Eneloop AA Batteries

I've had a Canon A540 digital camera for several years, in fact most of the photos on this site were taken with it. I chose this model because it takes 2 AA batteries, and in those days Lithium batteries were not as common, and I thought I could always pack a spare set of cheap AA's, which I use as well with my hand-held radios.

At first the camera worked great. With two 2000 mAh NiMh batteries, I could shoot all day without the batteries running down. As time passed I could even get 2800 mAh batteries which should last even longer.

Then I began to notice something -- I would charge up the batteries, put them in the camera, turn the camera on, and it would indicate "battery low"! I bought new batteries, and the same thing happened. I even contacted Canon support the see if they had some useful suggestion, but they told me to take it in to a service depot. I wasn't interested in doing that, as it would probably cost as much as buying a new camera.

Sometimes the camera would take a few shots before indicating "battery low", and I did not feel as if there was anything actually wrong with it. Around this time I stumbled across the Eneloop battery, from Sanyo, which claimed to deliver a higher cell voltage and hold a charge much longer. I found a local vendor and bought 4 of them. They were marked "2000 mAh typical, 1900 mAh minimum".

Eneloop Battery

It was like a miracle. My camera now runs for weeks of intermittant use without the dreaded "battery low" indicator. In fact I charged the batteries last fall and I am still using them in the spring. It appears that all the claims about these batteries are true. Wikipedia has an interesting article on NiMH batteries here, and calls this type of battery LSD for Low Self Discharge.

I know that there are other LSD NiMh batteries available today, and they might work equally well. Give one a try before tossing out the camera!

A very interesting review of Eneloop batteries can be found here.

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