My SterlingTek AA flash batteries are really making me mad

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by achristensen, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. Last May I purchased 4 sets of 4 AA 2700 mAh rechargable batteries from SterlingTek after reading some good reviews about this company. I use them only in my 430ex- no kids' toys, or other peripherals. The last few times I've tried to charge them 2 refused to charge. This past time, 5 of the 16 would not charge in my Energizer 15 minute charger. I had a gig later that day and resigned myself to having just the two, fully charged sets in addition to a set of Energizers. I photographed for about 1 1/2 hours and in the course of that time, I had to switch batteries 3 times, ending with the 5 year-old Energizers. Shouldn't these last a little longer than that? Are non-rechargeable batteries better to use in speedlights? Can anyone recommend a better brand?
  2. [[This past time, 5 of the 16 would not charge in my Energizer 15 minute charger]]
    The problem is your charger. 15 minute chargers heat up batteries far too much and can cause batteries to die prematurely.
    Get a better and slower charger (one that has each cell on an independent circuit like the PowerEx MH-C9000) and a new set of NiMHs.
  3. I'm pretty happy with Eneloops. They hold their charge longer = more energy when you need it. Think of it like having a 1 gallon gas can that doesn't leak (eneloop 2000 mAh) versus a 1.5 gallon gas can that does leak (most other rechargeable 2700 mAh). If when you go to use that 1.5 gallon gas can and there's only half the gas left you're less than a gallon. Just an analogy for ya. I could also say quality over quantity. On a side note I've read that most pre-charged rechargeables are about as good as Eneloops (in case the price gives you a headache).
    I don't know if things have changed but I've heard that the 15 minute chargers will kill your batteries. That may be part of your problems as well.
  4. Well said Dan. I agree, avoid the 15 minute chargers. To simplify things, you need to pump a lot more current into each battery to charge it up in 15 minutes, compared to a lot less current versus a reasonable charging time of at least 1 hour. Heat kills electronics.
  5. I had pretty good luck with these . A few months ago I did a gig using my Metz 58AF1 flash and 2 sets of(4) Powerx rechargeables. I was able to get off 150+ shots some at full power with no problems. I never had to use the other set of rechargeables so they stayed in my bag. The charger for these batteries are awesome too, but when I get a chance I will definately take a look at the Eneloops.
  6. Most of the quickie chargers only charge pairs of batteries (or a pair of pairs). And as soon as one of the pair is charged to voltage, the charger switches into trickle-charge mode, and the second battery (which may have been more discharged than the other) might never get properly charged. If you use something like the La Crosse BC700 (which is under $30), you'll get not only per-battery charging, but also a really smart device that can cycle, test, and rejuvinate some marginal NiMH cells back into good working shape. I've brought a few back to life, that way.

    That charger defaults to a slow charge at 200mA, but in a pinch you can have it charge quickly, at 700mA - just don't do it all the time, as it does heat up the batteries (like your Energizer unit is doing).

    A good, smart, single-cell-aware charger is well worth the minor cost. You'll get way more life out of your batteries, and they'll much more solidly charged when you do use them. I've yet to see a set of four AA NiMHs that all charged at the same rate... which means that using the cheap chargers never makes the most of them, ever.
  7. Sounds like the cheap charger may have destroyed the batteries.
  8. I bought some really cheap high power batteries at Fry's and they were terrible. They didn't hold a charge, and were difficult to charge. I sent them to the recycler and now I stick to Panasonic, Duracell and the like. They keep a charge a long time, recycle quickly, and last forever. I do like the Envelop (sp) batteries from Sanyo. I've used them in remotes and in a GPS and they are perfect for that as they act like alkanies for storage life and like NiMH in flashguns. I would suggest that the batteries you bought suck and that you won't have the same experience with other brands. I have had great luck with SterlingTek lithium replacements for point and shoots, but that doesn't mean that your batteries weren't losers. Notice that everyone is blaming the charger and no one noticed that your Energizers, that I assume came with the charger, are still working after all this time. Seems pretty clear that the batteries are at fault.
    I've been using the Duracel 15 minute charger and so far I'm really pleased. Yes I'm sure that it shortens the life of the batteries but I'll give up some life for the convenience. That said no batteries have died of yet, but I'm not a pro, charging 3 times a week. The Duracel does seem to charge each battery independently so I'm happy about that I have some devices that have 3 batteries and the battery chargers that come with most batteries only charge in pairs.
  9. Second on getting a decent charger. I use both a La Crosse BC900 and a Powerex MH-C801D. The key to why these work so well is that the charging profile is monitored individually per cell.
    Two other things. Heat destroys NiMH cells quickly. If the battery becomes too hot to touch during charging - it's way too hot. Point a small fan at the charger and battery if you have to.
    Also, reverse voltage on the cells will shorten battery lifespan quickly. This can happen particularly if the battery undergoes deep discharge in a device. This is why things like flash lights and kids motorized toys often kill NiMH cells.
    The 15 minute charger require special cells. The batteries have a built in thermometer that shuts down charging when a temperature threshold is exceeded.
  10. You should be mad at yourself not the batteries, it has been noted many time that fast chargers shorten battery life and batteries dheap to replace. I am still using a no brand chinese AAnimh 12 bought 5~6 yr $5 each. charge weekly used continually. I use a trickle charger 12~18 hr. each batt individually charged. it also recharges energizer alkalines for upto 6 times. fast charges as stated creates too much internal resistance, also dropping metal hydrides can damage them (never found out why) another problem is that some chargers are rated well below most of the batteries on the market eg my charger is rated to charge Nimh 1800Ma batteries so all the 1600Ma I have are fine, yet it will not fully charge all my 2500Ma`s. One more thing nimh lose their charge quickly when not used and totally flattend not good, when the flash get to 1.2 its recycle I change em. the fast charger may have its purpose during an event, where you can charge them in a vegicle using an inverter or find a mains socket at the venue I have not needed to buy for a while but believe Sanyo has a good batt that holds its charge better when not used..HTH :)
  11. Sorry for speeling errors, I will add I can still charge the 2500Ma batteries by inserting them into a `C` size battery adapter and using in the 4000Ma position :)
  12. Huh. Wow. I had no idea. I did notice that the batteries were quite warm to touch when completely charged. I am SO glad I asked and thanks, everyone, for your advice! Fortunately, I complained to the company about them (they carry a 1-year warranty), mentioning also that I was using a 15-minute charger. They didn't comment on the charger but simply told me to send them back and they would replace them free of charge. I will be investing in a better charger and hopefully be much happier. So many things to learn! Thanks so much.
  13. I use only Eneloops.
  14. Yes, the 7.5A or so that those 15 minute chargers can pump out does tend to toast your poor little batts quite nicely... :)
    But some slower chargers are certainly not without their problems... For example, in the interests of safety, I'd certainly recommend steering well clear of the La Crosse BC-900 charger:
    Link, link, link, link, link
    In the EU it seems that this shoddy little set-fire-to-yer-house-in-yer-sleep box of highly dubious delights may be sold as a "Technoline BC-900", or "Technoline iCharger".
    Anyway, regardless of the name that happens to be printed on the lovely hot, soft plastic, I'd suggest it's probably best avoided.
  15. It's worth mentioning, Paul, that those conversations are a couple or three years old. Long time ago, in terms of electronic product versioning.
  16. It's worth mentioning, Paul, that those conversations are a couple or three years old. Long time ago, in terms of electronic product versioning.
  17. I've also had very good experience with the Maha Powerex 2700 rechargeable AA batteries. They are expensive, but they are the only ones I trust and they get heavy use at weddings. I use the Maha charger and set it to the slow charge setting. I also have my flashes set to go to sleep automatically when not being used, so they're not constantly using energy.

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