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Rechargeable Batteries Technology Guide

1. How do batteries work?

Courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Report By Sandra M. Dawson

A battery, which is actually an electric cell, is a device that produces electricity from a chemical reaction. Strictly speaking, a battery consists of two or more cells connected in series or parallel, but the term is generally used for a single cell. A cell consists of a negative electrode; an electrolyte, which conducts ions; a separator, also an ion conductor; and a positive electrode. The electrolyte may be aqueous (composed of water) or nonaqueous (not composed of water), in liquid, paste, or solid form. When the cell is connected to an external load, or device to be powered, the negative electrode supplies a current of electrons that flow through the load and are accepted by the positive electrode. When the external load is removed the reaction ceases. A primary battery is one that can convert its chemicals into electricity only once and then must be discarded. A secondary battery has electrodes that can be reconstituted by passing electricity back through it; also called a storage or rechargeable battery, it can be reused many times.

2. What are the different types of batteries?

Three types of rechargeable batteries are used in today's electronics; nickel cadmium (NiCad), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium-ion (Li-Ion).

NiCad batteries are the most primitive form of batteries but are cheap to manufacture and can still be found in low cost portable electronic devices such as CD Walkman and remote controls.

NiMH batteries offer more capacity and recharge more efficiently than NiCad batteries. You'll find NiMHbatteries in mid-range digital cameras and more expensive MP3 players.

The most powerful rechargeable batteries are Lithium Ion which can be found in most video cameras, cell phones, and laptops being sold now.

For a more technical explanation of battery types, click here.

3. What safety features do Tekkeon batteries provide?

The innovative design of Tekkeon batteries provides many safety features to prevent overheating and overcharging, including

  • Flame-retardant plastics that exceed industry requirements
  • Control of battery voltage and charging current through standards-based algorithms
  • Safey mechanisms to prevent over-charging (over-discharging, over-current, short circuit)
  • Charge rates that comply with battery cell manufacturer recommendations

4. How do I safely store lithium polymer batteries?

Lithium polymer batteries must be used consistently for maximum performance. Therefore, if you do not use the battery often, once a month you should discharge and recharge the battery to 40% (if it will be transported) or 70% (for long term storage), and store it in a cool and dry environment at a temperature between 50° and 86° F (10° and 30°C). You may permanently damage your battery’s capacity by storing the battery without any capacity in the cell. It is important that you do not leave the battery in the interior of a vehicle parked in the sun, or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time.

5. How can I prolong the life of a battery?

When you buy rechargeable batteries they will usually be discharged/empty. Most battery manufacturers recommending charging the batteries fully (usually overnight) before using them in any device. This will "condition" the battery for maximum charge. During its first use, don't recharge the battery again until it's empty. Only charge it once there is no more power left. Again, fully charge the battery overnight. You may have to repeat this 2-3 times to allow the battery to reach its optimal state.

Some battery chargers have built in conditioners that will automatically drain the battery until empty and then charge from a fresh start.

Extreme heat and cold also will affect your battery’s performance. At temperatures above 80°F (27°C), the battery will discharge more quickly, and in colder temperatures, the battery won’t charge well. Therefore, it is recommended that the battery is used at room temperature, or between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). The battery must be used at temperatures between 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C). It is not recommended that the battery is charged in temperatures above 104°F (40°C), and the battery capacity may be permanently damaged if you use your battery in temperatures higher than 140°F (60°C). You may damage the battery even more if you charge the device in these temperatures. You may find that using the battery in a very cold environment decreases the battery capacity. Unlike the effects of a hot environment, this is a temporary condition. Once warmed, the battery will return to its previous capacity.

6. How do I dispose of Tekkeon batteries?

Your batteries must be disposed of properly according to local laws and regulations. Because this product contains a battery, the product must be disposed of separately from household waste.



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