with them. NiHM do have a limit on the number of times they can be recharged.
Marty Sasaki
Arlington, Massachusetts, USA

Standard disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who enjoys occasionally mystifying friends and family, so my opinions should be viewed with this in mind.
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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Thanks Marty.

Mark. Smile
rowdymagi5
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Inner circle
Virginia
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Anybody ever heard of li-polimer? Is this similar to li-ion?
sethb
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The Jersey Shore
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It's also my understanding that a rechargeable sealed lead-acid battery (the kind in most cars, and in lots of portable PA systems) should not be run down completely before discharging.

The problem was that some Ni-Cad batteries had "memories," and if you didn't discharge them completely before recharging, they would not take a full charge. I think this problem has mostly been solved, and now I recharge my PA batteries whenever I come back from a show, regardless of whether they are completely run down or not. So far, no problems. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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I've worked PT in an electronics store, where we sold rechargeable batteries. Mostly consumer style, like 9V, AA, AAA, C, D, and cordless telephone batteries.

With the NiCd, it's a good idea to discharge them all the way once a month. You don't have to do it every time. It's ok to recharge them when they are part-way down most of the time (just not all of the time). The chemicals react to build up crystals, and if you don't discharge them all of the way, the crystals build up to an extent to shorten the life of the battery. This is what people refer to as the battery memory, where it only remembers that it was charged half-way. The complete discharge process was very important with older NiCd batteries, but not as necessary with the newer generations.

With the NiMh, you don't have to discharge them all the way at any time. Crystals do not build up in the same way. You can recharge them when they are only part-way down, and you shouldn't have any memory problems.

BTW, ALL rechargeable batteries have a limit on the number of times they can be recharged. Somewhere between 500 and 1000 cycles.

- Donald

P.S. I know this trivia because I had to take some online training for that job, and one of the modules was about batteries.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
rhiro
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Southern California
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Lithium Polymer batteries are very popular with the R/C crowd. Lots of info out there regarding their use and abuse. Here's one thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209187

It's important to use the correct type of battery charger with any battery, but it's especially critical with Li-Poly. I once saw a Li-Poly battery burst into flames (indoors...at a trade show...) because the guy accidentally had his Li-Poly charger set for 3 cells, and the battery pack was 2 cells. Check out the above thread for a long list of accidents involving Li-Po batteries.

Li-Po's can be a bit of a pain to maintain and can't take much abuse. I've inadvertently killed Li-Po cells by letting their voltage drop too low. Keeping the cells balanced in multi-cell packs is also a big deal.

Unless the application demands it (lots of capacity in a small package), I would avoid Li-Po's.

Good luck,

Ross Hironaka
DStachowiak
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Baltimore, MD
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Be careful of using Ni-Cad batteries in equipment that requirs a specific voltage, Ni-Cads only produce 1.2 V each in AA, AAA, C and D sizes, as opposed to 1.5 V for Alkaline batteries.
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Magic of Dan
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St Charles, MO
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What do you want to know about batteries? I fly radio control helicopters and have been flying R/C airplanes for over 15 years. Yes, Lipos and Li-ions are very similar. You cannot discharge lipos all the way or too fast. They can 'puff' and catch fire. You also have to have the right charger for the type of battery you are using. Again, what else do you need to know?
Dan
The Magic of Dan
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