preserve battery lifespan during winter shot

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Black Tractor, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. hi there..

    for someone living in humid climate for all his life, would like to seek
    some opinion from learned experts on what should l do , in order to preserve
    the battery lifespan when taken shots during sub-zero degree climate??

    any reply, please reply directly to this thread, thanks

    With Regards
    Black Tractor, Dec 8, 2005
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  2. Black Tractor

    Battleax Guest

    Keep them warm, it's as simple as that.
    Battleax, Dec 8, 2005
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  3. Black Tractor

    Dirty Harry Guest

    I had my 20d outside for over an hour in -23C (-10F??) yesterday. It worked
    great but my cell phone battery didn't have enough power to stay on for more
    then a few seconds. I was doing some 20 second exposures with the noise
    reduction feature turned on so the camera should have been sucking lots of
    power too.
    Dirty Harry, Dec 9, 2005
  4. Black Tractor

    m Ransley Guest

    Batteries loose charge when cold be sure it is charged, or new if
    alkaline , it will recover when warm. You meter will tell you if it is
    ok. The number of shots you may take will be dramaticly reduced.
    m Ransley, Dec 9, 2005
  5. Black Tractor

    Jon Danniken Guest

    Batteries produce power by chemical reactions, which occur at a slower rate
    at colder temperatures. Once a cold battery is warmed up, it will produce
    power at a normal rate, i.e., the charge didn't dissappear, the battery just
    wasn't able to produce power while it was cold because the chemical
    reactions were not sufficient to generate normal power levels.

    There is also the consideration that a battery being used will generate
    heat; if this heat is sufficient to keep the battery from becoming colder
    than it's normal temperature, the battery will appear to function normally
    despite being in a cold environment.

    Jon Danniken, Dec 9, 2005
  6. Black Tractor

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    Far from a learned expert, but I do live in Winnipeg, Canada, where
    minus 40 centigrade isn't all that unusual, so...

    Carry your camera as close to your body as you can. If it will fit in
    a shirt pocket or inside jacket pocket, then that's where it should be.
    As close to under your arm as you can get it.

    Keep it out only when it's actually in use, put it back promptly as
    soon as your shot(s) are taken.

    Even then, don't expect the same run-time as you'd get in warmer
    weather, so carry a set of spares or two. They should be *in a case*
    in your other pocket... under your arm as it were.

    Finally, if you're travelling from place to place via car between shots,
    get yourself a car slow charger. Put the spare set on trickle charge
    while travelling, and in this case change batteries between stops.

    Good luck, keep warm, and take care.

    Ken Weitzel, Dec 9, 2005
  7. Black Tractor

    SMS Guest

    Choose the right battery. NiCad batteries perform better than NiMH in
    cold weather, and Li-Ion performs the best of all. If it's an AA powered
    camera you can use NiCad batteries instead of NiMH.
    SMS, Dec 9, 2005
  8. Black Tractor

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Simply, keep them warm. Use lithium chemistry batteries whenever
    possible, and keep them inside your parka until they are needed.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 9, 2005
  9. Black Tractor

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Note that at that temp, you might well be able to do without the noise
    reduction feature as the lower temps greatly improve the noise problem.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 9, 2005
  10. Black Tractor

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Not all NIMH battery chargers are suited to recharging Ni-Cad batteries.
    Heed your charger manual!
    An exploded battery can make taking pictures unlikely!
    Ron Hunter, Dec 9, 2005
  11. Black Tractor

    ASAAR Guest

    Are you sure about that? Energizer's application manual has a
    table comparing NiCd and NiMH and says that as far as operating
    temperature is concerned, they have similar limits, but NiMH suffers
    in that its low temperature charge limit is 15º C. NiMH retains
    only 20% of its rated capacity at -20º C, but is that significantly
    worse than NiCD? NiCD cells are rated at close to 1/3 the capacity
    of NiMH cells at normal temperatures, so if they retained about 60%
    of their rated capacity at -20º C, there would be little difference
    in capacity between the two battery types. Unless NiCDs do much
    better than this (retaining 80% or more at -20º C) it would hardly
    seem worth the effort and expense to get NiCD batteries for
    operating in cold weather. The situation would have been quite
    different several years ago when NiMH capacities were far lower than
    they are today. In comparison, NiCD batteries have barely improved,
    at least going by what's available at RS. Something like 850 mah,
    or have I missed recent improvements? If the manual doesn't warn
    against using them (and some do), as you said, lithium AA batteries
    are best suited for low temperature use by a wide margin.
    ASAAR, Dec 9, 2005
  12. Black Tractor

    ASAAR Guest

    All of the NiMH battery chargers I've seen that aren't also
    designed to charge NiCD batteries easily detect the NiCads and won't
    attempt to charge them. I hope there aren't a couple that "prove
    the rule".
    ASAAR, Dec 9, 2005
  13. Black Tractor

    sierra Guest

    Nikon's Europe support centre notes the following conflicts with
    storage as opposed to use:

    "The lower reactivity ensures that the rate of self-discharge within
    the electrolyte is reduced and therefore the battery holds its charge
    for a longer period. This increased shelf-life means that rechargable
    batteries will retain their charge for longer in cold weather
    conditions.Therefore, for storage of rechargable batteries, low
    temperatures are better.

    The lower reactivity reduces the capacity of the battery making the
    total number of exposures less. The low temperature causes the
    so-called internal resistance of the batttery to increase so that the
    lower the temperature, the more energy is wasted in delivering power to
    the camera. At the point when the battery appears to be exhausted, it
    may become useable again if warmed due to the reduction in internal
    at cold temperatures (although the effect of short periods of exposure
    to elevated temperatures will not be noticeable) and should be warmed
    before use and maintained at as high a temperature as possible whilst
    actually in use."
    sierra, Dec 9, 2005
  14. Black Tractor

    SMS Guest

    SMS, Dec 9, 2005
  15. Black Tractor

    ASAAR Guest

    Since you didn't answer my questions, I assumed that the articles
    pointed to by your links would. Neither did.

    Unfortunately, the "Power Struggle" article written by David Fox
    doesn't address my concerns. He indicates that NiCD can be used at
    temperatures as low as -20C, which is what Energizer also shows as
    the low end for their NiMH batteries. But unlike with Energizer's
    data, Fox doesn't show how much capacity NiCD loses at low
    temperatures. He also is talking about custom battery packs where
    to get the desired operating life, the NiCD battery packs can be
    made as large as desired. Cameras using AA batteries are forced to
    use the same size for NiCD and NiMH, so if the lower capacity NiCads
    have insufficient capacity only an external power supply would help.
    Statements such as the following are clearly untrue for AA cells:
    The article then provides quotes showing that the military uses
    heavy duty NiCD batteries that can be recharged in 10 minutes (with
    a hint that they're worth what might be a considerable amount of
    extra weight). Nothing like this is suitable or available for most
    photographers. This article didn't show that NiCD AA batteries were
    better for low temperature use in cameras than NiMH. It addressed
    other issues.

    The other article (Building a Better Power-Tool Battery) is also
    short on data. It says that NiCad batteries have better cold
    weather performance than NiMH, but has nothing to say about the
    lowest temperature in which they should be used, nor how much
    capacity would be lost. If you check my last message, it should be
    clear that I agreed that NiMH batteries don't do very well at -20C,
    but to be able to tell if NiCD batteries would do as well or better,
    you need to know how much better they do at -20C, since they're
    starting out with nearly 1/3 the rated capacity of NiMH batteries.
    Another factor not considered is that most people would use cameras
    where the temperature varies with the season. If they used cameras
    where the temperature was perpetually -20C, NiCad batteries might
    become practical. But if they would only be used a month or two
    each year because they'd be far less useful than NiMH batteries in
    warmer weather, most people won't even consider using them. For
    photo excursions to frigid locations, it makes more sense to use
    non-rechargeable lithium batteries, which are rated for use at
    temperatures as low as -40 degrees. The two sources you provided
    only showed that for heavy duty equipment requiring high battery
    currents, expensive, large, heavy NiCad power packs are preferable.
    In the real world (or at least that of most r.p.d. participants)
    using cameras such as Canon's A610 or Fuji's S9500, not many people
    will use NiCad AAs just for low temperature use, especially if it
    won't provide longer life per charge at -20C. It might, but I've
    seen no data yet that shows that it would. Besides, even if NiCads
    really were better at -20C, they wouldn't be all that useful to me,
    since as with NiMH batteries, my personal run time and life cycle is
    also very low at -20C. I'd be spending more time warming up with
    hot coffee or hot cocoa then I would taking pictures. :)
    ASAAR, Dec 9, 2005
  16. Black Tractor

    SMS Guest

    If you're expecting to find an extensive study that details the behavior
    of NiCad versus NiMH batteries at different temperatures, I'm afraid
    that you're going to be disappointed. Such studies may exist, but not in
    the public domain. Absent those studies, you can either accept all the
    empirical evidence or deny it.

    I would just use the NiCad or non-recharageable Lithium AA batteries in
    cold weather, and the NiMH at other times. Of course someone that
    expects to use the camera a lot in cold weather would buy a camera that
    used Li-Ion batteries, if they understood the advantages prior to making
    the purchase.

    Even the most pro-NiMH web site states:

    "Carry at least one set of non-rechargeable lithium AAs or CR-V3s as
    emergency/cold-weather back-ups. (They're also an excellent choice for
    cameras that see only light and very sporadic use.)"

    This is good advice as it addresses two of the major drawbacks of NiMH,
    the self-discharge rate and the cold weather performance. However,
    IMVAIO, this is a lot of hassle for no good reason.
    SMS, Dec 10, 2005
  17. Black Tractor

    SMS Guest

    Sorry to follow up on my own post, but ""
    does have a little data on temperature of NiMH anyway.

    Scroll down to "Temperature and Battery Performance"

    This is a very pro-NiMH web site, but it does fairly address the problem
    areas of temperature and self-discharge.

    "NiMH rechargeables lose at least 20% of their deliverable capacity at
    freezing (32°F, 0°C) without significant loss of voltage; at -20°C,
    they've lost 80%."

    "NiMH cells self-discharge by about 1-2% per day, as the graph at right
    clearly shows."
    SMS, Dec 10, 2005
  18. Black Tractor

    ASAAR Guest

    I'm not expecting anything of the kind. Simply a NiCad data sheet
    that answers the question I've asked several times already. Again,
    what is the relationship between temperature and usable capacity.
    Energizer provides this information in a simple chart for its NiMH
    batteries. Point me to a similar chart for NiCads and I'll know
    whether they will or won't provide longer run time than NiMH AA
    cells at -20C. As you're well aware (you even point this out on
    your NG website) NiMH starts out with a 3:1 capacity advantage, so
    even if NiCads barely lose any capacity at -20C, they'd only have a
    slight advantage at best. The empirical evidence provided by your
    links has little true data. In fact at least one of the two (maybe
    both) are more like white papers prepared by a marketing department.
    You've also glossed over the fact that they suggest that NiCad is
    superior when custom battery packs can be designed that are
    relatively large and heavy. The heart of our discussion has been
    with cameras such as the A610 that are limited to the AA form for
    both NiCD and NiMH.

    Absent the data (not the 'straw man comparison' you propped up)
    I'll neither accept nor reject the unpersuasive empirical evidence
    you're relying on. At this point I'm prepared to believe that you
    have some kind of vested interest in touting the superiority of
    NiCad batteries.

    My last message mentioned the "short season" that people would
    have using NiCads only in very low temperatures. In it I only
    addressed the impracticality of using them for such a short period.
    But with all of your knowledge of rechargeable batteries, you should
    be aware that using batteries only a month or two per year is a good
    recipe for shortening their life cycle. Even those people that make
    an effort to use rechargeable NiCads properly rarely approach the
    often claimed 1000 charge cycles. Most get far less than that.
    ASAAR, Dec 10, 2005
  19. Black Tractor

    ASAAR Guest

    It's funny how you seem to be able to see some things clearly and
    not others. I'm already aware of this, and if you actually read my
    message two replies back you would have known this. This is how the
    message started:
    Retaining 20% of its capacity at -20C is the same as losing 80% at
    -20C, isn't it? Since you've failed to address several fairly
    simple and reasonable questions and appear to be working fairly hard
    supporting your assertion through "spin" rather than the real data
    that shouldn't be too hard to find, I'm afraid I'll have to take
    anything you say in the future with respect to batteries with a
    grain of salt. Not reading, or ignoring what I've written might
    explain your failure to address my questions, I suppose. But I'm
    rapidly losing interest in this discussion.
    ASAAR, Dec 10, 2005
  20. Black Tractor

    SMS Guest

    ASAAR wrote:

    The proof, with citations has been presented to you. Your questions were
    answered. The fact that you choose not to believe the facts is beyond
    anyone's control but your own.

    "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need
    for illusion is deep." Saul Bellow
    SMS, Dec 10, 2005
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