Does anyone really get 1000 recharge cycles from Eneloop batteries?

ultrarunner2015

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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
 

Gauss163

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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.
 
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ChrisGarrett

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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
 

apagogeas

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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.
 

WalkIntoTheLight

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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.
 

ChrisGarrett

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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
 

magellan

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

So now I understand better how they’re done; I just wonder why they’re 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 don’t understand why they don’t just report a lower, more accurate number. (500 vs. 1000 cycles doesn’t really matter to me, I’ve been told the batteries will “age-out” (as walkintothelight said) long before I reach 1000 recharges).
 
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Lynx_Arc

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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.
 

bykfixer

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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.
 

Gauss163

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

ultrarunner2015

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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.
 

Lynx_Arc

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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.
 

fivemega

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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.
 

Boris74

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I sally don’t care. Even if my aa Nimh cells only last a year I’ve 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 I’ve already saved and will keep saving.
 

Lynx_Arc

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I sally don’t care. Even if my aa Nimh cells only last a year I’ve 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 I’ve 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.
 

Climb14er

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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.
 

Boris74

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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 don’t need an analyzer charge system to tell you exact numbers. It won’t matter what it says. They’ve 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 Lowe’s 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. They’re 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 aren’t letting up yet. So I will probably get a bunch more.

My time is not wasted. I know it’s futile to analyze something I can’t 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. Don’t want to do your job anymore, you’re done. Too easy, for me at least.
 

Gauss163

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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?
 

Climb14er

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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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