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Thread: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

  1. #1

    Default Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    I have about 30 Eneloop AA batteries; some are the older HR-3UTG and some are the newer (Panasonic) BK-3MCCA.
    I believe the newer ones are rated for over 1,000 recharge cycles, while the older ones maybe just 1,000 cycles.
    The oldest ones are approaching 8yrs, while the newest are 2-1/2 years old.
    I can say for certain that I have not cycled any of these batteries anywhere near 1,000 times, yet the capacities are dropping to 1500 mAh on many of the oldest ones.

    I have been using a Maha MHC9000 smart charger, which I use in the 'Refresh/Analyze' mode periodically to refresh and test the capacities of all of the batteries.

    so, my question is: How does the manufacturer come up with the 1,000 or 2,000 recharge cycle spec? How far does capacity need to drop before a battery is considered end-of-life?

    I suppose that one could continue to use these batteries until their capacity drops to half (1000 mAh) the spec, but I don't see the point. I am considering the battery at end-of-life when it reaches 1500 mAh (for the AA Eneloop).

    Your thoughts?

    Ultrarunner

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    As I explained here the Sanyo Eneloop cycle life claims are based on a standard IEC test that does not reflect typical real-world usage - i.e. real-world usage is usually much more stressful so will yield much fewer cycles, e.g. AACycler's tests show between 300-400 cycles to 80% capacity (or 100mΩ) for 2 samples, and 620 cycles for another. Follow the links for details.
    Last edited by Gauss163; 10-01-2018 at 08:38 PM.

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    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    It's not really a 'capacity' issue with NiMH, or any li-ion cells, but rather rising I.R.s, where charging becomes more problematic and batteries/cells get rejected by many smart chargers. In things like wall clocks, TV remotes and other low drain devices like those, you might still employ them and then charge them up with a dumb charger.

    For me, they're cheap enough to just start over after a few years, or longer.

    Better batteries like Eneloop standards will last 'longer' than the higher capacity versions, or regular old high self discharge types.

    Chris
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    For most regular uses it is highly unlikely to reach the stated cycles. As stated at the posts above, the IEC test is 'favorable' towards a higher count; the good part is the outcome can really suggest which battery is more robust in construction assuming all batteries which indicate a cycle count are tested with the same IEC standard. The bad part is it cannot really reflect actual real-life usage done by most users. To get started, age and abuse are not taken into account and since most users may hold a battery for years with light use, this factor eventually will play a major part for reduced life. Similarly unintentional abuse (i.e. overcharging, over-discharging) will negatively affect this life too. For HSD batteries, if I get 1/10 of its stated cycle life I consider the battery has lived up to expectations. For LSD if I get 1/5 of its stated cycles the battery lived to its expectations too. Any cycle above these limits I consider it as a gift. Because most users will experience such quite lower cycle real-life performances, any cost analysis that takes for granted the stated cycle count is really way off (I have read several over the years here in CPF). Just enjoy the batteries.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Age is going to kill your Eneloops long before cycles will. Unless you're charging every single day.

    I have hundreds of Eneloops. Some are as old as 12 years, though a lot are in the 6-10 year range. It seems fairly random which Eneloops will start to fail. The vast majority are still very good, with about 90% of their original capacity. But I have a couple of duds. They've never been abused, or cycled a lot, but for whatever reason their chemistry is breaking down and giving less capacity than the others.

    I probably shouldn't have stocked up on so many batteries. Far more than I need, and many will likely fail having never been used once. Oh, well.

    Batteries should best be thought of as consumables. Buy them as you need them, and use them for a few years until age starts to weaken them. Whether Eneloops give you hundreds or thousands of cycles, it's probably more than you'll actually use.

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    *Flashaholic* ChrisGarrett's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Yeah, I'm now 'staggering' my purchases, after initially loading up. I don't want all of them to crash, at once, much like my HSD AAs/AAAs have after 2-4 years.

    Chris
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Great info, thanks (I read a few of the links on the details of the tests).

    So now I understand better how theyíre done; I just wonder why theyíre not more realistic. I noted the comment by apogogeas about how these tests might suggest which actually is the better battery. While that is nice to know, I donít understand why they donít just report a lower, more accurate number. (500 vs. 1000 cycles doesnít really matter to me, Iíve been told the batteries will ďage-outĒ (as walkintothelight said) long before I reach 1000 recharges).
    Last edited by magellan; 10-02-2018 at 03:41 PM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    I think the one thing people forget even if an eneloop costs $3 if you get 300 cycles out of it that makes it cost a penny each use which is less than 1/100th of what an name brand alkaline costs. Even the cheapest alkalines cost 25 times as much per use. So use them as much as you want and unless you get less than 100 cycles from them then the savings vs annoyance of having to replace them is worth it.
    The fact eneloops can be charged and sit for a year then give you 75% or more capacity and then recharged and let sit another year and this cycle repeated a half dozen times with no worries about leaking and ruining stuff or having to jump in the car to go to the store when you run out of batteries doesn't happen.... it's all good.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Stick one in a solar yard light and write on a calender the day you did.

    That should give you an idea of how many charges a given generation of eneloop can provide.

    When the light quits turning on at dark you'll have an idea.
    John 3:16

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    ^^^ But AACycler has already done cycle life tests on Eneloops (and many others). See the links I gave above.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Partial charging and discharging (with full charging every 50th charge) can give you around 1000* charges, after that the battery has a too high internal resistance. See results here: http://www.ultrasmartcharger.com/php...c.php?f=5&t=91

    * Eneloops made in Japan might be able to reach a higher number of charges.
    Last edited by NiMHi; 10-03-2018 at 12:25 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    After reading through the thread linked to by Gauss163, I am not so disappointed with the performance I have experienced with my batteries. I did however think that I would get more than 2yrs from the Powerex 2700's. That said, except for the one battery that now refuses do let the MH-C9000 do anything with it (including discharge), I am still able to use most of the Eneloops and Powerex I purchased up to 8 years ago.
    I seem to recall being able to 'rescue' an old NiCd AA cell by 'zapping' it with a short burst of high current. If I remember correctly, I would charge up a large capacitor; 10,000 uf @ 50V, and apply that to the battery. I don't recall whether it was in the forward or reverse direction. But I believe the purpose of that procedure was to remove a short in the cell, not to decrease IR.
    I never tried that experiment with NiCd cells. In any case, it was always a last resort before recycling (or binning) the battery, and never revived it for long.

    I am curious though, about this one Powerex 2700 cell I have which will not take a charge in the MH-C9000. Perhaps I should try charging it in one of the 'dumb' chargers I still have around, then try cycling it in the MH again. In any case, I guess it's time for another pack of AA Eneloops. As recommended, I will just stick with the regular ones, not the Pro's.

    Final note: I decided to switch to the NiMh rechargeables for all of my equipment for a couple of reasons.
    1. They aren't so prone to leaking as the alkalines are. I used to be able to keep Duracells (standard 'copper top' consumer grade) in a flashlight for 5+ years and the light would come on when I needed it. But today, if I leave any alkaline batteries in a device for more than a year, there is a good chance that they will leak. 2 years, and the chance of leakage is almost guaranteed! This wasn't the case before the mercury was removed from alkaline batteries. I guess it's just the price we have to pay to keep the environment just a little bit safer.

    2. Rechargeables are still less expensive than alkalines for most of my applications. While it is impractical to use rechargeables in some devices (like smoke alarms), they certainly outperform alkalines in my radio (transceiver) equipment. I only wish that other family members would use rechargeables in their child's toys. Most of those toys get used for a few months, use up 2-3 sets of AA or AAA alkalines, then get tossed into 'storage', where the batteries inevitably rot, rendering the toy junk. My reminding them about removing batteries before storage never seems to have any effect. It's like they all live in a different universe than I do.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by ultrarunner2015 View Post
    I am curious though, about this one Powerex 2700 cell I have which will not take a charge in the MH-C9000. Perhaps I should try charging it in one of the 'dumb' chargers I still have around, then try cycling it in the MH again. In any case, I guess it's time for another pack of AA Eneloops. As recommended, I will just stick with the regular ones, not the Pro's.
    Most likely the battery has developed high internal resistance and high self discharge too and there is nothing you can do about those two conditions. Cycling and refreshing will often help batteries regain lost capacity but once they start self discharging too fast not much can be done about that. HSD nimh batteries is why I love eneloop type batteries. I still have a dozen Rayovac Hybrids in things but over half of them have lost capacity or developed higher than useful self discharge rates. I have several flashlights using LSD nimh batteries in series and more than half those lights have overdischarged the batteries damaging them so I've switched to lithium ion single cell lights and single cell AA/AAA lights for the eneloops.
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    Flashaholic* fivemega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by ultrarunner2015 View Post
    Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?
    Short answer is: NO
    They calculate 1000 cycles based on absolutely perfect situation that you never see in normal life.
    I wouldn't expect more than 500 cycle under average use.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    I sally donít care. Even if my aa Nimh cells only last a year Iíve already saved tons of money. I will just get more and not worry about it. They tend to last much longer. Not worried in the slightest the amount of cycles. I focus on the money Iíve already saved and will keep saving.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris74 View Post
    I sally donít care. Even if my aa Nimh cells only last a year Iíve already saved tons of money. I will just get more and not worry about it. They tend to last much longer. Not worried in the slightest the amount of cycles. I focus on the money Iíve already saved and will keep saving.
    I think in use if rechargeble batteries don't get a certain amount of robust cycles then the hassle of dealing with sorting out the ones that lose too much capacity or go bad and constantly having to replace underperforming cells can lead one to desire batteries that can last longer in use (more cycles). Having bought and used rechargeable alkalines in the past and only getting 20-30 decent cycles before noticing that runtime in a low output light had dropped to less than 20% from 2 hours total to about 20-30 minutes I desired batteries that could last a few hundred decent cycles and had to wait till nimh batteries tech matured to accomplish this feat.
    Even with smart chargers and battery refresh/analyzers the time and effort of dealing with a large stock of rechargeables can be daunting especially when the batteries don't last very long before performance drops way below optimal.
    In other words saving money AND saving time for many goes in hand.
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    I use a Maha C9000 for my Eneloops in the R&A mode and after eight to ten years, the Eneloops have retained 90% of their capacities. Use the mode approx every two months. The Maha is an excellent charger.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    I think in use if rechargeble batteries don't get a certain amount of robust cycles then the hassle of dealing with sorting out the ones that lose too much capacity or go bad and constantly having to replace underperforming cells can lead one to desire batteries that can last longer in use (more cycles). Having bought and used rechargeable alkalines in the past and only getting 20-30 decent cycles before noticing that runtime in a low output light had dropped to less than 20% from 2 hours total to about 20-30 minutes I desired batteries that could last a few hundred decent cycles and had to wait till nimh batteries tech matured to accomplish this feat.
    Even with smart chargers and battery refresh/analyzers the time and effort of dealing with a large stock of rechargeables can be daunting especially when the batteries don't last very long before performance drops way below optimal.
    In other words saving money AND saving time for many goes in hand.
    You can save the time by tossing them when they start to diminish below what you find acceptable. You donít need an analyzer charge system to tell you exact numbers. It wonít matter what it says. Theyíve dropped below what you find acceptable. Just toss them. The numbers are inane if the battery is unsatisfactory.

    My time isnt wasted. I know there is nothing I can do about it. So they go to the local Loweís and get recycled and I go to the walmart across the street and get some more. Top shelf equipment gets the eneloop I have and heavily used regular electronics get the energizer 2300mah cells. Theyíre really good for the money and readily available. I do want more Ladda cells though. They are a bit cheaper and last noticeably longer and mine have an unknown amount of many cycles full dead to full recharge and they arenít letting up yet. So I will probably get a bunch more.

    My time is not wasted. I know itís futile to analyze something I canít bring back to brand new fresh from the package new. Toss and replace. Time saved, money saved. The batteries are there for my convenience, not the other way around. Donít want to do your job anymore, youíre done. Too easy, for me at least.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Climb14er View Post
    I use a Maha C9000 for my Eneloops in the R&A mode and after eight to ten years, the Eneloops have retained 90% of their capacities. Use the mode approx every two months. The Maha is an excellent charger.
    I'm highly skeptical that this is even theoretically possible, let alone practically. Do you have data backing that claim?

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    I'm highly skeptical that this is even theoretically possible, let alone practically. Do you have data backing that claim?
    Data? Stop kidding yourself! I look at the end result of every R&A cycle and can see the numbers. 10% loss on average!

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    ^^^ Roughly how many cycles do they have? Deep or shallow cycles? How are you measuring capacity, by charge, or discharge? Maybe your usage is not very stressful, e.g. not many cycles, most cycles not very deep, and your devices aren't high current?
    Last edited by Gauss163; 10-04-2018 at 05:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    ^^^ Roughly how many cycles do they have? Deep or shallow cycles? How are you measuring capacity, by charge, or discharge? Maybe your usage is not very stressful, e.g. not many cycles, most cycles not very deep, and your devices aren't high current?
    Every two months, for between 8 to 10 years, I run all of my AA and AAA Eneloops though the R&A cycle. Been doing this like clockwork. Usage is light to moderate for the most part. I am surprised at the only 10% degradation. The capacities remaining are reviewed after each cycle. I've definitely gotten my money's worth and the R&A cycle on the Maha has in my opinion, lengthened the life of the Eneloops. I am impressed.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boris74 View Post
    You can save the time by tossing them when they start to diminish below what you find acceptable. You donít need an analyzer charge system to tell you exact numbers. It wonít matter what it says. Theyíve dropped below what you find acceptable. Just toss them. The numbers are inane if the battery is unsatisfactory.

    My time isnt wasted. I know there is nothing I can do about it. So they go to the local Loweís and get recycled and I go to the walmart across the street and get some more. Top shelf equipment gets the eneloop I have and heavily used regular electronics get the energizer 2300mah cells. Theyíre really good for the money and readily available. I do want more Ladda cells though. They are a bit cheaper and last noticeably longer and mine have an unknown amount of many cycles full dead to full recharge and they arenít letting up yet. So I will probably get a bunch more.

    My time is not wasted. I know itís futile to analyze something I canít bring back to brand new fresh from the package new. Toss and replace. Time saved, money saved. The batteries are there for my convenience, not the other way around. Donít want to do your job anymore, youíre done. Too easy, for me at least.
    Actually when you use batteries in series 2,3,4 etc cells you can have one weak cell drag down the good cell and it makes it hard to find out what is going on some times without waiting for the weak cell to drain and check voltages of all batteries.
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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Climb14er View Post
    Every two months, for between 8 to 10 years, I run all of my AA and AAA Eneloops though the R&A cycle. Been doing this like clockwork. Usage is light to moderate for the most part. I am surprised at the only 10% degradation. The capacities remaining are reviewed after each cycle. I've definitely gotten my money's worth and the R&A cycle on the Maha has in my opinion, lengthened the life of the Eneloops. I am impressed.
    Alas, that doesn't answer any of the questions that I posed.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gauss163 View Post
    Alas, that doesn't answer any of the questions that I posed.
    Tough... deal with it!

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Climb14er View Post
    Tough... deal with it!
    Not to worry, it is easy - not "tough" - to ignore claims without any supporting evidence.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Climb14er View Post
    Every two months, for between 8 to 10 years, I run all of my AA and AAA Eneloops though the R&A cycle. Been doing this like clockwork. Usage is light to moderate for the most part. I am surprised at the only 10% degradation. The capacities remaining are reviewed after each cycle. I've definitely gotten my money's worth and the R&A cycle on the Maha has in my opinion, lengthened the life of the Eneloops. I am impressed.
    I have a set of 12 year old Eneloops that have only lost an average of 6.1%. However, that's comparing their discharge capacities to a set of new AA Eneloops (after a couple of full cycles). I am assuming that the old Eneloops had similar capacities to current new Eneloops back in 2006.

    Other than that, I've only had a couple of bad cells. My worst is down to about 1300mAh, and internal resistance has made it so it can't deliver enough current for max output on high-output 1xAA lights (Zebralight SC5w, Manker T01). Don't know what happened to it, but it's from either 2008 or 2009.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    I have a set of 12 year old Eneloops that have only lost an average of 6.1%. However, that's comparing their discharge capacities to a set of new AA Eneloops (after a couple of full cycles). I am assuming that the old Eneloops had similar capacities to current new Eneloops back in 2006 [...]
    Capacity is only meaningful when the associated rate is specified, i.e. they "lost 6%" at what discharge rate? The loss will be slow at low discharge rates, and much higher at higher rates, due to the rapid rise in IR as the cell degrades. For example see the graph below. At the high discharge rate the gen1 eneloop gives about 250 cycles before it degrades to 80% of initial capacity at the 1.7A high discharge rate. But at this point it still yields about 99% of its initial capacity at the slow rate (0.3A). It takes another 150 cycles (to 400 total) before it degrades to 80% at the slow rate. This is because rising IR has much less impact on lower rate discharges. Those are deep=harsh cycles down to 0.9V. Shallower cycles will yield longer life. Because the test was done so rapidly, it doesn't account for calendar life degradation - which will surely have a nontrivial impact on cells a decade old.

    Last edited by Gauss163; 10-05-2018 at 12:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    I measure with a low 250mA drain. Agreed that at higher drains new cells will perform better. Though, these old cells will still power a Zebralight SC5 just fine. (About a 5 amp drain.) Probably not for nearly as long on max, though I haven't done that test.

    In practical terms, most people will probably use their older cells for lower drain applications, or modestly powered lights. So, drain is not as relevant as you make it out. I stick with newer cells for my SC5, because it's the most demanding application. Everything else I use AA cells in, will generally use 1 amp or less, which is fine for old cells.

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    Default Re: Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

    Quote Originally Posted by WalkIntoTheLight View Post
    I measure with a low 250mA drain. Agreed that at higher drains new cells will perform better. Though, these old cells will still power a Zebralight SC5 just fine [...]
    As you can see from the graph I posted, there's no way that older, degraded cells are going to do "just fine" at a 5A rate. They're already degrading quite fast at the 1.7A rate there. Since you measure capacity at such a low rate, you are not properly accounting for the effects of the rapidly increasing IR due to high cycle/calendar life - which play a crucial role for higher rate devices.

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