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How can I maximize the performance of my battery?

There are several steps you can take to help you get maximum performance from your battery:
1. Prevent the Memory Effect - Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries which do not suffer from the memory effect.
2. Keep the Batteries Clean - It's a good idea to clean dirty battery contacts with a cotton swab and alcohol. This helps maintain a good connection between the battery and the portable device.
3. Exercise the Battery - Do not leave the battery dormant for long periods of time. We recommend using the battery at least once every two to three weeks. If a battery has not been used for a long period of time, perform the new battery break in procedure described above.
4. Battery Storage - If you don't plan on using the battery for a month or more, store it in a clean, dry, cool place away from heat and metal objects. Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-Ion batteries will self-discharge during storage; remember to recharge the batteries before use.
5. Sealed Lead Acid - (SLA) batteries must be kept at full charge during storage. This is usually achieved by using special trickle chargers. If you do not have a trickle charger, do not attempt to store SLA batteries for more than three months

Galvanic Cell Component

The basic components of a battery are the electrodes with terminals to connect to the external circuit, a separator to keep the electrodes apart and prevent them from shorting, the electrolyte which carries the charged ions between the electrodes and a case to contain the active chemicals and hold the electrodes in place.

Each galvanic or energy cell consists of at least three and sometimes four components
1. The anode or negative electrode is the reducing or fuel electrode. It gives up electrons to the external circuit and is oxidised during the elecrochemical (discharge) reaction. It is generally a metal or an alloy but hydrogen is also used. The anodic process is the oxidation of the metal reducing agent to form metal ions.
( LEO Lose Electrons - Oxidation)
(OIL - Oxidation is Loss)
2. The cathode or positive electrode is the oxidising electrode. It accepts electrons from the external circuit and is reduced during the electrochemical (discharge) reaction. It is usually an metallic oxide or a sulfide but oxygen is also used. The cathodic process is the reduction of the oxidising agent (oxide) to leave the metal.
(GER Gain Electrons - Reduction). Remember the mnemonic of the lion growling.
(RIG - Reduction is Gain) Alternative mnemonic - OIL RIG
3. The electrolyte (the ionic conductor) which provides the medium for transfer of charge as ions inside the cell between the anode and cathode. The electrolyte is typically a solvent containing dissolved chemicals providing ionic conductivity. It should be a non-conductor of electrons to avoid self discharge of the cell.
Metal ions are metal atoms missing electrons and are thus positively charged. Particles missing electrons are called cations and during discharge they move through the electrolyte towards the cathode.
Anions are atoms or particles with excess electrons and thus negatively charged. During discharge they are attracted towards the anode.
4. The separator which electrically isolates the positive and negative electrodes.

5. Electrodes: The electrodes material may be a rigid metallic grids as in Lead acid batteries or the active electrode material may impregnated into or coated onto a spiral rolled metallic foil which simply acts as a current collector as in many Nickel and Lithium based cells. See also Battery Manufacturing
6. Separator: The separator may be a mechanical spacer, fibreglass cloth or a flexible plastic film made from nylon, polyethylene or polypropylene. It must be porous and very thin to permit the charged ions to pass without impediment and it should take up the minimum of space to allow for the maximum use of the available space for the active chemicals. At the same time it must be resistant to penetration by burrs or dendrite growths on the electrode plates or from contamination of the electrode coating to prevent the possibility of short circuits between the electrodes. These characteristics should be maintained at high operating temperature when softening of the plastic material could clog the pores or reduce its resistance to penetration. The breakdown or penetration of the separator is a potential area of weakness in high power cells and special separator materials have been developed to overcome this problem.

7. Terminals: There are many ways of connecting to the electrodes ranging from spring contacts, through wires or tags to mechanical studs. The main requirement is that the terminals should be able to handle the maximum current without overheating, either the terminal itself or the electrode connected to it. This needs careful design of the connection to the electrodes to take off the current through the maximum possible area of electrode material so as not to cause any hot spots. See also notes about external connections in the section on Battery Pack Design.
8. Electrolyte: For many years all electrolytes were in aqueous or gel form. Recently solid polymer electrolytes have been developed which do not suffer from leakage or spillage. As well as being safer in case of an accident and they also bring new degrees of freedom to cell design allowing mechanical designs to be shaped to fit into odd shaped cavities. Polymer electrolytes are typically used in Lithium batteries.

Can Li-ion polymer battery be contacted with water?

No. Since the water is of that conductive substance that may cause the battery short circuit and may damage the battery if contacted for a long time.

How are batteries rated? What are volts and amps?

There are two ratings on every battery: volts and amp-hours (Ah). The Ah rating may also be given as milliamp-hours (mah), which are one-thousandth of an amp-hour (for example, a 1Ah battery is 1000mah). Amp-hours are a rating of the amount of energy that a battery can store. Another way of looking at it is to say that the higher a battery's amp-hour rating is, the longer the battery's run-time will be. Some of our batteries will have higher amp-hour ratings than the original battery found in your device and will not cause any incompatibilities.

What are the key features of Lithium-ion battery?

In many ways Lithium is almost the perfect cell chemistry and many variants exist. Practical Lithium based rechargeable batteries were first demonstrated in the 1970's, and they are now used in very high volumes in low power applications such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras and other consumer electronic products. They have many attractive performance advantages which make them also ideal for higher power applications such as automotive and standby power.

1. High cell voltage of 3.6 Volts means fewer cells and associated connections and electronics are needed for high voltage batteries. (One Lithium cell can replace three NiCad or NiMH cells which have a cell voltage of only 1.2 Volts)
2. No liquid electrolyte means they are immune from leaking.
3. Very high energy density (About 4 times better than Lead acid). For example a 3.5 ton electric powered LDV light van uses 750Kg of Lead acid batteries. The same capacity could be provided by less than 200 Kg of Lithium batteries, allowing the van an increased payload of half a ton. Alternatively. The van's range of only 50 miles could be quadrupled by using the same weight of Lithium batteries.
4. Very high power density. As above.
5. Very small batteries also available. Solid state chemistry can be printed on to ceramic or flexible substrates to form thin film batteries with unique properties.
6. Low weight
7. Can be optimised for capacity or rate.
8. Individual cells up to 1000Ah capacity available.
9. Can be discharged at the 40C rate or more. The high discharge rate means that for automotive use the required cold cranking power or boost power for hybrid vehicles can be provided by a lower capacity battery.
10. Fast charge possible.
11. Can be deep cycled. The cell maintains a constant voltage for over 80% of its discharge curve. It thus delivers full power down to 80% DOD versus 50% for Lead acid. This means that in practice, for a given capacity, more of the stored energy is usable or that the battery will accept more starting attempts or boost power requests before becoming effectively discharged.
12. Very low self discharge rate. Can retain charge for up to ten years.
13. Very high coulombic efficiency (Capacity discharged over Capacity charged) up to 95% or more. Thus very little power is lost during the charge/discharge cycles.
14. No memory effect. No reconditioning needed.
15. Tolerates microcycles
16. Long cycle life. 1000 to 3000 deep cycles. (But see Lithium titanate below). Cycle life can be extended significantly by using protective circuits to limit the permissible DOD of the battery. This mitigates against the high initial costs of the battery.
17. Does not need reconditioning as do nickel based batteries.
18. Variants of the basic cell chemistry allow the performance to be tuned for specific applications.
19. Available in a wide range of cell constructions with capacities from less than 500 mAh to 1000 Ah from a large number (over 100) of suppliers world-wide.

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