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Battery Tips

What is the difference between NiCad, NiMH and Lithium Ion batteries?

Batteries in portable consumer devices such as a laptop, camcorder, cellular phone, etc., are typically made using either Nickel Cadmium (NiCad), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell chemistry. Each type of rechargeable battery chemistry has its own unique characteristics:

NiCad and NiMH:

The main difference between the two is that NiMH battery (the newer technology of the two) offers higher energy density than NiCads. In other words, the capacity of a NiMH is approximately twice the capacity of its NiCad counterpart. What this means is for you is increased run-time from the battery with no additional bulk or weight. NiMH also offers another major advantage: NiCad batteries tend to suffer from what is called the "memory effect". NiMH batteries are less prone to develop this problem and thus require less maintenance and conditioning. 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 or NiMH batteries.

Lithium Ion:

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) has become the new standard for portable power in consumer devices. Li-Ion batterys produce the same energy as NiMH battery but weighs approximately 20%-35% less. This is 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 don't contain toxic materials such as Cadmium or Mercury.

Is it Possible to Upgrade the Device's Battery to a newer Chemistry?

Maybe. NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion are all fundamentally different from one another and cannot be substituted unless the device has been pre-configured from the factory to accept more than one type of battery chemistry.

Please refer to your manual to find out which rechargeable battery types the particular device supports or use our Battery Quick Finder Wizard to find all the compatible battery for your device. It will automatically list all of the battery types supported by the your specific device.

My new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?

Usually NO. New batteries come in a discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to four times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity.

It is generally recommend an overnight charge (approximately twelve hours). It is normal for a battery to become warm to the touch during charging and discharging.

When charging the battery for the first time, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal with rechargeable batteries. New batteries are hard for the device to charge; they have never been fully charged and not “broken in”. Sometimes the device's charger will stop charging a new battery before it is fully charged. If this happens, remove the battery from the device and then reinsert it. The charge cycle should begin again. This may happen several times during the first battery charge. Don't worry; it's perfectly normal.

Another scenario can be the BIOS interface. At times, the current software in your system is only set up to read an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) battery. If your BIOS as not been updated, and you have only used OEM batteries in your unit it can cause the replacement battery not to communicate efficiently with the software in your system.

By visiting your manufacturers website and locating your models BIOS upgrade, it can make it possible for your replacement battery to work as efficiently as your OEM battery. Once completing the BIOS upgrade, please recharge your battery for 12 hours and use as normal.

How can I maximize the performance of my battery?

There are several steps you can take to help you get maximum performance from your battery:

Prevent the Memory Effect - Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries which do not suffer from the memory effect.

Keep the Batteries Clean - It's a good idea to clean dirty battery contacts with a cotton swab and alcohol. This helps maintain a good connection between the battery and the portable device.

Exercise the Battery - Do not leave the battery dormant for long periods of time. We recommend using the battery at least once every two to three weeks. If a battery has not been used for a long period of time, perform the new battery break in procedure described above.

Battery Storage - If you don't plan on using the battery for a month or more, store it in a clean, dry, cool place away from heat and metal objects. NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion batteries will self-discharge during storage; remember to recharge the batteries before use.

Sealed Lead Acid - (SLA) batteries must be kept at full charge during storage. This is usually achieved by using special trickle chargers. If you do not have a trickle charger, do not attempt to store SLA batteries for more than three months.

What is "Memory Effect"?

Memory effect, can also be known as lazy battery effect, is an effect in some rechargeable batteries that causes them to hold less charge over time. In its original meaning it describes one very specific situation in which certain NiCd batteries gradually lose their maximum energy capacity if they are repeatedly recharged after being only partially discharged. This battery chemistry should be fully discharged before attempting to recharge the battery.

What are volts and milliamp-hours?

Every battery has two ratings which are volts and amp-hours (AH). The Ah rating may also be given as milliamp-hours (mAh), which are one-thousandth of an amp-hour ( for example, a 4.6Ah battery is equal to 4600mAh). Ah hours are a rating of the amount of energy that a battery can store. Typically, the mAh rating is also a measure of the number of hours a battery may last. For example, a 4600mAh battery will last at least 4.5 hours. The higher a battery's amp hour rating is, the longer the battery's run-time will be. It is not uncommon for some of our batteries to have higher or lower amp ratings. This will not cause any incompatibilities.

Voltage ratings, however, must be within a reasonable range. For instance, your original battery may say 3.6v, but you purchase a battery that is 3.7v. This is still acceptable. The rule of thumb when dealing with voltage is to never exceed one volt higher than your original rating. So if your original battery is rated at 3.6v, then you would be able to use a replacement battery up to 4.6v and nothing higher.

Run times vary for many reasons, such as the type of device, the type of applications being used, whether or not you are playing a CD or DVD (etc.) and the chemistry of the battery. The average computer should give you between 1½ to 3 hours of run time. Once again, this varies for many reasons.

How long do typical batteries last?

The life of a battery under normal use is around 500 to 900 charge-discharge cycles. This is between one and a half to three years of battery life for the average user. Of course, a more avid user might obtain less of a life span due to the frequency of charge-discharge cycles. As the rechargeable battery begins to fail the running time of the battery on a full cahrge will begin to decline. When a battery supplies thirty minutes or less of charge, it is time for a replacement.

Can I recycle my old battery? How?

Yes, we can assist in battery recycling. Please view the information that is provided under our "Battery Recycling" option.

How long will my new battery run?

Battery run-time on a laptop is difficult to determine. Actual battery running time depends upon the power demands made by the equipment. The use of the screen, the hard drive, and other accessories results in an additional drain upon the battery, effectively reducing its running time. The total run-time of the battery is also dependent upon the design of the equipment.

The Do's and Don'ts of Battery Use

Battery Do's:
Fully charge/discharge battery up to 4 cycles before achieving full capacity of a new battery

Fully discharge and then fully charge the battery every two to three weeks for battery conditions.

Run the device under the battery's power until it shuts down or until you get a low battery warning. Then recharge the battery as instructed in the user's manual.

Remove from the device and stored in a cool, dry, clean place if the battery will not be in use for a month or longer.

Recharge the battery after a storage period

Ensure maximum performance of the battery by optimizing the device's power management features. Refer to the manual for further instructions.

Battery Don'ts:
Do not short-circuit. A short-circuit may cause severe damage to the battery.

Do not drop, hit or otherwise abuse the battery as this may result in the exposure of the cell contents, which are corrosive.

Do not expose the battery to moisture or rain.

Keep battery away from fire or other sources of extreme heat. Do not incinerate. Exposure of battery to extreme heat may result in an explosion.