Thanks for the detailed response, Richfamus1! It’s really helpful information to me. It’s consistent with my guess that they’re not trying to recharge already fully-charged batteries, but they need to do some kind of evaluation of the condition of the batteries before they can decide whether the batteries need to be charged up anymore or not. Who knows? Maybe they have internal cycles in the charging process to evaluate how full (or empty) the batteries are, then apply a charging dose if necessary, then re-evaluate, then apply another charging dose if necessary, and so on, until this process stops.
As for the viability of the ZPower battery’s future against the competition from the Lithium Ion battery, I’m not quite ready to count it out yet. The ZPower system does have some important advantage over the Lithium-ion model.
The most significant one is that it allows people to use disposable batteries so that they don’t become totally dependent on the reliability of the Lithium-ion system, or even the reliability of the user to remember to consistently remember to charge every night, or the reliability of the power company to not have power failure overnight.
It also gives people the freedom to be spontaneous like falling asleep watching TV on the couch, or deciding to stay overnight at a friend’s last minute even if they didn’t bring the charger with them. ZPower users probably stock spare disposable batteries with them everywhere, like in their cars. bags, wallets, etc.
Secondly, there’s an advantage to being able to just switch out the rechargeable batteries to new ones after they no longer last a full day, hopefully after a full year of use. There’d be no downtime to have to send your hearing aids back to the manufacturer to have the batteries replaced like with the Lithium-ion built-in version.
I have no idea whether paying for 3 or 4 sets of the Silver Zinc ZPower batteries is economically more advantageous to sending your lithium-ion based hearing aids back to the manufacturer every 3 or 4 years to replace or not. But even if it’s not cheaper, it doesn’t seem like it’d be more expensive. At least we know for sure that with the ZPower, there’s no cost to ship back and forth the hearing aids, and there’s no service cost to take it apart and replace the old with the new batteries.
And what if the HA mfg no longer provides support for that version of the Lithium-ion based HA because it’s already too old? How are you going to get your Lithium-ion batteries replaced then? With the ZPower, at least as long as the company is in business and sell the battery replacement, lack of support due to model obsolescence is not a worry.
Thirdly, I see a possibility of it co-existing with the Lithium-ion based system, simply because it can easily be retrofitted to almost any non-rechargeable hearing aid brand/model. So people who know they want the Lithium-ion based hearing aids up front can go for that (assuming that it’s available). But people who are not sure (or can’t afford) the Lithium-ion based version can opt to go for the ZPower option later on if they want, simply by swapping out the doors. There should be no reason why HA mfgs wouldn’t want to offer both options, as long as all the reliability issues get worked out and resolved for the ZPower system after the initial releases.
Finally, this factor may not be a big deal to some people, but Lithium-ion batteries have had a stigma of being unsafe, from the Samsung Note 7 fire scandal and other laptop batteries burning up and exploding if the charging system or the battery itself is faulty. With the Silver Zinc Zpower battery being non-toxic, environmental friendly, and safer to use, I’d feel a little safer with something right behind my ear not having any possibility to catch fire. Although with the Lithium-ion being so ubiquitous in so many products, this issue may not be a big deal to many people.