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The core difference of NiCd vs NiMh for solar lights is that the NiCd positive terminal has nickel-cadmium. In contrast, the NMIH positive terminal has nickel-metal hydride. As a result, NiCd has a better recharge cycle and charges faster but can not hold for long and goes off without giving a hint. On the other hand, NiMh can store power for longer and has a larger storage capacity. Still, a shorter recharge cycle and slow charge make it less favorite. So, if you want a durable, fast charging option, go for NiCd. Still, if your battery provides power for a more extended period after a single charge, NiMh for you.

Batteries are categorized as primary or secondary Common types of batteries are regular alkaline and belong to the primary batteries category. Close to 3 billion batteries are disposed of within the USA, with close to 350 million batteries sold per year.

There are differences in rechargeable batteries composition. There are laws and precautions for disposal by waste disposal and battery manufacturers. But have ever wondered how safe, efficient and economical are rechargeable batteries. I will analyze and compare NiCd and NiMh rechargeable batteries.

Read my guide on best solar charge controller here.

nicd vs nimh for solar lights
EfficiencyThey are preferred for integrated solar systems because they can work under low temperaturePerformances is affected by high temperatures and may become ineffective in outdoor hot weather
CapacityLower charge storage capacity Higher charge storage capacity
DurabilityLasts longer. Have a long recharge cycle and thus can be used for a long time. Can withstand overchargingDo not last for long. Have shorter recharge cycle thus can not be used for a long time. Cannot withstand overcharging like Nicd batteries
Recharge TimeCharge quicklyCharge slowly
EconomyLess expensiveMore expensive
Charge ReleaseRelease constant chargeCharge diminishes with usage
Environment FriendlinessThey are toxic to the environment due to Cadmium. Recycling is impossible because of toxic propertiesNot poisonous and are environmentally friendly. Can be recycled after being fully used
Memory EffectProne to memory effects and are effective if charged after they are fully drainedNot prone to memory effects and can be recharged without allowing them to discharge fully
Weak Cell SyndromeNot affectedSeverally affected. Quickly lose their charge despite being fully charged

NiCd batteries have a long recharge cycle, meaning that they can be charged and recharged more times than NiMh batteries. NiCd have a long time warranty and can also hold charge for longer.

NiMh batteries have a short charge cycle meaning that they can only be charged and recharged few times. they thus become defective more quickly. Your battery charger comes in handy when the sun is low.

NiCd rechargeable batteries charge quickly and are convenient for areas with limited daylight or seasons with few sunny days. NiMh charges slowly and requires longer exposure to sun rays. Slow charging makes them inconvenient in cloudy conditions or limited daylight.

NiCd batteries release a constant charge and therefore the solar bulbs maintain a steady illumination. However, the light switches off randomly after the charge energy in the battery diminishes. The lamp is likely to switch off unexpectedly.

NiMH loses charge exponentially making the bulb change from bright to dim. One can determine the left amount of energy depending on the brightness levels of the solar powered light.

NiCd battery is an abbreviation for Nickel-cadmium battery. As per the abbreviation, the main components at the terminals are nickel and Cadmium. The negative end is also called the cathode and has a nickel-hydroxide deposit.

The positive end of the battery also known as the anode terminal, comprises of cadmium-hydroxide deposit. The electrolyte is the paste-like portion found in regular batteries and is composed of potassium hydroxide.

NICd battery has a voltage of 1.2 V and can have a maximum voltage of 1.3 v when charged. These batteries discharge at a constant voltage rate and thus, the solar lamp does not dim after continued usage.

Storage of charge in NiCd batteries is due to chemical reactions that charge the chemical properties of the material at the terminals. The reactions are oxidation and reduction reactions which can allow the chemical composition of the materials at the terminals to change and revert back.

When charged, the negative terminal has Cadmium, and the positive terminal has nickel-oxy hydroxide (NiOOH) as the active material. During the discharge process, the Cadmium deposit at the negative terminal is converted to CD(OH)2 and back to Cadmium during charging.

The potassium hydroxide electrolyte does not change but allows for the reactions to occur. The Potassium hydroxide provides for the flow of electrons. Electrons flow from the positive terminal to the negative terminal and has a specific gravity of between 1.24 to 1.30.

Product Image Top TopBAOBIAN AA 600mAh 1.2V NiMH Rechargeable Batteries for Solar Light,Solar Lamp,Garden Lights Green(8 PCS)BAOBIANBuy on Amazon
Product Image Top TopGEILIENERGY Solar Light AA Ni-CD 600mAh Rechargable Batteries,AA Rechargeable Batteries for Solar Lights Solar Lamp(8 PCS)GEILIENERGYBuy on Amazon
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
  • Baobian manufactures the Baobian AA NiCd 600mAh 1.2V AA Rechargeable Batteries, suitable for Intermatic and Malibu Solar Garden light. They can replace 600mAh, 800mAh lead acid battery, lithium ion battery, alkaline battery and other regular batteries.
  • Geilienergy manufactures 1.2-volt 600mAh AA nicd type. They also manufacture AAA varieties of higher mAh battery.
  • Relightable manufactures Relightable AA brand batteries. These NiCd batteries have 600mAh 1.2V voltage and are perfect for Intermatic and Malibu Solar Garden light. They and can replace 600mAhor 800mAh battery types.

NiMh is an abbreviation for Nickel-metal hydride. The main components of the Nimh battery are the cathode, anode and electrolyte. The positive terminal, known as the anode, is composed of hydrogen-absorbing alloys called metal hydrides.

The negative terminal or the cathode is formed of nickel hydroxide. Like in NiCd batteries, the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.

NiMh batteries were developed from the scientific discovery that hydrogen can be used as storage of alternative energy. NiMh batteries evolved from Nickel-Hydrogen batteries that were used in satellites.

The Hydrogen absorbing electrode is made from an alloy of lanthanum and rare earth metals, which are generally silvery or white. The cadmium terminal found in NiCd batteries is replaced with this hydrogen storing metal alloy or metal hydride in NiMh batteries.

NiMh batteries are environmentally friendly and recyclable. This is because they do not have cadmium elements in them.

NiMh batteries are similar to non-rechargeable alkaline batteries in voltage and charge storage. They are however better replacements because of their recharge capability and are unlikely to explode.

Product Image Top TopGEILIENERGY Solar Light Batteries AAA Triple A NIMH 600mAh 1.2V Rechargeable for Garden Lights Remotes Mice(12PCS)GEILIENERGYBuy on Amazon
Product Image Top TopNiMH Rechargeable AA Battery High Capacity 1.2V Pre Charged Double A Battery for Solar Lights, Battery String Lights, TV Remotes, Wireless Mouses, Radio, Flashlight (AA-1300mAh-12pack)BrightownBuy on Amazon
Product Image Top TopTenergy Solla AAA Rechargeable NiMH Battery, 600mAh Solar Batteries for Outdoor Solar Lights, Outdoor Patio Lights, Anti-Leak, Outdoor Durability, 5+ Years Performance, 12 PCS, UL CertifiedTenergyBuy on Amazon
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
  • Geilienergy manufactures Geilienergy NiMH AA solar battery with 600mAh 1.2V capacity. They are favorable to use in Intermatic and Malibu Solar Garden light. they are a replacement for 600mAh, 800mAh, regular batteries, or NiCd AA batteries.
  • Highpower Minetom manufactures NiMH rechargeable AA battery high capacity 1.2V, which is usually sold while pre charged.
  • Tenergy manufactures Tenergy Solla rechargeable NiMH AA battery, 1000mAh solar batteries which have five years life span.
  • Dynpower manufactures the NiMH 1.2V AAA 600mAh rechargeable batteries which have a thousand and five hundred times recharge cycle.
In a Nutshell

In an attempt to save our environment, we should venture more into utilizing eco-friendly energy from the sun.

Although batteries help store renewable solar energy, there is rising concern about the disposal and their effects on the environment. To safeguard the environment, used NiCd solar batteries should be taken to NiCd recycle centers for proper disposal.

Many developed nations have formulated strategies to eliminate fossil fuels and ensure carbon-free energy production by 2035. Storage of solar and wind electricity remains the critical focal point for invention on how to store. There is tremendous funding for long-duration energy storage batteries.

The use of nanotechnology, organosilicon electrolyte, and use of zinc is the future of battery manufacturers. NiCd vs NiMh for solar lights both have their uses in our life. Use NiCd for fast charging and NiMh for long battery life.

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