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do you have to charge a compact battery for 24 hours first charge
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No I just charge it till the light goes out, or whatever.
it varies dependent on the battery technology you camera uses, check your camera's manual for instructions on the first charge process as not adhering to the manufacturers can reduce the life of the batteries.
You should always charge the battery to its maximum before first use - but that rarely takes 24 hours. Four or five would be more typical and because some batteries have some charge as supplied, it can frequently be a lot shorter than that. Most chargers have some sort of indicator that the battery is up to capacity and usually the charge will cut off at that point in any case.
thanks for replies I was setting up canon ixus for workmate and some discussion followed I just put the charger on till the charge light went out[95 mins] but other workmates said 24 hours for first charge?
As I said, most modern chargers have a trip switch which will cut off once you're at full capacity. Overcharging a battery can at worst seriously overheat the cells and will again shorten the unit's useful lifespan. 95 minutes for the relatively modest charge an ixus battery will hold doesn't sound especially short.
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