can you charge a nimh battery with a nicad charger

Can You Charge A NiMH Battery With A NiCad Charger? [Confusion Cleared]

NiMH batteries are super common and are always used everywhere. But you might think of charging NiMH batteries with a NiCad charger. But charging something without fully knowing the details can damage your batteries. 

Therefore, can you charge a nimh battery with a nicad charger?

The answer is no. You should not use a NiCad charger to charge the NiMH battery. Because NiCad and NiMH batteries are quite different from each other. Plus NiCad chargers don’t realize if the battery is full or not. As a result, NiMH batteries can get ruined. The safest option is to buy a NiMH charger instead. 

Anyways, that was a short answer to the discussion. Read along if you want to know this matter in detail. 

Let’s not waste any more time and get right in- 

Should You Use NiCad Charger To Charge NiMH Batteries? 

It’s better if you don’t use a NiCad charger to charge NiMH battery. There are a couple of reasons behind that. 

We’ve brought reasons and simplified it for you. 

Reason 1: NiMH & NiCad Batteries Are Different

Before we get into a detailed discussion, let’s get to know the batteries first. Basic information about both batteries can help you understand the reason faster.

For example, how will you troubleshoot an ECX Ruckus without knowing its functions? 

That’s why we’ve come forward and made a short table for you- 

Aspects NiMH BatteriesNiCad Batteries
Material Nickel-metal HydrideNickel-Cadmium
CapacityHighLow
Discharge Rate30%20%
Required Charging TimeNormal Less
Temperature ToleranceLowExtreme
Overcharging ResistanceYesNo
Environmental ValueGreatToxic

NiMH batteries are made of Nickel-metal Hydride. These are the most used batteries in the world. However, NiCad stands for Nickel-cadmium battery. This was once used a lot for toys. 

As you can see from the table, NiMH batteries have a high capacity. Unlike NiMH batteries, NiCad batteries can’t store too much charge. Therefore, they run out of charge really fast. 

NiMH batteries have a higher discharge rate. Because of that, NiMH batteries can’t last long for simple applications. 

It has a 30% discharge rate per month. That’s why you should always charge before storing NiMH batteries.

In terms of charging time, NiCad takes significantly less time. There are two reasons behind this. One, their capacity is lesser than other batteries. The other one is the NiCad charger. Those chargers can charge at an enormous speed. 

Because of that, NiCad batteries can produce a lot of temperatures. But NiCad batteries work another way. NiCad charging is based on heat absorption instead of heat production. 

On the contrary, NiMH batteries charge normally and take a decent amount of time. Because of that, they have two different chargers and charging mechanisms. 

Lastly, NiMH batteries are resistant to overcharging. They also self-discharge when put to storage. But this resistance can’t be maintained all the time. 

On the contrary, NiMH batteries aren’t resistant to overcharging. They’re also harmful to the environment as Cadmium is very toxic. 

Reason 2: NiCad Charger Works Differently From a NiMH Charger

We’ve already mentioned that NiCad chargers aren’t good for NiMH batteries. While some good NiMH batteries may tolerate it, not all of them will. 

Now, you may wonder why NiCad chargers won’t work. That’s why we’ve elaborated on this topic.

NiCad or Nickel-Cadmium battery chargers use a continuous current source. This is completely different than other batteries. Because other batteries use different variations of amperage and voltage. This is true for NiMH and LiPo batteries. 

NiCad chargers can charge at a C/10 rate like other chargers. But they can reach C rate which is 100% capacity. Because of this, NiCad batteries can often overcharge themselves. 

But NiCad batteries can also reach 115% of the capacity. That’s why overcharging doesn’t hurt them for a certain period of time. That’s why NiCad chargers can charge NiCad batteries at C or C/2 rate. 

By now you’ve probably realized how fast NiCad chargers can charge batteries. 

How Should You Charge NiMH Batteries? 

Now, even with the valid reasons mentioned above, it’s possible to use a NiCad charger.  You just need to do some calculations. 

First, multiply the NiMH battery capacity by 1.4. Then divide the value with the NiCad charger’s output value. This will get you a rough estimated time. 

Another way to detect full charge is to check the temperature. If the batteries are warmer than usual, turn off the charging. 

But it’s still not recommended as a single mistake can kill your battery. That’s why NiMH chargers are the best option. This way you don’t have any risks of getting your battery ruined. 

NiMH charger charges slowly and it’s perfect for the batteries. That’s why it’s worth getting over using NiCad charges which have potential risks. 

Speaking of batteries, here are our top recommendations-

Product 1 
Product 2 

You can now select whichever you like and get them instantly! 

At the end of the day, all it requires is to prevent overcharging of NiMH batteries. As long as your batteries aren’t overcharging, you’re good to go. 

But it’s always recommended to be on the safe side. 

FAQ

Question: Are NiCd and NiMH batteries interchangeable?

Answer: NiCd and NiMH batteries are interchangeable but within a certain degree. You’ve to change the chargers and use the batteries according to a new discharge rate.

Question: Is NiCad or Lithium better?

Answer: NiCad batteries have more capacity but require a lot of maintenance. On top of that, NiCad batteries have Cadmium which is super toxic to the environment. 

Question: Do NiMH batteries explode?

Answer: NiMH batteries can get swollen and leak if it’s overcharged. Although it’s rare, the chances are there. When these happen, there is a chance that the NiMH battery will explode. 

Take Away

That was everything on can you charge a nimh battery with a nicad charger. Hopefully, we were able to provide you with enough to solve your confusion. 

Also here’s a parting gift from us. You can also try trickle charge with NiCad chargers. However, you have to be really careful if you want to do that. 

Finally, have a nice day!

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