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Making Batteries last longer in the COLD!

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Making Batteries last longer in the COLD!

Old 12-16-04, 05:28 PM
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Corsaire
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Making Batteries last longer in the COLD!

Tonight, going home my light (NiteRider Trail Rat 2.0) died almost 3 miles away from home. This
particular battery is supposed to last 2 good hrs., so I used it last night for 45', and tonight (so I thought) I still had at least an hour left, well it didn't last an hour, just died on me sooner than it has lasted before, half way home - I blame it on the freezing temperatures of yesterday and today, regardless of what battery brand it is.

Any ideas on how to keep the battery warm, other than putting in the pocket ?
In the pocket is not really an option because of the cable length, I know I could get a longer cable
from NiteRider, but I think that if I wrap the battery with foam or something like that could help protect it, I don't know really, any suggestions ?
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Old 12-16-04, 06:42 PM
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1. Keep the battery inside until you go riding.
2. Wrap the battery in some insulation. Perhaps you can make something from a neoprene can cozy.
3. For really cold temperatures, you could use one of those chemical heating pads (preferably reusable). Put the heating pad between the battery and the insulation.
4. Always charge the battery after use so you start with a full charge.
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Old 12-16-04, 10:06 PM
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A nimh can self drain up to 15% in the first day or so and 5% every day afterwards. Plus below freezing, expect battery life to drop from 25-50%.
A cheap way to squeeze out more life is to put your battery on your monitor at work. Most battery packs consist of a water bottle with a bunch of battery cells shrink wrapped inside and then they spray expandable polyurethane foam inside the bottle to keep the thing in place. So essentially you have a water bottle with a battery cell inside surrounded by expandable foam.
By leaving the battery on top of your monitor, you're warming the cells and insulation up. Depending on how cold it is outside, the battery won't start getting cold till about 10-15 min later and might delay it from getting cold enough to lose power for an additional 15 min or so.
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Old 12-17-04, 06:02 AM
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If your cable is long enough, stick the battery inside your jacket so it can benefit from your windproof and your body heat. It works.
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Old 12-17-04, 09:41 AM
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Getting the longer cable and putting the battery in you jacket works very well. Even if the battery is too cold your body temp will bring the battery back to working temp after a few minutes.

Just make sure to disconnect the wire from yourself to the bike before trying to swing your leg over the bike and get off.
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Old 12-17-04, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by supcom
1. Keep the battery inside until you go riding.
2. Wrap the battery in some insulation. Perhaps you can make something from a neoprene can cozy.
3. For really cold temperatures, you could use one of those chemical heating pads (preferably reusable). Put the heating pad between the battery and the insulation.
4. Always charge the battery after use so you start with a full charge.
Number 4 above is probably the most important tip of the bunch. I routinely charge my battery when I get home. Charge them in a warm environment too. Don't do it in a cold garage.

I've also found that NiCd batteries perform better in cold weather than NiMH. The NiMH chemistry is much more sensitive to temperature variation than is NiCd. That includes temperature while charging. If the temperature is too cold the NiMH won't charge properly and if the battery heats too much during charge it can be damaged.

For all kinds of information on batteries go to http://www.buchmann.ca/. You'll learn more than you ever wanted to about batteries.

Stuart Black
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Old 12-17-04, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Number 4 above is probably the most important tip of the bunch. I routinely charge my battery when I get home. Charge them in a warm environment too. Don't do it in a cold garage.

I've also found that NiCd batteries perform better in cold weather than NiMH. The NiMH chemistry is much more sensitive to temperature variation than is NiCd. That includes temperature while charging. If the temperature is too cold the NiMH won't charge properly and if the battery heats too much during charge it can be damaged.

For all kinds of information on batteries go to http://www.buchmann.ca/. You'll learn more than you ever wanted to about batteries.

Stuart Black
Yeah, I this this is accurate, because I have two light systems, Cygo Explorer and the Trail RAt as a back up, noticed that the NiCad on my Cygo Lite is not really much affected by cold, which the NiMH in the Trail Rat is.
Interesting
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Old 12-17-04, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by supcom
1. Keep the battery inside until you go riding.
2. Wrap the battery in some insulation. Perhaps you can make something from a neoprene can cozy.
3. For really cold temperatures, you could use one of those chemical heating pads (preferably reusable). Put the heating pad between the battery and the insulation.
4. Always charge the battery after use so you start with a full charge.
Be careful with number 4 a lot of batteries are not meant to be recharged until they are fully discharged. Check your owners manual.
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Old 12-17-04, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ngateguy
Be careful with number 4 a lot of batteries are not meant to be recharged until they are fully discharged. Check your owners manual.
True as well. This is why I don't recharge them "every" night because my commute is about 45', so theoretically I have 2 hrs of light with the Trail Rat and 3 hrs with the Cygo, in other words: two night rides for the TrailRat and 3 for the Cygo. Unless I'd plan to drain them evry night for a fresh, full recharge, a real pain in the butt.
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Old 12-17-04, 03:19 PM
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I've got a similar length commute to you and I have the trailrat - the sheet of instructions that came with it just says if you've used it for about an hour give it a top-up charge of 4-5 hours so I normally just put the battery on charge when I get home and then unplug it before I go to bed.

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Old 12-17-04, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Corsaire
True as well. This is why I don't recharge them "every" night because my commute is about 45', so theoretically I have 2 hrs of light with the Trail Rat and 3 hrs with the Cygo, in other words: two night rides for the TrailRat and 3 for the Cygo. Unless I'd plan to drain them evry night for a fresh, full recharge, a real pain in the butt.
Corsaire
I always recharge my batteries after I get home. I have several Maha chargers http://www.mahaenergy.com/store/view...?idProduct=185 which I use to charge and discharge my batteries. I don't necessarily discharge my batteries every night (depends on my use) but I do try to discharge them to 1.0V per cell every 3rd or 4th usage. This has worked well for me as I haven't lost too many batteries over the years due to my own stupidity.

I would suggest replacing the OEM charger with one of the Mahas. The Maha is a much better charger than most and it will detect change in voltage (dV) which is important for NiCd and change in temperature which is important for NiMH. I know the charger is expensive but a battery pack is too.

I suggest again that you, and anybody else interested in batteries, go look at the Buchman site (see above). We, as a rule, treat our batteries very poorly and it's no wonder that we kill them on a regular basis.

Stuart Black
Nickel and cadmium: Two of my favorite metals.
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