Difference between revisions of "Rechargeable battery"

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(NiZn link)
 
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Good AA rechargeables ones now give similar capacity to [[alkaline]], around 2.8Ah. At £1.50 a cell lasting 500 charges that's 0.3p per charge. Alkaline AAs at 17p each are thus 56x the cost.
+
==Types==
 +
===Nickel===
 +
;[[NiCd]]  
 +
:Low capacity, slow charge rate and toxic cadmium. A typical AA Nicad gives 0.45Ah from a 15hr charge. 1.2v per cell.
  
Zinc carbons are much cheaper per battery, but give even less capacity per cost.
+
;[[NiMH battery|NiMh]]
 +
:AA NiMH typically 0.8Ah - 2.8Ah, charge rates from 5hrs to 15 minutes. 1.2v. New NiMH are mostly low self discharge (LSD), older ones steadily discharged themselves. LSD NiMH are usually labelled as ready-charged, something that's not practical with earlier NiMH.
 +
 
 +
;NiFe
 +
:[[History|Historic]] forerunner of NiCd. Seldom seen, but one manufacturer of industrial sized cells does exist. Extremely long lived, some made in the 1920s still work. Most can be rejuvenated by replacing the electrolyte. Initial cost higher than lead acid, but lifetime far longer.
 +
 
 +
;Ni-Zn
 +
:Nickel zinc cells have a high 1.6-1.8v terminal voltage. The low number of recharge cycles has long been a problem, but 500 cycle cells are available now. Lower capacity than NiMH. Unpopular as of 2013, they are currently only sold by Maplin, and only available in sub-C, AA & AAA. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93zinc_battery Wikipedia]
 +
 
 +
===Lead acid===
 +
;[[Lead acid]]
 +
:Large, heavy, lowest cost per capacity. Mainly used in [[car]]s. [[Acid]] spills out if tipped. Starting batteries (as used in cars) don't last long when discharged 50% or more repeatedly, its then important to choose deep discharge or leisure batteries.
 +
 
 +
;[[Lead acid|Sealed lead acid]]
 +
:SLA are spillproof variants of [[lead acid]]s. Mainly used in alarms, golf & mobility buggies, UPS, etc.
 +
 
 +
===Lithium===
 +
;Lithium ion
 +
:Li-ion cells store more [[energy]] than the same size NiMH, and charge faster, hence their main use in [[Computing|laptops]]. Correct charging is essential, or they catch [[fire]].
 +
 
 +
There are also non-rechargeable lithium batteries.
 +
 
 +
===Alkaline===
 +
;Rechargeable alkaline
 +
:A rechargeable variant of [[Alkaline battery|alkaline]]. Not in general use in UK, can be bought from abroad. They don't last as well as NiMh and NiCd, and have short lives if deep discharged. They provide 1.4v per cell when recharged, useful for [[appliance]]s that don't play well with NiCd and NiMH. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_alkaline_battery Wikipedia article]
 +
 
 +
==Are rechargeables worth it?==
 +
Good AA rechargeables ones now give similar capacity to [[Alkaline battery|alkaline]], around 2.8Ah. At £1.50 a cell lasting 500 charges that's 0.3p per charge. Alkaline AAs at 17p each are thus 56x the cost.
 +
 
 +
[[Zinc carbon]]s are much cheaper per [[battery]], but give even less capacity per cost.
  
 
The cost of the recharging [[electricity]] is trivial. A 2.5Ah 1.2v cell holds 3 watthours, or 0.003 kWh. Allowing for inefficiencies, 0.005kWh costs 0.005x13p = 0.065p. You can recharge 15 for a penny.
 
The cost of the recharging [[electricity]] is trivial. A 2.5Ah 1.2v cell holds 3 watthours, or 0.003 kWh. Allowing for inefficiencies, 0.005kWh costs 0.005x13p = 0.065p. You can recharge 15 for a penny.
 
* Alkaline cost: 17p each
 
* Alkaline cost: 17p each
* Rechargeable cost plus electricity: 0.365p
+
* Rechargeable cost plus electricity: 0.365p per cycle
  
 
Where capacity isn't so important, [[cheap]] rechargeables at half the price typically give around 1/3 the capacity.
 
Where capacity isn't so important, [[cheap]] rechargeables at half the price typically give around 1/3 the capacity.
Line 11: Line 43:
  
 
==When they're not as good==
 
==When they're not as good==
With LED devices such as torches or remote controls, rechargeables' lower voltage reduces light output or range, making the batteries run longer.
+
Discussion of the apps where alkaline are better is [https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/uk.d-i-y/2-fEtNS-DAQ here]
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==Cordless tools==
 +
NiCd 1.3-2 Ah sub-C cells are most common. Energy capacity = voltage x Amphours. The quality of nicads varies widely, affecting how long they last in trade use.
 +
 
 +
Li-ion powered [[tools]] cost more, and are less likely to come with more than one battery pack. The advantage is faster recharging.
 +
 
 +
Supercapacitor powered tools are rarely seen. These have low capacity, but extremely fast recharge. The number of charge cycles is not limited as battery chemistries are. [http://www.ohgizmo.com/2007/10/01/coleman-flashcell-cordless-screwdriver-recharges-in-just-90-seconds/ ohgizmo]
 +
 
 +
==Battery failure==
 +
Cordless [[tool]] NiCd battery packs can be recelled, but its too often not worthwhile. Recelling with budget cells may be cheaper, but how long they last in non-diy use is another matter.
 +
 
 +
NiCd and NiMH cells that won't hold charge can in theory be zapped with a moment of high charge current to burn out the shorting dendrites and make them work, but zapped cells quickly re-short.
  
Rechargeables don't last as long in very low drain apps such as clocks, due to gradual self discharge.
+
Li-ion cells have limited life even when not used. A li-ion battery that's little used lasts longest if stored half charged in a [[Fridge freezer|freezer]], sealed in a bag to keep it dry. Defrost before use, eat before sell by.
  
There are still some [[appliance]]s that won't work with rechargeables, such as a minority of cameras.
+
A seldom seen option is to run a 12v - 18v tool on a lead acid battery on a short lead. It does at least provide many times the battery capacity. Current draw is upto 20A or 30A, so the [[flex]] should be rated to at least 5A (30A wire would only be needed for continuous operation.)
  
 +
Lead acids can sometimes be repaired by replacing the electrolyte, but handling toxic lead compounds and [[acid]] for the cost of a new battery isn't normally worthwhile.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
[[Alkaline battery]]
+
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechargeable_battery Wikipedia]
[[NiMH battery]]
 
  
  
 
[[Category:Batteries]]
 
[[Category:Batteries]]

Latest revision as of 18:20, 1 February 2013

Types

Nickel

NiCd
Low capacity, slow charge rate and toxic cadmium. A typical AA Nicad gives 0.45Ah from a 15hr charge. 1.2v per cell.
NiMh
AA NiMH typically 0.8Ah - 2.8Ah, charge rates from 5hrs to 15 minutes. 1.2v. New NiMH are mostly low self discharge (LSD), older ones steadily discharged themselves. LSD NiMH are usually labelled as ready-charged, something that's not practical with earlier NiMH.
NiFe
Historic forerunner of NiCd. Seldom seen, but one manufacturer of industrial sized cells does exist. Extremely long lived, some made in the 1920s still work. Most can be rejuvenated by replacing the electrolyte. Initial cost higher than lead acid, but lifetime far longer.
Ni-Zn
Nickel zinc cells have a high 1.6-1.8v terminal voltage. The low number of recharge cycles has long been a problem, but 500 cycle cells are available now. Lower capacity than NiMH. Unpopular as of 2013, they are currently only sold by Maplin, and only available in sub-C, AA & AAA. Wikipedia

Lead acid

Lead acid
Large, heavy, lowest cost per capacity. Mainly used in cars. Acid spills out if tipped. Starting batteries (as used in cars) don't last long when discharged 50% or more repeatedly, its then important to choose deep discharge or leisure batteries.
Sealed lead acid
SLA are spillproof variants of lead acids. Mainly used in alarms, golf & mobility buggies, UPS, etc.

Lithium

Lithium ion
Li-ion cells store more energy than the same size NiMH, and charge faster, hence their main use in laptops. Correct charging is essential, or they catch fire.

There are also non-rechargeable lithium batteries.

Alkaline

Rechargeable alkaline
A rechargeable variant of alkaline. Not in general use in UK, can be bought from abroad. They don't last as well as NiMh and NiCd, and have short lives if deep discharged. They provide 1.4v per cell when recharged, useful for appliances that don't play well with NiCd and NiMH. Wikipedia article

Are rechargeables worth it?

Good AA rechargeables ones now give similar capacity to alkaline, around 2.8Ah. At £1.50 a cell lasting 500 charges that's 0.3p per charge. Alkaline AAs at 17p each are thus 56x the cost.

Zinc carbons are much cheaper per battery, but give even less capacity per cost.

The cost of the recharging electricity is trivial. A 2.5Ah 1.2v cell holds 3 watthours, or 0.003 kWh. Allowing for inefficiencies, 0.005kWh costs 0.005x13p = 0.065p. You can recharge 15 for a penny.

  • Alkaline cost: 17p each
  • Rechargeable cost plus electricity: 0.365p per cycle

Where capacity isn't so important, cheap rechargeables at half the price typically give around 1/3 the capacity.


When they're not as good

Discussion of the apps where alkaline are better is here


Cordless tools

NiCd 1.3-2 Ah sub-C cells are most common. Energy capacity = voltage x Amphours. The quality of nicads varies widely, affecting how long they last in trade use.

Li-ion powered tools cost more, and are less likely to come with more than one battery pack. The advantage is faster recharging.

Supercapacitor powered tools are rarely seen. These have low capacity, but extremely fast recharge. The number of charge cycles is not limited as battery chemistries are. ohgizmo

Battery failure

Cordless tool NiCd battery packs can be recelled, but its too often not worthwhile. Recelling with budget cells may be cheaper, but how long they last in non-diy use is another matter.

NiCd and NiMH cells that won't hold charge can in theory be zapped with a moment of high charge current to burn out the shorting dendrites and make them work, but zapped cells quickly re-short.

Li-ion cells have limited life even when not used. A li-ion battery that's little used lasts longest if stored half charged in a freezer, sealed in a bag to keep it dry. Defrost before use, eat before sell by.

A seldom seen option is to run a 12v - 18v tool on a lead acid battery on a short lead. It does at least provide many times the battery capacity. Current draw is upto 20A or 30A, so the flex should be rated to at least 5A (30A wire would only be needed for continuous operation.)

Lead acids can sometimes be repaired by replacing the electrolyte, but handling toxic lead compounds and acid for the cost of a new battery isn't normally worthwhile.

See also

Wikipedia