Tip #43 TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING!
Power-hungry recreational accessories like GPS units, digital still cameras, portable fish finders, and short range walkie talkies can go through expensive alkaline batteries like a kid through a sack of candy. The rechargeable AA Ni-Cad batteries have been around for quite some time but have fallen short for holding up to the power demands of these high tech devices.
Coming to the rescue are the new Nickel Metal-Hydride AA batteries (NiMH) and faster charger units. But there are some drawbacks to be aware of when gearing up with these higher capacity batteries and charging units than can top off a battery in as little as one hour. Many others tout 4 hour recharge times and its getting tough to find one that is an "overnight" charger any more.
These NiMH batteries have much higher storage capacity than the alkalines and rechargeable Ni-Cd batteries. The smallest battery has a capacity of 1600 mA hr and the most recent ones are now holding a charge of 2100 mA hr which is the equivalent of some smaller camcorder batteries.
The problem to be aware of is these FAST CHARGE chargers will generate a tremendous amount of heat during the recharging process, not only in the circuitry of the charger but the batteries as well. These high temperatures in the battery can cause premature failure in spite of advertising claims of 1000 recharge cycles. Those life cycle specifications were based on a slow charging unit taking 16 hours or longer to recharge.
Here's the tip to extend your NiMH battery life using high speed chargers: Plug the unit into an extension cord in the kitchen and set the charger with the batteries in place in your refrigerator during the charging cycle. The batteries will stay cooler during the process and thus prevent heat related damage and premature failure and shortened life span. If you aren't in a hurry, use a 16 hour or "overnight" charger instead.
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