Battery Care in Cold Weather

Battery Care in Cold Weather
Battery : Photographer in Snow Battery : Photographer in Snow

Battery : During the incredibly cold winter period we are currently experiencing, it’s important to stress the challenges the cold weather can bring to your photography shoots due to the limitations of your equipment, especially for those on location or in less well-heated areas. Let’s face it, none of us have the heating on quite as much as we’d like to for obvious reasons, so even whilst shooting indoors the cold can affect your photography gear.

One casualty of the cold weather that may not be obvious to those using their brand-new portable photography equipment is the lithium batteries housed in their flash/lighting units. Lithium batteries actually fare far better than their counterparts in more extreme conditions, but even they have their limits. Lithium batteries are basically storage units of a large amount of energy that neither like getting too hot or too cold. Their basic function is to store energy and then release energy, and any drastic change in temperature can alter the performance of either of these two functions.

Battery : Godox V860III with battery outBattery : Godox V860III with battery out

Problems the Cold Can Cause

Our largest brand of lithium powered battery powered flashes and lights is Godox, and they advise not to use or store their batteries if the surrounding temperature is over 40°C or below -10°C. However, we find that although lithium batteries may be used within those temperature ranges, but there is potential for the performance to suffer. A good rule of thumb is if you’re cold, your battery is cold, and probably even colder than that.

We have been contacted by members of our community asking for help when it comes to their batteries not charging, not holding charge, or just appearing dead. At this time of year the answer is almost always a simple one - get the battery warmer. By simply holding the battery between your hands, putting it in your pocket, or wrapping up the battery to shelter it from the elements you can bring a seemingly dead or inadequate battery back to full use. Of course, when it comes to any issues in life, prevention is better than cure, so with that in mind we have compiled some top tips for using your battery in winter below.

Tips for getting the most out of your batteries in cold weather

  1. Keep them next to your body (in pockets etc.) - When on shoots, a simple trick to get your battery warm is keeping your spares in a pocket so your body warmth can keep them comfortable.
  2. Don’t leave them in the cold for extended periods of time - When on a shoot, leaving your battery in your rucksack/bag in the cold is inviting the weather to get the better of your battery. To counter this, grab the next battery you’ll use in plenty of time and chuck it in your pocket.
  3. Keep them wrapped up - Whether you’re about to use them or you’re putting them in storage, it’s a good idea to wrap them up in a suitably sized cloth, wrap or blanket. Especially in instances of long-term storage, it’s crucial that you protect them from the elements as much as you can.
  4. Store them inside - Leading on from the last point, there is no better way of stifling a battery’s long-term life than storing it in your cold garage or in the coldest room in your house. Keep them in your more comfortably warm rooms in the house – tucked away in the living room or under your bed.
  5. Have spares - Even after taking all necessary precautions there is no substitute for simply having…a substitute. If you are working in cold conditions being able to switch batteries between the one in your flash and the warm one ready-to-go in your pocket is a game changer. You can find a spare battery for your flash or lighting unit here.
Battery : Godox VB26 Battery in chargerBattery : Godox VB26 Battery in charger
Cameron Wingate
Cameron Wingate

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