How long should I charge my NiCads and NiMh batteries for?
What precautions can I take when handling Li-Ion batteries?
Rechargeable lithium ion batteries contain organic solvents and reactive materials. Erroneous handling of lithium ion batteries may result in heat generation, explosion or fire, possibly leading to injury or break out of fire.
To ensure safety and to avoid any possibility of any accidents, please observe the following precautions.
- Do not cause short circuits – if connection is made between the positive (+) and negative (-) terminal directly or via accidental contact with metallic objects, the battery is short circuited and an intense current will flow causing heat generation which may lead to casing rupture or fire.
- Do not heat – if batteries are heated to above 100 degrees centigrade, sealing and insulation separators and other polymer components may be damaged resulting in electrolyte leakage and/or internal short circuiting leading to heat generation, causing rupture or fire.
Moreover, do not dispose of the batteries in fire, as explosion and/or intense burning may result.
- Do not solder directly onto cell casing – attempt to solder directly onto the cell casing may cause over heating and lead to damage to insulation as well as damage to sealing and result in leakage.Continuous overheating may result in casing rupture or fire.
Even if no visible damage is done immediately after soldering, weakened seals may lead to leakage during long-term service causing damage to other components.
- Do not disassemble or deform – if batteries are disassembled, irritant bases may be released and exposed active materials may react leading to fire.
If batteries are deformed by pressure or impact, sealing may be damaged leading to leakage or internal insulation may be damaged leading to internal short circuit.
- Do not mix different type of cells – if different types of cells or if new and old cells of the same type or if different manufacturer of same type
of batteries are used in series or/and parallel, differences in performance may cause swelling, rupture or fire.
- Ensure correct polarity – if positive (+) and negative (-) terminals of the batteries are confused during installation, the batteries may become short circuited, overdischarge* or become reversed in polarity depending on the application. This may lead to casing rupture and/or fire.
- Do not overcharge* by high current and/or high voltage – Do not overdischarge (polarity reversal). If batteries are overcharged by high current or if batteries are overdischarged to polarity reversal, internal gas pressure will rise leading to swelling, rupture and/or fire.
*Overdischarge: To discharge below the specified end of discharge voltage. 2.75V/cell. In extreme cases of overdischarge the polarity of the battery will become reversed.
*Overcharge: To continue charge after the battery has been fully recharged. Never charge above 4.2V/Cell.
General rule for charging NiCad & NiMH batteries
Assuming the battery is in a fully discharged state (1V per cell), calculate the charge time in Hours for a Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) or Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery pack using the following formula:
|Charge Time Applicable in Hours =||Capacity (C) rating of battery in (mA) x 1.4|
|Output current in (mA)|
In general, for standard charge you need to put up to 140% energy in to obtain 100% energy out of your batteries.
For fast & rapid charge techniques this figure of 1.4 (140%) may need to be reduced by up to 15%. This is dependant on your charging parameters and charger termination method.
How to care for your new laptop battery
- New replacement laptop/pda batteries from Simpower are shipped in a discharged state and must be fully charged when you receive your new battery. Charging your new battery overnight is sufficient to give your new battery a full charge. Li-ion batteries will wear out over time, providing ever-shorter battery run times. You can extend the life of your battery by providing some basic ongoing maintenance. Your new battery should be charged and discharged 3-4 times during the first month. This will properly engage the battery to hold its maximum energy. After the first month you can maintain the battery energy capacity by discharging and recharging the battery every 3-4 weeks. Do not let the battery run down all the way as this will diminish your battery life over time.
- A new battery may cause the battery power icon on your computer to indicate you have a low battery condition. We recommend that you let the battery charge overnight in your notebook computer. It may be necessary to remove and replace the battery and restart your computer with the battery installed in order for the computer’s start up sequence to properly recognize your new battery.
- Rechargeable batteries will self discharge when not in use over a period of time.
- This might seem obvious but don’t burn, disassemble, mutilate or short circuit batteries.
Is it normal for a battery to produce heat while it is being used and while charging?
It is normal for laptop batteries to produce heat when they are being charged and also when you are running on battery power. As energy is transferred within your battery cells, heat is a natural by product.
Why does my laptop battery lose power over time?
Over time, laptop batteries lose their ability to hold a charge. This is a normal occurrence and is common to all rechargeable laptop batteries. Most laptop batteries today are made with advanced materials that hold their charge much longer than earlier technologies used just a few years ago. Even so, the life of a laptop battery today will be approximately 500 recharges. For most users, 2- 3 years is a typical life expectancy of a laptop battery.
How can I minimize the power my laptop uses?
Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws. You can maximize your laptop battery life by changing the amount of power your computer draws while in battery mode. If you are a Windows user, within your Control Panel section you will find Power Options”. In this section you can change power use and “low power” alerts. Windows Vista users will be able to lower the brightness of the LCD panel and extend the battery life considerably. You can also extend your battery life between charges by minimizing the use of your CD and DVD drive operation.
How to check laptop battery life?
You can check your computer’s remaining battery life by clicking your battery icon or accessing the Power Options section within your computer’s control panel. Your laptop battery life depends on the power capacity of your laptop battery and the amount of energy your computer draws.
How long will my laptop battery run?
Average run time is 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your laptop battery faster. Viewing a DVD or using your CD player to play and record music are power intensive functions and will consume power at a faster rate. Also different notebooks use more power than others. Most laptops have a power management control panel where power use can be reduced while on battery power, such as reducing the brightness of your LCD screen. External batteries can also be purchased to provided extended power.
What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium-ion laptop batteries?
Batteries in laptops, camcorder and mobile phones are typically made using one of three battery chemistries: Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell chemistry.
NiCad and NiMH:
NiCad (nickel Cadmium) batteries are best known as the battery type that has the memory effect. In order for these batteries to work efficiently, the battery must be completely discharged before recharging. If you recharge these batteries while there is still power stored in the cells, your battery will “reset” itself so that it now only holds the amount of power stored from the last recharge. Many electric tooth brushes, power tools and other consumer items still utilize NiCad battery chemistry. If you have devices with NiCad batteries, you will save yourself some aggravation and money by having a fully charged spare battery to insert while you recharge your depleted battery. NiCad batteries are the least expensive to produce, but because of the memory effect problem, these type of batteries are slowly being phased out with other improved battery materials.
NiMH batteries are less prone to develop this problem and thus require less maintenance and conditioning. In addition, NiMH batteries can store about twice as much energy as NiCad batteries without adding any additional weight. NiMH batteries are also environmentally friendlier than NiCad batteries since they do not contain heavy metals (which present serious landfill problems). Note: Not all devices can accept both NiCad and NiMH batteries.
Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) has become the new standard for portable power in consumer devices and laptop batteries. Li-Ion batteries produce the same energy as NiMH battery but weigh approximately 20%-35% less. This can make a noticeable difference in devices such as cellular phones, camcorders or notebook computers where the battery makes up a significant portion of the total weight. Another reason Li-Ion batteries have become so popular is that they do not suffer from the memory effect at all. They are also environmentally friendly because they do not contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury.
What do the power ratings mean – mAh, Volts, and Watts?
MAh (Milliamperes) represents the amount of stored energy in your battery. 1000 Milliamperes = 1 Ampere. The more mAh capacity – the longer your battery will last. Lots of batteries from Simpower have higher mAh ratings than your original battery brand. This does not mean that the battery is not the correct replacement, but rather it is a longer lasting battery. Voltage in a battery refers to the “volume” of electricity that is delivered to your computer. The amount of energy that comes from your wall outlet is far in excess of what you need to operate the tiny circuits of a computer. Hence your power adapter contains a “brick” or bar like box that decreases the energy to a much lower voltage rating. Each computer manufacturer designs their computers for the appropriate voltage requirement. Your battery pack will then be engineered to match the voltage of the power AC adapter. Laptop battery packs are composed of several battery cells that are wired together in series. By combining the cells in this fashion, higher “volumes” of energy can be delivered to your laptop computer. For laptop computers, each battery cell has a voltage rating of 3.6 – 3.7 volts. (3.6V & 3.7V are used interchangeably and refer to the same amount of voltage.)
|1 cell||3.6V or 3.7V||1 cell x 3.6 or 3.7V||3.6V or 3.7V|
|2 cells||3.6V or 3.7V||2 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V||7.2V or 7.4V|
|3 cells||3.6V or 3.7V||3 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V||10.8V or 11.1V|
|4 cells||3.6V or 3.7V||4 cells x 3.6V or 3.7V||14.4V or 14.8V|
Watts measure the amount of energy a device uses. This is a rating that will be found on your monitor and laptop PC, – not your battery.
What size is my battery and what configuration can I have?
How can I extend my laptop battery run time?
Your new laptop battery will have an average run time of 1 1/2 hours to 3 1/2 hours depending on what applications you are running. Functions that require more power will deplete your battery faster. You can extend your battery run time by minimizing the main power draws on your battery – the LCD brightness levels and the use of your CD or DVD drive. Also some notebooks simply use more power than others.
You can prolong your laptop battery life by adjusting the power management selections within your operating system software. If you are a Windows user, you can go to the “control Panel” and select “power options”. In this area you can choose when & how you can maximize your laptop battery settings .
Can I specifically calculate my battery run time?
You can determine your laptops run time when you know how many watts your laptop computer uses and the total power capacity your notebook battery has. Here is how you can calculate this yourself.
Battery capacity can also be measured in Watt-Hours. Watt-Hours are calculated by multiplying Volts x Milliamperes. Here is an example:
14.8 Volts X 4060mAh (4000mAh is equal to 4.06 Amperes).
Is also equivalent to:
14.8 x 4.06 = 60.09 Watt-Hours
Watt-Hours measure the energy which powers one watt for one hour. If your laptop runs at 20 watts, your run time will be: 3.004 hours (60.09 Watt-Hours / 20.0 watts Laptop pc power use)
Will a higher milliamp (mAh) rating on my battery damage my laptop? No. Higher mAh ratings indicate that your battery will last longer. Although the milliamps may be higher, the voltage will always remain the same. If you have received a laptop battery that has a completely different voltage than your original laptop battery, please contact us immediately.
Can you revive a dead laptop battery?
The question often comes up if it’s possible to recondition laptop batteries. If your laptop battery is dead, you have probably already tried to recharge it. If you find the run time on battery power is minutes – not hours, you are due for a new laptop battery. The only component that will wear out in your laptop computer is the rechargeable battery. If your laptop’s battery is more than 2 years old it may have already experienced its life of 300-500 recharges. In a similar fashion, car batteries predictably wear out after the stated monthly service use. It is not possible to revive a spent rechargeable battery. The battery cells must be replaced.
What about buying a used laptop battery?
The life of a rechargeable laptop battery is about 500 charges. Once a battery has been charged and discharged this many times it is simply out of gas. A used computer laptop battery may not be any better than the non-functioning one you are currently seeking to replace. Combined with the favourable cost of a new battery, used laptop batteries are not a bargain. Simpower does not sell or recommend used or refurbished laptop/pda batteries.