Digital Battery Handling tips and general information

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Digital Camera & Camcorder Batteries Care and General Information  
  1. Introduction

  2. Different Battery Types Explained

  3. Maximizing Your Battery's Performance


Rechargeable batteries have become very popular for use as power sources for consumer electronic devices, because their energy density (energy per unit weight or volume) is very high relative to nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMh) batteries. Li-ion batteries are also much less polluting than the heavy-metal Nickel Cadmium battery. Cellphones, digital cameras and camcorders, laptop computers, shavers, and other consumer electronic devices now use lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium batteries also are being developed for other uses, including energy storage devices for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, biotechnology, and for space use. However, as battery developers work to create better batteries, they are faced with numerous challenges such as safety, cost, and calendar life.

Different Types of Batteries

Different types of batteries use different types of chemicals and chemical reactions. Some of the more common types of batteries are:

  • Alkaline batteries - The usual Duracell and Energizer  you find in stores. The electrodes of alkaline batteries are zinc and manganese-oxide, and the electrolyte is an alkaline paste.

  • Lead-acid batteries - These are normally used for car batteries. The electrodes are made of lead (Pb) and lead-oxide (PbO2 or PbO3) with a strong acid (commonly H2SO4 or Sulfuric Acid) as the electrolyte.

  • Lithium battery - These are used in cameras for the flash mechanism. They are made with lithium, lithium-iodide and lead-iodide. They usually supply electricity to capacitors which then provide the electrical surge for the flash.

  • Lithium-ion battery - This type of battery is found in cameras, camcorders, laptop computers, cell phones and other high-use portable equipment. Today Li-ion batteries are the most popular consumer advice. They are lighter than Ni-MH batteries.

  • Nickel Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries offer much higher energy densities than NiCad batteries. This means increased run-time from the battery at the same weight/size. NiMH also does not suffer from the "memory effect" (explained below). Finally, NiMH batteries are environmentally more friendly than their NiCad counterparts, since they lack heavy metals.

  • Nickel-cadmium or NiCad battery - The electrodes are nickel-hydroxide and cadmium. The electrolyte is potassium-hydroxide. This battery used to be the primary type for all types of consumer electronics, including cameras, shavers etc. But it has been mostly been replaced witht he Lithium-Ion battery, mentioned above.

  • Zinc-carbon battery or standard carbon battery - Zinc and carbon are used in standard AA, C and D dry-cell batteries. The electrodes are composed of zinc and carbon, and a paste of acidic materials between them serves as the electrolyte for ion flow.

Maximizing Your Battery's Performance
Here are several steps you can take to insure that you get maximum performance from your battery:

  • Most new batteries will be semi or fully discharged upon arrival and must be charged before use.  The battery may require three to four charge/discharge cycles before achieving maximum capacity. This may also apply after prolonged storage of the battery.

  • It is normal for a battery to become warm during charging and discharging.

  • It is important to condition the battery every four to five months by taking it through a charge/discharge cycle. Simple fully charge your battery, fully discharge it, and charge it again. Note that this does not apply to lithium ion batteries, which do not require conditioning as they don't have the so called "memory effect" problem.

  • If the battery will not be in use for a month or longer, it is recommended that it be removed from the device and stored in a cool, dry, clean place.

  • A charged battery will eventually lose its charge if unused. It may therefore be necessary to recharge the battery after a storage period.

  • The milliamp-hour (mAH) rating our batteries may often be higher than the one on your original battery. A higher mAH rating indicates a longer lasting (higher capacity) battery and will not cause any incompatibilities. Our batteries will, in many cases, outperform the original (OEM) product by 30% to 40%.

  • Actual battery run-time depends upon the power demands made by the equipment. For example, using the LCD display in camcorders reduced battery run time; using the viewfinder will prolong run time. In the case of laptops, the use of peripherals like CD/DVD drives, backup drives etc results in an additional drain upon the battery,  reducing the battery's run-time. In the case of computers, try to optimize your computer's power management features. Consult your computer manual for further instructions.

  • Keep Your Batteries Clean - Clean dirty battery contacts with a cotton swab and alcohol. This will help maintain a good connection between battery and device.

  • Exercise Your Battery - Do not leave your battery dormant for long periods of time. It is recommended to use 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.

  • Battery Storage - If you don't plan on using the battery for a month or more, we recommend storing it in a clean, dry, cool place away from heat and metal objects. NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion batteries will self-discharge during storage; remember to break them in before use.

So how do these batteries work? >>>


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