You will find our full range of Battery products in our Components Section of the web site. Listed below are some of the FAQ’s our customers ask us about our GP Battery products:
What are the different types of batteries available in the market and their applications?
- Batteries available in the market are usually classified as primary batteries and rechargeable batteries.
- Primary batteries are sometimes called "throw-away" batteries because they will be discarded when they are flat, as they cannot be recharged for reuse. Common types of primary batteries include alkaline, zinc carbon, lithium, silver oxide and zinc air batteries.
- Rechargeable batteries can be recharged and reused for up to 1000 times depending on usage conditions.
- Common types of rechargeable batteries include Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries.
How should I strike a good balance between performance and cost when selecting batteries?
- To be a smart consumer, you have to understand the power consumption requirement of your electronic device before deciding on which battery to go for. Generally speaking, high power consumption electronic devices operate under high current condition.
- NiMH batteries will provide the longest operating time. Besides, they can be recharged up to 1000 times. Hence the cost per unit energy is much lower than alkaline and carbon zinc batteries.
- Alkaline batteries are best used for moderate power consumption electronic devices.
Fast charging vs slow charging, which is better?
- Fast charging employs a high charging current which enables you to charge up a NiMH battery in a relatively shorter time, ranging from five hours to even half an hour.
- Using a low charging current, slow charging often refers to overnight charging, which normally takes over 12 hours to charge up a NiMH battery.
- However, the time it takes to fully charge a battery depends on the charging current of the charger and the capacity of the battery.
- Imagine filling up a bucket under a running water tap. The bigger the bucket, the longer it takes to fill it up. You can also increase the rate of filling the bucket by turning up the tap a bit more.
How do you select a charger?
- Fast chargers and slow chargers have their respective merits and demerits. You should choose a charger that meets your performance and cost requirements.
- A fast charger delivers speed, but its design is more complicated, and therefore is usually more expensive than a slow charger.
- Overcharging can shorten a NiMH battery's cycle life. Hence a well-designed fast charger has to incorporate certain protection mechanisms that prevent the batteries from being overcharged.
- These protection mechanisms, ranging from sophisticated voltage detection to temperature monitoring and timer control, can be expensive. Normally a fast charger has to incorporate at least one of these mechanisms. The more mechanisms it has, the better the protection and thus the higher the price.
- Therefore, when charging speed is not a priority, it would be more cost effective to select a slow charger, which also gives longer battery service life and enables fuller charge of a battery compared with a fast charger.
- However, for applications that require fast charging speed, e.g. remote control racing toy car and digital cameras, it would be worthwhile to invest more for a fast charger to ensure continuous supply of energy.
The batteries get warm during charging, is there something wrong?
- No, it is normal for batteries to get warm during charging.
- What is the self-discharge rate of NiMH batteries?
- If a NiMH battery is left idle after being fully charged, it will gradually loses its energy. This is called self-discharge. In general, the rate of self-discharge ranges from 15% to 20% per month at room temperature.
What affects cycle life performance?
The following factors may affect a battery's cycle life:
- Charge: You are recommended to charge the batteries with appropriate chargers equipped with correct charge termination methods (such as timer, negative delta voltage and temperature cut-off), so as to avoid the possibility of shortened cycle life resulted from overcharging. Generally speaking, slow charging would lead to longer cycle life than high rate charging.
- Discharge: The dominant variable affecting cycle life is the depth of discharge. The deeper the depth of discharge, the shorter the cycle life. By decreasing the depth of discharge, the cycle life of a battery will be significantly increased. For this reason, it is necessary to avoid over-discharging of batteries to a very low voltage. Depending on different discharge currents, 0.8-1.0V per cell is the generally acceptable end point voltage.
- Discharging battery at high temperatures will reduce the cycle life.
- Batteries can sometimes be drained excessively by small residual currents in idle equipment left for extended periods, if the design of the equipment does not shut down all currents completely.
- Using battery with different capacities, chemistries, charge levels or using old and new batteries together can also cause over-discharge.
- Storage: If a battery is stored for a long time at a high temperature, the electrode will deteriorate, reducing the cycle life.
- Avoid leaving a battery in a charger for an extended period.
- State of charge in the same devices.
How should we store NiMH batteries?
- In general, the higher the storage temperature, the worse the capacity retention of NiMH batteries.
Do warm and cold temperatures affect batteries?
- Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended. Store batteries at room temperature in dry environment.