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Battery Technology Primer

Today's most common battery chemistries are:

This is the most widely used and readily available battery product in the world. Widespread availability combined with a relatively high overall capacity, make alkaline the chemistry of choice for diverse applications, especially where the end-user will need to acquire and replace batteries during the product’s useful life. Alkaline performs reasonably well in most temperature environments, has a relatively long shelf life, and can be stored at varying temperature with little negative effect. In addition, it’s low cost, useable nominal voltage, and wide size selection makes it an attractive design option for non-rechargeable industrial and commercial applications.
Nickel Cadmium (NiCd)
Probably the most utilized rechargeable product by consumers today, NiCd is well suited to continuous high discharge, as well as to rapid charge and continuous trickle charging. It’s available in cylindrical and prismatic shapes and in large selection of sizes. Nickel Cadmium is a value-priced rechargeable technology, achieved by fully utilizing all of the cell’s capacity. Properly utilized, these cells have been known to far exceed 500 charge and discharge cycles.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH)
Developed to meet the requirement for increasingly higher levels of energy demanded by today’s electronic products, Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries can offer up to three times the capacity of the same size standard Nickel Cadmium batteries. Due to their increased capacity and energy density features, users can expect a longer time between charges and longer running time. They are available in both cylindrical and prismatic shapes.
Lithium batteries are disposable (primary) batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. Depending on the design and chemical used, lithium cells can produce voltages from 1.5V to about 3.7V, over twice the voltage of an ordinary zinc-carbon battery or alkaline battery. Lithium batteries are widely used in products such as portable consumer electronic devices.

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)
A lithium-ion battery (also know as Li-ion battery, and is secondary battery) is a family of rechargeable battery type in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge, and back when charging. Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable battery for portable electronics, with one of the best energy densities, no memory effect, and a slow loss of charge when not in use. Beyond consumer electronics, Li-ion are also growing in popularity for military, electric vehicle, and aerospace application. Lithium-ion batteries can’t be sold with out a safe circuit.

Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)
This chemistry is used extensively in backup, standby, and main power applications due to its low cost, large size, power availability, and ease to charge. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) withstands moderate to high temperatures during use, does extremely well in constant drain and constant charge conditions. It can handle high rate discharges in short increments. Sealed Lead Acid’s nominal 2 volts also allows for flexible design in achieving desired application voltage settings.


Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) rechargeable batteries are designed to provide outstanding performance in withstanding overcharge, over discharge and resisting vibration and shock. Compact, these batteries save installation space while providing full and reliable power. The use of special epoxies, tongue and groove case construction, long-sealing paths for post, connectors assures that the battery will offer exceptional leak resistance and allows them to be used in any position.


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