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Types of Batteries and Their Applications

Batteries are the main source of power for any electronic wireless device, whether it’s a smartphone, laptop, watch or remote control. In this tutorial, we will briefly discuss the various types of batteries, their classification, terminology and specifications.


What is Battery

Let’s look at the basic differences between batteries and batteries. Let’s also find out why we really need batteries and why we can’t use AC power (ie, AC power from a wall outlet) instead of DC power.

  • Cell: A cell is an energy source which can deliver only DC voltage and current which are in very small quantities. For example if we take cells that we use in watches or remote controls, it can give maximum of 1.5 – 3V.
  • Battery: The functionality of the battery is exactly same as that of a cell but a battery is a pack of cells arranged is a series/parallel fashion so that the voltage can be raised to desired levels. The best known example for a battery is a power bank which is used to charge up smart phones. If we ever see the inside of a power bank we can find set of batteries arranged serially/parallel based on the requirement. Batteries are arranged in series to increase the voltage and in parallel to increase the current.

Why is DC more popular than AC now? In most portable electronics, AC power cannot be stored anywhere, and DC power can be stored anywhere without difficulty. Compared to direct current, even the losses caused by alternating current are greater. Therefore, DC is preferred for portable electronic devices.

Technical term for battery

We ca n’t just continue to use the voltage and current to explain the function of the battery. There are also some unique terms that define the characteristics of the battery, such as watt hour (mAh), C rating, nominal voltage, charge voltage, charge current, discharge current, Cut-off voltage, shelf life, and cycle life are several terms that define battery performance.

battery capacity

It is the energy stored in the battery in watt hours.
Watt hours = V * I * hours {measured in Ah / mAh because the voltage remains constant}

When reading the specifications of a smartphone, we usually see that the battery is rated at 2500 mAh or 4000 mAh. what does this mean? ?
For example: 2500 mAh, which means that the battery can supply 2.5A / 2500mA to the load for 1 hour. The duration of continuous battery operation depends on the load current it consumes. Therefore, if the load consumes only 25 mA, the battery can maintain a life of 100 hours. how is it?

25 mA * 100 hours {so 25 mA current lasts 100 hours.The same 250 mA for 10 hours, so …

Although theoretical calculations seem to be ideal, the battery’s duration varies based on temperature and current consumption.

Power capability

This means the amount of current the battery can deliver. Also known as C grade. In theory, it is calculated as Ah divided by 1 hour.

Example: Let us consider a battery with a capacity of 10000 mAh.

Frequency division 10000 mA hours / 10,000 mA after 1 hour = 10 A = 10 C

Therefore, a battery with a capacity of 10,000 mAh has a C rating of 10 C, which means that the battery has the ability to provide 10 A at a constant voltage (fixed voltage / rated voltage). If the battery is rated at 1C, the battery can provide 1A.

Note: The higher the C rating, the more current can be drawn from the battery.

Nominal voltage

When defining the power capacity, we have a unit called Wh, which can be refined to V * I * hours, but where does the voltage come from? Since the battery voltage will be constant and will not change, it is considered a nominal voltage (fixed voltage). Therefore, since the voltage is fixed, only amps and hours are considered as units (Ah / mAh).

Charging current

It is the maximum current that can charge the battery, that is, if the battery protection circuit is built in, the maximum current that can be actually applied is 1A / 2A, but 500 mA is still the best range to charge the battery.

Charging voltage

This is the maximum voltage at which the battery should be effectively charged. The optimal / standard charging voltage is basically 4.2V. Although we applied 5 V to the battery, it only accepted 4.2 V.

Discharging current

It is the current that can be drawn from the battery and passed to the load. If the load draws more current than the rated discharge current, the battery consumes very much power, which can cause the battery to heat up quickly, which can also cause the battery to explode. Therefore, carefully determine the amount of current the load consumes and the maximum discharge current that the battery can retain.

Discharging current

There may be situations where the battery is idle / sealed, especially in stores / shops for long periods of time. Therefore, the shelf life determines the period during which the battery can remain powered and should be able to be used within the rated period. For non-rechargeable batteries, the shelf life is mainly considered because they are used and thrown away. For rechargeable batteries, we can charge them even with a short shelf life.

Shelf life

The voltage at which the battery can be considered fully discharged, at which voltage, if we still try to discharge from the battery, it will damage the battery. Therefore, when the cut-off voltage is exceeded, the battery should be disconnected from the circuit and properly charged.

Cycle life

Assuming the battery is fully charged and discharged to 80% of its actual capacity, the battery is said to have completed a cycle. Similarly, the number of cycles a battery can be charged and discharged determines the cycle life. The longer the cycle life, the better the quality of the battery. But if you consider that the battery is fully charged initially, if the battery is discharged to 40% of its actual capacity, it cannot be considered as cycle life.

Power density

It defines the power capacity of a given volume of battery. 

For example, 100 Wh / Kg (standard power density of alkaline batteries) means that for a chemical composition of 1 Kg, it provides a power capacity of 100 Wh. Currently, the capacity of AAA alkaline batteries is 11.5 grams. So if 1Kg can provide 100 Wh capacity, how much can a 11.5g AAA battery provide? Let’s calculate it.

Wh (for 11.5 gm) = 100 * 11.5 / 1000 = 1.15 Wh   

Therefore, we know that the nominal voltage of alkaline batteries is 1.5V. Therefore, it provides 1.5V * (1.15 / 1.5) A * for 1 hour, it can provide 0.76 Ah = 760 mAh, which is almost equal to the power of a standard AAA alkaline battery.

Batteries Types

  • Non-rechargeable batteries (primary batteries)
  • Rechargeable batteries (secondary batteries)

Non-rechargeable Batteries

Since they can only be used once, they are basically considered a primary battery. These batteries cannot be charged and used again. Let's take a look at the regular everyday batteries we see.

Alkaline battery

It is basically composed of the chemical composition of zinc (Zn) and manganese dioxide (MnO 2), because the electrolyte used is potassium hydroxide, which is purely alkaline, so it is called a power density Alkaline battery 100 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage of Alkaline battery
    • Longer cycle life
    • More compatible and efficient when powering portable devices.
    • Longer shelf life.
    • small volume.
    • Efficient.
    • The internal resistance is low, and there is less discharge in the idle state.
    • Leak rate is low.
  • Disadvantages of Alkaline battery: the cost is a bit high. Other than that, everything is an advantage.
  • Alkaline battery application: It can be used for flashlights, remote controls, wall clocks, small portable devices, etc.


Button batteries

The chemical composition of coil batteries is also alkaline in nature. In addition to alkaline components, lithium and silver oxide chemicals will be used to make these batteries, which more effectively provide stable and stable voltages while providing such a small size. Its power density is 270 Wh / Kg.
  • Button Batteries Advantage
    • Light weight
    • small volume
    • high density
    • low cost
    • High nominal voltage (up to 3V)
    • High voltage easily available in series
    • Long shelf life
  • Button Batteries Disadvantages:-1. Need holder, 2.Low current consumption capability
  • Their Application: Used for watches, wall clocks, miniature electronics, etc.

Rechargeable batteries

These are often called secondary batteries and can be recharged and reused. Despite its high cost, it can be recharged and reused, and has a long life when used correctly and safely charged.

Lead-acid batteries

It consists of lead acid, which is very cheap and is mainly used in cars and vehicles to drive the lighting system in it. These are more desirable in products where size / space and weight are not important. These come with nominal voltages, starting at 2V to 24V, and the most common are 2V, 6V, 12V, and 24V batteries. Its power density is 7 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage
    • Cheap
    • Easy charging
    • High power output capability
  • Disadvantages
    • very heavy
    • Takes up a lot of space
    • Very low power density
  • Application: Used in cars, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), robots, heavy machinery, etc.

Nickel-cadmium batteries

These batteries are made from the chemical composition of nickel and cadmium. Although rarely used, they are very cheap and have very low discharge rates compared to nickel-metal hydride batteries. These come in all standard sizes, such as AA, AAA, C, and rectangle. The nominal voltage is 1.2V, which is usually connected together in groups of 3 to provide 3.6V. Its power density is 60 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage:
    • Cheap
    • Easy to charge
    • Can be used in all environments
    • Available in all standard sizes
  • Disadvantages
    • Lower power density
    • Contains toxic metals
    • It needs to be charged very frequently to avoid crystal growth on the panel.
  • Application: Used for remote control toys, cordless phones, solar lights, mainly used in applications where price is important.

NiMH batteries

Nickel metal hydride batteries are preferred over nickel-cadmium batteries because they have a smaller impact on the environment. Its nominal voltage is 1.25 V, which is higher than nickel-cadmium batteries. Its nominal voltage is lower than alkaline batteries, and because of its availability and less impact on the environment, it can be a good replacement for them. The power density of Ni-MH batteries is 100 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage
    • Available in all standard sizes.
    • High power density.
    • Easy to charge.
    • Almost all similarities and rechargeable alkaline alternatives.
  • Disadvantages
    • Self-discharge rate is high.
    • More expensive than nickel-cadmium batteries.
  • Application: For all applications similar to alkaline and nickel-cadmium batteries.

Li-ion batteries

They are made of lithium metal and are the latest rechargeable technology. Due to their compact size, they can be used in most portable applications requiring high power specifications. These are the best rechargeable batteries on the market. They have a nominal voltage of 3.7V (the most common are 3.6V and 7.2V) and have various power capacity ranges (from 100s mAh to 1000s mAh). Even Class C ratings range from 1C to 10C, and lithium-ion batteries have a power density of 126 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage
    • Very light weight.
    • High C grade.
    • The power density is very high.
    • The battery voltage is high.
  • Disadvantage
    • These are a bit expensive.
    • If the terminals are shorted, the battery may explode.
    • Requires battery protection circuit.

Lithium battery

These are also called lithium-ion polymer rechargeable batteries because it uses a high-conductivity polymer gel / polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte. These are lithium-ion technologies. These are a bit expensive. However, the battery is highly protected compared to lithium-ion batteries. Its power density is 185 Wh / Kg.

  • Advantage
    • Compared with lithium-ion batteries, they are highly protective.
    • Very light weight
    • Compared with lithium-ion batteries, the structure is thin.
    • Compared with nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries, the power density and nominal voltage are relatively high.
  • Disadvantage
    • expensive.
    • If connected incorrectly, it may explode.
    • Do not bend or expose to high temperatures as this may cause an explosion.
    • Scope of application: It can be used for all portable devices that need the advantages of charging, such as drones, robots, remote control toys, etc.

That’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed this article. However, if you have doubts or have any questions about this, you can contact me in the comments section below. I’ll be happy to help you as best I can. Let us know your feedback and suggestions at any time, they allow us to provide you with high-quality work that responds to your needs and expectations, and helps you continue to give back to our products. Thank you for reading this article.


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