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What Are Batteries?

What Are Batteries?

You would think there's nothing much about batteries at first glance. They're pretty standard in appearance yet pack so much usable power to run both small and large devices. The most simple definition for batteries is that they store chemical energy which will, later on, be converted into electrical energy.

The battery's cell serves as its core, or the electrochemical unit responsible for the storage of energy. A battery in its most basic form is typically comprised of three main components: two electrodes called anode and cathode, and an electrolyte. The anode is the negative electrode that loses electrons and gets oxidised during the chemical reaction, while the cathode is the positive electrode that accepts electrons in the chemical reaction.

Lastly, the electrolyte acts as the medium of transfer of charge between the two electrodes. It's also referred to as the ionic conductor. Sounds technical for something that looks very simple, right? It's also worth noting that batteries can have multiple cells when you connect them either in series or parallel configuration to achieve the voltage/current level that you need.

What Are the Different Types of Batteries?

Enough with the complex partlet's go to the most common types of batteries. You probably know some of them, especially the ones that can be found in your home. So batteries can be categorised into primary (non-rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries.

Primary batteries usually come in the form of button cell batteries or those cylindrical double/triple-A batteries used for powering remote controls, toys, clocks and more. These batteries are lithium-based for higher specific energy and longer shelf life compared to traditional zinc batteries.

On to the secondary or rechargeable batteries. These can be divided into five major categories, with lead-acid being the oldest one. Lead-acid batteries are often used as SLI batteries which stands for Starting, Lighting, and Ignition. They are known for being affordable and for performing relatively well outdoors too, such as when used as a camping battery.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries are considered an old battery type as well. These are famous for their long lifespan and sturdy built that can withstand high discharge rates. They can be used over a wide range of temperatures making them one of the more versatile battery types however, they are prone to the memory effect that causes progressive capacity loss when discharged partially and then recharged.

Another nickel-based secondary battery is the Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries. This one is known for its higher energy density and specific energy. They come in standard, cylindrical form and are often used to power portable electronics too.

Lithium-ion batteries made a grand entrance in the battery market when they first emerged. It's the type of battery mostly used for gadgets such as laptops, mobile phones, and cameras. Boxed li-ion batteries are used as camping and caravan batteries too, however, they have a reputation for exploding especially when exposed to higher temperatures.

 VoltX 12V 300Ah Lithium Ion LiFePO4 Battery

Last but definitely not least, we have lithium iron phosphate batteries or LiFePO4 batteries. They are relatively new but have gained popularity quickly because of their advantages over conventional batteries. For one, LiFePO4 batteries do not combust nor catch fire even when punctured. It's 100% safe and ideal for first-time battery users.

These batteries are perfect for most outdoor applications other than camping. They make great secondary boat batteries or 4WD batteries and a lot of battery types are gradually making the switch to LiFePO4 too. In fact, some solar batteries are lithium-based already!

It's a real advancement in the battery field with its built-in battery management system (BMS) for superior cell performance that leads to top-notch performance as well. A lot of LiFePO4 batteries are also made of prismatic cells for even better quality. They can be pricey but considering the lifespan and overall benefits, these power packs are worth every penny.

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