Different Types of Batteries and Why They Matter

24 Sep, 2019 | Quest Components
Variety of Batteries

Different Types of Batteries and Why They Matter

In our mobile and on-the-go digital world, batteries are a necessity. When you want to take electronics on the go, they need batteries to work when not plugged in. Portable electronics offer convenience, but the right battery for the right device is key. Some batteries have been around for over a century and others have just recently joined the ranks. Some are single-use and others are rechargeable and all come in their own unique packaging.

So how can you determine what type of battery to use for your electronic devices and your own original electronic projects? The following information will help shed some light on the advantages, disadvantages, and unique capabilities of the common types of batteries available.

 

Most common types:

Alkaline: One of the most common types, alkaline batteries contain an alkaline electrolyte, usually potassium hydroxide. Alkaline batteries are best used in low drain electronics, such as LED flashlights, clocks, radios, toys, and remote control devices. Moderate drain items, such as incandescent light bulbs, can also operate effectively with alkaline batteries. High drain electronics, such as digital cameras, will operate using alkaline batteries, but the battery life is greatly reduced.

Lead Acid Batteries Lead Acid: The oldest rechargeable battery, the lead acid type was the first commercial use rechargeable battery. These are still in use today in cars, golf carts, scooters, and wheelchairs because there are no affordable alternatives yet to replace them. Lead acid are also a tried and true choice for off-grid solar systems. Lead acid batteries can last a long time, but they have to be constantly charged. When sitting in a discharged state they lose power and cannot be recharged if unused for a long period of time.

Lithium: The advantage of lithium batteries is that lithium is very light, making it possible to hold more power in the same size casing as other batteries. Lithium batteries have a long shelf life and work well in all temperatures, but should only be used in high-power devices. Using a lithium battery in a device that isn’t designed for that much power can cause damage to the circuitry. The only other disadvantage is that they are more expensive than alkaline batteries.

Lithium Ion Batteries Lithium Ion: These batteries are usually rechargeable and used in items like smart phones, laptop computers, and sport watches. They are most often found in block, slab, or battery pack form. Lithium Ion batteries can be recharged over and over, but they will gradually lose capacity to hold a charge over time. Not only is their shelf life short, but when they sit unused for long they lose their ability to be recharged.

Nickel Cadmium: These are rechargeable batteries containing nickel oxide hydroxide, metallic cadmium, and an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide. They are primarily used for portable items, such as computers, drills, camcorders, and other items that require an even power discharge.

Nickel Metal Hydride:These batteries contain a combination of nickel, an alloy, and potassium hydroxide as an electrolyte. Most often found in rechargeable form, these are good for high drain devices and prolonged energy usage, such as digital cameras, flash units, radio controlled cars, and GPS devices. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries deliver more current and a steady voltage, which makes them ideal for sourcing devices that require a lot of power. The disadvantages include fast loss of power when not in use and a decrease in capacity after more than 100 charges. They are also a bit fragile, as their performance suffers if they are dropped or roughly handled.

Most common packaging:

Common Batteries Sizes AA, AAA, C, D, 9V: These batteries are the typical household use batteries you will most likely recognize. A-D are typically cylindrical with a positive end and a negative end. 9Volt batteries are rectangular with a positive and negative terminal side by side on the same end, most often used in smoke detectors. Dont forget to check out our availability of AA, AAA, C, D, and 9 Volt batteries.

 

Button Type Batteries Button or Coil Cell:These are small, round, and flat. The most common types are CR series batteries, such as the CR2032, CR2025, CR2016, CR1216, CR1220 and CR1620 to name a few, that are used in garage door openers, car key fobs, book lights, and any small devices that need a very compact battery. Some are lithium and others are alkaline.

 

Camera Type Batteries Camera Battery:Camera batteries are usually made in rechargeable units or battery packs because they last longer than individual AA or AAA alkaline batteries. A few of common camera batteries are the CR2, CR123A and 2CR5.

Custom Battery Packs Custom Battery Packs: Custom battery packs are created for specific devices to provide the right amount of power. Let us know if you have needs for custom battery packs, we can assist with designing in and supply any type of battery pack you might need for your application.

How Do Batteries Differ from Capacitors?

While they may look similar, batteries and capacitors are not the same thing. The battery provides the energy from its own internal chemical energy stores. The capacitor then takes energy from the battery and stores it in a magnetic field, as opposed to a chemical storage system. The capacitor is able to charge and discharge faster due to the lack of chemical reaction required. Batteries can store a higher electrical charge and capacitors can handle higher voltage.

Tips for Maximizing Battery Life

  • Store batteries in moderate temperatures whenever possible.
  • Remove batteries from devices before long term storage (more than a month).
  • Remove batteries from any device before plugging it in.
  • Don’t try to charge different brands or types of batteries at the same time with the same charger.
  • Keep batteries out of hot vehicles, attics, garages, or other areas where extreme heat would be an issue.
  • Don’t store batteries where they may come in contact with other metals, such as coins, paper clips, or metal hardware.

Get the Right Batteries for your Electronics

Whether you’re looking for batteries for a premade device, a do-it-yourself project, or a large commercial endeavor, you can find the right batteries at Quest Components. Call (626) 333-5858 to place an order or ask questions about batteries and other available products. You can also order online at your convenience. Contact Quest Components today at 626-333-5858 for all your battery needs!

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