Take a quick look around you, chances are there are two or three applications within your view that require a battery! Batteries are by far one of the fastest growing markets today, and will continue their growth as more and more technology is introduced into the market place. This article will focus on how to dramatically improve the life expectancy of your rechargeable batteries. However, please note that this article does not apply to Li-Ion (cell phone, laptop) or car batteries (because you always need it charged).
From the moment you purchase any rechargeable battery, you can take several steps to improve its life expectancy. Every rechargeable battery is shipped form the manufacturer with about a 25% surface charge. As soon as you buy your expected battery, you should immediately charge it to its full capacity before trying to use your application! You can take this one step further by 'cycling' your rechargeable battery. The tern cycling (in regards to this topic) refers to running the battery all the way down and then immediately charging it back up. Your battery will be at optimum operating condition after you have fully cycled it three times.
Another important factor that directly affects the life of your batteries is how you store them. If you are not going to use your battery for an extended period of time, which in this case is from 3 to 6 months, then there are a few simple steps you should take to ensure that it would still be working when you need it. The first of which, is charging it up to it's full capacity before storage. The rule of thumb for charging batteries in storage is once every three to four months. The reason for this is simple, if your battery is sitting for a long duration of time in a discharged state, it will cause internal damage that will diminish it's capacity and is often times irreversible. Rechargeable batteries love to be used; this will keep them in a constant state of being cycled. However, if storage of the battery or application is a must, then it is extremely important to keep them charged!