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Is It OK to Leave Rechargeable Batteries in the Charger – Draining, Storage and Result
Look around. You will see a wide range of portable devices running on batteries.
Whereas they are crucial, battery usage and storage is always an issue.
How do you change your battery? How low should you discharge them? How do you store batteries? These are some of the questions that have come up.
In this guide, we will be answering some of these questions. Our main focus is safe charging of the battery and how one should store them.
Can a battery charger drain a battery?
There is a wide range of battery chemistries in the world today. Each is designed to offer a certain level of user experience.
Older batteries did have memory, which required complete charge and discharge before and after using. This aimed to keep the batteries in the right voltage.
Over the years, however, more research and developments have been done on this technology. And now, most batteries don’t have these memory issues.
Lithium-ion is the most popular battery chemistry in the world. You will find it in almost every portable device because of its ability to store and give out power.
It matters how one charges and discharges them when it comes to using li-ion and other rechargeable batteries.
Whether you should leave your battery on a charger throughout the night or unplug it immediately after it hits 100% is still a subject of debate. Some feel that the charger drains power from the batteries if left unplugged, while others have the contrary opinion.
What’s important in all is that you need to keep your battery safe to extend its life. There is lots of information about this subject on the internet, which could be overwhelming.
What happens when you charge a battery?
Batteries are made with chemicals that react to give out stored energy. When you click on the power switch, you have given the green light to the chemical reaction inside the batteries.
Charging is the opposite of discharging. Discharging removes energy from cells, converting it into electrical power. Charging takes in energy and stores it.
If left unplugged from the charger, it’s likely for the capacitors on the charger’s board to pull from your batteries too. It seems as though the battery is charging the charger instead of the opposite.
The good news is, this will not damage the battery. It might only drain a bit, although it depends on the charger too. If the cells are charged in parallel, they can discharge into each other.
What about a car battery charger?
Lithium-ion batteries used in most devices are slightly different from car batteries. Leaving a phone charger plugged in will drain your car battery, even if it’s not charging anything.
You may come back to find the battery depleted and the car unable to start. You can only leave the charge plugged if the engine is running.
Then, you are sure the battery is charging.
We have also mentioned battery memory in the previous section. Most manufacturers advise that you charge the battery full for the first time.
This was only used for NiCad batteries because they could lose capacity if charged any low. But this does not affect modern batteries anymore.
Can you leave a camera battery in the charger?
This is another very important question for photographers. You don’t want to wake up in the morning and find the battery drained even after leaving it on the charger the whole night.
Well, it’s ok to leave the battery charging overnight. It will not cause any issues as long as its Canon charger charging a Canon battery.
If you buy third-party batteries, make sure they can move to trickle charge when the battery is full. That way, you can be sure to find some power in the battery.
What is the best way to store rechargeable batteries?
Rechargeable batteries are good as a solution for powering portable devices. But they have come with some safety concerns that must be observed.
Storage is often the biggest issue. Luckily, we are going to share a few tips for storing your batteries to extend their lifespan:
-Pick a cool, dry place. The optimum temperature is between 20-degrees and 45-degrees C.
-Discharge the battery fairly deeply before storage. Keep it between 40 and 0% charged
-Avoid short-circuiting the battery to drain it. This can cause excessive heat, which can lead to an explosion.
-Do not store NiCad batteries for a long time without occasional charging. The chemicals inside may come in contact and short the battery.
-Be sure to find a cool, dry place, just like NiCad batteries above. It should be between -20-degrees and +35-degrees C.
-You can store them for an extended period, either charged or discharged, although it may take several cycles to recover.
-Battery deactivation may occur during prolonged storage, which causes recharging to stop early. But you can recharge and discharge severally to bring it back.
-Store in a cool, dry place. It would be best to keep them at room temperature. If you must store your batteries in a fridge, put them inside an air-sealed plastic bag.
-Charge the batteries up to around 40%. This keeps the batteries in the best conditions, and the self-discharge rate is reduced.
-Charge your batteries occasionally to avoid dropping too low.
What happens if you leave a battery charger on too long?
There too many myths about what happens if you leave batteries plugged in. For older models, it’s true that they could damage your batteries.
However, newer battery chemistries are stronger and can handle charging pretty well.
The capacitors inside the charge may start draining the cells. But it will only be a small drain, which will not damage your batteries.
Most chargers have trickle charging capabilities. Nothing will happen if you leave the charger unplugged for too long.
However, do not do this with car batteries. Leaving the charge unplugged for too long will drain the battery even when it’s not charging anything.