A customer asking about an unusual cell size of ours asks: “Are they are low self discharge?”
They are not Eneloops which would be the only NiMH I would classify as Low self discharge. This is almost a silly thing to consider because we come off the charger and go to the field in this hobby. We do not charge a battery, then start a 1 week hike at the end of which we fly the model. That specification makes sense for a flashlight or an emergency radio, not an RC aircraft. Others may have a different view. I don’t fly unless I’m coming off a fresh charge at the beginning of the day. Other systems are to the choice of the users but reckless in my view. Yet I offer the Eneloops for those seeking this value. There are no Eneloops this small. Also, I don’t like the Eneloop under fast charge “ever” conditions.
For RC, lets go over how silly this is;
Standard self discharge x 2 would be only 2% per day.
After charging, if we let a 500mah pack set for 2 days before flying, it would lose (500x.01) 10mah the first day, (490 x .01) 9.8mah the second day. Value at end of 2 days 500-10-9.8=480.2mah. 19.8ma lost over 48 hours or about .416mah per hour dissipated.
If we come off the charger and go to the field, a trip that takes 2 hours, the same rate of loss would mean our pack would be about 499mah since we loose about .416mah per hour.
So, perhaps, a low discharge pack is good for about a .2% advantage when you get to the field. And, to come up with that .2% I had to exaggerate the loss by double and suggest a very long trip to the flying field.
This is why this specification is essentially moot when it comes to normal day in and day out use of receiver packs in RC aircraft. Is it better? We’ll yes in some microscopic way, but to get it, what are you going to have to do? Accept an Eneloop you can never fast charge? Use a non-Sanyo cell? I see a lot of effort hunting something that has no real measurable benefit in our application.
It’s more arguable in a TX battery because we often use that battery over a number of weeks between charges.