To start off, I am aware that neither battery type should be “trickle charged”.
That being said, I have a product that really needs to randomly “trickle” charge a rechargeable battery. I have a device that will have sporadic and unreliable solar energy as the only source. While the device is low energy, it also contains some power hungry sensors that need to turn on once a day or once a week. The power required is above a reasonably priced super cap (would need ~500F at least). So my solution is to use some NiMH AAA batteries or a Lithium Cell. The reason I believe trickle charging could be ok is because I do not need anywhere close to the full capacity of the battery, so I would set a max charge voltage to below the nominal full cell voltage, and use a current control charge to limit it to a safe charge current, so the cell is charged in a safe manner until it reaches some voltage below the full cell voltage. I.e. for a NiMH that has a full cell voltage of ~1.5 I would charge to 1.35V.
I’m unable to find any information on this type of setup online, it seems all the typical trickle charge questions are about trickle charging to full capacity and beyond, which is a no-no for both the named chemistry above.
I’m also aware this is not an ideal situation and testing would need to be done to ensure the batteries hold up alright in this configuration. If anyone has any advice for alternative storage systems I’d be thrilled. I’m limited to ~1/4W of solar power and the device needs to operate for a few minutes at a time with a peak power of ~1-2W.
So after reading some posts on Stack Exchange, and the comments below, it seems like partial charging of Li-ion is a good solution since at most I only need 50% capacity. The internet is full of stories about how dangerous Li-ion can be that I have mostly avoided it, but in this case, it seems to be a good solution other then the wide temperature range that I need to look into.