Points in Focus Photography

Amazon Basics NiMH Batteries Revisited

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A little over a year ago I wrote about replacing my old Eneloops with Amazon Basics High Capacity NiMH batteries. In that article I said I wanted to look at their performance a year later after they’ve been used a bit to see how they were holding up.

Here we are a little over a year later, and I’ve run my batteries through the test cycle on my LaCrosse changer again to determine their capacities.

Unfortunately, in the last year, I haven’t used my flashes nearly as much as I have in the past, and as a result I’ve probably only run the batteries through 2 or 3 charge cycles each. Admittedly I was hoping to have 10 or more cycles on the batteries by now, but that’s just not how things have worked out.

Self discharge stability has been, subjectively, pretty good; though I don’t have hard numbers. I have 4 sets of 4 batteries for my flashes, and they rotate every month or two or so just with normal use. As a result replacement batteries will likely have 2 to 8 months of shelf time before they get used. Generally speaking I don’t see much in the way of loss of capacity in terms of numbers of flashes or recycle rates over that range. There may be some, but it’s not something that’s been especially noticeable.

In my initial testing a year ago, one battery rated slightly worse than the 2500 mAh typical advertised performance (battery 1b, rated 2470 mAh). Most of the rest of the batteries had preformed in excess of 2500 mAh, some even exceeded 2600 mAh.

In this round of testing, there was mostly a minimal loss of capacity across the board. All but one of the batteries that tested in excess of 2600 mAh in the first round of have dropped under that level in this round of testing. Though in all cases they remain above the 2500 mAh typical rating.

The one battery that performed worse than 2500 mAh in the first test (1b), preformed identically in this round.

The table below summarizes the results as they are a year later.

Battery ID Measured Cap. % Capacity
Rated Typ Rated Min Previous Test
1a 2600 104.0% 108.3% 99.6%
1b 2470 98.8% 102.9% 100.0%
1c 2550 102.0% 106.3% 99.6%
1d 2530 101.2% 105.4% 100.0%
2a 2510 100.4% 104.6% 95.4%
2b 2550 102.0% 106.3% 100.8%
2c 2530 101.2% 105.4% 98.8%
2d 2540 101.6% 105.8% 100.0%
3a 2570 102.8% 107.1% 95.5%
3b 2520 100.8% 105.0% 97.3%
3c 2580 103.2% 107.5% 97.4%
3d 2530 101.2% 105.4% 96.9%
4a 2540 101.6% 105.8% 99.2%
4b 2520 100.8% 105.0% 99.6%
4c 2540 101.6% 105.8% 99.6%
4d 2550 102.0% 106.3% 99.6%

Ultimately, my goals with NiMH cells are two fold. First, I want the better recycle times I get with my flashes from them. Second, I want to cut my costs as much as reasonably possible and to a lesser extent waste too. The break even point with these batteries is around 5 charge cycles. I haven’t quite reached that, but the batteries are still meeting their advertised typical capacities, and well above the minimum capacities, so I expect to get a lot more cycle out of them.

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