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Battery Type Differences: NiCd vs. NiMH vs. Li-Ion

A vast majority of the two way radios that we sell come standard with rechargeable batteries. These rechargeable batteries fall into three categories (NiCd, NiMH, Lithium), and we are often asked to explain the difference.

I recently found some information on Motorola's web site that does a great job of explaining the difference. This page also provides links to material safety data sheets (MSDSs) for Motorola batteries, and battery recycling and safety information.

Here's an excerpt that discusses the differences:

Motorola makes many different models of batteries, with the majority of them falling into three major types: Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Lithium Ion (Li-Ion).

Motorola Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries are currently one of the most cost effective chemistries on the market. NiCd batteries give you more watt-hours of operation per shift than other battery chemistries. They are ideal for a user who needs a high-performance battery and who communicates under extreme conditions of cold and heat (-30C to +50C) Historically, a NiCd battery's major drawback has been its susceptibility to memory effect, or its propensity to "forget" and not utilize its full capacity. Today, this remains to be a serious tradeoff, but can be minimized with proper charging/reconditioning practices.

Motorola Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries can offer superior operation life between charges. This battery chemistry provides 30-40% longer operation time than NiCd, but does not operate as efficiently in extreme temperatures. In addition, NiMH is less susceptible to "memory effect" compared to NiCd batteries.

One of the major advantages of Motorola Lithium Ion (Li Ion) batteries is their power to weight ratio, which easily exceeds that of NiMH for a lighter, smaller power supply. These batteries tend to be the industry's most expensive chemistry, and they offer a major advantage of not experiencing "memory effect".

12 thoughts on “Battery Type Differences: NiCd vs. NiMH vs. Li-Ion”

  • Barbara

    I need a MSDS for a Motorola 7.5V Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery.

    Reply
  • The NiMH battery is far more environmentally friendly than the NiCD battery. It also has around two times the capacity of the NiCD battery.

    Reply
  • Bruce

    Thank you for the brief. My head is still spinning a bit though.
    I work in the film industry and supply a fleet a Motorola GP340 radios, to be used 'on set'. The radios are in use between 10 and 12 hours a day. They all get collected up at the end of the day and placed in the charging dock over night, so they are charged for the next day. They are used in typical UK weather.
    What batteries would you please recommend I use, that won't run out during the day and still have long use out of the batteries?
    Many Thanks for your help,

    Reply
  • steve

    We have some old motorola p1225. Should we get replacement NiCD or the NiMH? We use them outdoors for anywhere to 6-8 hours and sometimes back to back days. The ones we have now must be the originals because they barely hold a charge.

    Reply
  • Rex

    On a ROOMBA vacuum.
    NIMH or NICD?
    Seller on eBay ad says NIMH = 2 of the NICD for run time.
    True / False?
    Thanks.
    -Rex-

    Reply
  • Rick

    I translated this to "as I can feed my Garmin RINO GPS 110 with a 12V battery in my boat? On long trips I run out of batteries. Thanks for responding."
    Jorge, you may want to check the manual or contact Garmin regarding your GPS unit.

    Reply
  • jorge luispisano
    jorge luispisano October 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    como puedo alimentar mi GPS Garmin RINO 110 con la batería de 12V de mi embarcación? En viajes largos se me agotan las baterías. Gracias por responder.

    Reply
  • Rick

    Stu, you may want to contact the manufacturer of your garden lights and inquire about this. Two way radios are our specialty; garden lights are out of our line.

    Reply
  • Stu Holmes

    I have a 1.5 volt garden light with a NiCad battery, it is no longer holding a charge from the solar panel on the light. Can I use a 1.2 volt NiMH in its place as I have bunch of them?
    thanks
    Stu

    Reply
  • Pete Steele

    Thanks, For the price I see nicd is the best choice. Pete

    Reply
  • John Van Allen

    In the NiCd vs NiMH battle I am confused. To offset "memory effect" I was taught to discharge NiCd batteries down to nearly empty. I did this with the 2 NiCd 7.2V batteries which came with my DeWalt DW920K-2 cordless screwdriver kit and seem to have ruined them. After considerable research I uncovered information which says very clearly NOT to do this. They say that with power tools the load demand is high current variable bursts and under these conditions NiCd do not suffer from memory effects. Now I must replace the two batteries, DW9057's and cannot decide if I should go with the NiMH replacements, TDW022, or get the original NiCd's and avoid discharging them. What is your opinion here??
    John

    Reply
  • June San Nicolas
    June San Nicolas June 12, 2008 at 11:50 am

    I need a MSDS for a Motorola 7.5V Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery. PLease send MSDS to me by fax at (360) 476-5033. Thank you.

    Reply

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