I have a compact camera. The batteries get discharged very fast. I am unable to use it for even half a day. The problem persisted even after I bought new batteries. Moreover, the charge often goes down even when I have not used the camera at all. How is this possible?
Dr. Sandeep, via email
Ni-MH batteries are rather convenient in terms of the fact that you can always buy new alkaline batteries for a relatively low price if you cannot charge the batteries. However, they usually give only a few shots per charge, and may get exhausted barely after 2–3 hours of constant shooting. In such situations, it is important to shoot wisely—switch off the camera when it is not being used, avoid using flash if you can help it and restrict your usage ofthe LCD to as little as possible.
Also, Ni-MH batteries are prone to self discharging. When they are not used, they keep getting discharged. Eventually, all the charge is drained out after a short period of time. Hence, it is necessary that you keep using these batteries regularly. Alternatively, you can buy Low Self Discharge Ni-MH batteries (like Eneloop or Recyko).
These batteries retain 85% of their charge even after a year of not being used. An effective method to maximise battery life is to always drain the battery out completely before you charge it. Recharging the battery when there is charge left, reduces its ability to hold a charge because of voltage depletion.