Rechargeable batteries and Speedlite problems?

YuengLinger

EOR R
Dec 20, 2012
2,232
252
Southeastern USA
Sent a 600ex-rt to Canon for repair. The zoom function had stopped working, apparently in the ultrawide light-spread position, which really caused problems with exposure.

Canon repaired it with the note: "Replaced head assembly. Replaced main circuit board."

The Speedlite had failed with Eneloops in it. They tested at still 60% power when I took them out. But I had left them in there probably a couple of months before using the Speedlite. These eneloops were purchased about a year ago, and they had no signs of leakage.

Has anybody else had issues with Eneloops or other rechargeables and their gear?

Thanks!
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
23,657
718
I can't see the batteries being the source of any problems. I always leave eneloops in my four 600EX-RTs. It's rare that I use all four at once (using 1-2 is common), and while I try to rotate them, I'm not very diligent about it so some will sit unused for months inside a Pelican/Storm case with the eneloops in them. Have not ever had a flash failure (and I've had them for several years).
 

YuengLinger

EOR R
Dec 20, 2012
2,232
252
Southeastern USA
Thanks, neuro. Most likely this failure had nothing to do with the batteries, but with Canon saying they had replaced the main circuit board, I wondered if it was an unusual power surge of some sort. So I suspected the batteries. I'm considering just ditching that set of four Eneloops that were in there when the failure happened, just in case one of them was faulty. Still, with all four showing a 60% charge at the time of the Speedlite failure, it's hard to imagine how one was bad.

On the other hand, though I don't remember any impact kind of incident, I do have a two year old and a four year old who sometimes find my gear within their reach...
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,515
7
Eneloops won't leak except in incredibly rare cases where there is an over-discharge, that may occur if your Eneloops are left in a device in a totally discharges state for a long period of time. A quick search on the subject reveals a remarkably high stability over long periods of time with Eneloops.

I was late to the party, but most people are probably aware that IKEA Ladda 2450 mAh AA cells are in fact Eneloops. I'm running them in my 3 600 EX-RT's, so far so good.

-pw
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
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Most likely, the issue was heat damage, its a issue for all flashes. Sometimes a bad component can cause others to fail, so its likely there was a failure in the head that wiped out the main board, or vice versa.

Eneloops are not going to damage a board, there is no way for them to produce a power surge, they are just batteries with a thicker insulator that reduces self discharge. Otherwise, they are NiMH batteries. The newer ones can sit for 10 years and still hold a charge. I keep mine in my flashes all the time, only recharging them after significant use.
 

YuengLinger

EOR R
Dec 20, 2012
2,232
252
Southeastern USA
Thanks, Mt Spokane and others for your thoughts.

I recently had Duracell AA's leak in my backup Buff CyberCommander. I had forgetfully left the batteries in it for over a year, only finding the problem when taking out the CC to apply the latest firmware update (now with 1/3 stops!). Fortunately, a little diluted vinegar on a toothbrush and Q-tip cleaned up the contacts and all seems fine.

So, when I realized I had left those Eneloops in the Speedlite, even though it was only for a few months, I was trying to connect dots... But it might be the alkaline that are more likely to cause problems?
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,106
444
YuengLinger said:
Thanks, Mt Spokane and others for your thoughts.

I recently had Duracell AA's leak in my backup Buff CyberCommander. I had forgetfully left the batteries in it for over a year, only finding the problem when taking out the CC to apply the latest firmware update (now with 1/3 stops!). Fortunately, a little diluted vinegar on a toothbrush and Q-tip cleaned up the contacts and all seems fine.

So, when I realized I had left those Eneloops in the Speedlite, even though it was only for a few months, I was trying to connect dots... But it might be the alkaline that are more likely to cause problems?
I really have to watch Duracells, if they sit in a appliance for a long period, they leak, and they may still produce power, so you don't know it.
They do have a warranty, its usually not worth the trouble to complain, but they ruined my Nikon CP990, so I went thru the process, sending photos of the damage, and of the battery with date code showing. Since the battery was not beyond the date code, they settled with me for its current value which was reasonable.
I have about 40 eneloops, the oldest ones are pretty old now, much older than 10 years. They have never leaked, and still keep over 90% of rated capacity.