5 Hard Facts to Know About Batteries

1. No Battery Can Last Forever

All batteries, including rechargeables, eventually die. This is because the chemicals inside the battery degrade over time and with usage.

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2. All Batteries Discharge Regardless of Whether They are Being Used or Not

Yep, it’s true, your battery runs out even if you aren’t using it. Some rechargeable batteries (the not so lucky Nickel-Cadmium and Nickel-Metal Hydride) self discharge at a much faster rate than alkaline batteries (a type of non-rechargeable battery). At room temperature these batteries will self discharge a few percent per day!

3. Don’t Just Charge Everything

Don’t recharge a battery unless it is specifically marked “rechargeable.” Attempting to recharge a primary (non-rechargeable) battery could result in leakage or rupture.

4. Not All Rechargeable Batteries Were Created Equal

It took a while to get the rechargeable battery right. The first widely available rechargeable batteries were Nickel-Cadmium. These batteries suffer from something called ‘memory effect.’

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Basically, if these batteries weren’t fully discharged every time they were used, they would quickly lose capacity.

The most prominent batteries now are Lithium-Ion, which are found in most phones and laptops. These batteries have a long life; they consistently hold charge and often have sophisticated chargers that prevent overcharging. Unfortunately, these are relatively expensive, and, as of yet, are not available in standard household sizes, e.g. AAA or AA.

5. Calibrate Your Batteries

Remember, back in the day, when you bought a new phone you would let it drain completely before recharging it for the first time to make the battery last longer?

This process is called ‘calibrating’, and was necessary back in the days when Nickel-Cadmium batteries were common as it helped prevent the fateful ‘memory effect’.

Now that most of our portable devices use Lithium-Ion batteries, calibrating isn’t that important – it certainly doesn’t increase the life span of your battery.

But, have you ever gone outside when your phone battery was half full and had it not even last an hour?

Every so often, Lithium-Ion batteries lose their ability to judge how much charge they have left! If you calibrate them, you can reset your battery so they can once again be accurate.

BONUS FACT: You Can Recycle All of Your Batteries

All used batteries can be recycled and should be recovered to conserve valuable metals and to reduce impacts in landfill.

In our next post, Lexie will be discussing how this relatively simply fact, can become quite convoluted.

Have you got any questions about batteries that you want answered? Ask in the comments below and we will answer!

– Lilly

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