NiCd / NiMH

NiCd: Nickel Cadmium

The NiCd chemistry is a rechargeable chemistry that uses nickel oxide hydroxide (NiO(OH)) and metallic cadmium electrodes.

Applications:

NiCD batteries are often used in emergency lighting and camera flash units. We also use this technology for aircraft starter batteries, electric vehicles, and emergency power supplies.

Advantages:

  • Long storage time
  • Performs well at low temperatures
  • Economically priced
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Long shelf life (in case of sintered metal electrodes)

Disadvantages:

  • Not environmentally friendly
  • High self-discharge

Storage:

NiCd batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place. They should be fully discharged.

NiMH: Nickel Metal Hydride

NiMH is a rechargeable chemistry which has gradually replaced the NiCd chemistry because of the absence of toxic metals in its makeup. NiMH batteries also supply 40% more energy than NiCd batteries. This mature chemistry has 2 advantages over Lithium-ion batteries: price and safety.

They are a good alternative to alkaline batteries as AA and AAA NiMH batteries reduce environmental impact and are a low-cost rechargeable solution.

Consumer applications:

  • Portable devices: cameras, GPS’, PDAs
  • Portable vacuum cleaners
  • Two-way radios.

Industrial applications:

  • Electric vehicles: cars, scooters
  • Telecommunications
  • Medical Equipment
  • Power tools.

Advantages:

  • Inexpensive
  • Safe
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Transportation of these batteries not subject to any specific regulations.

Disadvantages:

  • Lower energy than Li-Ion
  • Self-discharge
  • Reduced performance if stored at high temperatures.

Storage:

NiMH batteries should be stored in a cool place with a 40% charge.

Upgrading from NiCd to NiMH

The use of NiCd batteries has become increasingly regulated over the last few years. Nickel Cadmium is an extremely toxic metal for both humans and the environment, which is why reducing the use of NiCd has become a necessity.

As of the 1st of January 2017, the European Batteries Directive 2013/56/EU amending Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC, restricts the use of cadmium in the design and manufacture of power tool batteries.

Following this restriction, we have adapted our range of power tool batteries to provide a replacement solution to NiCd. NiMH chemistry has been constantly improving since 1990 and is the perfect replacement for NiCd. NiMH offers many advantages over NiCd: 30% more energy density, hundreds more charge cycles with no effect on performance, easy maintenance and transportation. Before purchasing a new NiMH battery, it is important to check whether or not your current charger is compatible with NiMH chemistry. In general, “NiCd / NiMH” will be written on your charger. If this is not the case, we recommend contacting one of our sales advisors in order to find a new NiMH compatible charger which will allow you to charge your NiMH battery safely and ensure optimal battery life.

This new restriction does not concern portable applications. The use of NiCd for emergency lighting, military, medical and other industrial applications continues to be authorised as these batteries are considered “portable” and no real NiCd equivalent exists for these applications.