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    Glossary

     

    Alkaline

    Alkaline batteries are used in all types of applications and last longer than zinc batteries. The voltage of an alkaline battery starts at 1.5V.

     

    Ampere (A)

    Unit to measure electrical current

     

    Battery

    One or more cells which are electrically connected together by permanent means, including case, terminals and markings. Batteries are used for a large number of devices such as: laptops, mobile telephones, cameras, camcorders...

     

    Capacity

    The amount of electricity (electrical charge) expressed in ampere-hours (Ah) or milli ampere-hours (mAh) that a fully charged battery can produce under specific conditions.

     

    Charger/power supply

    Component which converts mains voltage into voltage suitable for the device or the battery (linear voltage, cutting feed, for laptops,cameras...)

     

    Charge current (A or mA)

    Strength of current (number of electrons) necessary to charge the battery

     

    Charge rate

    The amount of current applied to a battery during the charging process. This rate is commonly expressed as a fraction of the capacity of the battery or in amperes.

     

    Constant current charge

    Method of charging with the current maintained substantially constant.

     

    Constant voltage charge

    A charging method which maintains the voltage across the battery terminals at a constant value.

     

    Converter

    Device transforming an input voltage into another output voltage, for example 12V to 220V. Used in camping situations, with cars and boats

     

    Cycle

    A discharge and a subsequent recharge sequence.

     

    Cycle Life

    Number of cycles expected under specific conditions.

     

    Cycling

    Sequences of repeated charges and discharges, for example once a month.

     

    Delta V

    Negative variation in the voltage of the rechargeable battery terminals which occurs when the battery is fully-charged whilst charging. Quick chargers are equipped with a Delta V which stops the charge and signals this with a pilot light.

     

    Disposable Battery

    Non-rechargeable element

     

    Discharge rate

    The current delivered by the cell during discharge, typically expressed as a multiple of the capacity of the battery or in amperes.

     

    Fast charge

    Partial charge generally at a high rate that lasts for a short period.

     

    Inversion

    Change in the normal polarity of a component or battery.

     

    Lead

    A lead battery is a collection of lead-acid cells connected in series and joined together in the same case. Different voltages are possible depending on the batteries: 2V, 4V, 6V or 12V. We distinguish between flooded lead AGM or GEL batteries (alarm-systems, wheelchairs, golf-carts), cyclon (medical and modelling) and open lead (automobile)

     

    Lithium Ion Phosphate (LiFePo4)

    Performance is exceptional in comparison to other electrochemical couples such as lead, NiMH and even lithium ion.

    In addition, car manufacturers have launched this technology in hybrid vehicles. 

    In summary:

    - Excellent longevity, approximately 2,000 cycles (charge/discharge)

    - Low cost of component raw materials: 50% less compared with lithium ion

    - Working temperature range identical to li-ion (-20C; +60C)

    - Capacity range from 1.2Ah to nearly 250Ah

    - No risk of explosion in the event of impact, overload or short-circuiting. It remains very stable with the internal temperature generation being very low, which is a weak point of lithium-ion, and therefore allows:

    - a very short charging time, approximately 30 minutes

    - the support of float charging (permanent charge)

    - a very low-level protection circuit

     

    On the other hand,  the capacity is currently inferior by 15% to that of li-ion in a cell of the same size.

    In contrast to the powerful rechargeable batteries made from lead or nickel cadmium, lithium ion phosphate cells are not made up of heavy metal.

    The gradual disappearance of nickel-cadmium is inevitable with the cost of lead reaching new highs and the technological limits of NiMH and lithium-ion.

    This should mean a promising future for lithium ion phosphate, which brings together only the advantages of all the other electrochemical couples.

    This type of technology can be used with a standard lead charger.

     

    Memory effect

    The result of repeatedly using only part of the capacity of a rechargeable battery, associated with overcharging. The memory effect affects NiCd batteries and to a lesser degree NiMH batteries. It does not exist in disposable batteries.

     

    NiCd (Nickel Cadmium)

    Advantages:

     

    - Quick and easy to charge, even after a long storage period

    - Long cycle life of charging and discharging

    - Strong performance at low temperatures however does not recharge at 0°C

    - Low cost

    Weaknesses:

     

    - Self-discharges at a fairly fast rate (20% per month)

    - Sensitive to memory effect

    - Pollutant

    - Heavy metals

    - NiCd is increasingly being replaced by NiMH

    - Cell made up of nickel and cadmium

     

    NiMH - Nickel Metal Hydride

    Advantages:

     

    - Contains a lot more energy than NiCd (3 times more)

    - Non-polluting as opposed to NiCd

    - Does not contain heavy metals

    Creation of new range with very low self-discharge rate (less than 20% per year) and pre-charged: nx-ready

    Weaknesses:

     

    - Must be charged before first use

    - Must not be overcharged

    - NiMH is slowly being replaced by li-ion in laptops, mobile phone batteries

     

    Nominal capacity

    Indicates the rated capacity of a battery in ampere hours.

     

    Non-rechargeable technologies

    Lithium, alkaline, zinc and silver-oxide (cells for watches) are not rechargeable (these technologies are listed in order of longevity).

     

    Open circuit voltage

    The difference of potential which exists in an open circuit between the positive output terminal and the negative output terminal of a battery.

     

    Parallel connection

    Way of connecting several batteries or components together when the terminals are of the same polarity.  It results in a battery with the capacity equal to that of an individual battery or component, multiplied by the number of batteries or components thus connected, the voltage of the battery is unchanged.

     

    Rechargeable technologies

    Li-ion (lithium ion), NiMH (nickel metal hydride), NiCd (nickel cadmium), LiPo (lithium ion polymer) and lead are technologies which recharge using specific chargers.

     

    Self discharge

    The loss of chemical energy which occurs in a battery due to internal spontaneous reactions when the battery is not connected with an external circuit.

     

    Series connection

    Way of connecting several batteries or components when a battery or component terminal is connected to an opposing polarity terminal, battery or component. It results in a battery with the voltage equal to that of an individual battery or component multiplied by the number of batteries or components thus connected, the capacity of the battery is unchanged.

     

    Silver-oxide

    Non-rechargeable technology, only used in button cells for clocks and watches and metrology because this cell’s voltage remains stable with a constant discharge. The voltage of a silver-oxide cell starts at 1.55V.

     

    Size of batteries & cells

    Taille des piles et accumulateurs 

    Storage life

    Period which a battery can be held in storage under specific conditions without affecting its performance.

     

    Trickle charge

    A continuous charge at low rate, which offsets the self discharge and also maintains the battery in a state close to fully charged. This charge can be obtained either by maintaining the electrical current or by applying a suitable voltage to the terminals of the batteries.  Due to self-discharge, it is important to recharge the battery before use for optimal performance.

     

    Volt (V)

    Unit to measure voltage

     

    Watt (W)

    Unit to measure power (W=V x A).

     

    Zinc

    Technology of a standard cell. The zinc chloride cell (also known as saline) is an industrial cell with a low capacity, opposite to an alkaline cell which is suitable for everything with a higher capacity. The voltage of a saline cell starts at 1.5V.

     

    Zinc-air

    Uses roughly the same technology as an alkaline battery, but works with air instead. This type of cell offers a large capacity whilst remaining economical. Zinc cells are used for the following applications: parking meters, electric fences, hearing aids or earphones. The voltage of a zinc air cell starts at 1.45V.

     

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