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1. What are the different types of batteries available in the market and their applications?

Batteries available in the market are usually classified as primary batteries and rechargeable batteries.

Primary batteries are sometimes called "throw-away" batteries because they will be discarded when they are flat, as they cannot be recharged for reuse. Common types of primary batteries include alkaline, zinc carbon, lithium, silver oxide and zinc air batteries.

Rechargeable batteries can be recharged and reused for up to 1000 times depending on usage conditions. Common types of rechargeable batteries include Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries.

Battery typesVoltage (V)Common usages
Alkaline1.5CD/MD/MP3 players,
toys, cameras,
remote controls
Carbon zinc1.5Clocks, radios, smoke alarm
Lithium coin3.0Calculators, electronic organizers
Lithium photo3.0 / 6.0Cameras
Silver oxide1.55Watches
Zinc air1.4Hearing aids
NiMH1.2Digital cameras, portable CD,
MD, MP3 players,
remote controlled racing toy cars
NiCd1.2Portable CD, MD,
MP3 players, r
emote controlled racing toy cars
Li-ion3.6-3.7Notebook computers, PDAs,
mobile phones, camcorders,
digital cameras

2. How do different batteries rank in terms of performance and cost?

You may have come across terms like "heavy duty", "super heavy duty", and "longer lasting". However, they do not necessarily reflect the service time of batteries, as battery performance depends very much on intrinsic qualities.
Despite the higher initial cost, alkaline batteries last five to ten times longer than zinc carbon batteries on higher current drains, making it more economical when the current drain is high.

Rechargeable batteries are more expensive than alkaline batteries especially when you include the upfront cost of the charger. However do not forget that they can be recharged up to 1000 times. Hence they end up much more economical in the long run.
NiCd and NiMH batteries display similar characteristics, but for the same size, NiMH batteries can double the run time compared with NiCd batteries per charge.

3. How should I strike a good balance between performance and cost when selecting batteries?

To be a smart consumer, you have to understand the power consumption requirement of your electronic device before deciding on which battery to go for. Generally speaking, high power consumption electronic devices operate under high current condition.

NiMH batterieswill provide the longest operating time. Besides, they can be recharged up to 1000 times. Hence the cost per unit energy is much lower than alkaline and carbon zinc batteries.
Alkaline batteries are best used for moderate power consumption electronic devices.
Zinc carbon batteries are the best choice for extremely low power consumption electronic devices

Quick Battery Selection Guide

Power RequirementElectronic DevicesRecommended Batteries
HighDigital camerasNiMH batteries,
Nickel zinc batteries
HighHandheld TV
Portable MD/MP3/CD players
Handheld game
NiMH batteries
Moderate To HighWalkman
MD/MP3/CD players
Alkaline batteries
LowClock radio
Remote control
Smoke alarm
Zinc carbon batteries

4. What is short circuit and what are its consequences?

A short circuit occurs if the positive and negative terminals of the battery are bridged by any kind of conducting materials e.g. key chains, paper clips. Short circuits may have serious consequences. For example, the battery temperature will rise, causing internal gas pressure to build up and eventually resulting in battery leakage.
To avoid short circuits, do not carry charged or fresh batteries in the same pocket with coins or bunches of keys.

5. How do we maximize battery service life?

To maximize the cycle life of batteries, the user should:

Store the battery in a cool, dry and well ventilated place out of direct sunlight. The ambient temperature should be kept below 30degC for long-term storage. Prevent charging or using batteries in extreme temperatures.

Remove batteries from an equipment or turn off the equipment if it is not to be used for a period of time.

Avoid mixing batteries of different chemistries, capacities and state of charge in the same devices.

6. Do warm and cold temperatures affect batteries?

Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. Avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended. Store batteries at room temperature in dry environment.