Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Battery Packs: All You Need to Know

Wrapped up in commitments, work, and deadlines, the only thing coming to our aid are cell phones. It is intriguing how our daily life revolves around our cell phones. These devices keep us going. But what keeps is them going? Yes, batteries!

Battery packs are rapidly gaining the spotlight in the electronic accessories arena. Keeping our gadgets running is getting increasingly difficult owing to the ever-expanding technological advancements in our cell phones and tablets.

Battery packs act as the fuel to our mobile devices. All of them are rechargeable and replaceable.

What happens inside?

Battery packs (for example: GOAL ZERO YETI 1250 SOLAR GENERATOR KIT ) are a collection of discrete cells and batteries. They are sealed in an outer casing. The batteries used in our cell phones have a Lithium ion cell inside. Like any other cell, they have an anode and cathode.

The positive electrode (cathode) is lithium metal oxide, and a negative electrode (anode) is porous carbon. An electrolyte is contained in them which is usually an organic substance.

The movement of lithium ions from the cathode to anode leads to the generation of current. The battery is recharged by forcing a current on these electrodes above its threshold. By doing so, the potential of the ions to traverse from cathode to anode is restored. The electrolyte acts as a conducting medium for the ions to flow.

Type of batteries

Lithium batteries
Lithium ion—These batteries are by far the best in their class. They are extremely light in weight, and a card sized battery can power up a today’s’ massive phones with ease. Since their construction is intricate, this variant is rather expensive, although, they have the highest charge capacity for the size. Moreover, if you keep the charge cycle between 25% and 85% of the total charge capacity, the battery will have a prolonged life as this cycle will not be counted.
Lithium polymer—While the lithium ion batteries are cased in a metal covering, the lithium polymer batteries are cased in lightweight plastic. This makes it the ideal battery to be used in mobile phones and other portable devices. They can hold up to 40-45% more charge compared to other variants having the same physical dimensions. They are user friendly and require minimum care while disposing off. The material of construction is also nontoxic

Nickel batteries
Nickel cadmium batteries—Nickel cadmium batteries were very popular a few years ago. However, these batteries are now obsolete. The materials of construction are hazardous. Above all, they have a memory. Whenever you charge your battery from a level above zero up to a level below 100, this cycle is also counted. Hence this reduces its life greatly. Also, the charge-carrying capacity is relatively low.
Nickel metal hydride—This is a better version of the nickel cadmium battery. However, the materials used are non-toxic and user friendly. The memory effect in them is lower compared to the nickel cadmium battery. They can hold 100% more charge as against Ni-Cd battery. Disposing them off is also less tedious. The lifetime is also 45% higher.

All in all, lithium batteries are the ones used by most of the manufacturers due to their long life and high energy density, and flexible charging cycles.

Internal battery packs
The internal battery packs are rechargeable batteries contained inside the cell phones. They may also be used for other gadgets. Sleek and small, they work great for our smartphones without adding weight to the device. Lithium battery packs are predominantly used here.

With every passing day, they are becoming smaller with increased capacity. The only drawback is nowadays these batteries are non-replaceable and it requires professional help for replacement.

External battery packs

External battery packs are nothing but a group of cells/batteries sealed in a case. They can be charged and used later whenever required. They have now become extremely popular on account of huge power requirements. They come in hundreds of sizes and capacities providing innumerable choices for us.

Battery fitness

Due to the high price and short life, we can’t afford to change the battery frequently. Make sure you keep in mind these simple elements of you batteries.

Temperature

Batteries are highly sensitive to temperature. High temperature facilitates the chemical reactions inside it shooting up the rate of current. This damages the battery and cuts short its life span.

Heavy use of the device leads to heating. Also, frequent or long duration of charging may have the same effect. To maintain the battery health, ensure that you keep it cool.

While replacing the battery

If you are using a non-replaceable battery, get professional help while changing it. Attempting to do it yourself might lead to permanent damage. Buy only genuine and original equipment manufacturer’s batteries. If you buy cheap and wrong variants, it can damage not only the battery but also the device you are using it in.

While charging

Use genuine chargers to charge your phone. Use appropriate ampere rating sockets. Higher ampere rating charges up the phone quickly but overdoing it can lead to permanent harm.

Do not let it run dry
Avoid letting the battery go down to 0%. Do not charge it to the full capacity. This will make it last longer and make it work efficiently. Charge in intervals with short charging times. Note that this rule does not apply to the old battery variants.

Make the most of what you have

There are many ways to maintain your battery in good health and extend its life. Apart from maintaining good ambient conditions, you can also regulate your using habits to boost the run time of the battery.

These are simple steps you can take to add those extra hours on the phone
Keep the volume, brightness and backlight time low.
Switch off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and mobile data. Use them only when required.
Refrain from using all the advanced features. Most of them are not required daily and consume a lot of power.
There are many applications out there which help you to increase battery life. Use them.

Conclusion

The truth is, the batteries currently in use are not up to the mark. The gap between the power demand and supply is increasing rapidly. However, there is hope. A lot of research is going on in this domain, and new technologies are set to hit the market soon with staggering battery life and capacity.

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