The word “battery” dates back to Benjamin Franklin in 1748. Today, everyone comes into contact with at least a few items that are battery-powered.
The issue is that there are a lot of different types of batteries. If you’re trying to make something run on battery power, which kind do you need? What’s the difference between the different types of batteries?
Every type of battery uses a different fuel and works well for different purposes. Some are rechargeable, while others are not.
Read on to learn about the different batteries and what they’re used for.
Chances are that you’ve used many alkaline batteries in your lifetime. If you’ve ever used a AAA or AA battery, then you’ve used an alkaline battery. These power everything from remotes to toys.
There are a lot more benefits to alkaline batteries than there are disadvantages.
First of all, they have a very long shelf life. This is partly because they have a much lower discharge rate when idle. So if the battery isn’t actively being used, it will still have power when you’re ready for it.
They’re also extremely efficient and have low leakage, meaning you won’t need to worry about corrosion or acid getting on your hands.
Coin cell batteries get their name from their shape. These batteries power devices ranging from watches to scales. If it’s too small for AAA batteries, then it probably uses a coin cell.
They’re also small and easy to store. They have a long shelf life and don’t cost as much as other batteries.
Unlike an alkaline batter, however, these batteries need a holder to work. Once you have that, you can get high voltage from them by arranging them serially. On their own, they produce fairly low voltage.
This is why they’re generally used for devices that don’t need a lot of electricity. Watches and scales are fairly simple machines, so coin cell batteries work well for this purpose.
Larger machines need a much larger power supply, and that’s exactly what lead-acid batteries do. These are used for cars, robotics, heavy machinery, and even as Universal Power Sources (UPS) (like this Duracell Powersource 660).
Unlike smaller, non-rechargeable batteries, lead-acid batteries hold a lot more power capability. They’re also very low cost compared to other options the energy industry has on the market right now.
However, they also don’t have as much density as their smaller counterparts do. They tend to be much larger and heavier than most other batteries for this reason. So if you get one of these batteries, you’re going to need to plan where you’ll store it first.
Ni-Cd batteries get their names from the chemical compounds that they use: nickel and cadmium. If you ever find rechargeable AA batteries, then these are one of two types of batteries you may have found. In fact, one of the benefits of this kind of battery is that it comes in all standard sizes.
That means that these are also used for tv remotes and toys just like alkaline batteries.
Of the two types of batteries that utilize nickel, this is the cheaper option and it’s easy to recharge. The trouble with them is that they need to be recharged frequently. They become unusable after a while if you don’t take care of them.
Ni-MH batteries use Nickel and Metal Hydride. They also come in all standard sizes and have a higher power density than Ni-Cd batteries. Furthermore, they’re just as easy to charge as Ni-Cd batteries, so they’re a more sustainable alternative to alkaline batteries.
Unlike Ni-Cd batteries, they also have much less of an environmental impact. The Ni-Cd combination creates a dangerous chemical that can be bad for the local environment if there’s ever a leak. Ni-MH batteries, on the other hand, have a much lower risk of causing a problem.
The one major drawback is that Ni-MH batteries tend to be much more expensive, so they’re far less accessible to those interested in rechargeable alternatives to alkaline batteries.
The latest in rechargeable battery technology is lithium-ion batteries or Li-ion. They’re used in many modern rechargeable devices from smartphones to rechargeable toys.
The benefits of these batteries are that they’re also very lightweight and easy to store. This is why they sit inside thin smartphones without making them weigh too much.
They have a very high power density and cell voltage.
There are only three issues that you should be aware of before choosing a Li-ion battery.
The first is that they need a battery protection circuit. If its terminals are short-circuited, then these batteries might explode. They’re also the most expensive battery option when size and capability are compared.
Lithium-ion polymer batteries or Li-Po batteries are the last type of battery you can find on the market today. These are very similar in size and shape to Li-ion batteries, so they’re often used in the same places.
What sets a Li-Po battery apart from a Li-ion battery is its safety and durability. A Li-Po battery doesn’t need a protective circuit even though they’re usually thinner than Li-ion batteries.
Just because they’re more durable and safer, however, doesn’t mean that they won’t also explode under the right circumstances. If it’s connected incorrectly, then this might cause a small explosion. Bending the battery or exposing it to high temperatures can also cause it to explode.
Find the Right Types of Batteries Today
Getting the right types of batteries for your devices is important to the health of the device. If you give it too much power, then the device can overheat or short-circuit. If you don’t give it enough power, then the device won’t work the way that it should.
This is why each battery is used in specific types of devices. Each one has its own requirements for power supply, and the battery works accordingly.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other articles about the energy industry today.