Nickel Metal Hydride cells, (abbreviated NiMh) are rechargeable batteries commonly used in today’s consumer electronics. They provide a great alternative to disposable 1.5 Volt Alkaline batteries. NiMh cells hold 2 to 3 times the capacity (also described as power), which are the popular choices for high-drain (high power-consuming) devices such as: digital cameras, mp3players, GPS units, cordless power tools, and even electric/hybrid vehicles. Think your NiMh battery as a bath tub which contains or stores energy, the larger the bath tub, the greater capacity of power you will get.



Typically, the mAh rating of NiMh AAA size rechargeable battery falls between 700Mah and 1200Mah. A newer version of the AAA battery has a low discharge capability, which means it can hold it’s charge up to 2 years. This is often an attractive choice for school whose devices and batteries remain unused/idle during summer months when they are closed.


NiMh AA size batteries typically have mAh rating between 2200mah and 2900mah, and also thet are available in a low discharge format, holding their capacity up to 2 years.



Battery Chargers that charge NiMh chemistry batteries are sold in two different types. One is called a Timer-Controlled Charger and the other is called a Smart Charger, or Intelligent Charger. The differences in price will be noticeable but so is the difference between what each type delivers.


SMART CHARGERS (Also called Intelligent Chargers)

NiMh Smart Chargers, charge all NiMh batteries with a completely different technology than Timer Controlled chargers. Smart chargers actually treat each battery within it, individually detect exactly the correct amount of recharging each one needs. There is no worry that batteries that this type of charger might be over-charged. Clearly, NiMh Smart Chargers are the popular choice for consumers.



If you have NiMh Rechargeable batteries and of course, a good quality battery charger to go with it, occasionally you will want to test the power of your batteries because even rechargeable batteries have finite number of charging cycles. You can pick up an NIMh battery tester that will test all NiMh batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, and 9 Volt) for as low as $12.99. It might not be something you’d ordinarily think of owning, but if you have one, you will be glad.



Li-Ion rechargeable batteries are finding their way into many applications due to their size, weight and energy storage advantage. These batteries are already considered the preferred battery in portable computer applications, displacing Ni-MH and Ni-Cd batteries, and cellular phones are quickly becoming the second major marketplace for Li-Ion. The reason is clear. Li-Ion batteries offer many advantages to the end consumer. In portable computers, Li-Ion battery packs offer longer run times over Ni-CD and Ni-MH packs for the same form factor and size, while reducing weight. The same advantages are true for cellular phones. A     phone can be made smaller and lighter using Li-Ion batteries without sacrificing run time. As Li-Ion battery costs come down, even more applications will switch to this lighter and smaller technology. Market trends show a continual growth in all rechargeable battery types as consumers continue to demand the convenience of portability. Market data for 1997 shows that approximately 200 million cells of Li-Ion will be shipped, compared to 600 million cells of Ni-MH. However, it is important to note that three cells of Ni-MH are equivalent to one Li-Ion cell when packaged into a battery pack. Thus, the actual volume is very close to the same for both. 1997 also marked the first year Li-Ion was the battery type used in the majority of portable computers, displacing Ni-MH for the top spot. Data for the cellular market showed a shift to Li-Ion in the majority of phones sold in 1997 in Europe and Japan. Li-Ion batteries are an exciting battery technology that must be watched.


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