Understanding your Batteries
There are various types of batteries available for your electronic devices and which type is more suitable can sometimes be puzzling. Here is a guide that will help you better understand the choices available.
These types of batteries are widely used in our daily life, from household appliances to toy. They are not able to charge, and must replace new one when low power. If these batteries are to be used in digital cameras, they’ll drain off very fast, therefore they are not the best battery of choice for digital cameras. Alkaline batteries have a shelf life of around 2 years.
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries
NiCds are most lower priced if compared with other types of rechargeable battery. The measurement for battery is milliamp-hours (mAh), and that the overall charge capacity of battery. The higher mAh mean will provide the longer battery life or better battery performance, hence the higher mAh batteries are more costly, but are worth to pay for it, if you are using for high drain devices like portable electronic devices.
The charge in these types of batteries will gradually decrease if they are keeping unused for around 4 weeks, unlike alkaline batteries. However, we can fully charge them anytime but be warned that NiCds have one major problem which is known as “memory effect”. If you direct charge the NiCd batteries before fully discharging, their capacity will reduce. Eventually this make them become gradually less powerful until they become useless. In order to solve this problem, we need a charger which has discharging feature, discharging the battery before commencing charge. This type of charger definitely more expensive than the normal charger, but you will obtain more consistent performance from your batteries.
Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
Next type of battery is NiMH batteries which are more expensive than NiCds. NiMH have different energy storage technology, resulting in more efficient output. They can provide longer battery power but having the same draining over time problem if keep for long period unused. NiMH batteries no “memory effect” issue like NiCds. Buy a advanced charger which can be discharge the battery before charging it for the better battery performance. The highest mAh battery will provide the longer battery life, so the highest mAh rating batteries are more recommended.
Lithium batteries are not rechargeable battery and the price is more expensive than other battery. The most advantage of Lithium battery is can last for around 10 years with very low power drains. There are 4 common sizes of Lithium battery; 2CR5, CRP2P, 123A and CR2, most are generally used in compact cameras, small SLRs. The last and the most commonly used is AA lithium, which is the substitute for NiCds, NiMH and alkaline batteries. Highly recommended for high drain devices like digital cameras and flashguns, etc.
The different between Lithium-Ion batteries and standard Lithium batteries, the Lithium-Ion batteries are rechargeable and light weight with high power. Because of the lower weight plus higher capacity they are more suitable for those high drain products. Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries are popular and wide used for portable electronics, because of high power capacity, no “memory effect” and the battery life can keep for more long period of time if not in use.
Since NiCd batteries suffer from “memory effect”, therefore, it is best to purchase a more advanced charger that can discharge the battery before charging it, to makes sure that no "memory effect" can happen.
The advanced charger or smart charger normally quick charges a battery up to around 90% of its maximum capacity in one hour, then will auto-switched to trickle charging, which will take few hours to complete the full capacity.
All batteries must not over charge, should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If batteries are left charging or over charge, its power capacity may be reduce, may even burn or explore!
Hopefully by now you are well versed with the different types of batteries available and will eventually lead to an informed purchase.