Are Eneloop Batteries an Improvement?

SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (SANYO), the world leader in rechargeable batteries, announced a new next-generation nickel metal hydride battery, the ‘eneloop’ in November,  2005. The battery is becoming popular. Most major battery manufacturers have adopted the new chemistry in their “Ready to Use” line of NiMH batteries. At the recent WRAM show in New York, tmuch "booth space" was dedicated to the "Ready-to Use" rechargable batteries.
The big questions is: should CR 914 sailors consider the eneloop batteries?

This new product’s main marketing property is that it has introduced great improvements in self-discharge properties when compared to prior formulations of NiMH cells. Existing NiMH packs lose 1% of their charge per day. According to SANYO (validated by independent research)  after one year of non use an eneloop pack will still hold 85% of its charge, in temperatures of 20 degree Celsius.

"eneloop’ has been designed to extract a lot more power as compared to alkaline batteries. An experiment performed using a digital camera showed that a camera using an ‘eneloop’ can take 4.4 times more pictures than when using a comparable alkaline battery. Even under low temperature conditions (0 degree Celsius), when it is usually difficult for dry cell batteries to produce power, ‘eneloop’ displays superior power characteristics and longer power, making it a natural choice for outdoor use at ski resorts or sailing with the LMYC.

But wait - there's more. The eneloop battery has better charging chacteristics. Normal NiMH cells last between 300 and 600 charge cycles., Eneloop cells last between 1,000 and 1,500 charge cycles. Any NiMH charger will charge them. The AA cells are the same weight as non-eneloop cell  and about 1.5 mm larger in diameter.  At the show, I bought a 6.0v 2,500 maH pack for $35.00.

The proof comes on the water, I will give a report after sailing tomorrow. Expected wind 12-15, temps in the 40s. A great day at the LMYC.

David Graves

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