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Forums Field Production Charging Batteries: leave on charger or no?

  • Charging Batteries: leave on charger or no?

  • steve hobbs

    October 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    So I hear different views on this one. When charging batteries for cameras, lights, etc. is it better to leave them in the charger or take them off once fully charged?

  • Nick Griffin

    October 18, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    I’m not sure about all batteries, but Lithium batteries have been known to overheat and even catch fire when over-charged. But we always take all batteries off the chargers once fully charged. Call it an abundance of caution.

  • Mark Suszko

    November 8, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Depends on the battery chemistry and if it’s a “smart” charger, i.e. a “balancing” charger.

    LiPo batteries with multiple internal cells use special circuitry that evens-out and matches the voltages in the individual cells with little pulses of charge or little microsecond discharges. That keeps the battery healthy, so in those cases, you leave the battery on the smart charger until it needs to get on the camera. Most of the time the lithium battery is on the “smart” charger, it’s not so much charging, as it’s having the cells continuously checked and balanced. When the cells get out of balance, the battery heats up and resistance goes up, which can lead to runaway overheating and ruining one or more of the cells. That’s how the fires start, typically, that, or a dead short.

    I don’t know anybody that still uses nicads for their batteries professionally; they’re all on some flavor of lithium technology now, because it’s lighter weight and more capacity.

    Nicads, you wanna keep them topped-up all the time.

    Lithiums are happy stored somewhere around middle to three-quarters charged, then fast-charged to full shortly before use.

    Lithiums don’t have the same “memory” problem as nicads, but they are sensitive to over-charging and really easily damaged by over-discharging beyind their built-in cutoff voltage, which nicads shrug off.

    Saw a news station once that used hydrogen fuel cells for a while, but they were not popular and got discontinued. They actually made noise while powering stuff, little fan inside the pack… and the infrastructure for recharges was limited, so they weren’t great in the field for long duty. Also they worked less well in the cold.

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