questionswhat am i doing wrong with eneloop rechargeable…


I never liked rechargables in my old digital camera because most of them provide a relatively low voltage. Your eneloop batteries are only putting out 1.2 volts when fully charged. My new camera has a proprietary battery, so I don't get to worry too much about it anymore.

There's an FAQ on these batteries here:

The user reviews on Amazon may give you some additional insight on your batteries.


Like the above poster said read the FAQ on eneloop, generally the charger that comes with batteries is crap.

This is because most chargers are designed to charge batteries quickly (~2-4 hours). These kinds of chargers will ruin your batteries very quickly.

Most people seem to like the Lacross BC-909 found here:

This charger allows you to set how fast you what your batteries charged. (The slower the better for a long lifespan) It also has a recondition function that will try and revive batteries that have lost some of their charge capacity.


I love our eneloops. We've had them for a couple of years now and they are still going strong. Of course, their benefit is that they don't lose their charge as quickly as other rechargeables.

But all batteries are not created equal, that's why they all provide the specs on the package. In this day of high tech gadgetry, different products require different voltages (as mentioned above). Additionally, different batteries provide different mAH (milliamp hours).

It's not just rechargeables that this is true for. I got a mini camcorder (like the flip style) and it came with rechargeable batteries, unfortunately I didn't have time to charge them before I wanted to use the camcorder and so a relative gave me some regular batteries. They were cheap Zinc-carbons that lasted 5 minutes in the device. (Not that zinc-carbons are necessarily bad, they just weren't what the device needed.)


I second @durkzilla and the voltage needs of electronics. Rechargeable batteries, for some unknown reason, are 1.2V, while standard AA and AAA batteries are 1.5V. Older electronics are more geared towards the 1.5V of standard Alkaline batteries, while more modern electronics are geared to run at a larger voltage range, hence, standard alkaline batteries will last longer, as they start at 1.5V, while rechargeable batteries start at 1.2V.


Thanks all. Good info - I knew that these would hold a charge longer (when not in use) but I didn't realize there were voltage differences. Which makes me wonder, in this 5-6 year old camera, why rechargeable batteries were hold with it?! Of course they are long gone - but they were the same brand as the camera - Sony. Will have to check that out...voltage.



@mrmucox: the reason for the voltage difference is due to the chemistry of the batteries. The single-use nickel-zinc batteries actually start out at about 1.6 volts, with the output decreasing as they're used. That means that the devices have to be able to accommodate voltage drops down to 1 volt or less if they're going to get full value out of the cell.

On the other hand, rechargeable batteries, which use other chemistries (Nickel Cadmium, Lithium Cobalt, etc..) have lower initial output (1.2 volts) but maintain that voltage level fairly well until nearly discharged.


@rhmurphy: I understand that there is a chemistry difference, however, a slight difference in formulation, and they could made them 1.5V, as AA are as a standard. Somehow, 1.2V has become the rechargeable battery standard. Looking at some information online, this is usually not a problem, as Alkaline has a linear voltage drop over time, while NiMH has a relatively flat voltage drop until empty, so while an alkaline will drop to 1V, the NiMH will stay at or near the 1.2V until it suddenly drops to 1V. So if the device will operate at 1.2V, then NiMH batteries will work great, but if the device expects more than this, than they might turn on with a fresh charge, but quickly shut off. See this chart for what I mean with the voltage drop:


I've had great luck with nickel-zinc rechargeables in cameras. They put out 1.6 volts instead of 1.2, so the cameras don't turn off with 70% of your charge still there.


Depending on the generation of camera, and the cutoff voltages of various subsystems, high capacity rechargeables might not work in all devices. a good resource on why batteries act the way they do is


It's not an "unknown reason" as you state. It's very well known. Different battery chemistry produces different voltage. You can't arbitrarily change the voltage, without changing everything about the battery.

Carbon-Zinc cells, very popular for flashlights for 50 years, produce about 1.5 volts. Chemists eventually came up with Alkaline chemistry, which also produces about 1.5 volts. Unfortunately, neither of those chemistries is rechargeable.

Lead-acid wet cells (like those used in your car) actually produce about 2.0 volts per cell... your car battery has six cells inside one big case.

The first rechargeable dry cells, Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd -- often called "ni-cad") cells, produce about 1.2 volts. More recently, rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) cells have been made; they also produce about 1.2 volts.

Nobody has come up with a good 1.5 volt rechargeable cell yet, or you'd see them on sale for sure! Nobody has found the right chemistry yet.


That's a great chart!

However, your statement, "a slight difference in formulation, and they could made them 1.5V" is obviously baloney. Everyone would love to have 1.5 volt rechargeable cells. If the chemists could find "a slight difference" that would make them 1.5 volts, instead of 1.2 volts, you'd see them on sale, for sure!

The fact is, it has to do with the different energy levels in the different electron shells, within the molecules that are used. Nobody has discovered a good chemistry to make 1.5 volt rechargeables yet, or believe me, we'd all have them!

If you think it's easy, please post the chemistry that you'd use to solve the problem, and I'm sure some big battery company will scoop it up and start making them ASAP.


If your camera originally came with rechargeable cells, then the big question is: what was the voltage of those cells?

Most likely they were either NiCd or NiMH, which would have been 1.2 volts per cell.

There's a very slim chance they were Li-ION cells, and some of those can be 3.7 volts per cell. But they are very special, and need a special charger.

Check the camera manual, or google it, to find out for sure what the original cells were.

It's possible that you have some sort of camera malfunction. I happen to have a Canon which I love, but it started apparently "eating batteries" about a year ago. After several sets of different brands of batteries, I realized it had to be the camera.

After some Googling, I found that it's a very common problem with that particular camera. Apparently there is a bad design of the battery spring, which weakens and then doesn't provide good contact pressure. Try some research about your particular make and model.