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Do You Test Your Batteries?

I have a bunch of rechargeable AA batteries that I use for flashes and external battery packs. If I have a job where I'm using a flash (4 batteries) and an external pack (8 batteries), and then a few days later have another job using the same setup, my first thought is to recharge them all. But what if they really don't need it?

Do any of you actually check what's left for battery life using some sort of meter? If not, and you (like me) have the tendency to charge away, can you lessen the life of the battery? A 4-pack of Eneloops is 12 bucks, and hey, 12 bucks is 12 bucks.



  • Hi Dave,

    I always check all batteries. I haven't used the AA rechargeable batteries in awhile as I went the lithium battery flashes, but I always check regardless. I don't think batteries get a "memory" anymore. I guess that means they will not fully recharge after time if I am not mistaken. I haven't had any problems with a battery ever. Camera or rechargeable. If I take 10 shots or 10000 shots, I always recharge:) However I had done extensive research on chargers in the past. Here is the one to get if rechargeable is the way you want to continue. 

    Maha PowerEx MH-C808M Charger for Eight AA/AAA/C/D NiMH/NiCD Batteries

    Its not cheap but It will refresh the batteries and It also will tell you the amount of charge. 

  • Dave, I am like you. Every time, every shoot I fully recharge the batteries. I can't believe the flashes - and other accessories - don't tell us the charge level of batteries, the way cameras do, so we are forced to recharge always to be sure. I even recharge batteries I did not use on a recent shoot because how else will I know if they're fully charged? I do have cases that I've marked good and bad (spent) but it's not the most reliable system.

    I haven't thought about battery tester, probably a good investment.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited October 2016

    I charge everything, but on roughly around the 3rd time my battery charger (double A's - Sanyo Eneloop) there is a blue button so when I put the batteries in and instead of a solid red light as in charging I push the blue button to do a recondition/refresh, drain them out, blinking red light and fully recharge them, (solid green light) but just make sure you don't try this the night before, they do take a long time, especially if the battery was not used enough.

    Also, sometimes when I used to put in the batteries straight up, I may get one which immediately  starts to blink red, and no matter how long I leave it, it never charges, so I used to throw them away.

    One day in the Battery World store, I was telling the owner what I was doing, and he told me in no uncertain terms I was a &%$ing idiot (mate of mine) that you *should* each and every time do a full discharge and recharge as that keeps the batteries fresh, and, I was throwing away good batteries and he was right, the next time I put one in it started blinking red right away, so I did a full discharge/recharge on all 8 (my battery charger is an 8-pack) and around 24 hours later I had solid green lights on all batteries.

    I have never had to throw away any since (yep, live and learn), but on quick shoots, I just throw them in and leave to top up, but on weddings, they all get a full discharge/recharge.

    I no longer use the 8-pack external AA's any more now anyway, I use a Lithium Ion 4500 mA/h battery pack, good for up to 1800 full power pops on a normal flash head. Recycles dam fast also.

    US customers links below:


    Australian Customers Links below:

    BATTERY PACK (with choice to select your cable on same page)
    2 TO 1 CABLE

    No battery (rechargeable) will ever test much past 90% (unless maybe new) and my mate has a tester, and when I tested on an Eneloop after a charge, it was 91%, but I've had majority of mine for well over 3 years now.


  • Thanks, Guys. I think I should look into one of those chargers that shows battery level and does full discharge/recharge.

  • I have two of the Maha chargers and love them. before a big shoot i always do the drain and recharge cycle. it takes more than a day so give yourself that extra time.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The battery chargers that I use - Pearston 8-battery charger - they do flash when a battery is faulty. I just go by that. 

    As for recharging batteries before every shoot - I don't do that with the Eneloops. That's why I got them - their low self-discharge rate. 
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