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In FAQs

Section 1: Company and Service Questions

Section 2: Technical Battery Questions <

Commonly Asked Technical Battery Questions

Before You Use Your New Battery...

Rechargeable Batteries
Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Definitions

Why use Lithium batteries?
Why use Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries?
Why use Rechargeable NiCd batteries?
Why use Rechargeable NiMH batteries?
Why use alkaline batteries?
Why use Zinc Air batteries?
Why use Silver Oxide batteries?
Why use heavy duty batteries?
What is an Ampere?
What is mAh?
What is Ah?
What is Cut off voltage?
What does OEM mean?
What is a Cycle?
What is a Deep Cycle battery?
Why use an AGM battery?
What is MCA?
What is CCA?
What is PCA?
What is a Volt?
What is a Watt?
What is an OHM?
What is RC?
What is a Starting battery?
What is sulfation of batteries?
Why use Gel batteries?
What is a "smart" and "dumb" battery?
What is self-discharge?
What is Shelf life?
What is a Capacity and why should I care?

How To's

How do I select a charger for my SLA battery?
How do I find the right battery for my cell phone?
How do I connect batteries in series?
How do I jump start my battery using booster cables?
How do I connect batteries in parallel?
What do I do if I cant find the battery I am looking for?
Can you build custom batteries?

Performance

How long should a rechargeable last?
Does it help to store batteries in refrigerator?
My new battery isn't charging is it defective?
What is the battery standby and talk time?
Do batteries self discharge not in use?
Do I ever need to add acid to my battery?
Can batteries freeze?
I just received my new battery. Why isn't it working?
Will my device's performance differ if I use your aftermarket battery?
How can I maximize performance?
Is it possible to upgrade the battery in my device to a newer chemistry?
Can I overcharge a battery?

Disposal/Recycling

How do I dispose of batteries?
Are lead acid batteries recycleable?

 

Before you use your Rechargeable Batteries.
Always refer to any charging directions that are provided with your battery for specific charging instructions as most rechargeable batteries will require an activation charge prior to use. Rechargeable battery types include those with the following chemistries; Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium Ion (Li Ion) and Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) variations (AGM, Gel). Prior to use or charging, be sure to remove any protective guards or covers. Many chargers have light displays that will indicate full charge status, however will continue to provide a charge to the battery. For NiCd, NiMH and Li Ion batteries, we recommend an activating charge or 12-24 hours prior to first use. For SLA batteries, which ship in close to full state of charge, we recommend a slight boost charge for 2-4 hours with a charger appropriate to the amperage of the battery (see How to Select a Charger for SLA for more details). For all batteries, full runtime may take up to 4-charge/discharge cycles.

Before you use your Non-Rechargeable Batteries.
Non-rechargeable battery types include those with the following chemistries; Alkaline, Heavy Duty, Lithium, Silver Oxide, Zinc Air, Carbon Zinc and Nickel Oxy Hydroxide. These battery types are ready to power your device out of the package and should never be placed in a charger. Be sure to remove any protective guards or covers prior to use.

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Why use Lithium batteries?
Lithium is a very active material that provides a great deal of power relative to the amount of material used in the battery. Lithium batteries are extremely light in weight while maintaining a higher voltage and longer service life compared to other primary chemistries such as alkaline. Non-rechargeable lithium batteries are typically 3.0V to 3.6V in range, but 1.5V AA and AAA formats are also available.

Why use Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries?
Li-ion (lithium ion) batteries use lithium compounds which are much more stable than the elemental lithium used in non rechargeable lithium batteries. A lithium battery should never be recharged while lithium-ion batteries are designed to be recharged hundreds of times. Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries have a higher energy density than most other types of rechargeables. This means that for their size or weight they can store more energy than other rechargeable batteries. They also operate at higher voltages than other rechargeables, typically about 3.7 volts for lithium-ion vs. 1.2 volts for NiMH or NiCd. This means a single cell can often be used rather than multiple NiMH or NiCd cells. Lithium-ion batteries also have a lower self discharge rate than other types of rechargeable batteries. This means that once they are charged they will retain their charge for a longer time than other types of rechargeable batteries. NiMH and NiCd batteries can lose anywhere from 1-5% of their charge per day, (depending on the storage temperature) even if they are not installed in a device. Lithium-ion batteries will retain most of their charge even after months of storage.

Why use Rechargeable NiCd batteries?
NiCd (NiCad or Nickel Cadmium) batteries provide high discharge capability with great cycling performance. Generally utilized in every day use applications such as cordless phone or in high drain, fast recharge applications such as cordless tool or 2-way radio. NiCd batteries offer more cycling capabilty than NiMH, but with lower capacity. All NiCd batteries must be recycled.

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Why use Rechargeable NiMH batteries?
NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries provide outstanding capacity in a lightweight, rechargeable format. NiMH is interchangeable with NiCd in devices while providing a more environmentally friendly profile. Generally utilized in applications ranging from cellular phone to camcorder/digital camera. NiMH batteries offer higher capacity than NiCd, but with fewer cycles. NiMH batteries should be recycled.

Why use alkaline batteries?
Alkaline batteries, also known as manganese dioxide, are non-rechargeable and are the most commonly used batteries for heavy current, extended run-time disposable applications. Able to operate in a wide range of temperatures and perform under varying drains (low and high), alkaline batteries are the choice for consumer electronics. The most common sizes are AA, AAA, C, D and 9V configurations.

Why use Zinc Air batteries?
Zinc Air batteries provide the highest power density for non-rechargeable chemistries per unit of weight. Compact in size and utilizing oxygen for "activation", zinc air batteries are commonly used in hearing aid, medical and mercury replacement applications.

Why use Silver Oxide batteries?
Silver Oxide batteries provide extensive power in miniature configurations. Primary applications for silver oxide batteries are watches, cameras and measurement instruments.

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Why use heavy duty batteries?
Heavy Duty non-rechargeable batteries, also recognized as carbon zinc or zinc chloride, provide dependable, economic power solutions for every day use. Generally used in low drain, consumer electronics, heavy duty batteries are configured in the most common sizes (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V), as well as, specialty sizes for telecommunications, hobby and industrial uses.

What is an Ampere?
The amount of current flow within a circuit. Measured in Amps.

What is mAh?
mAh (milli-ampere hour) is a capacity rating that measures how much current a battery will discharge over a specified period of time (typically a one hour period). Higher mAh ratings do not necessarily reflect how fast current can be drawn, rather, how long a current can be drawn. For example a 2000 mAh battery will sustain a 2000 milli-Amp (2 ampere) draw for approximately one hour before dropping to a voltage level that is considered discharged. A 1700 mAh battery will sustain a 1700 milli-Amp (1.7 ampere) draw for approximately one hour. Overall capacity will be influenced by other factors including temperature, depth of discharge and speed of discharge.

What is Ah?
Ah (Ampere hour) is a capacity rating that measures how much current a battery will discharge over a specified period of time (generally a 20 hour period). Higher mAh ratings do not necessarily reflect how fast current can be drawn, rather, how long a current can be drawn. For example a 20Ah battery will sustain a 1-amp draw for approximately 20 hours before dropping to a voltage level that is considered discharged. A 40Ah battery will sustain an 8-Amp draw for approximately five hours. Overall capacity will be influenced by other factors including temperature, depth of discharge and speed of charge/discharge.

What is Cut off voltage?
Recognized as the voltage at the end of a useful discharge. Cut off voltage will vary by device. However, the cut off voltage for a device specifies the inoperable point for the device utilizing battery power.

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What does OEM mean?
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, referring to the particular maker of the battery. OEM batteries are often referred to as "original" batteries.

What is a Cycle?
A cycle is considered one discharge and one charge sequence for a rechargeable battery.

What is a Deep Cycle battery?
Deep cycle batteries are designed for multiple, extended discharge/charge cycles. Deep cycle batteries can be discharged as much as 80% time after time and fully recover. This term generally refers to lead-based batteries designed with thicker lead plates than a standard automotive battery. Deep Cycle batteries provide outstanding performance in marine, RV, wheelchair/mobility and security applications.

Why use an AGM battery?
An AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery is a sealed, non-spillable maintenance free, valve regulated battery. An AGM battery utilizes a fine fiber glass material seperator between the lead plates within the battery. AGM batteries, also called starved electrolyte, operate with no maintenance, can be installed in most any configuration (except inverted) without spill and provide outstanding power per dollar invested. AGM batteries are commonly interchanged with traditional flooded lead acid batteries as the charge/discharge profile of these batteries are similar. AGM batteries have low internal resistance and a very low self-discharge rate (from 1% to 3% per month). So they can sit in storage for much longer periods without charging. The AGM design is also highly resistant to vibration deterioration.

What is MCA?
MCA (marine cranking amps) is a measurement of the starting power of a battery at 32°F under a load (ampere draw) for 30 seconds with the end voltage maintained at 1.20 volts per cell. MCA is generally 20% higher than CCA (cold cranking amps).

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What is CCA?
CCA (cold cranking amps) is a measurement of the starting power of a battery at 0°F under a load (ampere draw) for 30 seconds with the end voltage maintained at 1.20 volts per cell. Several variations of CCA ratings may be applied to a battery including; MCA (marine cranking amps) or CA (Cranking amps), which are generally 20% higher than CCA (cold cranking amps) and reflect higher temperature testing.

What is PCA?
PCA (Pulse Crank Amps) is a rating specifically geared towards starting applications only. PCA is a short duration (5 seconds), high rate discharge measurement generally used in the powersport industry.

What is a Volt?
A volt is the unit of measure for electrical potential or pressure.

What is a Watt?
A watt is the unit for measuring electrical power, i.e., the rate of doing work, in moving electrons by, or against, an electrical potential. Formula: Watts = Amperes x Volts.

What is an OHM?
OHM is a unit for measuring electrical resistance or impedance within an electrical circuit.

What is RC?
RC (reserve capacity) is the number of minutes that a battery can support a 25 ampere load at 80°F until its terminal voltage drops to 1.75 volts per cell or 10.50 volts for a 12V battery. For example, a 12V battery that has a reserve capacity rating of 100 minutes, signifies that it can be discharged at 25 amps for 100 minutes at 80°F before its voltage drops to 10.50 volts.

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What is a Starting battery?
Starting batteries (sometimes called SLI for starting, lighting, ignition) are commonly used to start and run engines. Engine starters are generally rated for their output cranking power (CCA). Starting batteries are not recommended for deep cycle applications, but will provide some extended power (defined as reserve capacity RC) in the event of failure of a vehicles electrical generating system.

What is sulfation of batteries?
Sulfation is the formation or deposit of lead sulfate on the surface of and within the pores of the active material of the lead plates within a battery. If the sulfation becomes excessive and forms large crystals on the plates, the battery will not operate efficiently or may not work at all. Common causes of battery sulfation are standing a long time in a discharged condition, operating at excessive temperatures, and prolonged under or over charging.

Why use Gel batteries?
A gel battery design is a sealed, non-spillable maintenance free, valve regulated battery. A Gel battery has a gelling agent added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside the battery case. Many gel batteries also use one way valves in place of open vents, this helps the normal internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, reducing gassing. "Gel Cell" batteries are non-spillable even if they are broken. Gel batteries are generally used in deep cycle applications and provide great deep discharge and recovery capabilities.

What is a "smart" and "dumb" battery?
Smart batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips that allow them to communicate with laptop/computer/notebook and monitor battery performance. Dumb batteries will operate the device, but lack the communication chip.

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What is self-discharge?
Self-discharge is the loss of useful capacity within a battery due to internal chemical reactions. Self- discharge will occur within all battery chemistries and will be influenced by temperature. Self-discharge will occur regardless of whether the battery is connected to a device or not.

What is Shelf life?
The amount of time a battery will retain an operable percentage of it's stated capacity (calculated under ambient temperature storage conditions).

What is Capacity and why should I care?
Capacity is the measure of the energy stored in a battery. Expressed in Ah (Ampere hour) or mAh (milli-Ampere hour), capacity defines the ability of a battery to perform under specified discharge criteria over a set period of time.

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How do I select a charger for my SLA battery?
The performance and service life of a sealed lead acid (SLA) battery will be greatly impacted by the correct selection and use of a charger. Sealed lead acid batteries include AGM, VRLA and Gel types. When choosing a charger it is important to take into account the following factors; intended battery use, economic factors, recharge time, anticipated frequency and depth of discharge and expected service life. A general rule of thumb when selecting a charger for an SLA battery is use one that is no more than 20% of the capacity rating of the battery (at a 20hr. rate). For example, to charge a 12-Volt, 7.5Ah battery, you would select a charger with a maximum charge output of 1.5 Amps (7.5 x 0.20 = 1.5).

How do I find the right battery for my cell phone?
You can search for a cell phone battery by using the brand or model number of your particular phone. If you don't know your brand or model number, look at the label inside the battery compartment. Almost every cell phone has a manufacturer's label which includes the brand and model number on it. BatteriesPlus.com allows you to enter this information using our keyword search feature. If you need help finding the right battery for your phone, our customer support team is ready to assist you via email or phone. With our wide selection, you're sure to find the cell phone battery you need at a great price at BatteriesPlus.com.

How do I connect batteries in series?
Warning: Do not connect batteries of different chemistries, voltage or capacity in series. The positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery, the positive terminal of the second is connected to the negative of the third, etc. The voltage of the assembled battery is the sum of the battery voltages of the individual batteries. So the batteries are connected: + to - to + to - to + to -, etc. The capacity of the battery is unchanged.

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How do I jump start my battery using booster cables?
Warning: Batteries produce explosive gases. These instructions are designed to minimize the explosion hazard. Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times. Both batteries should be of the same voltage (6, 12, etc.).

Safe Booster Cable Operation
When jump starting, always wear proper eye protection and never lean over the battery. Do not jump start a damaged battery; inspect both batteries before connecting booster cables. Be sure vent caps are tight and level. Be sure that the vehicles are not touching and that both ignition switches are in the "OFF" position. Turn off all electrical equipment (radio, defroster, windshield wipers, lights, etc.)

The following steps should be followed exactly:

  1. Connect positive (+) booster cable to positive (+) terminal of discharged battery.
  2. Connect other end of positive (+) cable to positive (+) terminal of assisting battery.
  3. Connect negative (-) cable to negative (-) terminal of assisting battery.
  4. MAKE FINAL CONNECTION OF NEGATIVE (-) CABLE TO ENGINE BLOCK OF STALLED VEHICLE, AWAY FROM BATTERY AND CARBURETOR.
  5. Be sure that cables are clear of fan blades, belts and other moving parts of both engines.
  6. Start vehicle and remove cables in REVERSE order of connections.

How do I connect batteries in parallel?
Warning: Do not connect batteries of different chemistries, voltage or capacity in parallel.The positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the positive terminal of the second battery, the positive terminal of the second is connected to the positive of the third, etc. and The negative terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery, the negative terminal of the second is connected to the negative of the third, etc. So the batteries are connected: + to + to + and - to - to -. In this configuration, the capacity is the sum of the capacities of the individual batteries and voltage is unchanged.

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What do I do if I cant find the battery I am looking for?
If you are looking for an item that's not listed in our references, we encourage you to call us at 1.800.677.8278 and we will directly search for a solution. We will get you the solution to your battery problem.

Can you build custom batteries?
Batteries Plus Bulbs stores all have the capability to custom design and assemble battery packs. With thousands of Batteries for all kinds of applications, we can develop and implement a power solution to meet your needs. Please use our locator to find a store near you or contact our Battery Experts at 1.800.677.8278.

How long should a rechargable last?
The life of a battery operating under normal conditions should be between 500 to 800 charge-discharge cycles. This translates into one and a half to three years of battery life for the average user. As your rechargeable battery begins to die, you will notice a decline in the running time of the battery. When your two hour battery is only supplying you with twenty minutes worth of use, it is time for a new one. When a battery is not used for extensive periods of time it should be removed from the device and stored in a cool, dry and clean environment. Self-discharge will occur when the battery is not used for an extended time period. Fully charge the battery before use after storage. Long term storage will have permanent effects on the battery's capacity.

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Does it help to store batteries in refrigerator?
Not really. Batteries should be stored in a dry location at room temperature.  There is a minimal benefit to storing them at a lower temperature, but generally it is not recommended since the high humidity levels inside of the refrigerator can cause the battery cell container to rust. If you currently have batteries stored in a refrigerator, be sure to allow them to warm up to room temperature before using them in your device.

My new battery isn't charging; is it defective?
New batteries come in a slightly 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. An overnight charge (approximately twelve hours) is recommended. Note: 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.

What is the battery standby and talk time?
Standby time is recognized as the time when your cell phone is on, but you are not actively talking. Talk time is defined as the run time for actual talking on your cell phone. Both stand by and talk time will vary by phone type (analog or digital), geography, strength of signal, your service provider, etc. For comparative purposes, you should review the capacity (mAh rating) for a battery. The higher the capacity for a battery for a specific phone, the longer the stand by and talk time.

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Do batteries self discharge not in use?
All batteries, regardless of their chemistry, self-discharge. The rate of self-discharge depends both on the type of battery and the storage temperature the batteries are exposed to.

Do I ever need to add acid to my battery?
Under normal operating conditions, you never need to add acid or electrolyte. Low maintenance batteries may need fluid added to keep the "plates" safely immersed. For these scenarios, only distilled, deionized or approved water should be added to achieve the recommended levels. When a battery is shipped in a dry state or accidental spillage occurs, electrolyte should be added to the battery. Once filled, a battery should only need periodic water addition.

Can batteries freeze?
In a partially discharged state, the electrolyte in a lead acid battery may freeze. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0°F. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0°F.

I just receieved my new battery, why isn't it working?
Don’t worry. There is nothing wrong with your rechargeable battery. Your rechargeable battery will arrive to you in a slightly discharged condition. Therefore, it must be charged in order for it to work. We recommend that new batteries should be charged and discharged two to four times in order to allow them to reach their capacity.

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Will my device's performance differ if I use your aftermarket battery?
Due to technological advancements, replacement batters or “after market” batteries will often last longer than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) batteries that came with your device.

How can I maximize performance?
Across all battery types, there are several things that you can do to ensure the maximum production from your battery: Always stored batteries in a cool and dry place and should be fully charged before being stored for long periods of time. Never leave your battery in its charger for more than 24 hours. Doing so will shorten the life of your battery. Keep your batteries clean. Clean dirty batteries with a cotton swab and alcohol. A clean battery will ensure a good connection between your battery and its device. Keep your batteries dry. Moisture can corrode contact points and limit charge/dischare performance.Do not leave your battery dormant.

Is it possible to upgrade the battery in my device to a newer chemistry?
NiCd, NiMH and Li-Ion are all fundamentally different technologies and cannot be substituted for one another unless the device has been pre-configured from the factory to accept more than one type of rechargeable battery. The difference between them stems from the fact that each technology requires a different charging pattern to be properly recharged. Therefore, the portable device's charger must be properly configured to handle a given type of rechargeable battery. Refer to your owners manual to find out which rechargeable battery types the particular device supports. Our cross reference information will automatically list all of the battery types supported by the machine.

Can I overcharge a battery?
Yes, overcharging batteries can reduce their effectivness, reduce the life of the battery, and may cause additional problems. Once a battery is fully charged, you should take it off the charger.

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How do I dispose of batteries?
All rechargeable batteries must be disposed of properly, through approved recycling facilities. Rechargeable battery types include; NiCd, NiMH, Li Ion, and Lead Acid (Pb). Batteries Plus Bulbs is associated with EPA recognized recycling facilities for proper recovery and re-use of battery components. Locate your nearest Batteries Plus Bulbs store for best recycling options. Be environmentally conscious. Recycle your batteries.

Are lead acid batteries recycleable?
Yes. Lead acid batteries are the most commonly recycled product in the world! The lead in the battery is re-used in new batteries. The plastic containers and covers of old batteries are neutralized, reground and used in the manufacture of new battery cases. The electrolyte can be processed for recycled waste water uses. In some cases, the electrolyte is cleaned and reprocessed and sold as battery grade electrolyte. In other instances, the sulfate content is removed as Ammonia Sulfate and used in fertilizers. The separators are often used as a fuel source for the recycling process.

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