New Technologies Batteries Guide

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs

National Institute of Justice

Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program
NEW TECHNOLOGY BATTERIES GUIDE
NIJ Guide 200-98

New Technology Batteries Guide

FOREWORD

The Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) of the National Institute of Standards
and Technology furnishes technical support to the National Institute of Justice program to
strengthen law enforcement and criminal justice in the United States. OLES’s function is to
conduct research that will assist law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in the selection
and procurement of quality equipment.

OLES is: (1) subjecting existing equipment to laboratory testing and evaluation, and (2)
conducting research leading to the development of several series of documents, including
national standards, user guides, and technical reports.

This document covers research conducted by OLES under the sponsorship of the National
Institute of Justice. Additional reports as well as other documents are being issued under the
OLES program in the areas of protective clothing and equipment, communications systems,
emergency equipment, investigative aids, security systems, vehicles, weapons, and analytical
techniques and standard reference materials used by the forensic community.

Technical comments and suggestions concerning this report are invited from all interested
parties. They may be addressed to the Director, Office of Law Enforcement Standards, National
Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.

David G. Boyd, Director
Office of Science and Technology
National Institute of Justice

New Technology Batteries Guide iv

New Technology Batteries Guide

BACKGROUND

The Office of Law Enforcement Standards
(OLES) was established by the National
Institute of Justice (NIJ) to provide focus on two
major objectives: (1) to find existing equipment
which can be purchased today, and (2) to
develop new law-enforcement equipment which
can be made available as soon as possible. A
part of OLES’s mission is to become thoroughly
familiar with existing equipment, to evaluate its
performance by means of objective laboratory
tests, to develop and improve these
methods of test, to develop performance
standards for selected equipment
items, and to prepare guidelines for the
selection and use of this equipment. All of these activities are
directed toward providing law enforcement
agencies with assistance in making good
equipment selections and acquisitions in
accordance with their own requirements.

As the OLES program has matured, there has
been a gradual shift in the objectives of the
OLES projects. The initial emphasis on the
development of standards has decreased, and the
emphasis on the development of guidelines has
increased. For the significance of this shift in
emphasis to be appreciated, the precise
definitions of the words “standard” and
“guideline” as used in this context must be
clearly understood.

A “standard” for a particular item of equipment
is understood to be a formal document, in a

A standard is not intended to inform and guide the reader; that is the
function of a guideline conventional format, that details the
performance that the equipment is required to
give, and describes test methods by which its
actual performance can be measured. These
requirements are technical, and are stated in
terms directly related to the equipment’s use.
The basic purposes of a standard are (1) to be a
reference in procurement documents created by
purchasing officers who wish to specify
equipment of the “standard” quality, and (2) to identify objectively
equipment of acceptable performance.

Note that a standard is not intended to inform and guide the reader; that is the
function of a “guideline.” Guidelines are written in non-technical language and are addressed to
the potential user of the equipment. They include a general discussion of the equipment,
its important performance attributes, the various models currently on the market, objective test
data where available, and any other information that might help the reader make a rational
selection among the various options or alternatives available to him or her.

This battery guide is provided to inform the reader of the latest technology related to battery
composition, battery usage, and battery charging techniques.

Kathleen Higgins
National Institute of Standards and Technology
March 27, 1997

New Technology Batteries Guide vi

New Technology Batteries Guide

CONTENTS

FOREWORD ...............................iii

BACKGROUND ............................ v

CONTENTS............................... vii

List of Figures .............................viii

List of Tables ..............................viii

List of Equations ...........................viii

Fundamentals of Battery Technology .......... 1

1.1 What is a Battery? ..................... 1

1.2 How Does a Battery Work?.............. 1

1.3 Galvanic Cells vs. Batteries.............. 3

1.4 Primary Battery ....................... 3

1.5 Secondary Battery ..................... 3

1.6 Battery Labels ........................ 3

2. Available Battery Types .................... 5

2.1 General ............................. 5

2.1.1 Acid vs. Alkaline................. 5

2.1.2 Wet vs. Dry ..................... 5

2.1.3 Categories ...................... 5

2.2 Vehicular Batteries .................... 6

2.2.1 Lead-Acid ................... 6

2.2.2 Sealed vs. Flooded ............... 6

2.2.3 Deep-Cycle Batteries.............. 7

2.2.4 Battery Categories for Vehicular

Batteries........................ 7

2.3 “Household” Batteries.................. 7

2.3.1 Zinc-carbon (Z-C) ................ 8


2.3.2 Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Alkaline Cells

(“Alkaline Batteries”) ............. 8

2.3.3 Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries ..... 9

2.3.4 Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) .......... 9

2.3.5 Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) .... 10

2.3.6 Nickel-Iron (Ni-I) ............... 10

2.3.7 Nickel-Zinc (Ni-Z) .............. 10

2.3.8 Lithium and Lithium Ion .......... 10

2.4 Specialty Batteries (“Button” and Miniature

Batteries)............................ 12

2.4.1 Metal-Air Cells ................. 12

2.4.2 Silver Oxide ................... 12

2.4.3 Mercury Oxide ................. 13

2.5 Other Batteries....................... 13

2.5.1 Nickel-Hydrogen (Ni-H) .......... 13

2.5.2 Thermal Batteries ............... 13

2.5.3 Super Capacitor................. 13

2.5.4 The Potato Battery............... 14

2.5.5 The Sea Battery................. 14

2.5.6 Other Developments ............. 14

3.Performance, Economics and Tradeoffs ....... 15

3.1 Energy Densities ..................... 15

3.2 Energy per Mass..................... 15

3.3 Energy Per Volume ................... 15

3.4 Memory Effects...................... 16

3.5 Voltage Profiles...................... 16

3.6 Self-Discharge Rates .................. 17

3.7 Operating Temperatures ............... 17

3.8 Cycle Life .......................... 18

3.9 Capacity Testing ..................... 18

3.10 Battery Technology Comparison........ 18

4. Selecting the Right Battery for the Application . 23

4.1 Battery Properties .................... 24

4.2 Environmental Concerns ............... 24

4.3 Standardization ...................... 26

4.4 Testing Capacities .................... 26

4.5 Mobile Radios ....................... 27

4.6 Cellular Phones and PCS Phones ........ 27

4.7 Laptop Computers .................... 28

4.8 Camcorders ......................... 28

4.9 Summary ........................... 29

5. Battery Handling and Maintenance........... 31

5.1 Battery Dangers...................... 31

5.2 Extending Battery Life ................ 33

New Technology Batteries Guide

6. Battery Chargers and Adapters .............. 35

6.1 Battery Chargers ..................... 35

6.2 Charge Rates ........................ 36

6.3 Charging Techniques.................. 36

6.4 Charging Lead-Acid Batteries ........... 36

6.5 Charging Ni-Cd Batteries .............. 37

6.6 Timed-Charge Charging ............... 37

6.7 Pulsed Charge-Discharge Chargers ....... 38

6.8 Charging Button Batteries .............. 38

6.9 Internal Chargers ..................... 38

6.10 Battery Testers...................... 38

6.11 “Smart” Batteries.................... 39

6.12 End of Life ........................ 39

6.13 Battery Adapters .................... 40

7. Products and Suppliers .................... 41

7.1 Battery Manufacturers................. 41

7.1.1 Battery Engineering.............. 42

7.1.2 Duracell....................... 42

7.1.3 Eveready ...................... 42

7.1.4 Rayovac....................... 42

8. A Glossary of Battery Terms ............... 43

9. Bibliography ............................ 51

List of Figures

page
Figure 1. Conceptual diagram of a galvanic cell. . . . 1
Figure 2. Energy densities, W#h/kg, of various battery
types (adapted from NAVSO P-3676). ....... 15
Figure 3. Energy densities, W#h/L, of various battery
types (adapted from NAVSO P-3676). ....... 16
Figure 4. Flat discharge curve vs. sloping discharge
curve. ................................. 17
Figure 5. Performance comparison of primary and
secondary alkaline and Ni-Cd batteries (adapted
from Design Note: Renewable Reusable Alkaline
Batteries). .............................. 23

List of Tables

page
Table 1. The Electromotive Series for Some Battery
Components ............................. 2
Table 2. Various Popular Household-Battery Sizes . 8
Table 3. Battery Technology Comparison (adapted from

Design Note: Renewable Reusable Alkaline
Batteries) .............................. 19
Table 4. A Comparison of Several Popular Battery Types ................................. 20
Table 5. Recommended Battery Types for Various Usage Conditions ........................ 25
Table 6. Typical Usage of Portable Telecommunications Equipment. ............ 27
Table 7. Charge Rate Descriptions ............. 35
Table 8. Some On-Line Information Available via the World Wide Web ........................ 41

List of Equations

page
Equation 1. The chemical reaction in a lead-acid battery. ................................. 6
Equation 2. The chemical reaction in a Leclanché cell........................................ 8
Equation 3. The chemical reaction in a nickel-cadmium battery. ......................... 9
Equation 4. The chemical reaction in a lithium-manganese dioxide cell. ................... 11

New Technology Batteries Guide

COMMONLY USED SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS

A ampere H henry nm nanometer
ac alternating current h hour No. number
AM amplitude modulation hf high frequency o.d. outside diameter
cd candela Hz hertz (c/s) .
ohm
cm centimeter i.d. inside diameter p. page
CP chemically pure in inch Pa pascal
c/s cycle per second ir infrared pe probable error
d day J joule pp. pages
dB decibel L lambert ppm part per million
dc direct current L liter qt quart
(C degree Celsius lb pound rad radian
(F degree Fahrenheit lbf pound-force rf radio frequency
dia diameter lbf#in pound-force inch rh relative humidity
emf electromotive force lm lumen s second
eq equation ln logarithm (natural) SD standard deviation
F farad log logarithm (common) sec. section
fc footcandle M molar SWR standing wave ratio
fig. figure m meter uhf ultrahigh frequency
FM frequency modulation min minute uv ultraviolet
ft foot mm millimeter V volt
ft/s foot per second mph mile per hour vhf very high frequency
g acceleration/gravity m/s meter per second W watt
g gram N newton .
wavelength
gr grain N#m newton meter wt weight

area=unit2 (e.g., ft2, in2, etc.); volume=unit3 (e.g., ft2, m3, etc.)

PREFIXES

d deci (10-1) da deka (10)

c centi (10-2) h hecto (102)

m milli (10-3) k kilo (103)

µ micro (10-6) M mega (106)

n nano (10-9) G giga (109)

p pico (10-12) T tera (1012)

COMMON CONVERSIONS (See ASTM E380)

ft/s×0.3048000=m/s lb×0.4535924=kg
ft×0.3048=m lbf×4.448222=N
ft#lbf×1.355818=J lbf/ft×14.59390=N/m
gr×0.06479891=g lbf#in×0.1129848=N.
#m
in×2.54=cm lbf/in2×6894.757=Pa
kWh×3600000=J mph1.609344=km/h

qt×0.9463529=L

Temperature: (T(F32)×5/9=T(C
Temperature: (T(C×C9/5)+32=T(F


New Technology Batteries Guide

1. Fundamentals of Battery Technology
1.1 WHAT IS A BATTERY?
A battery, in concept, can be any device that
stores energy for later use. A rock, pushed to
the top of a hill, can be considered a kind of
battery, since the energy used to push it up the
hill (chemical energy, from muscles or
combustion engines) is converted and stored
as potential kinetic energy at the top of the
hill. Later, that energy is released as kinetic
and thermal energy when the rock rolls down
the hill.

wires connect the electrodes to an electrical
load (a light bulb in this case). The metal in
the anode (the negative terminal) oxidizes
(i.e., it “rusts”), releasing negatively charged
electrons and positively charged metal ions.
The electrons travel through the wire (and the
electrical load) to the cathode (the positive
terminal). The electrons combine with the
material in the cathode. This combination
process is called reduction, and it releases a
negatively charged metal-oxide ion. At the interface with the
Common use of the word, “battery,”
however, is limited to an electrochemical
device that converts chemical energy
into electricity, by use of a galvanic
cell. A galvanic cell is a fairly simple
device consisting of two electrodes (an
anode and a cathode) and an electrolyte solution. Batteries consist of one or
more galvanic cells.

1.2 HOW DOES A BATTERY WORK?
Figure 1 shows a simple galvanic cell.
Electrodes (two plates, each made from a
different kind of metal or metallic compound)
are placed in an electrolyte solution. External

Figure 1. Conceptual diagram of a galvanic cell.

electrolyte, this ion causes a water molecule to split into a hydrogen ion
and a hydroxide ion. The positively charged hydrogen ion combines with
the negatively charged metal-oxide ion and becomes inert. The negatively charged hydroxide ion flows through the
electrolyte to the anode where it combines with the positively charged metal ion, forming a water molecule and a metal-
oxide molecule. In effect, metal ions from the anode will “dissolve” into the electrolyte solution while
hydrogen molecules from the electrolyte are deposited onto the cathode.

When the anode is fully oxidized or the cathode is fully reduced, the chemical reaction
will stop and the battery is considered to be discharged.

Recharging a battery is usually a matter of externally applying a voltage across the plates
to reverse the chemical process. Some chemical reactions, however, are difficult or
impossible to reverse. Cells with irreversible reactions are commonly known as primary
cells, while cells with reversible reactions are known as secondary cells. It is dangerous to
attempt to recharge primary cells.

The amount of voltage and current that a galvanic cell produces is directly related to the
types of materials used in the electrodes and electrolyte. The length of time the cell can
produce that voltage and current is related to the amount of active material in the cell and
the cell’s design.

Every metal or metal compound has an electromotive force, which is the propensity of
the metal to gain or lose electrons in relation to another material. Compounds with a
positive electromotive force will make good anodes and those with a negative force will
make good cathodes. The larger the difference between the electromotive forces of the anode
and cathode, the greater the amount of energy that can be produced by the cell. Table 1
shows the electromotive force of some common battery components.

Table 1. The Electromotive Series for Some Battery Components

Anode Materials Cathode Materials
(Listed from worst (Listed from best
[most positive] to best [most positive] to
[most negative]) worst [most negative])
Gold Ferrate
Platinum Iron Oxide
Mercury Cuprous Oxide
Palladium Iodate
Silver Cupric Oxide
Copper Mercuric Oxide
Hydrogen Cobaltic Oxide
Lead Manganese Dioxide
Tin Lead Dioxide
Nickel Silver Oxide
Iron Oxygen
Chromium Nickel Oxyhydroxide
Zinc Nickel Dioxide
Aluminum Silver Peroxide
Magnesium Permanganate
Lithium Bromate

Over the years, battery specialists have experimented with many different
combinations of material and have generally tried to balance the potential energy output of
a battery with the costs of manufacturing the battery. Other factors, such as battery weight,
shelf life, and environmental impact, also enter into a battery’s design.

New Technology Batteries Guide

1.3 GALVANIC CELLS VS. BATTERIES
From earlier discussion, we know that a battery is one or more galvanic cells connected
in series or in parallel.

A battery composed of two 1.5 V galvanic cells connected in series, for example, will
produce 3 V. A typical 9 V battery is simply six 1.5 V cells connected in series. Such a
series battery, however, will produce a current that is the equivalent to just one of the
galvanic cells.

A battery composed of two 1.5 V galvanic lls connected in parallel, on the other hand,
will still produce a voltage of 1.5 V, but the current provided can be double the current
that just one cell would create. Such a battery can provide current twice as long as a single cell.

Many galvanic cells can be thus connected to create a battery with almost any current at any
voltage level.

1.4 PRIMARY BATTERY
A primary battery is a battery that is designed to be cycled (fully discharged) only once and
then discarded. Although primary batteries are often made from the same base materials as
secondary (rechargeable) batteries, the design and manufacturing processes are not the same.

Battery manufacturers recommend that primary batteries not be recharged. Although
attempts at recharging a primary battery will occasionally succeed (usually with a diminished capacity), it is more likely
that the battery will simply fail to hold any charge, will leak electrolyte onto the battery charger, or will overheat and
cause a fire. It is unwise and dangerous to recharge a primary battery.

1.5 SECONDARY BATTERY
A secondary battery is commonly known as a rechargeable battery. It is usually designed to
have a lifetime of between 100 and 1000 recharge cycles, depending on the composite
materials.

Secondary batteries are, generally, more cost effective over time than primary batteries,
since the battery can be recharged and reused. A single discharge cycle of a primary
battery, however, will provide more current for a longer period of time than a single discharge cycle of
an equivalent secondary battery.

1.6 BATTERY LABELS
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard, ANSI C18.1M-1992, lists
several battery features that must be listed on a battery’s label. They are:
.
Manufacturer -- The name of the battery manufacturer.
.
ANSI Number -- The ANSI/NEDA
number of the battery.
.
Date --The month and year that the battery
was manufactured or the month and year that
the battery “expires” (i.e., is no longer
guaranteed by the manufacturer).
.
Voltage --The nominal battery voltage.
A battery is one or more galvanic
cells connected in series or in
parallel



New Technology Batteries Guide

.
Polarity -- The positive and negative
terminals. The terminals must be clearly
marked.
.
Warnings --Other warnings and cautions
related to battery usage and disposal.

2. Available Battery Types

2.1 GENERAL

2.1.1 Acid vs. Alkaline
Batteries are often classified by the type of electrolyte used in their construction. There
are three common classifications: acid, mildly acid, and alkaline.

Acid-based batteries often use sulphuric acid as the major component of the electrolyte.
Automobile batteries are acid-based. The electrolyte used in mildly acidic batteries is far
less corrosive than typical acid-based batteries and usually includes a variety of salts that
produce the desired acidity level. Inexpensive household batteries are mildly acidic batteries.

Alkaline batteries typically use sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide as the main
component of the electrolyte. Alkaline batteries are often used in applications where
long-lasting, high-energy output is needed, such as cellular phones, portable CD players,
radios, pagers, and flash cameras.

2.1.2 Wet vs. Dry
“Wet” cells refer to galvanic cells where the electrolyte is liquid in form and is allowed to
flow freely within the cell casing. Wet batteries are often sensitive to the orientation
of the battery. For example, if a wet cell is oriented such that a gas pocket accumulates
around one of the electrodes, the cell will not produce current. Most automobile batteries are
wet cells.

“Dry” cells are cells that use a solid orpowdery electrolyte. These kind of electrolytes
use the ambient moisture in the air to complete the chemical process. Cells with
liquid electrolyte can be classified as “dry” if the electrolyte is immobilized by some
mechanism, such as by gelling it or by holding it in place with an absorbent substance such as
paper.

In common usage, “dry cell” batteries will usually refer to zinc-carbon cells (Sec. 2.3.1)
or zinc-alkaline-manganese dioxide cells  (Sec. 2.3.2), where the electrolyte is often
gelled or held in place by absorbent paper.

Some cells are difficult to categorize. For example, one type of cell is designed to be
stored for long periods without its electrolyte present. Just before power is needed from the
cell, liquid electrolyte is added.

2.1.3 Categories
Batteries can further be classified by their intended use. The following sections discuss
four generic categories of batteries;

“vehicular” batteries (Sec. 2.2),
“household”batteries (Sec. 2.3),
“specialty” batteries (Sec.2.4), and
“other” batteries (Sec. 2.5).

Each section will focus on the general properties of
that category of battery. Note that some battery types (acidic or
alkaline, wet or dry) can fall into several different categories. For this guideline, battery
types are placed into the category in which they are most likely to be found in commercial
usage.

2.2 VEHICULAR BATTERIES
This section discusses battery types and configurations that are typically used in motor
vehicles. This category can include batteries that drive electric motors directly or those that
provide starting energy for combustion engines. This category will also include large,
stationary batteries used as power sources for emergency building lighting, remote-site
power, and computer back up.

Vehicular batteries are usually available off-theshelf in standard
designs or can be custom built for specific applications.

2.2.1 Lead-Acid

Lead-acid batteries, developed in the late 1800s, were the first commercially practical batteries. Batteries of this type
remain popular because they are relatively inexpensive to produce and sell. The
most widely known uses of lead-acid batteries are as automobile batteries. Rechargeable
lead-acid batteries have become the most widely used type of battery in the world—more than 20 times the use rate of
its nearest rivals. In fact, battery manufacturing is the single largest use for lead in the world.
11Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology, Brooke Schumm, Jr., 1992.

Battery manufacturing is the single largest use for lead in the world.

Equation 1 shows the chemical reaction in a lead-acid cell.

PbO2Pb2H2SO4
.
2PbSO42H2O

Equation 1. The chemical reaction in a lead-acid battery.

Lead-acid batteries remain popular because they can produce high or low currents over a
wide range of temperatures, they have good shelf life and life cycles, and they are
relatively inexpensive to manufacture. Lead-acid batteries are usually rechargeable.

Lead-acid batteries come in all manner of shapes and sizes, from household batteries to large batteries for use in
submarines. The most noticeable shortcomings of lead-acid batteries are their
relatively heavy weight and their falling voltage profile during discharge (Sec. 3.5).

2.2.2 Sealed vs. Flooded
In “flooded” batteries, the oxygen created at the positive electrode is released from the cell
and vented into the atmosphere. Similarly, the hydrogen created at the negative electrode is
also vented into the atmosphere. The overall result is a net loss of water (H2O) from the
cell. This lost water needs to be periodically replaced. Flooded batteries must be vented to
prevent excess pressure from the build up of these gases. Also, the room or enclosure
housing the battery must be vented, since a concentrated hydrogen and oxygen atmosphere is explosive.

In sealed batteries, however, the generated oxygen combines chemically with the lead and
then the hydrogen at the negative electrode, and then again with reactive agents in the
electrolyte, to recreate water. The net result is no significant loss of water from the cell.

2.2.3 Deep-Cycle Batteries
Deep-cycle batteries are built in configurations similar to those of regular batteries, except
that they are specifically designed for prolonged use rather than for short bursts of
use followed by a short recycling period. The term “deep-cycle” is most often applied to
lead-acid batteries. Deep-cycle batteries require longer charging times, with lower
current levels, than is appropriate for regular batteries.
As an example, a typical automobile battery is usually used to provide a short, intense burst
of electricity to the automobile’s starter. The battery is then quickly recharged by the
automobile’s electrical system as the engine runs. The typical automobile battery is not a
deep-cycle battery.

A battery that provides power to a recreational vehicle (RV), on the other hand, would be
expected to power lights, small appliances, and other electronics over an extended period
of time, even while the RV’s engine is not running. Deep-cycle batteries are more
appropriate for this type of continual usage.

2.2.4 Battery Categories for Vehicular Batteries Vehicular, lead-acid batteries are further
grouped (by typical usage) into three different categories:

Starting-Lighting-Ignition (SLI) -
Typically,these batteries are used for short, quick-burst, high-current applications. An
example is an automotive battery, which is expected to provide high current, occasionally,
to the engine’s starter.

Traction --
Traction batteries must provide moderate power through many deep discharge
cycles. One typical use of traction batteries is to provide power for small electric vehicles,
such as golf carts. This type of battery use is also called Cycle Service.
.
Stationary --
Stationary batteries must have a long shelf life and deliver moderate to
high currents when called upon. These batteries are most often used for emergencies.
Typical uses for stationary batteries are in uninteruptable power supplies (UPS) and for
emergency lighting in stairwells and hallways. This type of battery use is also called Standby
or Float.

2.3 “HOUSEHOLD” BATTERIES
“Household” batteries are those batteries that are primarily used to power small, portable
devices such as flashlights, radios, laptop computers, toys, and cellular phones. The
following subsections describe the technologies for many of the formerly used
and presently used types of household batteries.

Typically, household batteries are small, 1.5 V cells that can be readily purchased off the
shelf. These batteries come in standard shapes and sizes as shown in Table 2. They can also
be custom designed and molded to fit any size battery compartment (e.g., to fit inside a
cellular phone, camcorder, or laptop computer).

Table 2. Various Popular Household-Battery Sizes

Size Shape and Dimensions Voltage
D Cylindrical, 61.5 mm tall, 34.2 mm diameter.
1.5 V
C Cylindrical, 50.0 mm
tall, 26.2 mm diameter.
1.5 V
AA Cylindrical, 50.5 mm
tall, 14.5 mm diameter.
1.5 V
AAA Cylindrical, 44.5 mm
tall, 10.5 mm diameter
1.5 V
9 Volt Rectangular, 48.5 mm
tall, 26.5 mm wide,
17.5 mm deep.
9 V

Note: Three other standard sizes of household
batteries are available, AAAA, N, and 6-V (lantern)
batteries. It is estimated that 90% of portable,
battery-operated devices require AA, C, or D
battery sizes.

Most of the rest of this guideline will focus on
designs, features, and uses of household batteries.

2.3.1 Zinc-carbon (Z-C)
Zinc-carbon cells, also known as “Leclanché cells” are widely used because of their
relatively low cost. Equation 2 shows the chemical reaction in a Leclanché cell. They
were the first widely available household batteries. Zinc-carbon cells are composed of a
manganese dioxide and carbon cathode, a zinc anode, and zinc chloride (or ammonium
chloride) as the electrolyte.
Zn2MnO22NH4Cl .
Zn(NH3)2Cl22MnOOH

Equation 2. The chemical reaction in a Leclanché cell.

Generally, zinc-carbon cells are not rechargeable and they have a sloping
discharge curve (i.e., the voltage level decreases relative to the amount of discharge).
Zinc-carbon cells will produce 1.5 V, and they are mostly used for non-critical uses such as
small household devices like flashlights and portable personal radios.

One notable drawback to these kind of batteries is that the outer, protective casing of
the battery is made of zinc. The casing serves as the anode for the cell and, in some cases, if
the anode does not oxidize evenly, the casing can develop holes that allow leakage of the
mildly acidic electrolyte which can damage the device being powered.

2.3.2 Zinc-Manganese Dioxide Alkaline Cells (“Alkaline Batteries”)
When an alkaline electrolyte—instead of the mildly acidic electrolyte—is used in a regular
zinc-carbon battery, it is called an “alkaline” battery. An alkaline battery can have a useful
life of five to six times that of a zinc-carbon battery. One manufacturer estimates that 30%
of the household batteries sold in the world today are zinc-manganese dioxide (i.e.,
alkaline) batteries.2,3

2.3.3 Rechargeable Alkaline Batteries
Like zinc-carbon batteries, alkaline batteries are not generally rechargeable. One major
battery manufacturer, however, has designed a “reusable alkaline” battery that they market as
being rechargeable “25 times or more.”4 This manufacturer states that its batteries do
not suffer from memory effects as the Ni-Cd batteries do, and that their batteries have a
shelf life that is much longer than Ni-Cd batteries—almost as long as the shelf life of
primary alkaline batteries.

Also, the manufacturer states that their rechargeable alkaline batteries contain no
toxic metals, such as mercury or cadmium, to contribute to the poisoning of the
environment.

Rechargeable alkaline batteries are most appropriate for low- and moderate-power
portable equipment, such as hand-held toys and radio receivers.

2The Story of Packaged Power, Duracell
International, Inc., July, 1995.

3Certain commercial companies, equipment, instruments, and materials are identified in this report
to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification
imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Justice, or any other U.S. Government
department or agency, nor does it imply that the material or equipment identified is necessarily the best
available for the purpose.

4Household Batteries and the Environment,
Rayovac Corporation, 1995.

2.3.4 Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
Nickel-cadmium cells are the most commonly used rechargeable household batteries. They
are useful for powering small appliances, such as garden tools and cellular phones. The basic
galvanic cell in a Ni-Cd battery contains a cadmium anode, a nickel hydroxide cathode,
and an alkaline electrolyte. Equation 3 shows the chemical reaction in a Ni-Cd cell. Batteries
made from Ni-Cd cells offer high currents at relatively constant voltage and they are
tolerant of physical abuse. Nickel-cadmium batteries are also tolerant of inefficient usage
cycling. If a Ni-Cd battery has incurred memory loss (Sec. 3.4), a few cycles of
discharge and recharge can often restore the battery to nearly “full” memory.
Cd2H2O2NiOOH .
2Ni(OH)2Cd(OH)2

Equation 3. The chemical reaction in a nickel-cadmium battery.

Unfortunately, nickel-cadmium technology is relatively expensive. Cadmium is an
expensive metal and is toxic. Recent regulations limiting the disposal of waste
cadmium (from cell manufacturing or from disposal of used batteries) has contributed to
the higher costs of making and using these batteries.

These increased costs do have one unexpected advantage. It is more cost effective to recycle
and reuse many of the components of a Ni-Cd battery than it is to recycle components of
other types of batteries. Several of the major battery manufacturers are leaders in such
recycling efforts.

2.3.5 Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
Battery designers have investigated several
other types of metals that could be used
instead of cadmium to create high-energy
secondary batteries that are compact and
inexpensive. The nickel-metal-hydride cell is a
widely used alternative.
The anode of a Ni-MH cell is made of a
hydrogen storage metal alloy, the cathode is
made of nickel oxide, and the electrolyte is a
potassium hydroxide solution.

According to one manufacturer, Ni-MH cells
can last 40% longer than the same size Ni-Cd
cells and will have a life-span of up to 600
cycles.5 This makes them useful for high-
energy devices such
as laptop
computers, cellular
phones, and
camcorders.

Ni-MH batteries
have a high self-discharge rate and are
relatively expensive.

2.3.6 Nickel-Iron (Ni-I)
Nickel-iron cells, also known as the Edison
battery, are much less expensive to build and
to dispose of than nickel-cadmium cells.
Nickel-iron cells were developed even before
the nickel-cadmium cells. The cells are rugged
and reliable, but do not recharge very
efficiently. They are widely used in industrial
settings and in eastern Europe, where iron and
nickel are readily available and inexpensive.
2.3.7 Nickel-Zinc (Ni-Z)
Another alternative to using cadmium
electrodes is using zinc electrodes. Although
the nickel-zinc cell yields promising energy
output, the cell has some unfortunate
performance limitations that prevent the cell
from having a useful lifetime of more than 200
or so charging cycles. When nickel-zinc cells
are recharged, the zinc does not redeposit in
the same “holes” on the anode that were
created during discharge. Instead, the zinc
redeposits in a somewhat random fashion,
causing the electrode to become misshapen.
Over time, this leads to the physical
weakening and eventual failure of the
electrode.
2.3.8 Lithium and
Lithium Ion

Lithium is a

promising reactant

in battery

technology, due to

its high electro


positivity. The specific energy of some
lithium-based cells can be five times greater
than an equivalent-sized lead-acid cell and
three times greater than alkaline batteries.6
Lithium cells will often have a starting voltage
of 3.0 V. These characteristics translate into
batteries that are lighter in weight, have lower
per-use costs, and have higher and more stable
voltage profiles. Equation 4 shows the
chemical reaction in one kind of lithium cell.

Lithium will ignite or explode on
contact with water.


5The Story of Packaged Power, Duracell 6Why Use Energizer AA Lithium Batteries?,
International, Inc., July, 1995. Eveready Battery Company, Inc., 1993.


New Technology Batteries Guide

LiMnO2
.
LiMnO2

Equation 4. The chemical reaction in a
lithium-manganese dioxide cell.

Unfortunately, the same feature that makes
lithium attractive for use in batteries—its high
electrochemical potential—also can cause
serious difficulties in the manufacture and use
of such batteries. Many of the inorganic
components of the battery and its casing are
destroyed by the lithium ions and, on contact
with water, lithium will react to create
hydrogen which can ignite or can create
excess pressure in the cell. Many fire
extinguishers are water based and will cause
disastrous results if used on lithium products.
Special D-class fire extinguishers must be
used when lithium is known to be within the
boundaries of a fire.7

Lithium also has a relatively low melting
temperature for a metal, 180 (C (356 (F). If
the lithium melts, it may come into direct
contact with the cathode, causing violent
chemical reactions.

Because of the potentially violent nature of
lithium, the Department of Transportation
(DOT) has special guidelines for the transport
and handling of lithium batteries. Contact
them to ask for DOT Regulations 49 CFR.

Some manufacturers are having success with
lithium-iron sulfide, lithium-manganese
dioxide, lithium-carbon monoflouride,
lithium-cobalt oxide, and lithium-thionyl cells.

7Battery Engineering Web Site,
http://www.batteryeng.com/, August 1997.

In recognition of the potential hazards of
lithium components, manufacturers of lithium-
based batteries have taken significant steps to
add safety features to the batteries to ensure
their safe use.

Lithium primary batteries (in small sizes, for
safety reasons) are currently being marketed
for use in flash cameras and computer
memory. Lithium batteries can last three times
longer than alkaline batteries of the same
size.8 But, since the cost of lithium batteries
can be three times that of alkaline batteries,
the cost benefits of using lithium batteries are
marginal.

Button-size lithium batteries are becoming
popular for use in computer memory back-up,
in calculators, and in watches. In applications
such as these, where changing the battery is
difficult, the longer lifetime of the lithium
battery makes it a desirable choice.

One company now produces secondary
lithium-ion batteries with a voltage of 3.7 V,
“four times the energy density of Ni-Cd
batteries,” “one-fifth the weight of Ni-Cd
batteries,” and can be recharged 500 times.9

In general, secondary (rechargeable) lithium-
ion batteries have a good high-power
performance, an excellent shelf life, and a
better life span than Ni-Cd batteries.
Unfortunately, they have a very high initial

8Navy Primary and Secondary Batteries.
Design and Manufacturing Guidelines, NAVSO P3676,
September 1991.

9Battery Engineering Web Site,
http://www.batteryeng.com/, August 1997.


New Technology Batteries Guide

cost and the total energy available per usage
cycle is somewhat less than Ni-Cd batteries.

2.4 SPECIALTY BATTERIES (“BUTTON” AND
MINIATURE BATTERIES)
“Button” batteries are the nickname given to
the category of batteries that are small and
shaped like a coin or a button. They are
typically used for small devices such as
cameras, calculators, and electronic watches.

Miniature batteries are very small batteries
that can be custom built for devices, such as
hearing aids and electronic “bugs,” where
even button batteries can be too large. Industry
standardization has resulted in five to ten
standard types of miniature batteries that are
used throughout the hearing-aid industry.

Together, button batteries and miniature
batteries are referred to as specialty batteries.

Most button and miniature batteries need a
very high energy density to compensate for
their small size. The high energy density is
achieved by the use of highly electropositive—
and expensive—metals such as
silver or mercury. These metals are not cost
effective enough to be used in larger batteries.

Several compositions of specialty batteries are
described in the following sections.

2.4.1 Metal-Air Cells
A very practical way to obtain high energy
density in a galvanic cell is to utilize the
oxygen in air as a “liquid” cathode. A metal,
such as zinc or aluminum, is used as the
anode. The oxygen cathode is reduced in a
portion of the cell that is physically isolated
from the anode. By using a gaseous cathode,
more room is available for the anode and
electrolyte, so the cell size can be very small
while providing good energy output. Small
metal-air cells are available for applications
such as hearing aids, watches, and clandestine
listening devices.

Metal-air cells have some technical
drawbacks, however. It is difficult to build and
maintain a cell where the oxygen acting as the
cathode is completely isolated from the anode.
Also, since the electrolyte is in direct contact
with air, approximately one to three months
after it is activated, the electrolyte will become
too dry to allow the chemical reaction to
continue. To prevent premature drying of the
cells, a seal is installed on each cell at the time
of manufacture. This seal must be removed by
the customer prior to first use of the cell.
Alternately, the manufacturer can provide the
battery in an air-tight package.

2.4.2 Silver Oxide
Silver oxide cells use silver oxide as the
cathode, zinc as the anode, and potassium
hydroxide as the electrolyte. Silver oxide cells
have a moderately high energy density and a
relatively flat voltage profile. As a result, they
can be readily used to create specialty
batteries. Silver oxide cells can provide
higher currents for longer periods than most
other specialty batteries, such as those
designed from metal-air technology. Due to
the high cost of silver, silver oxide technology
is currently limited to use in specialty
batteries.
2.4.3 Mercury Oxide
Mercury oxide cells are constructed with a
zinc anode, a mercury oxide cathode, and
potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide as
the electrolyte. Mercury oxide cells have a

New Technology Batteries Guide

high energy density and flat voltage profile
resembling the energy density and voltage
profile of silver oxide cells. These mercury
oxide cells are also ideal for producing
specialty batteries. The component, mercury,
unfortunately, is relatively expensive and its
disposal creates environmental problems.

2.5 OTHER BATTERIES
This section describes battery technology that
is not mature enough to be available off-theshelf,
has special usage limitations, or is
otherwise impractical for general use.

2.5.1 Nickel-Hydrogen (Ni-H)
Nickel-hydrogen cells were developed for the
U.S. space program. Under certain pressures
and temperatures, hydrogen (which is,
surprisingly, classified as an alkali metal) can
be used as an active electrode opposite nickel.
Although these cells use an environmentally
attractive technology, the relatively narrow
range of conditions under which they can be
used, combined with the unfortunate volatility
of hydrogen, limits the long-range prospects of
these cells for terrestrial uses.
2.5.2 Thermal Batteries
A thermal battery is a high-temperature,
molten-salt primary battery. At ambient
temperatures, the electrolyte is a solid, nonconducting
inorganic salt. When power is
required from the battery, an internal
pyrotechnic heat source is ignited to melt the
solid electrolyte, thus allowing electricity to be
generated electrochemically for periods from a
few seconds to an hour. Thermal batteries are
completely inert until the electrolyte is melted
and, therefore, have an excellent shelf life,
require no maintenance, and can tolerate
physical abuse (such as vibrations or shocks)
between uses.

Thermal batteries can generate voltages of

1.5 V to 3.3 V, depending on the battery’s
composition. Due to their rugged construction
and absence of maintenance requirements,
they are most often used for military
applications such as missiles, torpedoes, and
space missions and for emergency-power
situations such as those in aircraft or
submarines.
The high operating temperatures and short
active lives of thermal batteries limit their use
to military and other large-institution
applications.

2.5.3 Super Capacitor
This kind of battery uses no chemical reaction
at all. Instead, a special kind of carbon (carbon
aerogel), with a large molecular surface area,
is used to create a capacitor that can hold a
large amount of electrostatic energy.10 This
energy can be released very quickly, providing
a specific energy of up to 4000 Watt-hours per
kilogram (Wh/kg), or it can be regulated to
provide smaller currents typical of many
commercial devices such as flashlights, radios,
and toys. Because there are no chemical
reactions, the battery can be recharged
hundreds of thousands of times without
degradation. Other potential advantages of this
kind of cell are its low cost and wide
temperature range. One disadvantage,
however, is its high self-discharge rate. The
voltage of some prototypes is approximately
2.5 V.
10PolyStor Web Page,
http://www.polystor.com/, August, 1997.


New Technology Batteries Guide

2.5.4 The Potato Battery
One interesting science experiment involves
sticking finger-length pieces of copper and
zinc wire, one at a time, into a raw potato to
create a battery. The wires will carry a very
weak current which can be used to power a
small electrical device such as a digital clock.
One vendor sells a novelty digital watch that is
powered by a potato battery. The wearer must
put a fresh slice of potato in the watch every
few days.

2.5.5 The Sea Battery
Another interesting battery design uses a rigid
framework, containing the anode and cathode,
which is immersed into the ocean to use sea
water as the electrolyte. This configuration
seems promising as an emergency battery for
marine use.
2.5.6 Other Developments
Scientists are continually working on new
combinations of materials for use in batteries,
as well as new manufacturing methods to
extract more energy from existing
configurations.

3. Performance, Economics and Tradeoffs
3.1 ENERGY DENSITIES
The energy density of a battery is a measure of
how much energy the battery can supply
relative to its weight or volume. A battery with
an energy density twice that of another battery
should, theoretically, have an active lifetime
twice as long.

The energy density of a battery is mainly
dependent on the composition of its active
components. A chemist can use mathematical
equations to determine the theoretical
maximum voltage and current of a proposed
cell, if the chemical composition of the anode,
cathode, and electrolyte of the cell are all
known. Various physical attributes, such as
purity of the reactants and the particulars of
the manufacturing process can cause the
measured voltage, current, and capacity to be
lower than their theoretical values.

3.2 ENERGY PER MASS
Figure 2 compares the gravimetric energy
densities of various dry cell systems
discharged at a constant rate for temperatures
between -40 (C (-40 (F) and 60 (C (140 (F).

Of the systems shown, the zinc-air cell
produces the highest gravimetric energy
density. Basic zinc-carbon cells have the
lowest gravimetric energy density.

Figure 2. Energy densities, W#h/kg, of various
battery types (adapted from NAVSO P-3676).


3.3 ENERGY PER VOLUME
Figure 3 compares the volumetric energy
densities of various dry cell systems
discharged at a constant rate for temperatures
between -40 (C (-40 (F) and 60 (C (140 (F).

Of the systems shown, the zinc-air cell
produces the highest volumetric energy
density. Basic zinc-carbon cells have the
lowest volumetric energy density. The curves
for secondary battery cells are not shown in
the tables.


New Technology Batteries Guide


Figure 3. Energy densities, W#h/L, of various
battery types (adapted from NAVSO P-3676).

Of the major types of secondary cells, Ni-Cd
batteries and wet-cell lead-acid batteries have
approximately the same volumetric energy
density. Ni-MH batteries have approximately
twice the volumetric energy density of Ni-Cd
batteries.

3.4 MEMORY EFFECTS
As a rechargeable battery is used, recharged,
and used again, it loses a small amount of its
overall capacity. This loss is to be expected in
all secondary batteries as the active components
become irreversibly consumed.

Ni-Cd batteries, however, suffer an additional
problem, called the memory effect. If a Ni-Cd
battery is only partially discharged before
recharging it, and this happens several times in
a row, the amount of energy available for the
next cycle will only be slightly greater than the
amount of energy discharged in the cell’s
most-recent cycle. This characteristic makes it
appear as if the battery is “remembering” how

much energy is needed for a repeated
application.

The physical process that causes the memory
effect is the formation of potassium-hydroxide
crystals inside the cells. This build up of
crystals interferes with the chemical process of
generating electrons during the next battery-
use cycle. These crystals can form as a result
of repeated partial discharge or as a result of
overcharging the Ni-Cd battery.

The build up of potassium-hydroxide crystals
can be reduced by periodically reconditioning
the battery. Reconditioning of a Ni-Cd battery
is accomplished by carefully controlled power
cycling (i.e., deeply discharging and then
recharging the battery several times). This
power cycling will cause most of the crystals
to redissolve back into the electrolyte. Several
companies offer this reconditioning service,
although battery users can purchase a
reconditioner and recondition their own
batteries. Some batteries can be reconditioned
without a special reconditioner by completely
draining the battery (using the battery powered
device itself or a resistive circuit designed to
safely discharge the battery) and charging it as
normal.

3.5 VOLTAGE PROFILES
The voltage profile of a battery is the relationship
of its voltage to the length of time it has
been discharging (or charging). In most
primary batteries, the voltage will drop
steadily as the chemical reactions in the cell
are diminished. This diminution leads to an
almost-linear drop in voltage, called a sloping
profile. Batteries with sloping voltage profiles
provide power that is adequate for many


New Technology Batteries Guide

applications such as flashlights, flash cameras,
and portable radios.

Ni-Cd batteries provide a relatively flat
voltage profile. The cell’s voltage will remain
relatively constant for more than E of its
discharge cycle. At some point near the end of
the cycle, the voltage drops sharply to nearly
zero volts. Batteries with this kind of profile
are used for devices that require a relatively
steady operating voltage.

One disadvantage of using batteries with a flat
voltage profile is that the batteries will need to
be replaced almost immediately after a drop in
voltage is noticed. If they are not immediately
replaced, the batteries will quickly cease to
provide any useful energy.

Figure 4 shows the conceptual difference
between a flat discharge rate and a sloping
discharge rate.

Figure 4. Flat discharge curve vs. sloping
discharge curve.


Figure 5 (Sec. 5) shows actual voltage
profiles for several common battery types.

3.6 SELF-DISCHARGE RATES
All charged batteries (except thermal batteries
and other batteries specifically designed for a
near-infinite shelf life) will slowly lose their
charge over time, even if they are not
connected to a device. Moisture in the air and
the slight conductivity of the battery housing
will serve as a path for electrons to travel to
the cathode, discharging the battery. The rate
at which a battery loses power in this way is
called the self-discharge rate.

Ni-Cd batteries have a self-discharge rate of
approximately 1% per day. Ni-MH batteries
have a much higher self-discharge rate of
approximately 2% to 3% per day. These high
discharge rates require that any such battery,
which has been stored for more than a month,
be charged before use.

Primary and secondary alkaline batteries have
a self-discharge rate of approximately 5% to
10% per year, meaning that such batteries can
have a useful shelf life of several years.
Lithium batteries have a self-discharge rate of
approximately 5% per month.

3.7 OPERATING TEMPERATURES
As a general rule, battery performance
deteriorates gradually with a rise in
temperature above 25 (C (77 (F), and
performance deteriorates rapidly at
temperatures above 55 (C (131 (F). At very
low temperatures -20 (C (-4 (F) to 0 (C
(32 (F), battery performance is only a fraction
of that at 25 (C (77 (F). Figure 2 and Figure
3 show the differences in energy density as a
function of temperature.

At low temperatures, the loss of energy
capacity is due to the reduced rate of chemical


New Technology Batteries Guide

reactions and the increased internal resistance
of the electrolyte. At high temperatures, the
loss of energy capacity is due to the increase
of unwanted, parasitic chemical reactions in
the electrolyte.

Ni-Cd batteries have a recommended
temperature range of +17 (C (62 (F) to 37 (C
(98 (F). Ni-MH have a recommended
temperature range of 0 (C (32 (F) to 32 (C
(89 (F).

3.8 CYCLE LIFE
The cycle life of a battery is the number of
discharge/recharge cycles the battery can
sustain, with normal care and usage patterns,
before it can no longer hold a useful amount
of charge.

Ni-Cd batteries should have a normal cycle
life of 600 to 900 recharge cycles. Ni-MH
batteries will have a cycle life of only 300 to
400 recharge cycles. As with all rechargeable
batteries, overcharging a Ni-Cd or Ni-MH
battery will significantly reduce the number of
cycles it can sustain.

3.9 CAPACITY TESTING
Many battery manufacturers recommend the
constant-load test to determine the capacity of
a battery. This test is conducted by connecting
a predetermined load to the battery and then
recording the amount of time needed to
discharge the battery to a predetermined level.

Another recommended test is the intermittent-
or switching-load test. In this type of test, a
predetermined load is applied to the battery for
a specified period and then removed for
another period. This load application and
removal is repeated until the battery reaches a

predetermined level of discharge. This kind of
test simulates the battery usage of a portable
radio.

A comparison of these two kinds of tests was
performed on five commonly available types
of batteries.11 The data shows that the five
tested batteries all had a constant-load
duration of 60 to 80 minutes, which indicates
that the five batteries had similar capacities.

But, intermittent-load testing of those same
five batteries showed that the duration of the
batteries ranged from 8.5 hours to 12 hours.
There was no correlation of the results of the
two tests, meaning that batteries that
performed best under constant-load testing did
not necessarily perform well under
intermittent-load testing. The study concluded
that the ability of a battery to recover itself
between heavy current drains cannot be made
apparent through a constant-load test.

3.10 BATTERY TECHNOLOGY COMPARISON
Table 3 shows a comparison of some of the
performance factors of several common
battery types.

The initial capacity of a battery refers to the
electrical output, expressed in ampere-hours,
which the fresh, fully charged battery can
deliver to a specified load. The rated capacity
is a designation of the total electrical output of
the battery at typical discharge rates; e.g., for
each minute of radio transceiver operation, 6
seconds shall be under a transmit current

11Batteries Used with Law Enforcement
Communications Equipment: Chargers and Charging
Techniques, W. W. Scott, Jr., U.S. Department of
Justice, LESP-RPT-0202.00, June 1973.


New Technology Batteries Guide

drain, 6 seconds shall be under a receive
current drain and 48 seconds shall be under a
standby current drain.

The self-discharge rate is the rate at which the
battery will lose its charge during storage or
other periods of non-use. The cycle life is the
number of times that the rechargeable battery
can be charged and discharged before it
becomes no longer able to hold or deliver any
useful amount of energy.

The initial cost is the relative cost of
purchasing the battery. The life-cycle cost is
the per-use relative cost of the battery.

Table 4 shows a more detailed comparison of
many of the available battery types.

Table 3. Battery Technology Comparison (adapted from
Design Note: Renewable Reusable Alkaline Batteries)

(See Sec. 3.10) Ni-Cd Ni-MH Primary
Alkaline
Secondary
Alkaline
Initial Capacity .
|.
NNN.
qq.
Rated Capacity NNN.
qq.
|.
.
Self-Discharge |.
.
NNN.
NNN.
Cycle Life NNN.
NNN.
.
qq.
Initial Cost* |.
.
NNN.
qq.
Life-Cycle Cost* qq.
qq.
.
qq.


Worst Performance = r, Low Performance = ||,
Good Performance= qqq, Best Performance =NNN.
*A better performance ranking means lower costs.



Table 4. A Comparison of Several Popular Battery Types

Cell Type* Basic Anode Cathode Main Volts Advantages & Disadvantages
Type** material Material Electrolyte per Applications
Material Cell
Carbon-Zinc
(“Leclanché”)
P Zinc Manganese
dioxide
Ammonium
chloride, zinc
chloride
1.5 Low cost, good shelf
life. Useful for
flashlights, toys, and
small appliances.
Output capacity
decreases as it
drains; poor
performance at
low temperatures.
Zinc Chloride P Zinc Manganese
dioxide
Zinc Chloride 1.5 Good service at high
drain, leak resistant,
good low-temperature
performance. Useful for
flashlights, toys, and
small appliances.
Relatively
expensive for
novelty usage.
“Alkaline”
(Zinc-
Manganese
Dioxide)
P or S Zinc Manganese
dioxide
Potassium
hydroxide
1.5 High efficiency under
moderate, continuous
drains, long shelf life,
good low-temperature
performance. Useful for
camera flash units,
Primary cells are
expensive for
novelty usage.
Secondary cells
have a limited
number of
motor-driven devices,
portable radios.
recharge cycles.
Car Battery
(Lead-Acid)
S Lead Lead dioxide Sulfuric acid 2 Low cost, spill resistant
(sealed batteries). Useful
for automobiles and
cordless electric lawn
Limited low-
temperature
performance.
Vented cells
mowers. require
maintenance.
Cells are relatively
heavy.

* -- Common name, ** -- P=Primary, S=Secondary (Rechargeable)

New Technology Batteries Guide


Table 4 (continued)

Cell Type* Basic Anode Cathode Main Volts Advantages & Disadvantages
Type** material Material Electrolyte per Applications
Material Cell
“Ni-Cd” (Nickel-
Cadmium)
S Cadmium Nickel
hydroxide
Potassium
hydroxide
1.25 Excellent cycle life; flat
discharge curve; good
high- and low-
temperature
performance; high
resistance to shock and
High initial cost;
only fair charge
retention;
memory effect.
vibration. Useful for
small appliances that
have intermittent usage,
such as walkie-talkies,
portable hand tools, tape
players, and toys. When
batteries are exhausted,
they can be recharged
before the next needed
use.
Mercuric Oxide P Zinc Mercuric
oxide
Potassium
hydroxide
1.35 Relatively flat discharge
curve; relatively high
energy density; good
high-temperature
performance; good
service maintenance.
Poor low-
temperature
performance in
some situations.
Useful for critical
appliances, such as
paging, hearing aids, and
test equipment.

* -- Common name, ** -- P=Primary, S=Secondary (Rechargeable)

New Technology Batteries Guide


Table 4 (continued)

Cell Type* Basic Anode Cathode Main Volts Advantages & Disadvantages
Type** material Material Electrolyte per Applications
Material Cell
“Ni-MH” S Hydrogen Nickel oxide Potassium 1.5 No memory effects (such High initial cost,
(Nickel-Metal
Hydride)
storage metal hydroxide as Ni-Cd has), good
high-power
relatively high
rate of self-
performance, good low-discharge.
temperature
performance. Useful for
portable devices where
the duty cycle varies
from use to use.
Silver Oxide P or S Zinc Silver oxide Potassium
hydroxide
1.5 High energy density; flat
discharge curve. Useful
for very small appliances
such as calculators,
Silver is very
expensive; poor
storage and
maintenance
watches, and hearing
aids.
characteristics.
Rechargeable
cells have a very
limited number of
cycles.
Zinc-Air P Zinc Oxygen Potassium 1.25 High energy density in Dries out quickly.
hydroxide small cells. Flat
discharge rate.
Lithium P Lithium Iron sulfide Lithium salts 1.0
Good
energy density. Limited high-rate
in ether 3.6 capacities; safety
concerns.

* -- Common name, ** -- P=Primary, S=Secondary (Rechargeable)

New Technology Batteries Guide


23
Figure 5. Performance comparison of primary and
secondary alkaline and Ni-Cd batteries (adapted from
Design Note: Renewable Reusable Alkaline Batteries).
4. Selecting the Right Battery for the
Application
Batteries come in many different shapes, sizes,
and compositions. There is no one “ideal”
battery that can satisfy all possible
requirements equally. Different battery
technologies have been developed that will
optimize certain parameters for specific
battery uses.
In general, the
energy output
of a battery is
related only to
its size and
material
composition.
Different
battery designs
and different
manufacturing
methods (for
the same type,
size, and
composition of
battery) will, in
general, lead to
only minor
differences in
the batteries’ electrical output. Batteryindustry
standards have contributed to the fact
that batteries (of the same type, composition,
and size) from different manufacturers are
quite interchangeable.
However, the small differences that do exist
between batteries made by different
manufacturers, can be significant when using a
multi-cell array of matched cells. In these
cases, potential replacement cells must be
graded to see if the cells properly match the
capacity of the existing cells.
Even for nonmatched,
multicell
applications,
such as
flashlights,
portable radios,
etc., it is still a
good rule of
thumb to avoid
mixing batteries
from different
manufacturers
within one
device. Small
variances in
voltage and
current,
between
different brands of battery, can slightly shorten
the useful life span of all of the batteries.
Do not mix batteries of different types (e.g.,
do not mix rechargeable alkaline batteries with
Ni-Cd batteries) within a single device or
within an array of batteries.

New Technology Batteries Guide

Figure 5 shows some discharge curves for
several popular AA size battery types. Two of
the curves (secondary alkaline [1st use] and
[25th use]) show that secondary alkaline
batteries rapidly lose their capacity as they are
used and recharged. Only one Ni-Cd curve is
shown, since its curve remains essentially the
same throughout most its life span.

4.1 BATTERY PROPERTIES
Battery applications vary, as do considerations
for selecting the correct battery for each
application. Some of the important factors that
customers might consider when selecting the
right battery for a particular application are
listed below:


Chemistry -- Which kind of
battery chemistry is best for the application?
Different chemistries will generate different
voltages and currents.


Primary or Secondary -- Primary
batteries are most appropriate for applications
where infrequent, high-energy output is
required. Secondary batteries are most
appropriate for use in devices that see steady
periods of use and non-use (pagers, cellular
phones, etc.).


Standardization and
Availability --Is there an existing battery
design that meets the application needs? Will
replacement batteries be available in the
future? Using existing battery types is almost
always preferable to specifying a custom-made
battery design.


Flexibility -- Can the battery
provide high or low currents over a wide range
of conditions?


Temperature Range -- Can the
battery provide adequate power over the

expected temperature range for the
application?


Good Cycle Life -- How many
times can the rechargeable battery be
discharged and recharged before it becomes
unusable?


Costs --How expensive is the
battery to purchase? Does the battery require
special handling?


Shelf Life --How long can the
battery be stored without loss of a significant
amount of its power?


Voltage -- What is the voltage of
the battery? [Most galvanic cells produce
voltages of between 1.0 and 2.0 V.]


Safety -- Battery components
range from inert, to mildly corrosive, to highly
toxic or flammable. The more hazardous
components will require additional safety
procedures.


Hidden Costs -- Simpler
manufacturing processes result in lower cost
batteries. However, if a battery contains toxic
or hazardous components, extra costs will be
incurred to dispose of the battery safely after
its use.

Table 5 shows a short list of different battery
types and the kinds of application that are
appropriate for each.

4.2 ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
All battery components, when discarded,
contribute to the pollution of the environment.
Some of the components, such as paperboard
and carbon powder, are relatively organic and
can quickly merge into the ecosystem without
noticeable impact. Other components, such as
steel, nickel, and plastics, while not actively


New Technology Batteries Guide

toxic to the ecosystem, will add to the volume
of a landfill, since they decompose slowly.

Table 5. Recommended Battery Types for
Various Usage Conditions

Battery
Type
Device
Drain Rate
Device Use
Frequency
Primary
Alkaline
High Moderate
Secondary
Alkaline
Moderate Moderate
Primary
Lithium
High Frequent
Secondary
Ni-Cd
High Frequent
Primary Zn-C
(“Heavy
Duty”)
Moderate Regular
Primary Zn-C
(“Standard”)
Low Occasional

Of most concern,
however, are the
heavy-metal battery
components,
which, when
discarded, can be
toxic to plants,
animals, and
humans. Cadmium, lead, and mercury are the
heavy-metal components most likely to be the
target of environmental concerns.

Several of the major battery manufacturers
have taken steps to reduce the amount of toxic
materials in their batteries. One manufacturer
reports the reduction of the mercury content of
their most-popular battery from 0.75%, in

Many of the major battery manufacturers
have put significant efforts into the
recycling of discarded batteries.


1980, to 0.00%, in 1996.12 Other
manufacturers report that their current battery
formulas contain no mercury. The U.S.
Department of Mines, in 1994, estimated that,
for the U.S. production of household batteries,
mercury usage had fallen from 778 tons in
1984 to (a projected) 10 tons in 1995.13

Many of the major battery manufacturers have
put significant efforts into the recycling of
discarded batteries. According to one
manufacturer, it takes six to ten times more
energy to recycle a battery than to create the
battery components from virgin materials.
Efforts are underway that could improve the
recycling technology to make recycling
batteries much more energy efficient and cost
effective.14

The use of secondary (rechargeable) batteries
is more cost efficient than the use of primary
batteries. Such use will reduce the physical
volume of discarded batteries in landfills,
because the batteries can be recharged and
reused 25 to 1000 times before they must be

discarded.

12Eveready and the Environment, Eveready
Battery Company, Inc., 1995.

13Eveready and the Environment, Eveready
Battery Company, Inc., 1995.

14Eveready and the Environment, Eveready
Battery Company, Inc., 1995.


New Technology Batteries Guide

The most popular secondary batteries,
however, contain cadmium. Many
manufacturers, responding to customer
requests and legislative demands, are
designing nickel-metal hydride, lithium-ion,
and rechargeable-alkaline secondary batteries
that contain only trace amounts of cadmium,
lead, or mercury.

4.3 STANDARDIZATION
Existing off-the-shelf batteries are often
preferred to batteries that require special
design and manufacturing. Some benefits of
using off-the-shelf batteries are listed below:


The use of a proven design can
reduce the risk of the battery not working
properly.


The use of tested technology
eliminates costly and time-consuming
development efforts.


The use of a proven design reduces
unit production costs because of competitive,
multi-source availability.


The use of tested technology
reduces operations and support costs through
commonality of training, documentation, and
replacement efforts.

4.4 TESTING CAPACITIES
One method of estimating battery capacity
requirements for a specific battery-powered
device is to calculate the current drawn during
the typical duty cycle for the device.

Standard duty cycles for battery service life
and capacity determinations are defined in
EIA/TIA Standard 60315 for land mobile radio
communications and NIJ Standard-0211.0116
for hand-held portable radio applications.
Specifically, in an average 1 minute period of
mobile-radio usage, 6 seconds (10%) is spent
receiving, 6 seconds (10%) is spent
transmitting and 48 seconds (80%) is spent in
the idle mode. Table 8 provides an example
of a transceiver drawing an average current of

8.0 + 6.2 + 32.5 = 46.7 mA. For a typical duty
cycle composed of 8 hours of operation
(followed by 16 hours of rest) a minimum
battery capacity of 374 mAh is required. One
manufacturer of portable communications
equipment recommends that batteries be
replaced if they fail to deliver 80% or more of
their original rated capacity. Below 80%
batteries are usually found to deterioriate
quickly. Because a minimum requirement of
374 mAh is 75% of the rated capacity of a 500
mAh battery, the latter should adequately
provide power for the entire duty described.17
15Land Mobile FM or PM Communications
Equipment, Measurement and Performance Standard,
Electronics Industry Association/Telecommunications
Industry Association, Publication EIA/TIA 603, 1993.

16Rechargeable Batteries for Personal/
Portable Transceivers, National Institute of Justice,
NIJ Standard-0211.01, 1995.

17Batteries Used with Law Enforcement
Communications Equipment: Chargers and Charging
Techniques, W.W. Scott, Jr., National Institute of
Justice, LESP-RPT-0202.00, June 1973.


New Technology Batteries Guide

Table 6. Typical Usage of Portable
Telecommunications Equipment.

Standby
Mode
Receive
Mode
Transmit
Mode
Percent of
Duty Cycle
80%
(48 minutes
of each
hour)
10%
(6 minutes
of each
hour)
10%
(6 minutes of
each hour)
Current
Drain for
Mode
10 mA 62 mA 325 mA
Average
Current for
Mode
8.0 mA 6.2 mA 32.5 mA

Similar calculations can be performed for any
battery in any battery-powered device by using
the data relevant to the device and the
proposed battery. The manufacturers should
either provide such appropriate information
with the batteries and devices, or they should
be able to provide those data on request.

4.5 MOBILE RADIOS
As reported above, mobile radios have a
typical duty cycle of 10% transmit, 10%
receive, and 80% standby. The maximum
current drain will occur during the transmit
cycle. Each radio, typically, will have a daily
cycle of 8 hours of use and 16 hours of non-
use. The non-use hours may be used to charge
the radio’s batteries.

Most commercial, off-the-shelf mobile-radio
units include a battery. But, since many radio
units are in service 7 days a week, 52 weeks a
year, and since the batteries are discharged and
recharged daily, each set of batteries should
wear out approximately once every two years
(~700 recharge cycles). Replacement batteries

should be purchased as directed by the user
manual for the unit.

4.6 CELLULAR PHONES AND PCS PHONES
Most commercial, off-the-shelf cellular
phones contain a battery when purchased.
Charging units may be supplied with the
phone or may be purchased separately.

Typical usage for cellular telephones will vary
significantly with user, but, the estimate for
mobile radio usage (10% of the duty cycle is
spent in transmit mode, 10% in receive mode,
and 80% in standby mode) is also a reasonable
estimate for cellular phone usage. At the end
of each usage cycle, the user places the battery
(phone) on a recharging unit that will charge
the battery for the next usage cycle. This usage
pattern is appropriate for Ni-Cd or Ni-MH
batteries. Ni-Cd batteries should be
completely discharged between uses to
prevent memory effects created by a recurring
duty cycle.

When a replacement or spare battery is
needed, only replacements, recommended by
the phone manufacturer should be used.

Batteries and battery systems from other
manufacturers may be used if the batteries are
certified to work with that particular brand and
model of phone. Damage to the phone may
result if non-certified batteries are used.

Several battery manufacturers make
replacement battery packs that are designed to
work with a wide variety of cellular phones.
Because of the variety of phones available,
battery manufacturers must design and sell
several dozen different types of batteries to fit
the hundreds of models of cellular phones


New Technology Batteries Guide

from dozens of different manufacturers.18 The
user is advised to check battery interoperability
charts before purchasing a
replacement battery.

One battery manufacturer offers a battery
replacement system that allows a phone owner
to use household primary batteries, inserted
into a special housing (called a refillable
battery pack), to replace the phone’s regular
rechargeable battery pack. This refillable pack,
says the manufacturer, is designed for light-
use customers, who require that their phone’s
batteries have the long shelf life of primary
batteries. This refillable pack can also be used
in emergencies, for example, where the
phone’s rechargeable battery pack is
exhausted and no recharged packs are
available. Primary household batteries can be
readily purchased (or borrowed from other
devices), inserted into the refillable pack, and
used to power the phone.19

4.7 LAPTOP COMPUTERS
Most commercial, off-the-shelf laptop
computers have a built-in battery system. In
addition to the battery provided, most laptops
will have a battery adapter that also serves as a
battery charger.

The expected usage of a laptop computer is
that the operator will use it several times a
week, for periods of several hours at a time.
The computer will drain the battery at a
moderate rate when the computer is running,

18Easy to Choose, Easy to Use, Eveready
Battery Corporation, 1997.

19Cellular Duracell Rechargeable Batteries,
Duracell, 1996.

and at the self-discharge rate when the
computer is shut off. Quite often, the user will
use the computer until the “low battery” alarm
sounds. At this point, the battery will be
drained of 90% of its charge before the user
recharges it. The computer will also register
regular periods of non-use, during which the
battery can be recharged. Secondary Ni-Cd
batteries are most appropriate for this usage
pattern.

When a laptop-computer battery reaches the
end of its life cycle, it should be replaced with
a battery designed specifically for that laptop
computer. Using other types of batteries may
damage the computer. The user’s manual for
the laptop computer will list one or more
battery types and brands that may be used. If
in doubt, the user is advised to contact the
manufacturer of the laptop computer and ask
for a battery-replacement recommendation.

4.8 CAMCORDERS
Almost all commercial, off-the-shelf
camcorders come with a battery and a
recharging unit when purchased.

The camcorder is typically operated
continuously for several minutes or hours (to
produce a video recording of some event).
This use will require that the battery provide
approximately 2 hours of non-stop recording
time. The electric motor driving the recording
tape through the camcorder requires a
moderately high amount of power throughout
the entire recording period.

Rechargeable Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries or
primary lithium batteries are usually the only
choice for camcorder use. Several battery
manufacturers produce Ni-Cd or Ni-MH


New Technology Batteries Guide

batteries that are specially designed for use in
camcorders. Due to the lack of sufficient
standardization for these kind of batteries, the
battery manufacturers must design and sell
approximately 20 different camcorder
batteries to fit at least 100 models of
camcorders from over a dozen
manufacturers.20

Camcorder batteries are usually designed to
provide 2 hours of service, but larger batteries
are available that can provide up to 4 hours of
service.

Lithium camcorder batteries can provide three
to five times the energy of a single cycle of
secondary Ni-Cd batteries. These lithium
batteries, however, are primary batteries and
must be properly disposed of at the end of
their life cycle. Secondary lithium-ion
camcorder batteries are being developed.

4.9 SUMMARY
There are six varieties of batteries in use, each
with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Below is a short summary of each variety:

.
Lead-Acid -- Secondary lead-acid
batteries are the most popular worldwide.
Both the battery product and the
manufacturing process are proven,
economical, and reliable.
.
Nickel-Cadmium -- Secondary Ni-Cd
batteries are rugged and reliable. They exhibit
a high-power capability, a wide operating
temperature range, and a long cycle life. They
have a self-discharge rate of approximately
1% per day.
20Camcorder Battery Pocket Guide, Eveready
Battery Company, 1996.

.
Alkaline -- The most commonly used
primary cell (household) is the zinc-alkaline
manganese dioxide battery. They provide
more power-per-use than secondary batteries
and have an excellent shelf life.
.
Rechargeable Alkaline --Secondary
alkaline batteries have a long shelf life and are
useful for moderate-power applications. Their
cycle life is less than most other secondary
batteries.
.
Lithium Cells -- Lithium batteries offer
performance advantages well beyond the
capabilities of conventional aqueous
electrolyte battery systems. However, lithium
batteries are not widely used because of safety
concerns.
.
Thermal Batteries -- These are special
batteries that are capable of providing very
high rates of discharge for short periods of
time. They have an extremely long shelf life,
but, because of the molten electrolyte and high
operating temperature, are impractical for
most household uses.

New Technology Batteries Guide

30



5. Battery Handling and Maintenance
The following guidelines offer specific advice
on battery handling and maintenance. This
advice is necessarily not all inclusive. Users
are cautioned to observe specific warnings on
individual battery labels and to use common
sense when handling batteries.

5.1 BATTERY DANGERS
.
To get help, should someone swallow a
battery, immediately call The National
Battery Ingestion Hot Line collect at
(202) 625-3333. Or, call 911 or a
state/local Poison Control Center.
.
Batteries made from lead (or other heavy
metals) can be very large and heavy
and can cause damage to equipment or
injuries to personnel if improperly
handled.
.
When using lithium batteries, a “Lith-X”
or D-Class fire extinguisher should
always be available. Water-based
extinguishers must not be used on
lithium of any kind, since water will
react with lithium and release large
amounts of explosive hydrogen.
.
Before abusively testing a battery, contact
the manufacturer of the battery to
identify any potential dangers.
.
Vented batteries must be properly
ventilated. Inadequate ventilation may
result in the build up of volatile gases,
which may result in an explosion or
asphyxiation.

.
Do not attempt to solder directly onto a
terminal of the battery. Attempting to
do so can damage the seal or the safety
vent.
.
When disconnecting a battery from the
device it is powering, disconnect one
terminal at a time. If possible, first
remove the ground strap at its
connection with the device’s
framework. Observing this sequence
can prevent an accidental short circuit
and also avoid risking a spark at the
battery. In most late-model, domestic
automobiles, the battery terminal
labeled “negative” is usually connected
to the automobile’s framework.
.
Do not attempt to recharge primary
batteries. This kind of battery is not
designed to be recharged and may
overheat or leak if recharging is
attempted.
.
When recharging secondary batteries, use a
charging device that is approved for
that type of battery. Using an approved
charging device can prevent
overcharging or overheating the
battery. Many chargers have special
circuits built into them for correctly
charging specific types of batteries and

New Technology Batteries Guide

.
will not work properly with other
types.
Do not use secondary (rechargeable)
batteries in smoke detectors.
Secondary batteries have a high self-
discharge rate. Primary batteries have a
much longer shelf life and are much
more dependable in emergencies.
Consult the smoke detector’s user
manual for the recommended battery
types.
.
.
Do not carry batteries in your pocket.
Coins, keys, or other metal objects can
short circuit a battery, which can cause
extreme heat, acid leakage, or an
explosion.
Do not wear rings, metal jewelry, or metal
watchbands while handling charged
cells. Severe burns can result from
accidentally short circuiting a charged
cell. Wearing gloves can reduce this
danger.
.
.
Do not attempt to refill or repair a worn-out
or damaged battery.
Do not allow direct bodily contact with
battery components. Acidic or alkaline
electrolyte can cause skin irritation or
burns. Electrode materials such as
. Do not use uninsulated tools near charged
cells. Do not place charged cells on
metal workbenches. Severe arcing and
overheating can result if the battery’s
terminals are shorted by contact with
such metal objects.
mercury or cadmium are toxic.
Lithium can cause an explosion if it
comes into contact with water. Other
components can cause a variety of
short-term (irritation and burns) or
long-term (nerve damage) maladies.
. Do not lick a 9 V battery to see if it is
charged. You will, of course, be able to
determine whether or not the battery is
charged, but such a test may result in a
burn that may range from simply
uncomfortable to serious.
. Do not dispose of batteries in a fire. The
metallic components of the battery will
not burn and the burning electrolyte
may splatter, explode, or release toxic
fumes. Batteries may be disposed of,
however, in industrial incinerators that
are approved for the disposal of
batteries.


New Technology Batteries Guide

The Straight Dope

by Cecil Adams, The Chicago Reader

Is it true that refrigerating batteries will
extend shelf life? If so, why does a cold car
battery cause slower starts? The answer
will help me sleep better. — Kevin C.,
Alexandria, Virginia

Whatever it takes, dude. Refrigerating
batteries extends shelf life because batteries
produce electricity through a chemical
reaction. Heat speeds up any reaction, while
cold slows it down. Freeze your [car
battery] and you’ll extend its life because
the juice won’t leak away—but it’ll also
make those volts a little tough to use right
away. That accounts for the belief
occasionally voiced by mechanics that if a
battery is left on the garage floor for an
extended period, the concrete will “suck
out the electricity.” It does nothing of the
kind, but a cold floor will substantially
reduce a battery’s output. The cure: warm
it up first.

(Reprinted, with permission, from Return of the Straight Dope.
©1994 Chicago Reader, Inc.)

.
To find a replacement battery that works
with a given device, call the
manufacturer of the device or ask the
retailer to check the manufacturer’s
battery cross-reference guide.
.
Store batteries in a cool, dark place. This
helps extend their shelf life.
Refrigerators are convenient locations.
Although some battery manufacturers
say that refrigeration has no positive
effect on battery life, they say it has no
negative effect either. Do not store
batteries in a freezer. Always let
batteries come to room temperature
before using them.
.
Store batteries in their original boxes or
packaging materials. The battery
manufacturer has designed the
packaging for maximum shelf life.
.
When storing batteries, remove any load or
short circuit from their terminals.
.
When storing battery-powered devices for
long periods (i.e., more than a month),
remove the batteries. This can prevent
damage to the device from possible
battery leakage. Also, the batteries can

5.2 EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE be used for other applications while the
batteries are still “fresh.”
.
Read the instructions for the device before
installing batteries. Be sure to orient
the battery’s positive and negative
terminals correctly when inserting
them.
.
In a device, use only the type of battery
that is recommended by the
manufacturer of the device.

New Technology Batteries Guide

8 Use a marking pen to indicate, on the
battery casing, the day and year that the
battery was purchased. Also, keep
track of the number of times the
higher than those recommended by the
manufacturer.
battery has been recharged. Avoid
writing on or near the battery
terminals.
8 Do not mix batteries from different
manufacturers in a multi-cell device
(e.g., a flashlight). Small differences in
voltage, current, and capacity, between
brands, can reduce the average useful
life of all the batteries.
8 When using secondary batteries in a multi-
cell device (e.g., a flashlight), try to
use batteries of the same age and
similar charging histories. This kind of
matching will make it more likely that
all the batteries will discharge at the
same rate, putting less stress on any
individual battery.
8 When using single-cell rechargeable Ni-Cd
batteries, be sure to discharge the cell
completely before recharging it, thus
counteracting the “memory” effect.
8 Secondary Ni-Cd batteries can sometimes
be reconditioned to reduce the impact
of “memory” effects. Completely
discharge the battery and recharge it
several times.
. Do not use batteries in high-temperature
situations (unless the battery is
designed for that temperature range).
Locate batteries as far away from heat
sources as possible. The electrical
potential of the battery will degrade
rapidly if it is exposed to temperatures


6. Battery Chargers and Adapters
6.1 BATTERY CHARGERS of battery, will be able to charge correctly any
brand of battery of that same size and type.
Secondary (rechargeable) batteries require a
battery charger to bring them back to full

Do not, however, use a charger designed for

power. The charger will provide electricity to

one type of battery to charge a different type of

the electrodes (opposite to the direction of

battery, even if the sizes are the same. For

electron discharge), which will reverse the

example, do not use a charger designed for

chemical process within the battery,

charging “D”-sized Ni-Cd batteries to charge

converting the applied electrical energy into

“D”-sized rechargeable alkaline batteries. If in

chemical potential energy.
Table 7. Charge Rate Descriptions


Description Charge Rate Nominal Charge
(Amperes) Time (Hours)
Standby 0.01 C to 0.03 C 100 to 33
(Trickle)
Slow 0.05 C to 0.1 C 20 to 10
(Overnight)
Quick 0.2 C to 0.5 C 5 to 2
Fast 1 C and more 1 and less

“C” is the theoretical current needed to completely
charge the fully discharged battery in one hour.

doubt, use only the exact charger
recommended by the battery
manufacturer.

Recharging a battery without a
recommended charger is
dangerous. If too much current is
supplied, the battery may overheat,
leak, or explode. If not enough
current is applied, the battery may
never become fully charged, since
the self-discharge rate of the
battery will nullify the charging
effort.

It is not recommended that battery
users design and build their own
charging units. Many low-cost
chargers are available off-the-shelf

that do a good job of recharging batteries.
Specific, off-the-shelf chargers are identified

Batteries should only be recharged with

and recommended, by each of the major

chargers that are recommended, by the

battery manufacturers, for each type of

manufacturer, for that particular type of

secondary battery they produce.

battery. In general, however, battery-industry
standards ensure that any off-the-shelf battery
charger, specified for one brand, size, and type


New Technology Batteries Guide

6.2 CHARGE RATES Trickle chargers (charge rates lower than
The current that a charger supplies to the
battery is normally expressed as a fraction of
the theoretical current (for a given battery)
needed to charge the battery completely in
1 hour. This theoretical current is called the
nominal battery capacity rating and is
represented as “C.” For example, a current of

0.1 C is that current which, in 10 hours,
theoretically, would recharge the battery fully.
Table 7 shows some common charging rates
for various styles of recharging.
6.3 CHARGING TECHNIQUES
In general, lower charge rates will extend the
overall life of the battery. A battery can be
damaged or degraded
if too much
current is applied
during the charging
process. Also,
when a battery is in
the final stages of
charging, the current must be reduced to
prevent damage to the battery. Many chargers
offer current-limiting devices that will shut off
or reduce the applied current when the battery
reaches a certain percent of its charged
potential.

Slow charge rates (between 0.05 C and 0.1 C)
are the most-often recommended charge rate,
since a battery can be recharged in less than a
day, without significant probability of
damaging or degrading the battery. Slow
charge rates can be applied to a battery for an
indefinite period of time, meaning that the
battery can be connected to the charger for
days or weeks with no need for special shutoff
or current-limiting equipment on the
charger.

0.05 C) are generally insufficient to charge a
battery. They are usually only applied after a
battery is fully charged (using a greater charge
rate) to help offset the self-discharge rate of
the battery. Batteries on a trickle charger will
maintain their full charge for months at a time.
It is usually recommended that batteries on a
trickle charger be fully discharged and
recharged once every 6 to 12 months.
Quick and fast charging rates (over 0.2 C) can
be used to charge many kinds of secondary
batteries. In such cases, however, damage or
deterioration can occur in the battery if these
high charge rates are applied after the battery
has approximately 85% of its charge restored.

Many quick and

fast chargers will

have current-

limiters built into

them that will

slowly reduce the

current as the
battery is charged, thereby preventing most of
this deterioration.

The recharge times shown in Table 7 may be
somewhat lower than the actual times required
to recharge batteries at the associated charge
rates. Various elements, such as temperature,
humidity, initial charge state, and the recharge
history of the cell, will each act to extend the
time needed to charge the cell fully.

6.4 CHARGING LEAD-ACID BATTERIES
Constant potential charging, with current
limiting, is usually recommended for sealed
lead-acid cells. Due to the sloping voltage
profile of a lead-acid battery, the voltage of
the battery is a reliable indicator of its state of

The key issue in charging a battery
is knowing when to stop charging.



New Technology Batteries Guide

charge. Current limiting may be accomplished
through the use of a current-limiting resistor.
One manufacturer uses a miniature light bulb
as a current-limiting resistor. The brightness
of the bulb will provide a visual indication of
the state of charge of the battery. In modern
practice, however, current limiting is
accomplished with integrated circuits.

6.5 CHARGING NI-CD BATTERIES
During their recharge cycle, nickel-cadmium
batteries react in a manner different from other
batteries. Nickel-cadmium batteries will
actually absorb heat during the first 25% of
the charge cycle (as opposed to most
secondary batteries, which generate heat all
through their recharge cycle). Beyond that first
quarter of the charge cycle, a Ni-Cd battery
will generate heat. If constant current is
applied past the point when the battery reaches
approximately 85% of its fully charged state,
the excess heat will cause “thermal runaway”
to occur. Under thermal runaway conditions,
the excess heat in the battery will cause its
voltage to drop. The drop in voltage will cause
the charge rate to increase (according to
Ohm’s Law), generating more heat and
accelerating the cycle. The temperature and
internal pressure of the battery will continue to
rise until permanent damage results.

When using trickle or slow chargers to charge
Ni-Cd batteries, the heat build-up is minimal
and is normally dissipated by atmospheric
convection before thermal runaway can occur.
Most chargers supplied with, or as a part of,
rechargeable devices (sealed flashlights, mini-
vacuums, etc.) are slow chargers.

Quick or fast battery chargers, designed
especially for Ni-Cd batteries, will usually

have a temperature sensor or a voltage sensor
that can detect when the battery is nearing
thermal-runaway conditions. When near-
runaway conditions are indicated, the charger
will reduce or shut off the current entering the
battery.

6.6 TIMED-CHARGE CHARGING
Most charging methods, described so far in
this guide, allow the user to begin charging a
cell regardless of its current state of charge.
One additional method can be used to charge
Ni-Cd cells, but only if the cell is completely
discharged. It is called the timed-charged
method.

One characteristic of Ni-Cd cells is that they
can accept very large charge rates (as high as
20 C), provided that the cell is not forced into
an overcharge condition.

The timed-charge charger will provide high-
rate current to the cell for a very specific
period. A timer will then cut off the charging
current at the end of that period. Some cells
can be charged completely in as little as 10
minutes (as opposed to 8 hours on a slow
charger).

Great care should be exercised when using a
timed-charge charger, because there is no
room for error. If the cell has any charge in it
at all at the beginning of the charge cycle, or if
the cell’s capacity is less than anticipated, the
cell can quickly reach the fully charged state,
proceed into thermal-runaway conditions, and
cause the explosion or destruction of the cell.

Some timed-charge chargers have a special
circuit designed to discharge the cell
completely before charging it. These are


New Technology Batteries Guide

called dumped timed-charge chargers, since
they dump any remaining charge before
applying the timed charge.

6.7 PULSED CHARGE-DISCHARGE
CHARGERS
This method of charging Ni-Cd cells applies a
relatively high charge rate (approximately 5 C)
until the cell reaches a voltage of 1.5 V. The
charging current is then removed and the cell
is rapidly discharged for a brief period of time
(usually a few seconds). This action
depolarizes the cell components and dissipates
any gaseous buildup within the cell. The cell is
then rapidly charged back to 1.5 V. The
process is repeated several more times until
the cell’s maximum charge state is reached.

Unfortunately, this method has some
difficulties. The greatest difficulty is that the
maximum voltage of a Ni-Cd cell will vary
with several outside factors such as the cell’s
recharge history and the ambient temperature
at the charger’s location. Since the cell’s
maximum potential voltage is variable, the
level to which it must be charged is also
variable. Integrated circuits are being
designed, however, that may compensate for
such variations.

6.8 CHARGING BUTTON BATTERIES
Secondary cylindrical (household) cells will
usually have a safety seal or vent built into
them to allow excess gases, created during the
charging process, to escape. Secondary,
button-type batteries do not have such seals
and are often hermetically sealed.

When cylindrical cells are overcharged, excess
gases are vented. If a button battery is
inadvertently overcharged, the excess gases

cannot escape. The pressure will build up and
will damage the battery or cause an explosion.
Care should be taken not to overcharge a
secondary button battery.

6.9 INTERNAL CHARGERS
For some applications, the charger may be
provided, by the battery manufacturer, as an
integral part of the battery itself. This design
has the obvious advantage of ensuring that the
correct charger is used to charge the battery,
but this battery-charger combination may
result in size, weight and cost penalties for the
battery.

6.10 BATTERY TESTERS
A battery tester is a device that contains a
small load and attaches across the terminals of
a battery to allow the user to see if the battery
is sufficiently charged. A simple battery tester
can be made from a flashlight bulb and two
pieces of wire. Flashlight bulbs are ideal for
testing household batteries, since the voltage
and current required to light the bulb is the
same as that of the battery. This kind of
flashlight-bulb tester can also be used to drain
a secondary battery safely before fully
charging it.

Some off-the-shelf household batteries are
sold with their own testers. These testers are
attached to the packaging material or to the
battery itself. The active conductor in the
tester is covered by a layer of heat-sensitive
ink. As the ends of the tester are pressed
against the battery terminals, a small amount
of current will flow through the material under
the ink, heating it. The heating will cause the
ink to change color, indicating that the battery
still has energy.


New Technology Batteries Guide

Using a simple battery tester to test a Ni-Cd
battery can be somewhat misleading, since a
Ni-Cd battery has a flat voltage profile. The
tester will indicate near-maximum voltage
whether the battery is 100% charged or 85%
discharged.

6.11 “SMART” BATTERIES
Many battery-powered devices require the use
of multi-cell battery packs (i.e., several
ordinary battery cells strapped together to be
used as a single unit). The individual cells
cannot be charged or measured separately,
without destroying the battery pack.

A new development in rechargeable battery
technology is the use of microelectronics in
battery-pack cases to create “intelligent”
battery packs. These “smart” battery packs
contain a microprocessor, memory, and
sensors that monitor the battery’s temperature,
voltage, and current. This information can be
relayed to the device (if the device is designed
to accept the information) and used to
calculate the battery’s state of charge at any
time or to predict how much longer the device
can operate. The microprocessor on a battery
pack may also record the history of the battery
and display the dates and number of times that
it has been charged.

To get the maximum potential from a
secondary battery, the user must adopt a strict
regimen of noting certain information about
the battery and acting upon that information.
For example, if a battery is already partially
discharged, using it in a device will obviously
not allow the device to be used for its entire
duty cycle. Attempting to charge a battery
when the ambient temperature is too high is
another example of suboptimal battery usage,

since the battery will not hold as much charge
as it would have had it been charged at the
recommended temperature.

Most battery users are not sufficiently diligent
in matters of battery maintenance. “Smart”
batteries allow the battery itself to record all
pertinent information and make it available to
the user at a glance.

6.12 END OF LIFE
All secondary batteries will eventually fail due
to age, expended components, or physical
damage. A battery, when properly maintained,
will fail through gradual loss of capacity. To
the user, this gradual failure will appear as a
frequent need to change and charge the
batteries. Sudden failure, usually due to
physical abuse, will prevent the battery from
holding any charge at all.

The physical manifestations of a gradual
failure of the battery can be seen as a
degradation of the separator material, dendritic
growth or other misshapening of the
electrodes, and permanent material loss of the
active components.

The physical manifestations of a sudden
failure, can be seen as the destruction of the
battery components. Open-circuit failure can
be induced by an applied shock to or excess
vibration of the battery. As a result, the
internal components of the battery may
become loose or detached, causing a gap in the
electrical circuit.

Short-circuit failure can be caused by an
applied shock. It can also be caused by
overheating or overcharging the battery. In a
short-circuit failure, some part of one of the


New Technology Batteries Guide

electrodes pierces (caused by shock) or grows
through (caused by overcharging) the
separator material in the electrolyte. This
piercing effect will cause the electrical path to
be shorted.

If a battery and its replacements seem to be
suffering repeated premature failures, in
reoccurring and similar circumstances, the
failed batteries should be sent to a laboratory
for dissection and analysis. The problem may
lie in faulty equipment, inappropriate battery
usage, or in physical abuse to the device and
its batteries. Resolution of the problem will
save time and money in future battery designs
and applications.

6.13 BATTERY ADAPTERS
A battery adapter is a device that can be used
instead of a battery to provide current to a
battery-powered device.


Most battery adapters will convert 60 Hz,
110 V, alternating current (i.e., typical house
current) into direct current (dc) for use by
battery-powered devices. Other adapters are
designed to be powered by 12 V automobile
batteries, usually by insertion of a plug into
the automobile’s cigarette lighter.

An adapter will usually have a dc-output plug
that is inserted into the battery-powered device
to provide dc current to the device.

Usually, manufacturers of the more expensive
battery-powered devices (e.g., cellular phones,
laptop computers) will provide the customer
with a battery adapter designed especially for
that device. The adapter will plug into a
special connector in the device to provide it
power. If designed to do so, the battery adapter
will charge the device’s batteries as well.

Other manufacturers make generic battery
adapters. These adapters will have a battery-
shaped appendage that plugs into a battery-
powered device in place of a real battery and
will provide energy equivalent to a real
battery. While this kind of adapter has some
advantages (it can be used for any battery
powered device, it can be used when no
charged batteries are available, etc.), those
advantages are usually outweighed by the
disadvantages (the power cord is inconvenient
and negates the portability of the device, the
battery cover cannot be replaced while the
cord is attached, a multiple-battery device
would require multiple adapters, etc.).


7. Products and Suppliers
Table 8. Some On-Line Information Available via the World Wide Web

Batteries and
battery
manufacturers and
suppliers listed or
mentioned in this
section, and
elsewhere in this
guideline, are listed
for the convenience
of the reader. The
name of a specific
product or
company does not
imply that the
product or
company is,
necessarily, the best
for any particular
application or
device. The lists
are, necessarily, not
all-inclusive. The
list of Web pages
was compiled
following a Web
search performed in
August, 1997. New
Web pages may
have appeared
since then and
some which appear in this list may no longer 7.1 BATTERY MANUFACTURERS
be available. Other Web pages, that were not

Battery Manufacturers Web Address
Battery Engineering http://www.batteryeng.com/
Duracell Batteries http://www.duracell.com/
Eveready Batteries http://www.eveready.com/
Kodak Corporation http://www.kodak.com/
NEXcell http://www.battery.com.tw/
Panasonic Batteries http://www.panasonic-batteries.be/home.html
PolyStor Corporation http://www.polystor.com/
Radio Shack http://www.radioshack.com/
Rayovac Batteries http://www.rayovac.com/
Sony Corporation http://www.sel.sony.com/SEL/rmeg/batteries/
Battery Distributors Web Address
Battery-Biz, Inc. http://www.battery-biz.com/battery-biz/
Battery Depot http://www.battery-depot.com/
Battery Network http://batnetwest.com/
Batteries Plus http://www.spromo.com/battplus/
E-Battery http://e-battery.com/
Powerline http://www.powerline-battery.com/
All Web information was verified in August, 1997.

The battery manufacturers listed below are

listed in the Web-search database at that time,

some of the manufacturers of household

will also not appear in this list.

batteries. They are presented in alphabetical


New Technology Batteries Guide

order. All information was verified in August, Email Address:
1997. bunny@chas.ts.maritz.com
7.1.1 Battery Engineering 7.1.4 Rayovac
Postal Address: Postal Address:
Battery Engineering, Inc. Rayovac Corporation
100 Energy Drive P.O. Box 44960
Canton, MA 02001 Madison, WI 53744-4960
Phone Number: Phone Number:
(617) 575-0800 1 (800) 237-7000
Web Page: Web Page:
http://www.batteryeng.com http://www.rayovac.com/
Email Address: Email Address:
info@batteryeng.com customers@rayovac.com
7.1.2 Duracell
Postal Address:
Duracell, Inc.
Berkshire Corp Park
Bethel, CT 06801
Phone Number:
1 (800) 551-2355
Web Page:
http://www.duracell.com/
7.1.3 Eveready
Postal Address:
Eveready Battery Company, Inc.
Checkerboard Square
St. Louis, MO 63164-0001
Phone Number:
1 (800) 383-7323
Web Page:
http://www.eveready.com/


8. A Glossary of Battery Terms
.
Ampere-Hour -- One ampere-hour is temperature, discharge rate, age, and
equal to a current of one ampere the life history of the battery.
flowing for one hour. A unit-quantity
of electricity used as a measure of the .
Battery -- A device that transforms
amount of electrical charge that may be chemical energy into electric energy.
obtained from a storage battery before The term is usually applied to a group
it requires recharging. of two or more electric cells connected
together electrically. In common usage,
.
Ampere-Hour Capacity -- The number of the term “battery” is also applied to a
ampere-hours which can be delivered single cell, such as a household
by a storage battery on a single battery.
discharge. The ampere-hour capacity
of a battery on discharge is determined .
Battery Types -- There are, in general,
by a number of factors, of which the two type of batteries: primary batteries,
following are the most important: final and secondary storage or accumulator
limiting voltage; quantity of batteries. Primary types, although
electrolyte; discharge rate; density of sometimes consisting of the same
electrolyte; design of separators; active materials as secondary types, are
temperature, age, and life history of the constructed so that only one
battery; and number, design, and continuous or intermittent discharge
dimensions of electrodes. can be obtained. Secondary types are
constructed so that they may be
.
Anode -- In a primary or secondary cell, recharged, following a partial or
the metal electrode that gives up complete discharge, by the flow of
electrons to the load circuit and direct current through them in a
dissolves into the electrolyte. direction opposite to the current flow
on discharge. By recharging after
.
Aqueous Batteries -- Batteries with water-
based electrolytes.
discharge, a higher state of oxidation is
created at the positive plate or
electrode and a lower state at the
.
Available Capacity -- The total battery
capacity, usually expressed in ampere-
hours or milliampere-hours, available
negative plate, returning the plates to
approximately their original charged
condition.
to perform work. This depends on
factors such as the endpoint voltage,
quantity and density of electrolyte,
.
Battery Capacity -- The electric output of
a cell or battery on a service test


New Technology Batteries Guide

delivered before the cell reaches a
specified final electrical condition and
.
Capacity -- The quantity of electricity
delivered by a battery under specified
may be expressed in ampere-hours, conditions, usually expressed in
watt-hours, or similar units. The ampere-hours.
capacity in watt-hours is equal to the
capacity in ampere-hours multiplied by
the battery voltage.
.
Cathode -- In a primary or secondary cell,
the electrode that, in effect, oxidizes
the anode or absorbs the electrons.
.
Battery Charger -- A device capable of
supplying electrical energy to a battery. .
Cell -- An electrochemical device,
.
Battery-Charging Rate -- The current
composed of positive and negative
plates, separator, and electrolyte,
expressed in amperes at which a which is capable of storing electrical
storage battery is charged. energy. When encased in a container
and fitted with terminals, it is the basic
.
Battery Voltage, final -- The prescribed “building block” of a battery.
lower-limit voltage at which battery
discharge is considered complete. The
cutoff or final voltage is usually
.
Charge --Applied to a storage battery, the
conversion of electric energy into
chosen so that the useful capacity of chemical energy within the cell or
the battery is realized. The cutoff battery. This restoration of the active
voltage varies with the type of battery, materials is accomplished by
the rate of discharge, the temperature, maintaining a unidirectional current in
and the kind of service in which the the cell or battery in the opposite
battery is used. The term “cutoff direction to that during discharge; a
voltage” is applied more particularly to cell or battery which is said to be
primary batteries, and “final voltage” charged is understood to be fully
to storage batteries. Synonym: charged.
Voltage, cutoff.
.
Charge Rate --The current applied to a
.
Ci --The rated capacity, in ampere-hours, secondary cell to restore its capacity.
for a specific, constant discharge This rate is commonly expressed as a
current (where i is the number of hours multiple of the rated capacity of the
the cell can deliver this current). For cell. For example, the C/10 charge rate
example, the C5 capacity is the of a 500 Ah cell is expressed as,
ampere-hours that can be delivered by
a cell at constant current in 5 hours. As C/10 rate = 500 Ah / 10 h = 50 A.
a cell’s capacity is not the same at all
rates, C5 is usually less than C20 for the
same cell.
.
Charge, state of -- Condition of a cell in
terms of the capacity remaining in the
cell.


New Technology Batteries Guide

.
Charging --The process of supplying .
Discharge -- The conversion of the
electrical energy for conversion to chemical energy of the battery into
stored chemical energy. electric energy.
.
Constant-Current Charge -- A charging .
Discharge, deep -- Withdrawal of all
process in which the current of a electrical energy to the end-point
storage battery is maintained at a voltage before the cell or battery is
constant value. For some types of lead-recharged.
acid batteries this may involve two
rates called the starting and finishing .
Discharge, high-rate -- Withdrawal of
rates. large currents for short intervals of
time, usually at a rate that would
.
Constant-Voltage Charge --A charging completely discharge a cell or battery
process in which the voltage of a in less than one hour.
storage battery at the terminals of the
battery is held at a constant value. .
Discharge, low-rate -- Withdrawal of
small currents for long periods of time,
.
Cycle -- One sequence of charge and usually longer than one hour.
discharge. Deep cycling requires that
all the energy to an end voltage .
Drain -- Withdrawal of current from a
established for each system be drained cell.
from the cell or battery on each
discharge. In shallow cycling, the
energy is partially drained on each
discharge; i.e., the energy may be any
.
Dry Cell --A primary cell in which the
electrolyte is absorbed in a porous
medium, or is otherwise restrained
value up to 50%. from flowing. Common practice limits
.
Cycle Life -- For secondary rechargeable
the term “dry cell” to the Leclanché
cell, which is the common commercial
cells or batteries, the total number of
charge/discharge cycles the cell can
type.
sustain before it becomes inoperative.
In practice, end of life is usually
.
Electrochemical Couple -- The system of
active materials within a cell that
considered to be reached when the cell
or battery delivers approximately 80%
of rated ampere-hour capacity.
provides electrical energy storage
through an electrochemical reaction.
.
Electrode -- An electrical conductor
.
Depth of Discharge --The relative
amount of energy withdrawn from a
battery relative to how much could be
withdrawn if the battery were
discharged until exhausted.
through which an electric current
enters or leaves a conducting medium,
whether it be an electrolytic solution,
solid, molten mass, gas, or vacuum.
For electrolytic solutions, many solids,
and molten masses, an electrode is an


New Technology Batteries Guide

electrical conductor at the surface of that is capable of producing electrical
which a change occurs from energy by electrochemical action.
conduction by electrons to conduction
by ions. For gases and vacuum, the
electrodes merely serve to conduct
.
Gassing -- The evolution of gas from one
or both of the electrodes in a cell.
electricity to and from the medium. Gassing commonly results from self.
Electrolyte -- A chemical compound
which, when fused or dissolved in
discharge or from the electrolysis of
water in the electrolyte during
charging.
certain solvents, usually water, will
conduct an electric current. All .
Internal Resistance --The resistance to
electrolytes in the fused state or in the flow of an electric current within
solution give rise to ions which
conduct the electric current.
the cell or battery.
.
Electropositivity -- The degree to which
an element in a galvanic cell will
function as the positive element of the
cell. An element with a large
electropositivity will oxidize faster
than an element with a smaller
electropositivity.
.
Memory Effect -- A phenomenon in
which a cell, operated in successive
cycles to the same, but less than full,
depth of discharge, temporarily loses
the remainder of its capacity at normal
voltage levels (usually applies only to
Ni-Cd cells).
.
End-of-Discharge Voltage -- The voltage
of the battery at termination of a
.
Negative Terminal -- The terminal of a
battery from which electrons flow in
the external circuit when the cell
discharge. discharges. See Positive Terminal.
.
Energy --Output capability; expressed as
capacity times voltage, or watt-hours.
.
Nonaqueous Batteries --Cells that do not
contain water, such as those with
.
Energy Density --Ratio of cell energy to
weight or volume (watt-hours per .
molten salts or organic electrolytes.
Ohm’s Law -- The formula that describes
pound, or watt-hours per cubic inch). the amount of current flowing through
a circuit.
.
Float Charging -- Method of recharging
in which a secondary cell is
Voltage = Current × Resistance.
continuously connected to a constant-
voltage supply that maintains the cell
in fully charged condition.
.
Open Circuit -- Condition of a battery
which is neither on charge nor on
discharge (i.e., disconnected from a
.
Galvanic Cell -- A combination of
circuit).
electrodes, separated by electrolyte,


New Technology Batteries Guide

.
Open-Circuit Voltage -- The difference in
potential between the terminals of a
cell when the circuit is open (i.e., a no-
load condition).
.
Oxidation --A chemical reaction that
results in the release of electrons by an
electrode’s active material.
.
Parallel Connection -- The arrangement
of cells in a battery made by
connecting all positive terminals
together and all negative terminals
together, the voltage of the group being
only that of one cell and the current
drain through the battery being divided
among the several cells. See Series
Connection.
.
Polarity -- Refers to the charges residing
at the terminals of a battery.
.
Positive Terminal -- The terminal of a
battery toward which electrons flow
through the external circuit when the
cell discharges. See Negative
Terminal.
.
Primary Battery -- A battery made up of
primary cells. See Primary Cell.
.
Primary Cell -- A cell designed to
produce electric current through an
electrochemical reaction that is not
efficiently reversible. Hence the cell,
when discharged, cannot be efficiently
recharged by an electric current.
Note: When the available energy drops
to zero, the cell is usually discarded.
Primary cells may be further classified
by the types of electrolyte used.
.
Rated Capacity -- The number of ampere-
hours a cell can deliver under specific
conditions (rate of discharge, end
voltage, temperature); usually the
manufacturer’s rating.
.
Rechargeable --Capable of being
recharged; refers to secondary cells or
batteries.
.
Recombination -- State in which the gases
normally formed within the battery cell
during its operation, are recombined to
form water.
.
Reduction -- A chemical process that
results in the acceptance of electrons
by an electrode’s active material.
.
Seal --The structural part of a galvanic
cell that restricts the escape of solvent
or electrolyte from the cell and limits
the ingress of air into the cell (the air
may dry out the electrolyte or interfere
with the chemical reactions).
.
Secondary Battery -- A battery made up
of secondary cells. See Storage
Battery; Storage Cell.
.
Self Discharge --Discharge that takes
place while the battery is in an open-
circuit condition.
.
Separator -- The permeable membrane
that allows the passage of ions, but
prevents electrical contact between the
anode and the cathode.
.
Series Connection -- The arrangement of
cells in a battery configured by
connecting the positive terminal of

New Technology Batteries Guide

each successive cell to the negative
terminal of the next adjacent cell so
that their voltages are cumulative. See
Parallel Connection.

.
Shelf Life --For a dry cell, the period of
time (measured from date of
manufacture), at a storage temperature
of 21(C (69(F), after which the cell
retains a specified percentage (usually
90%) of its original energy content.
.
Short-Circuit Current -- That current
delivered when a cell is short-circuited
(i.e., the positive and negative
terminals are directly connected with a
low-resistance conductor).
.
Starting-Lighting-Ignition (SLI)
Battery -- A battery designed to start
internal combustion engines and to
power the electrical systems in
automobiles when the engine is not
running. SLI batteries can be used in
emergency lighting situations.
.
Stationary Battery -- A secondary battery
designed for use in a fixed location.
.
Storage Battery --An assembly of
identical cells in which the
electrochemical action is reversible so
that the battery may be recharged by
passing a current through the cells in
the opposite direction to that of
discharge. While many non-storage
batteries have a reversible process,
only those that are economically
rechargeable are classified as storage
batteries. Synonym: Accumulator;
Secondary Battery. See Secondary
Cell.
.
Storage Cell --An electrolytic cell for the
generation of electric energy in which
the cell after being discharged may be
restored to a charged condition by an
electric current flowing in a direction
opposite the flow of current when the
cell discharges. Synonym: Secondary
Cell. See Storage Battery.
.
Taper Charge --A charge regime
delivering moderately high-rate
charging current when the battery is at
a low state of charge and tapering the
current to lower rates as the battery
becomes more fully charged.
.
Terminals -- The parts of a battery to
which the external electric circuit is
connected.
.
Thermal Runaway -- A condition
whereby a cell on charge or discharge
will destroy itself through internal heat
generation caused by high overcharge
or high rate of discharge or other
abusive conditions.
.
Trickle Charging --A method of
recharging in which a secondary cell is
either continuously or intermittently
connected to a constant-current supply
that maintains the cell in fully charged
condition.
.
Vent -- A normally sealed mechanism that
allows for the controlled escape of
gases from within a cell.
.
Voltage, cutoff -- Voltage at the end of
useful discharge. (See Voltage, endpoint.)

New Technology Batteries Guide

.
Voltage, end-point --Cell voltage below
which the connected equipment will
not operate or below which operation
is not recommended.
.
Voltage, nominal -- Voltage of a fully
charged cell when delivering rated
current.
.
Wet Cell --A cell, the electrolyte of which
is in liquid form and free to flow and
move.

New Technology Batteries Guide

50



9. Bibliography
American National Standard Specification for
Dry Cells and Batteries, American
National Standards Institutes, Inc.
ANSI C18.1M-1992.

Application Notes & Product Data Sheet:
Primary Batteries—Alkaline, Heavy
Duty & General Purpose, Rayovac
Corporation, January 1996.

Batteries Used with Law Enforcement
Communications Equipment: Chargers
and Charging Techniques, W.W.
Scott, Jr., U.S. Department of Justice,
LESP-RPT-0202.00, June 1973.

Batteries Used with Law Enforcement
Communications Equipment:
Comparison and Performance
Characteristics, R.L. Jesch and I.S.
Berry, U.S. Department of Justice,
LESP-RPT-0201.00, May 1972.

Battery Engineering Web Site,
http://www.batteryeng.com, August
1997.

Battery Selection & Care, Eveready Battery
Corporation, 1995.

Camcorder Battery Pocket Guide, Eveready
Battery Corporation, Inc., 1996.

Cellular Duracell Rechargeable Batteries,
Duracell, 1996.

Design Note: Renewal Reusable Alkaline
Batteries Applications and System
Design Issues For Portable Electronic
Equipment, Rayovac Corporation,
presented at: Portable by Design
Conference, 1995.

Duracell Batteries Web Site,
http://www.duracell.com, August
1997.

Easy to Choose, Easy to Use, Eveready
Battery Corporation, 1997.

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1992.

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Battery Company, Inc., 1995.

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http://www.eveready.com, August
1997.

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Rayovac Corporation, 1995.

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of Batteries, Electronics Industries
Association Consumer Electronics
Group, 1992.


New Technology Batteries Guide

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Equipment, Measurement and
Performance Standard, Electronics
Industry Association/
Telecommunications Industry
Association, Publication EIA/TIA 603,
1993.

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PM Equipment 25-470 MC,
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ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CORRECTIONS
STANDARDS AND TESTING PROGRAM


The Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program is sponsored by the Office of Science and
Technology of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), U.S. Department of Justice. The program responds to the mandate
of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, which created NIJ and directed it to encourage research and
development to improve the criminal justice system and to disseminate the results to Federal, State, and local agencies.

The Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program is an applied research effort that
determines the technological needs of justice system agencies, sets minimum performance standards for specific
devices, tests commercially available equipment against those standards, and disseminates the standards and the test
results to criminal justice agencies nationally and internationally.

The program operates through:  The Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council (LECTAC)
consisting of nationally recognized criminal justice practitioners from Federal, State, and local agencies, which
assesses technological needs and sets priorities for research programs and items to be evaluated and tested.

The Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which
develops voluntary national performance standards for compliance testing to ensure that individual items of equipment
are suitable for use by criminal justice agencies. The standards are based upon laboratory testing and evaluation of
representative samples of each item of equipment to determine the key attributes, develop test methods, and establish
minimum performance requirements for each essential attribute. In addition to the highly technical standards, OLES also
produces technical reports and user guidelines that explain in nontechnical terms the capabilities of available equipment.

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), operated by a grantee, which supervises
a national compliance testing program conducted by independent laboratories. The standards developed by OLES serve
as performance benchmarks against which commercial equipment is measured. The facilities, personnel, and testing
capabilities of the independent laboratories are evaluated by OLES prior to testing each item of equipment, and OLES
helps the NLECTC staff review and analyze data. Test results are published in Equipment Performance Reports
designed to help justice system procurement officials make informed purchasing decisions.

Publications are available at no charge from the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center. Some
documents are also available online through the Internet/World Wide Web. To request a document or additional
information, call 800-248-2742 or 301-519-5060, or write:

National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center

P.O. Box 1160
Rockville, MD 20849-1160
E-mail: asknlectc@nlectc.org
World Wide Web address: http://www.nlectc.org
The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of Justice
Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of
Justice Statistics, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and
the Office for Victims of Crime.

National Institute of Justice

Jeremy Travis
Director

The Technical effort to develop this Guide was conducted
under Interagency Agreement 94-IJ-R-004
Project No. 97-027-CTT.

This Guide was prepared by the Office of Law
Enforcement Standards (OLES) of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
under the direction of A. George Lieberman,
Program Manager for Communications Systems,
and Kathleen M. Higgins, Director of OLES.
The work resulting in this guide was sponsored by
the National Institute of Justice, David G. Boyd,
Director, Office of Science and Technology.
ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CORRECTIONS
STANDARDS AND TESTING PROGRAM


The Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program is sponsored by the Office of Science and
Technology of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), U.S. Department of Justice. The program responds to the mandate
of the Justice System Improvement Act of 1979, which created NIJ and directed it to encourage research and
development to improve the criminal justice system and to disseminate the results to Federal, State, and local agencies.

The Law Enforcement and Corrections Standards and Testing Program is an applied research effort that
determines the technological needs of justice system agencies, sets minimum performance standards for specific
devices, tests commercially available equipment against those standards, and disseminates the standards and the test
results to criminal justice agencies nationally and internationally.

The program operates through:  The Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council (LECTAC)
consisting of nationally recognized criminal justice practitioners from Federal, State, and local agencies, which
assesses technological needs and sets priorities for research programs and items to be evaluated and tested.

The Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which
develops voluntary national performance standards for compliance testing to ensure that individual items of equipment
are suitable for use by criminal justice agencies. The standards are based upon laboratory testing and evaluation of
representative samples of each item of equipment to determine the key attributes, develop test methods, and establish
minimum performance requirements for each essential attribute. In addition to the highly technical standards, OLES also
produces technical reports and user guidelines that explain in nontechnical terms the capabilities of available equipment.

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), operated by a grantee, which supervises
a national compliance testing program conducted by independent laboratories. The standards developed by OLES serve
as performance benchmarks against which commercial equipment is measured. The facilities, personnel, and testing
capabilities of the independent laboratories are evaluated by OLES prior to testing each item of equipment, and OLES
helps the NLECTC staff review and analyze data. Test results are published in Equipment Performance Reports
designed to help justice system procurement officials make informed purchasing decisions.

Publications are available at no charge from the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center. Some
documents are also available online through the Internet/World Wide Web. To request a document or additional
information, call 800-248-2742 or 301-519-5060, or write:

National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center

P.O. Box 1160
Rockville, MD 20849-1160
E-mail: asknlectc@nlectc.org
World Wide Web address: http://www.nlectc.org
The National Institute of Justice is a component of the Office of Justice
Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of
Justice Statistics, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and
the Office for Victims of Crime.

National Institute of Justice

Jeremy Travis
Director

The Technical effort to develop this Guide was conducted
under Interagency Agreement 94-IJ-R-004
Project No. 97-027-CTT.

This Guide was prepared by the Office of Law
Enforcement Standards (OLES) of the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
under the direction of A. George Lieberman,
Program Manager for Communications Systems,
and Kathleen M. Higgins, Director of OLES.
The work resulting in this guide was sponsored by
the National Institute of Justice, David G. Boyd,
Director, Office of Science and Technology.
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