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Everything you need to know about Battery Chargers and how they work

Auth Anushka Agarwal | Jul 27,2020

Rechargeable batteries have achieved tremendous importance in the consumer market. Such batteries are eco-friendly, long-lasting, and better purchase. However, the usage of such batteries also presents the need for chemistry-supporting battery chargers. For every pack of rechargeable batteries you buy, you need battery chargers to keep them full of energy at all times.

A good battery charger provides the base for AA and AAA rechargeable batteries, adding durability and performance quotient to it. A battery and its charger must go together like a horse and its carriage. Most of the time, people do not take care of the batteries as they should, and that decreases their longevity. Batteries are the simplest electronic devices in the market.

On the other hand, battery chargers are identified by their charging speed. Common household chargers are used for charging AAA and AA rechargeable batteries. A simple Ni-Mh charger can work for all sorts of rechargeable batteries. Such construction supports all forms of ambient temperatures, throughout the Indian subcontinent.

However, lead and nickel-based batteries do not accept the charge in cold conditions. It is always better to charge batteries of the same kind with the same type of charger. For example, if you bought Smartcell rechargeable batteries, then you should charge them using a Smartcell charger only. The best aspect of nickel-based batteries is that they charge with constant current and voltage, allowing it to rise freely. Full charge detection is observed with a slight drop after a steady rise. Shortened or Mismatched cells need proper treatment, so that charger should include a plateau timer to assure a safe charge termination, in case no change in the voltage is detected. For safety purposes, temperature sensing should be added for all such temperature changes, over time like overheating charge, heat dissipation charge, and other heating contributors.

Ni-Mh batteries should not be left in the charger for a long time. So, it is better to charge these devices when you’re there to attend them. Until required, store the batteries in a cool place, and use the charger when required. Discontinue the use of a charger if the batteries heat over 10 degrees Celsius.

Simple guidelines when buying a charger

The following are some guidelines that will come in handy when looking for a battery charger:

1.) There is something called the state-of-the-charge (SoC) of the batteries. Charging a battery is most effective when a battery has low SoC. Battery chargers lose their SoC with time, and so does the charge acceptance. As the battery reaches 70% of SoC or higher, it loses its charge acceptance value. A fully charged battery cannot convert electrical energy into chemical energy, and the charge slowly trickles to zero.

2.) It is not advised to keep the battery plugged in the charger. Filling a battery beyond its charge turns it into heat and gas. This, further, results in the deposit of unwanted materials. Prolonged exposure to such conditions causes permanent damage.

3.) Use a charger that is intended for the battery chemistry. Most chargers serve only one chemistry. So, make sure that the battery voltage agrees with that of the battery charger. Do not charge it with a different charger.

4.) The charging time for a battery varies from brand to brand. The size of a battery also plays an important role in its charging rate. The larger the battery, the more time it takes to charge it. Therefore, charging a larger battery will take a bit longer than a smaller pack of the battery, and vice versa. Also, check the Ah rating of the battery and that mentioned on the battery pack. If it differs more than 25%, then do not buy that battery charger.

5.) Observe the charge temperature at all times. As for Ni-mH batteries, they tend to get warm at the end of the recharge cycle but cool down when they are fully charged.

6.) Always check the battery temperature when using a low-cost charger. Remove the battery if it feels exceedingly warm.

7.) Always charge your batteries at room temperature. The charge acceptance rate decreases when charged at cool temperatures. Li-ion batteries cannot be charged below freezing.

8.) For Ni-based charger, the current trickles when it about to be fully charged.

Wrapping it Up

In the coming times, batteries will become more important than they are today. The world is powered by batteries and the products related to it. Therefore, you must learn how to take care of them. As for AA or AAA rechargeable batteries from Smartcell, the Ni-Mh charger is the right charging device for them.

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