A place well known to all UK cheapskates, 7dayshop had these cells on offer for about 20% less than they are asking for AA Eneloops (Price works out at $8.41 for 4 at today's exchange rate). Or less than half what they are asking for the XX Eneloops. So I thought they'd be worth a try. I really don't need any more LSD AA's as i already have 40 Eneloops, 16 Eneloop Tones, 20 Vapex Instants (Not all that great unless they are very, very cheap), 8 Camelion 2100, 4 Hybrios somewhere. I own enough lights to take about 60AAs so I'm still not going to run out any time soon.
So it's no big deal doing long-term testing on these Pansonics. They claim a 1600 cycle life - might be interesting to try that out, but I hope we'll have something way better than NiMH by the time any of these LSDs come anywhere near their cycle life. It might be interesting to see how long they'd survive being blasted by a 15-minute charger but I don't feel like being that cruel to them. Unless they turn out to be not very good.
The back of the packaging - these are Chinese made cells.
With other LSDs I had sitting around. I'd have used more if I could have found them - there are some Hybrios about somewhere. The black Tronic branded ones cost very little from Lidl - my initial opinion is that they are barely worth the very little I paid for them (less than half what an Eneloop would cost.)
Positive contacts - the slightly "squared off" look of the + contact is very reminiscent of the Eneloop Tone one on the far right. This is hardly surprising as Panasonic owns Sanyo, I believe.
The negative contact isn't link any of the others - but Panasonic has been making (or at least commissioning the manufacture of) cells for a long time. Presumably, even though they own Sanyo they prefer to use production techniques and processes well-understood by them (or their contract manufacturer)
Initial Voltages were within a few millivolts of each other, between 1.282 and 1.286V
This suggests to me the cells were made a while ago, the claims about cycle life date from 2010 and it wouldn't surprise me if these have been in a warehouse for a couple of years. The voltage was a bit below what I expected. The first discharge should be done in about three hours.
The plan is to run five full cycles and take the average of the first five cycles as the baseline. Discharging is at 550mA, charging at 2A followed by at least 4 hours trickle charging a Maha C808M charger.