Information Article about Rechargeable Batteries
Many consumers and large quantity users of batteries, have decided to make the switch from Alkalines to Rechargeable batteries. It’s really a no-brainer, considering all the benefits rechargeable batteries offer. Here’s a brief tutorial about it.
Rechargeable batteries are classified largly in 2 main chemistries. One chemistry is called NiMh (Nickel Metal Hydride) and the other chemistry is NiCD (Nickel Cadmium).
The working voltage on both of these types of rechargeable batteries is 1.2 volts. Alkaline batteries deliver 1.5 volts. Regardless of this voltage difference, they are interchangeable because of their different chemistries. Both NiMh and NiCd rechargeable batteries will power all the same devices that Alkaline batteries will, of the same size. The most commonly used battery sizes in the consumer market are: AA, AAA, C, D and 9 Volt.
As with all batteries, rechargeable batteries are rated by the mAh (milliampere hours) they deliver. MAh represents the capacity of the battery, therefore, the higher the mAh rating, the longer the battery will last once it has been charged. For example, a rechargeable battery that is rated at 2000 mAh, will power your electronic device twice as long as battery that is rated 1000 mAh. That was simple!
You will find that higher mAh rated batteries are usually more expensive but this doesn’t mean that higher rated mAh batteries are necessarily better batteries. It simple means they will just power your device for a longer period of time than lower rated ones.
NiMH rechargeable batteries are a newer technology than NiCD rechargeables and have become the more popular choice these days. Now let’s look at the 3 main differences between these 2 types of rechargeable batteries and we will see why. There is “memory effect” to understand. There are mAh ratings to consider and there are charging differences to know about.
1) MEMORY EFFECT This is a term used to describe “the new, lower, total voltage of a battery, decreased by having been recharged before it had become fully drained. When recharging a battery that can suffer from “memory effect”, it must be charged only when it has been fully depleted of power. To recharge before it becomes empty, causes the battery to “remember” the new, lower, total power capacity. Example: if a memory effect battery is recharged when it is only 1/3 empty, it only gets topped off with 1/3 the power. This 1/3 value becomes the new total power of the battery. If that same battery were to be recharged when it was 9/10’s empty, 9/10th of power would be topped off and it would only have suffered the loss of 1/10 its’ original power. NiCd chemistry batteries DO experience memory effect. To protect your purchase investment on NiCd’s, remember to recharge them, only when they have become drained of all power, or as many people say: “dead”. NiMH rechargeables do NOT experience memory effect. They cost more money than NiCd’s do, but are worry-free regarding recharging.
2) mAh RATING NiMh batteries have much higher mAh ratings than do NiCD batteries. The higher the mAh rating, the longer the battery will deliver power. That’s a point often factored in by consumers, as they calculate how long they need their devices to run. If for example, you are setting up a digital camera on a tripod to capture some footage on a time-released basis, spanning hours, you will need the batteries to work for longer and will benefit from batteries with more highly rated mAh.
3) CHARGING You can charge an NiMH battery almost twice as many times - also called “cycles”, as you can an NiCD battery. Example: If you can recharge an NiCd battery 600 times, you can charge the NiMh counterpart equivalent, 1200 times.
NiMh rechargeables are more costly to buy, but amortized over time, the capacity and larger number of life-cycles they will provide, plus their immunity from memory effect, prove them to be the economical choice for the moderate to heavy battery user.
We always recommend NiMH batteries for high-drain devices such as: cameras, flashes, radios and flashlights. NiCD batteries on the other hand, are ideal for solar lights, remote controls and other items not requiring an excessive amount of power, also called low-drain.
Many people don’t know this but rechargeable batteries come with very little to no charge at all, fresh out of the package! They should be charged prior to their first use if you need them to deliver the full extent of their capability with their very first use. And know this as well: once the battery has been charged, it will start to lose approximately 2% - 3% of its’ capacity per day when idle, (not in use). Therefore, after a month's time, regular rechargeable batteries will need to be recharged. However, there is now aldo a new technology availalbe in rechargeable batteries that addresses this concern, called Low Self-Discharge (LSD). These low discharge rechargeable batteries, which are also made in all the sizes mentioned above, will be delivered to you, fully charged, when new. As well, they will only lose 15% of their capacity over an entire year, while unused, on the shelf.That is certainly something important to factor in, when making your decision on which type of rechargeable batteries are best for your applications.
To the right of this article, you’ll see our inventory of rechargeable batteries. Always Fresh, Guaranteed! We have large inventories of NiCd, NiMh and Low Self-Discharge.
Always purchase batteries from a trusted and reputable supplier. One who delivers not only a good product at a reasonable price, but one who can be counted on to provide accurate technical product information PRIOR to your purchase. That battery supplier is onlybatteries.com. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service!
We invite you to visit our full range of Battery Information Articles where you will gain a valuable education on all sorts of battery and battery charger topics.
If you have any additional questions about rechargeable batteries, we invite you to contact us prior to your purchase. We’re always happy to assist you!
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