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Nicd Battery Memory Effect

Ni–Cd batteries may suffer from a "memory effect" if they are discharged and recharged to the same state of charge hundreds of times. The apparent symptom is that the battery "remembers" the point in its charge cycle where recharging began and during subsequent use suffers a sudden drop in voltage at that point, as if the battery had been discharged. The capacity of the battery is not actually reduced substantially. Some electronics designed to be powered by Ni–Cd batteries are able to withstand this reduced voltage long enough for the voltage to return to normal. However, if the device is unable to operate through this period of decreased voltage, it will be unable to get enough energy out of the battery, and for all practical purposes, the battery appears "dead" earlier than normal.

There is evidence that the memory effect story originated from orbiting satellites, where they were typically charging for twelve hours out of 24 for several years.[10] After this time, it was found that the capacities of the batteries had declined significantly, but were still fit for use. It is unlikely that this precise repetitive charging (for example, 1,000 charges/discharges with less than 2% variability) could ever be reproduced by individuals using electrical goods. The original paper describing the memory effect was written by GE scientists at their Battery Business Department in Gainesville, Florida, and later retracted by them, but the damage was done. It is unlikely to be a real phenomenon, but has taken on a life of its own as an urban myth.[citation needed]

The battery survives thousands of charges/discharges cycles. Also it is possible to lower the memory effect by discharging the battery completely about once a month.[citation needed] This way apparently the battery does not "remember" the point in its charge cycle.

An effect with similar symptoms to the memory effect is the so-called voltage depression or lazy battery effect. This results from repeated overcharging; the symptom is that the battery appears to be fully charged but discharges quickly after only a brief period of operation. In rare cases, much of the lost capacity can be recovered by a few deep-discharge cycles, a function often provided by automatic battery chargers. However, this process may reduce the shelf life of the battery.[citation needed] If treated well, a Ni–Cd battery can last for 1,000 cycles or more before its capacity drops below half its original capacity. Many home chargers claim to be "smart chargers" which will shut down and not damage the battery, but this seems to be a common problem.