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Frequently asked questions
- Why should I buy NEXcell NiMH rechargeable batteries?
- What are the primary advantages of NEXcell NiMH batteries?
- How many times can I recharge my NiMH batteries?
- Why do brand new batteries not last long before another charge?
- Will NiMH batteries work even though they are only 1.2V when the device uses 1.5V “AA” batteries.
- How long can I leave my batteries on trickle charge in the charger?
- Why is it important to keep my batteries together in matched sets of 2 or 4?
- Can I mix different brands and capacities of batteries in my charger and camera?
- Will my NiMH batteries remain fully charged if I store them after charging?
- What is "MEMORY EFFECT”?
- What does the mAh rating of my batteries mean?
- Are NiMH batteries environmentally friendly?
- Why is the charger called rapid charger and not fast charger?
- How long will it take a rapid charger to charge batteries?
- Can a battery charger damage a battery (shorten its life or reduce its capacity)?
- What is trickle charge and is trickle charging harmful to batteries?
- Does rapid charging reduce the life of batteries?
- Why is NiMH battery rapid charger more expensive?
- What is low-self discharge NiMH Battery?
- Are there any trade offs to using these New Low Discharge NiMH Batteries?
- Can these New NiMH Batteries still be used in High Discharge Devices like Digital Cameras ?
Do these Low Discharge Batteries require a special charger ?

- Why should I buy NEXcell NiMH rechargeable batteries?

NEXcell NiMH (Nickel metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries will save you money. They can be charged up to 500-1000 times and last longer than alkaline. NEXcell NiMH batteries are compatible with most consumer devices and are ideal for digital cameras, CD players, MP3 plyers, PDA’s, portable two-way radios, gameboys, toys, flashlights, and many more high drain devices. One set of NiMH rechargeable batteries can replace thousands of throwaway alkaline batteries.

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- What are the primary advantages of NEXcell NiMH batteries?

Environmen friendly - No toxic chemicals Last 2-4 times longer than alkaline Designed for maximum p erformance in high-drain electronic devices. Rechargeable and long life, up to 500-1,000 charge/discharge cycles. Very low cost: less than 1 cent per recharge compared to up to $1 or more per single-use alkaline Fast recharge times with new “Rapid Chargers” Flat discharge curve. NiMH battery will remain in high voltage during 80% of the usage cycle. No memory effect Light weight .

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- How many times can I recharge my NiMH batteries?

The life of a NiMH rechargeable battery operating under normal conditions is generally around 500 charge-discharge cycles but you may experience more or less depending on the usage conditions and the internal condition of the battery. As a general rule the higher the discharge and charge rates as well as the deeper the discharge between charges the fewer charge/discharge cycles will be obtained. Every time a rechargeable battery goes through a charge and discharge cycle it loses a tiny bit of capacity at a gradual loss of around 3% capacity for each 100 charge cycles. Considering the low replacement cost of NiMH batteries (around .005 cents/charge) the total number of charge cycles obtained may not be cost significant. If your battery eventually stops holding an adequate charge for your application it is time to replace your battery. There are some general rules you can follow to help your batteries last longer. • Follow the instructions that come with your charger and use only a charger that is designed to charge NiMH batteries. Use of unqualified chargers could shorten battery life. • Overcharging can damage your batteries and shorten their life. We recommends purchasing a high quality "smart" rapid charger. Higher quality chargers can safely charge your batteries in less time using electronic monitoring of the battery condition and utilizing several different protection features to prevent overcharge. • Try not to allow your NiMH batteries to completely discharge in your device before recharging them. Most electronic devices including digital cameras will cut off when voltage drops below 1.0V so don't worry about complete discharges in these devices. For other devices like flashlights remove your batteries before they are totally drained. NiMH batteries will generally last for more charge cycles if you charge them after they have been only partially discharged. • Be careful not to drop your NiMH batteries. Dropping them can cause internal damage.

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- Why do brand new batteries not last long before another charge?

Brand new NiMH batteries are difficult to charge when they are brand-new or have been sitting unused for more than 6 months. They probably won't accept anywhere near a full charge on the first try. It will take around 3 charge/usage cycles before they reach their rated capacity. After that they will actually continue to gain some capacity (30-50 mAh) through the first 100 charge cycles before they gradually start to lose capacity. You will know when your batteries are accepting a full charge when the charging indicator lights (red) on the smart rapid chargers stay on for the full 3 hours for fully discharged AA batteries. Tip: Use the conditioning/discharge feature of your smart charger the first 3 or 4 charge cycles to speed up the time to "break in" your new batteries. Charge your batteries normally the first time then push the conditioner buttons on the charger before the next few charges. Will NiMH batteries work even though they are only 1.2V when the device uses 1.5V “AA” batteries. Yes, for most high drain electronic applications NiMH batteries are ideal substitutes and you needn’t worry about the apparent voltage differences. Even though alkaline batteries are rated at a nominal 1.5 volts, they only deliver 1.5 volts when they are fully charged. Alkaline batteries will drop more linearly from 1.5V to a typical cut off voltage of 0.7V. In fact, over the course of their discharge, alkaline batteries actually average about 1.2 volts. That’s very close to the 1.2 volts of a NiMH battery. However, since the capacity of Alkaline Batteries is measured until cut-off at 0.7V, high-energy consumption rated appliances that commonly cut off at higher voltage cannot fully utilize the energy stored in Alkaline batteries. This results in wasted energy. During usage, NiMH Rechargeable Batteries will experience a slight voltage drop at first, then will maintain their voltage between 1.2V to 1.0V. The voltage drop is not obvious until it is almost drained, at which point it drops rapidly. The main difference is that an alkaline battery starts at 1.5 volts and gradually drops to less than 1.0 volt. NiMH batteries stay at about 1.2 volts average for about 80% of their discharge cycle for a typical 1C discharge rate. There may be uses where there actual voltage difference may be important to you. In the case of a device like a radio, where a higher voltage can mean a stronger signal, a fresh alkaline battery may be more desirable -but more expensive- than a rechargeable NiMH battery. This is also true for a flashlight, which will be temporarily brighter with the initial higher voltage of alkaline cells. These minor differences are probably offset by the much lower cost of operating NiMH batteries. And keep in mind that the alkaline battery only has a higher voltage when it is fully charged. Once it gets to 50% capacity or less, it will be delivering a lower voltage than a NiMH battery. How long can I leave my batteries on trickle charge in the charger? Since all NiMH batteries will lose some of their charge while sitting unused the trickle charge feature of the smart chargers is intended to keep the battery charge topped off until you are ready to use them. Some manufacturers claim their batteries can take a trickle charge for up to 1 year without damage. You probably would not want to leave them on trickle charge for more than a few weeks since there would be some internal wear on the battery while it is being charged and you would be wasting electricity. You can also easily recharge your batteries if they have lost some of their charge while sitting unused.

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- Will NiMH batteries work even though they are only 1.2V when the device uses 1.5V “AA” batteries.

Yes, for most high drain electronic applications NiMH batteries are ideal substitutes and you needn’t worry about the apparent voltage differences. Even though alkaline batteries are rated at a nominal 1.5 volts, they only deliver 1.5 volts when they are fully charged. Alkaline batteries will drop more linearly from 1.5V to a typical cut off voltage of 0.7V. In fact, over the course of their discharge, alkaline batteries actually average about 1.2 volts. That’s very close to the 1.2 volts of a NiMH battery. However, since the capacity of Alkaline Batteries is measured until cut-off at 0.7V, high-energy consumption rated appliances that commonly cut off at higher voltage cannot fully utilize the energy stored in Alkaline batteries. This results in wasted energy. During usage, NiMH Rechargeable Batteries will experience a slight voltage drop at first, then will maintain their voltage between 1.2V to 1.0V. The voltage drop is not obvious until it is almost drained, at which point it drops rapidly. The main difference is that an alkaline battery starts at 1.5 volts and gradually drops to less than 1.0 volt. NiMH batteries stay at about 1.2 volts average for about 80% of their discharge cycle for a typical 1C discharge rate. There may be uses where there actual voltage difference may be important to you. In the case of a device like a radio, where a higher voltage can mean a stronger signal, a fresh alkaline battery may be more desirable -but more expensive- than a rechargeable NiMH battery. This is also true for a flashlight, which will be temporarily brighter with the initial higher voltage of alkaline cells. These minor differences are probably offset by the much lower cost of operating NiMH batteries. And keep in mind that the alkaline battery only has a higher voltage when it is fully charged. Once it gets to 50% capacity or less, it will be delivering a lower voltage than a NiMH battery.

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- How long can I leave my batteries on trickle charge in the charger?

Since all NiMH batteries will lose some of their charge while sitting unused the trickle charge feature of the smart chargers is intended to keep the battery charge topped off until you are ready to use them. Some manufacturers claim their batteries can take a trickle charge for up to 1 year without damage. You probably would not want to leave them on trickle charge for more than a few weeks since there would be some internal wear on the battery while it is being charged and you would be wasting electricity. You can also easily recharge your batteries if they have lost some of their charge while sitting unused.

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- Why is it important to keep my batteries together in matched sets of 2 or 4?

Simply because you will get better performance from your batteries if you keep them together in matched sets. For example if you have one weak battery in a set it will discharge before the others and result in shorter run times. It is also possible for the weak battery to reverse polarity and damage the battery. In your charger if you have one strong battery it will cause your charger to shut off early resulting in a less than complete charger for the remaining battery in the same charge bank.

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- Can I mix different brands and capacities of batteries in my charger and camera?

No you should not mix battery brands or capacities in your charger or camera for the same reasons stated in the question above.

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- Will my NiMH batteries remain fully charged if I store them after charging?

The main disadvantage of NiMH is that they tend to self-discharge fairly rapidly and significantly faster than alkaline batteries. NiMH batteries will begin to lose their capacity after charging when stored. They will lose as much as 1-2% capacity per day and after a few months of storage at room temperature will be mostly discharged. Of course they can be recharged in your charger to regain their capacity. If stored for a very long period without charging they may need a few charging cycles to regain their full capacity similar to when the batteries were new. Store your batteries in a cool dry place to minimize the self-discharge effect.

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- What is "MEMORY EFFECT”?

Memory Effect affects the run time of a traditional (NiCd) Nickel Cadmium Rechargeable Battery. The word ”memory” is derived from “cyclic memory”, meaning that a NiCd battery could remember how much discharge was required on previous discharges and then fail to regain a full capacity recharge. Improvements in battery technology have virtually eliminated this phenomenon. The problem with the modern NiCd battery is not the cyclic memory but the effects of large crystalline formation. (When we refer to memory, we are referring to the formation of crystals.) The active materials (nickel & cadmium) of a NiCd battery are present in crystalline form. When the memory Phenomenon occurs, these crystals grow, forming spike or tree-like crystals that cause the NiCd to gradually lose performance and shut off early. In advanced stages, these crystals may puncture the separator, causing high self-discharge or an electrical short. Crystalline formation only presents a problem if the battery is repeatedly recharged without a periodic full discharge. It is not necessary to discharge a NiCd before each charge. A full discharge to one volt per cell once a month is sufficient to keep the crystal formation under control. Such a discharge/charge cycle is commonly referred to as “exercise”. If no exercise is applied for several months, the crystals engrain themselves, making it more difficult to dissolve. In such a case, exercise is no longer effective in restoring a battery and “recondition” is required. Recondition is a slow, deep discharge that drains the cell to a voltage threshold below one volt must be discharged to at least 0.6 volts per cell to dissolve the more resistive crystalline build-up. If you use NiCd batteries you should purchase a charger with a "conditioning" function to neutralize the crystalline build-up problem. NiMH Rechargeable Batteries have almost no Memory Effect. NiMH has a different internal chemistry and is not as susceptible to the same “memory” problems as NiCd. In fact NiMH batteries can and should be charged from any discharge state. This is a major advantage of NiMH batteries over NiCd.

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- What does the mAh rating of my batteries mean?

The mAh rating refers to the storage capacity available for a particular battery. A battery with a capacity rating of 1200 mAh could deliver a current of 1200mA for one hour. Higher mAh ratings for the same battery type will generally mean longer run times. This does not apply when comparing different types of batteries. This means that you may not be able to predict how long your electronic device will run just by looking at the capacity rating of a battery. When powering high drain electronic devices like digital cameras, computer peripherals, or portable music players, an alkaline battery will only deliver a small fraction of its rated capacity. For example AA alkaline batteries typically have a capacity rating of over 2,500 mAh and the rated capacities of AA NiMH batteries have increased significantly over the year. Currently AA 2100mAh is available easily. But when it comes to actually powering an electronic device like a digital camera, the NiMH batteries will often run the device for three, or four times longer. Even comparing the capacity ratings of similar types of batteries won’t often work since different manufacturers can measure battery capacity in slightly different ways. A NiMH or NiCd battery is likely to deliver much closer to its rated capacity when it’s powering high drain devices. Alkaline batteries have a high rated capacity, but they can only deliver their full capacity if the power is used slowly.

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- Are NiMH batteries environmentally friendly?

Definitely yes when compared to other battery power options. Hundred of million of alkaline batteries are used and disposed of each year in Singapore and the region. Disposable batteries are certainly a contributor to landfill pollution. NiMH batteries could replace hundreds of alkaline throw-aways. NiCd batteries use Cadmium, a highly toxic heavy metal that can damage the environment if not disposed of properly. (They should be recycled not discarded). Replacing your alkaline or NiCd batteries with NiMH batteries will help keep our environment clean.

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- Why is the charger called rapid charger and not fast charger?

Both terms essentially mean the same. There is no standard in the industry on terminalogy. More importantly is the amount of time it takes to charge a battery which is dependent on the capacity of the battery being charged. A charger that can charge a standard capacity AAA NiCD battery in just one hour might take 8 hours to charge a high capacity NiMH battery. Therefore it is best to make a rough calculation of how fast a charger can charge batteries.

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- How long will it take a rapid charger to charge batteries?

Simply divide the capacity of the battery by the charge rate of the charger, then increase the amount of time by about 20% to allow for a certain amount of inefficiency. As an example, a battery with a capacity of 1600 mAh will require about 4 hours to be fully charged by a charger with a charge rate of 500 mA. (1600 mAh/500 mA x120%). Incidentally, this example would apply to a standard AA NiMH battery and a typical "rapid charger". Keep in mind that a battery that is only partially discharged will be recharged in less time.

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- Can a battery charger damage a battery (shorten its life or reduce its capacity)?

Yes. The most common cause of premature battery failure is overcharging. The type of charger likely to cause overcharging is the 5 or 8 hour so-called "overnight charger". The problem with these chargers is that they really don't have a charge control mechanism. Most of them are simple designs which charges at their full charge rate for a fixed period of time, typically five or eight hours, and then shut off or switch to a lower "trickle" charge rate. If they are used properly, these chargers are fine. If they are used improperly they can shorten a battery's useful life in a couple of ways. Firstly, suppose fully charged or partially charged batteries are put into the charger. The charger has no way to sense this, so it will give the batteries the full charge it was designed to deliver. It is not unusual to put partially charged batteries into a charger since it's pretty easy to mix batteries up and inadvertently put fully charged batteries into a charger. Do this enough times with one of these battery chargers and the capacity of the battery will start to drop. Secondly, another common situation is for the charge cycle to be interrupted part way through the charge. The charger is unplugged to see how warm the batteries feel or to use the electrical outlet for something else. Then the charger is plugged back in. Unfortunately, this will cause a complete charge cycle to start again, even if the previous charge cycle was almost complete. The easiest way to avoid these scenarios is to use a smart rapid charger, a charger with microprocessor control. A smart charger can determine when a battery is fully charged and then depending on its design, either shut off entirely or switch to trickle charge.

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- What is trickle charge and is trickle charging harmful to batteries?

Theoretically a trickle charge is a charge rate that is high enough to keep a battery fully charged, but low enough to avoid overcharging. Maintenance charge is another way to describe trickle charge. Many battery manufacturers do not recommend long term ( months at a time) trickle charging. If trickle charging is used then the charge rate should be very low or only intermittent. The best smart rapid chargers will only send an occasional pulse charge to the battery once it is charged. They do not apply a continuous low rate of charge. It is better to fully charge batteries and then store them fully charged in the freezer than to leave them on trickle charge for very extended periods of time.

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- Does rapid charging reduce the life of batteries?

Not significantly. So long as it is done using a properly designed smart rapid charger, most NiMH batteries can be recharged in about an hour without any damage or significant reduction in their life. However, NiMH batteries must only be rapid charged with a charger specifically designed for charging NiMH batteries. Chargers designed to rapidly charge NiCd batteries can overcharge NiMH batteries. While it may be true that rapid charging NiMH batteries can reduce battery life by a small amount (probably less than 10%), this should be more than offset by the inconvenience of always slow charging batteries.

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- Why is NiMH battery rapid charger more expensive?

NiMH smart chargers have actually been designed to detect when a NiMH battery is fully charged and then shut off or go into a trickle charge mode. Because of the more complex circuitry, this type of charger costs more to make, but should lead to greater battery life. Some of these chargers only cost slightly more that the "dumb" chargers. We strongly recommend investing in a smart charger for your NiMH or NiCd batteries.

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- What is low-self discharge NiMH Battery?

The New Low Discharge NiMH Rechargeable Batteries are capable of holding their charge for several months. They can actually maintain up to 85% of their charge for up to a year accordingly, unlike standard NiMH batteries which start to loose their charge very quickly. Also the batteries can be charged up to 1000 times.

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- Are there any trade offs to using these New Low Discharge NiMH Batteries?

Yes, these new batteries have a lower capacity than older NiMH Batteries. For instance the Nexcell EnegyOn are rated at minimum 2000mAh. However they all are designed to actually have a longer useful life than standard NiMH batteries.

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- Can these New NiMH Batteries still be used in High Discharge Devices like Digital Cameras ?

Yes, they can. Plus due to their Low Self Discharge rate they can also be used in devices like remote controls, flashlights as well. Basically you can use these batteries more like you would standard alkaine batteries. All of these batteries come charged and ready to use right out of the package, and can be recharged at any time without any fear of memory effect.

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Do these Low Discharge Batteries require a special charger ?

These new batteries can be fully charged with any good quality charger such as NEXcell NC 50FC Professional Charger. Basically you can use charge these batteries like you would any NiMH rechargeable batteries. All of these batteries come charged and ready to use right out of the package, and can be recharged at any time without any fear of memory effect.

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