Breaking in new Nicads : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Did you seasoned Nicad users "break in" your Nicads when they were new? i.e. run them through 3 complete charge/discharge cycles? My Nicads from RealGoods and C. Crane Co. came with instructions saying to do this. So I am doing it! It's work to keep track of it all, i.e. which cell is on which cycle. I don't mind, but it's hard to imagine that anyone less anal-compulsive than me would actually do this!

The purpose of doing it is to "stretch them to full capacity."

For the AA's and AAA's I'm using a one-cell flashlight (AA or AAA) for the discharge. For the C's and D's I put the battery in a holder, and attach a 2-volt light bulb as the load, until discharged. (Must watch carefully, so I keep the cells being discharged on the desk as I work.) Then I charge them back up in a Saitek Eco-charger (this is my charger of choice as it slow-charges).

Old Git, you mentioned you've had yours working for years "without babying them". Does this mean you skipped the break-in rigmarole?

I'm new to this so it would be interesting to hear experiences, feedback, etc.

-- Debbie (, May 18, 1999


Just to clarify some points, I discharge until the light is dim but not all the way out. I do NOT put the batteries in a flashlight or radio to discharge, because some cells discharge sooner than others and the weakest ends up in reverse polarity and is ruined, if you're not careful. Tried it!

Another thing I like about the Eco-charger is that each cell is charged separately, and it shuts off the charging for that cell when done.

-- Debbie (, May 18, 1999.


There was a problem with the older style NiCad having a *memory* so to speak. This meant that if the battery was not brought to a full discharge state before recharging, it would only charge back to the level (available time usage) of the last recharge. The batteries appeared to be no good long before their lifespan had come to an end.

This happened a lot with the first portable drills, cell phones etc. The new style of batteries for these devices don't seem to have this problem with a *memory* I am not so sure about the memory question in regards to small voltage batteries such a AAA's or D cells.

If so, you will need to completely discharge your batteries to make them useful for a longer period of time.

-- unspun@lright (, May 18, 1999.

"Did you seasoned Nicad users "break in" your Nicads when they were new?"

Yep. Still do. Works fine, and does what it says it's supposed to do.

-- LP (, May 18, 1999.

"There was a problem with the older style NiCad having a *memory* so to speak. "

To the best of my knowledge, NiCd technology has not changed. NiMH is very similar to NiCd, but 1) does not have the memory problem and 2) holds charge for a shorter period of time (self-discarges even faster than NiCd.

-- Anonymous99 (, May 19, 1999.

As Richard Perez in Home Power magazine says, "The differences in voltage between a full and an empty nicad are in the tenths of a volt." They have a chart showing how a nicad typically discharges. It stays close to its typical 1.25 volts until the very end of its discharge cycle, then drops rapidly. Using a digital voltmeter I am observing the same thing. There is much to learn here. Anyway, I think I'm on the right track with this.

We have a big collection of throwaway alkalines in the garage, which we would collect to take to the "hazmobile." Haven't gone for a while, and the pile has grown huge. What a waste! Without the push of "Y2k" (whatever the outcome) I would probably never have gotten into using rechargeables (and certainly not solar charging -- also doing that).

-- Debbie (, May 19, 1999.

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