Recommendation: Sanyo eneloop rechargeable batteries

Like most people I know, I own way too many battery-powered electronic devices. My photography habit is only making the matter worse, since I have a ton of equipment that is powered by AA batteries. Many pros will use nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries because their high capacity and low internal resistance are good characteristics for many photography applications, most notably, powering flash units.

The trouble with NiMH batteries is that they self-discharge rapidly, about 1-2% per day. If you charge up a set and leave them alone for a month, they’ll be almost flat. Photo pros don’t have a problem with this, since many of them shoot in high enough volumes that it’s not a big inconvenience to keep charging them since their usage runs way ahead of the self-discharge.

For the rest of us photographers, it is a major annoyance. It also prevents batteries from being used in some attractive applications, like remote controls. Remotes don’t draw a lot of power, but the self-discharge will make rechargeables run flat far too quickly to be used.

Fortunately, Sanyo may have come to the rescue with their new eneloop batteries. They’re lower capacity than most NiMH batteries, but Sanyo claims they don’t self-discharge. I haven’t done any quantitative testing, but my personal experience so far is that the claim is not completely farfetched. I bought a set of AAs and popped them into my flash on July 19. I’m still shooting with them, so even a month after installation they still have something.

(Sanyo claims that they retain 90% of their charge after 6 months, 85% after a year, and 70% at two years, but I have not attempted to verify those figures. Sanyo ships them charged and says they can be used immediately on receipt, which certainly is true.)

The next qualitative test is with the set of AAAs that arrived on Friday. On Sunday the 19th, I installed them into my Logitech Harmony remote. I’ll report back when I need to recharge them.

2 Responses to “Recommendation: Sanyo eneloop rechargeable batteries”

  1. […] A couple of weeks ago, I recommended Sanyo’s eneloop low-discharge nickel-metal hydride rechargeables. The first set I’ve bought has finally completely discharged. I purchased a package of four AA batteries to power my Canon Speedlite. The eneloops are shipped fully charged and can be used immediately; when mine arrived on July 19, I put them into the camera and started blasting away with the flash. That set was finally exhausted on August 30. (I use the flash every week, but I am not a professional photographer who needs multiple fully charged sets of batteries per day.) […]

  2. […] A couple of months ago, I purchased a set of eneloop low-discharge rechargeable batteries for use in my programmable remote control. On August 19, I installed the first pack of four, promising to follow up when they needed replacement. I finally needed to do so last Thursday, for a lifetime of one day shy of two months. […]

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