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How To Store Your Batteries For Maximum Life

Aug 17, 2007
Batteries begin to lose power and strength as soon as they leave the manufacturer but there are simple things that battery users can do to slow the process down.

It is recommended that most batteries be stored at about 59 degrees and while lead-acid batteries must be kept at a full charge nickel and lithium batteries should be stored at 40% of their capacity to minimize capacity loss.

Lithium-ion batteries power the majority of today's laptop computers. The battery compartment on many laptops rises to about 45C (113F) during operation. The combination of high charge level and elevated ambient temperature presents an unfavorable condition for the battery. This explains why the lifespan of many laptop batteries is so short.

Nickel-metal-hydride can be stored for about three years. The capacity drop that occurs during storage is permanent and cannot be reversed. Cool temperatures and a partial charge slows aging. Nickel-cadmium stores reasonably well.

Manufacturers recommend to trickle charge a nickel-based battery for 24 hours when new and after long storage. This will bring all cells to equal charge level and redistributes the electrolyte to remedy dry spots on the separator brought on by gravitation of the electrolyte. It is advisable to verify the capacity with a battery analyzer before use. This is especially important in critical applications.

Cycling is recommended to regain lost capacity after a nickel-based battery has been stored for 6 months or longer. A slow charge followed by one or several discharge/charge cycles will do this. The recovery rate is determined by the condition under which the battery was stored. The longer and warmer the storage temperature, the more cycles will be required.

Nickel-based batteries are not always fully formed when leaving the factory. Applying several charge/ discharge cycles through normal use or with a battery analyzer completes the forming. The number of cycles needed to attain full capacity differs between cell manufacturers. Quality cells perform to specification after 5-7 cycles. Those lacking formation may need 50 or more cycles to reach acceptable capacity levels. What is the difference between priming and forming? For the user, both symptoms manifest themselves as insufficient capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries deliver full power after the initial charge. Manufacturers of lithium-ion cells insist that no priming is required. However, priming is beneficial as an initial start and to verify battery performance. Excessive cycling should be avoided because of wear-down effect.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get the batteries you need at http://www.batteriesforallelectronics.com
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