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Thread: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

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    Default Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    About 2 months ago I purchased 12 Powergenix NiZn batteries as a result of many reviews both here and on other internet sites. Used them in my wife's reading light which she uses on a regular basis. After this short period of time, about half of them will no longer hold a charge. I just took 4 of them out of her light tonite which had been used about 1 hour or maybe even less, and 2 of the cells measured 1.5V and 2 measured .3V. The weak cells will charge, but loose their capacity almost immediately.
    Has anyone else seen this poor durability?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    I don't use NiZn batteries, but I've read here on the forums that they are very fragile and die if reverse charged, and it looks like the two strong cells in your 4 cell setup have reverse charged the 2 weak ones..

    It's possible that they would last better if recharged at first sign of dimming or diminished light output from the reading light instead of running it down all the way.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    One thing about NiZn is they are not a general replacement for alkaline batteries. Their use should be carefully judged for those applications where the high voltage is really needed.

    For almost all everyday applications of rechargeable batteries an NiMH battery like the Eneloop is best.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    One thing about NiZn is they are not a general replacement for alkaline batteries. Their use should be carefully judged for those applications where the high voltage is really needed.

    For almost all everyday applications of rechargeable batteries an NiMH battery like the Eneloop is best.
    I have used them in only in incan lighting applications. In my wife's reading light as mentioned earlier, and in a Mini-mag. Where should they be used? Duraloops yield a much weaker light in these applications.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by sterr11 View Post
    I have used them in only in incan lighting applications. In my wife's reading light as mentioned earlier, and in a Mini-mag. Where should they be used? Duraloops yield a much weaker light in these applications.
    Well, it seems you have a handle on this. The usual recommendation for the NiZn is in certain brands of digital camera that refuse to work properly with NiMH. If you put the higher voltage NiZn in incan lights I suspect you will be shortening the bulb life. When you put regular NiMH in a Mini-mag, for example, the bulb is as bright as it is "supposed" to be, IMHO.

    As to the durability problems, several others here have made the same observation. One thing that may help is to check the usage pattern. The golden rule with rechargeable batteries in multi-cell devices, and with NiZn especially, is never fully discharge the battery. As soon as there is the slightest hint of the bulb losing brightness it is time to recharge. If you let the bulb start to go yellow you are running into the danger zone where one or more of the batteries can be damaged.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    sterr11,

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    ......The golden rule with rechargeable batteries in multi-cell devices, and with NiZn especially, is never fully discharge the battery. As soon as there is the slightest hint of the bulb losing brightness it is time to recharge. If you let the bulb start to go yellow you are running into the danger zone where one or more of the batteries can be damaged.
    What Mr H says here is especially true with NiZn cells. Actually, from what I've seen personally, and what others here have observed, you really need to stop the discharge of NiZn cells well before an incan light starts to go dim. The drop off in voltage is so quick with these cells when they run down, that it would be nearly impossible to catch it in time to not have damaged one, or more cells. And, as already mentioned, they are damaged really easily.

    My 3 cents. (adjusted for inflation)

    Dave

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    A different kind of recommendation, but for the reading light I'd suggest trying to find an LED light that takes a single AA cell. In that instance a Duraloop can be left to run completely empty with no harm at all.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    A different kind of recommendation, but for the reading light I'd suggest trying to find an LED light that takes a single AA cell. In that instance a Duraloop can be left to run completely empty with no harm at all.
    I thought the jury was still out? I know it was looking that way, but I'm not sure that's true. I can't see how "stretching" the cells internal components by over discharging the cell frequently, wouldn't cause more wear, LSD or not. LSD cells may be more resilient, but it still doesn't sound like a good idea.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by 45/70 View Post
    I thought the jury was still out? I know it was looking that way, but I'm not sure that's true. I can't see how "stretching" the cells internal components by over discharging the cell frequently, wouldn't cause more wear, LSD or not. LSD cells may be more resilient, but it still doesn't sound like a good idea.
    That's a fair point, but in this case I think it is OK. The boost driver in a single cell LED light will stop working long before the voltage gets down to zero (perhaps at 0.6 V or higher). This is not something I believe is going to present any problem to the battery, certainly not compared to the problems evident with the NiZn cells.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    One of the reasons I like NiMh, in conjunction with a charger that gives me a ballpark figure of how much charge had to be put back into a used cell, is that I can easily judge a regular charging pattern that will prevent any likely over-discharge issues.

    I have a set of devices that I swap charged cells into on a weekly basis, and others on a monthly basis. A couple I change immediately after use. I don't like cells to get down to much more than half used, especially in items that don't have a voltage cut-off.

    As delicate as I'm reading these NiZn cells are about over discharge, I would be making some kind of effort to find a charging routine that is safe for them. I don't have any idea if there's a NiZn charger that gives you any feedback, however. You would probably just have to guess based upon the amount of time the charge took.


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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    At least with a single cell device, there is no risk of reverse charging occurring so I would think the risk of over discharging NiMH cells is greatly reduced, even if one runs them down all the way.

    Btw, a very nice single AA cell light with a perfect floody beam for reading that performs great on Eneloops is the Zebralight H501w.
    Various old Fenix models; Zebralight H501w_SC50w+_SC600W; LiteFlux_LF2XT, various Solarforce with XM-L drop-ins.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Probably one reason the Nizn are more easy to reverse and damage are due to the higher voltage range it runs at. Being considered discharged at 1.3v with a full voltage over 1.8v, users may still see high brightness when one or more are totally dead and reversed. And they are more likely to be in the reversed state a much longer amount of time because the other cells are able to make up the voltage difference and maintain brightness in a light.

    If you prevent them from dropping below 1.3v at any time, they should last much longer. How long, who knows. I haven't put enough cycles on mine to really tell you.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by bcwang View Post
    If you prevent them from dropping below 1.3v at any time, they should last much longer. How long, who knows. I haven't put enough cycles on mine to really tell you.
    Good points, bc. It seems that NiZn cells definitely are prone to damage when over discharged. The question is still somewhat of a mystery with LSD NiMH cells, as I pointed out previously. I agree with Mr H however, that the over discharging problem will be less significant using LSD NiMH cells, as opposed to NiZn cells.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    ive had a set of 4 for a while and they probably have about
    15-20 cycles on them after being used in a 4AA headlamp.
    Ive been pretty good about not running them down super
    low... no problems here but Ill have to get out the DMM and
    see what each one says.
    Ive got a new HL (H51) so they'll be used one at a time from now
    on.
    I like that they have a little more kick than an alky or eneloop.
    Im more into max lumens than runtime since I have 4 of these
    I can bring 3 spares if necessary

    good to know they're a bit prissy with the over discharge- Ill
    keep it in mind tho honestly Im not too worried about it.
    thanks for the report!

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Happy View Post
    A different kind of recommendation, but for the reading light I'd suggest trying to find an LED light that takes a single AA cell. In that instance a Duraloop can be left to run completely empty with no harm at all.
    Good point. Now that you mention it, my move toward 1xAA lights, following as it did my embrace of NiZn AAs, is probably no coincidence. I've had bad luck charging more than 1 NiZn cell at a time.

    But don't try to use NiZn in a Shiningbeam RC-29 II. The NiZn's resistance is so low that the RC-29 II draws upward of 4 amps, making the body blazing hot. I suspect that similar excessive amperage is what caused my ShiningBeam RC-G2 II's clicky tailcap to fail in the first hour. (But Bryan quickly replaced it for free.)
    Last edited by Paul_in_Maryland; 09-15-2010 at 07:21 AM.
    My lights, all AA, neutral or warm: 3 Fenix TK20s; 2 Malkoff M30WFs; 2 Shiningbeam Romisens (5A); Dereelight XP-G R5 (close enough); UK 4AA incan.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_in_Maryland View Post
    But don't try to use NiZn in a Shiningbeam RC-29 II.
    Isn't that more a driver/cell voltage issue than a straight internal resistance issue?

    If the driver was both current-regulated for output, and roughly constant efficiency at different input voltages, it should take less current from NiZn than from NiMH.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Shiningbeam RC-29 II
    http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...h-29-II/Detail
    RC-G2 II
    http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/sho...hlight=romisen

    weird, they are high potency lights for a single AA, and the driver item seems to be one of the looser styles, going up and down more with the voltage. which sometimes can be better than torturing a battery when it is mostly dead, and mght be a bit higher in efficency too, if its just a simple power Pump :-)

    Kilgor
    The driver does NOT appear to be regulated (i.e it gets dimmer and dimmer as the battery runs down, rather than maintaining a steady brightness level until the battery is fully drained).

    gsin123
    I got 2.8 Amps with primaries and 1.2Amps with rechargeables
    Last edited by VidPro; 09-15-2010 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by uk_caver View Post
    Isn't that more a driver/cell voltage issue than a straight internal resistance issue?

    If the driver was both current-regulated for output, and roughly constant efficiency at different input voltages, it should take less current from NiZn than from NiMH.
    I can't speak to how or why the RC-29 II doesn't like NiZn. But my findings are confirmed by another CPFer, who posted current drawn from several kinds of cell. Sorry, I can't recall the thread, the forum, or the CPFer; I think it was Buffalo Bill; it's someone who frequently posts lumens vs current charts, including one or more in the thread on the Malkoff M31.

    I now use an Eveready L91 lithium cell in my RC-29 II and my RC-G2 II. It lasts at least twice as long as the NiZn and doesn't make the lights hot.
    My lights, all AA, neutral or warm: 3 Fenix TK20s; 2 Malkoff M30WFs; 2 Shiningbeam Romisens (5A); Dereelight XP-G R5 (close enough); UK 4AA incan.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_in_Maryland View Post

    I now use an Eveready L91 lithium cell in my RC-29 II and my RC-G2 II. It lasts at least twice as long as the NiZn and doesn't make the lights hot.
    does it make the battery hot on the top? because some lithium AAs have PCT that kicks in at ~2amps, effectivly giving you current max control at the battery, which can heat up the battery.
    i donno , but from reading other stuff, i would want to check more of what happens using bench supply , before the rare chance that it goes BONK!

    if a PCT was kicking in the light would be a tiny bit brighter when you first turned it on, surging for very short time.
    when you pull the battery quickly after having used it for a long time, it could be slighly warmer or even hot on the top
    any strobe modes could be brighter than normal modes
    the light operates differently in different actual temperatures
    stuff like that might be spotted without meters bench supplys and loads and all??

    and yes i AM talking about the PCT on a Primary lithium AA cell.
    Last edited by VidPro; 09-17-2010 at 06:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    When I first started testing the PowerGenix NiZn cells, I fell in love with them. Their ability to deliver power is only surpassed by the Elite 1700 NiMH AA cells. And their high voltage opens up the possibility of some interesting flashlight mods. For example, seven of these AA cells will power an FM1909 bulb in a 2D Mag, making a very impressive little light.

    However, after performing a lot more tests on these cells I have found them to be too unreliable for use in a flashlight. I have had several cells leak in controlled testing where they were definitely not over discharged or mistreated in any way. I have also had cells simply die by what appears to be internal short circuits.

    It is also a PITA that they cannot be charged in series like NiMH, and that they can only be charged with the PowerGenix charger (although you can charge them with a CC/CV powersupply).

    Unfortunately, I have a ton of these things since I found a very good deal on 8 packs shortly after I started testing them. I am still using them around the house in various electronics, but I won't be designing any flashlight mods that use these cells.

    I sincerely hope that the reliability problems can be fixed by PowerGenix. I don't know how expect to use these in EVs and PHEVs given the current reliability issues.

    Cheers,
    BG
    Friends don't let friends use alkaline batteries.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Battery Guy View Post
    When I first started testing the PowerGenix NiZn cells, I fell in love with them. Their ability to deliver power is only surpassed by the Elite 1700 NiMH AA cells. And their high voltage opens up the possibility of some interesting flashlight mods. For example, seven of these AA cells will power an FM1909 bulb in a 2D Mag, making a very impressive little light.

    However, after performing a lot more tests on these cells I have found them to be too unreliable for use in a flashlight. I have had several cells leak in controlled testing where they were definitely not over discharged or mistreated in any way. I have also had cells simply die by what appears to be internal short circuits.

    It is also a PITA that they cannot be charged in series like NiMH, and that they can only be charged with the PowerGenix charger (although you can charge them with a CC/CV powersupply).

    Unfortunately, I have a ton of these things since I found a very good deal on 8 packs shortly after I started testing them. I am still using them around the house in various electronics, but I won't be designing any flashlight mods that use these cells.

    I sincerely hope that the reliability problems can be fixed by PowerGenix. I don't know how expect to use these in EVs and PHEVs given the current reliability issues.

    Cheers,
    BG
    I would have to agree with you. They start off performing, surpassing any other rechareables out there, but then they start to decline rapidly. I wonder how those electric vehicles will do??
    Last edited by MarioJP; 09-17-2010 at 01:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by sterr11 View Post
    About 2 months ago I purchased 12 Powergenix NiZn batteries as a result of many reviews both here and on other internet sites. Used them in my wife's reading light which she uses on a regular basis. After this short period of time, about half of them will no longer hold a charge. I just took 4 of them out of her light tonite which had been used about 1 hour or maybe even less, and 2 of the cells measured 1.5V and 2 measured .3V. The weak cells will charge, but loose their capacity almost immediately.
    Has anyone else seen this poor durability?
    I have read the thread twice to make sure, but nobody wants to mention the ABUSE posters inflict on their NiZn batteries when they keep using a NiMH charger. Deep discharge will damage the NiZn even with the right charger. And the application may contribute to allowing a too deep discharge. My favorite use is my electric shaver.

    The first response to a posting like this should be, " What charger did you use? ". Until we have the answer, every thing else is hypothetical posing of personal agendas. If he used a NiMH charger AND drained beyond recovery with an incandescent light, that would be a death penalty for the batteries.
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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by r1gm1n View Post
    The first response to a posting like this should be, " What charger did you use? ". Until we have the answer, every thing else is hypothetical posing of personal agendas. If he used a NiMH charger AND drained beyond recovery with an incandescent light, that would be a death penalty for the batteries.

    Sorry , I just assumed everyone reading this forum knew MiMh chargers could NOT be used with these batteries. Also, they were not abused in any way, only used as if it were any other battery used in a similar application.
    Last edited by sterr11; 09-17-2010 at 03:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by MarioJP View Post
    I would have to agree with you. They start off performing, surpassing any other rechareables out there, but then they start to decline rapidly. I wonder how those electric vehicles will do??
    You guys with the declining performance cells, are they at least subjected to moderately high drain rates? I killed one in testing because the drain rate was set too high and it caused an internal short. But for something that say, drains less than 2 amps, I wonder if these would also fail early.

    Other than that first cell I haven't had any fail yet, but I don't put it through anything more than what max would drain on a Quark 2AA or 1AA

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by sterr11 View Post
    Sorry , I just assumed everyone reading this forum knew MiMh chargers could NOT be used with these batteries. Also, they were not abused in any way, only used as if it were any other battery used in a similar application.
    And yet many people, both reading and posting, still try. Go figure.

    PowerGenix lists less than 1.6v as a failure condition. The shut down protection of most digital applications is above the failure voltage of NiMH. In fact, some devices have it set so high, 1.1v or 1.2v, that the device turns off while the battery still has plenty of usable capacity left. Enter NiZn. The device runs longer at the expense of duty cycles. But at least the device will shut down, saving the batteries from even more damage.

    Incandescent lights and analog electric motors (shavers or toothbrushes, for example) do not normally have a shut down feature. They run, albeit poorly, until the battery is drained. The operator will notice the reduced output and should replace and/or recharge. But the disposable alkaline and in many ways the more forgiving NiMH have (trying to be PC) dulled our senses. Remember, the consumer must keep consuming. [End Rant]

    Another application where NiZn 'outshines' NiMH is recharging the capacitor for the flash on compact digital cameras. Of course that can be abused : Flash, Flash,Flash, ... .

    This first generation from PowerGenix has weaknesses and strengths. And we all have some bad habits to shed as we go from consumer to conserver. I do not think the transition will be smooth.
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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    > PowerGenix lists less than 1.6v as a failure condition.

    yeek, I missed that, where is it?

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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Two Step Charge

    1. Constant Current: From 1.0 to 2.0 Amps to 1.9V/Cell
    2. Constant Voltage: 1.9V/Cell to Current < 90mA
    Fault Conditions

    • Total charge time exceeds 2.5 hrs
    • Temperature of the cell rises by more than 15C
    • Voltage is less than 1.6V
    Notes: For Laboratory Testing: Non temperature compensation at 25°C +/_ 3 degrees
    Temperature Compensated Charge Procedure

    Two Step Charge

    • Temperature Compensated Voltage (TCV) = 1.90 - (0.003 x (T-25ºC) V/Cell
    • Constant Current 2A to TCV
    • Constant Voltage TCV to I < 90 mA
    Fault Conditions



    Stop Charge if the any of the following conditions occur:
    • Total charge time exceeds 2.5 hrs
    • Temperature of the cell rises by more than 15ºC
    • Temperature of the cell exceeds 40ºC
    • Voltage is less than 1.6V
    http://www.powergenix.com/?q=nizn-charge-procedure
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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    That's a fault condition during the CC stage of the charge cycle. If you look at the AA and Sub-C spec sheets, they measure discharge capacity under load down to 1.1 - 1.3V. Considering these are specified at 1.65V nominal, a 0.5V drop before cutoff would be kind of ridiculous...

    There might be some implied characteristic of voltage depression that means it's supposed to recover to a 1.6V resting condition after a full discharge, but none of the Powergenix docs say that. The charge graph appears to pull the cell voltage up from below 1.6V resting.

    I can't find anything on their site about discharge characteristics and cycle life that isn't marketing material, and I don't think bcwang was successful at getting more information when he tried to contact them.

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    *Flashaholic* Mr Happy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    For charging, see the chart in this post: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...3&postcount=73

    A healthy cell starts out at 1.6 V when in the discharged state and pops up towards 1.8 V almost immediately you apply a charging current. If a cell remained below 1.6 V when you were trying to charge it, it would be a dead cell.
    Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

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    Flashaholic* Paul_in_Maryland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Powergenix NiZn Poor Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by VidPro View Post
    does it make the battery hot on the top? because some lithium AAs have PCT that kicks in at ~2amps, effectivly giving you current max control at the battery, which can heat up the battery.
    i donno , but from reading other stuff, i would want to check more of what happens using bench supply , before the rare chance that it goes BONK!
    I seldom keep my lights "on" for longer than 10 seconds, so I can't say.
    What's PCT? I've been reading these forums for many years but can't recall that abbreviation.
    My lights, all AA, neutral or warm: 3 Fenix TK20s; 2 Malkoff M30WFs; 2 Shiningbeam Romisens (5A); Dereelight XP-G R5 (close enough); UK 4AA incan.

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