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Battery FAQ

Frequently Asked Battery Questions

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 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).

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 makes a noticeable difference in devices such as cellular phones, camcorders or laptop 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 manufacturer 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 Cross-referencing to find all the compatible batteries for your device. It will display all of the battery types supported by the specific device.

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

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). 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. Don't worry; it's perfectly 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. Exercise the Battery- Do not leave the battery dormant for long periods of time. If a battery has not been used for a long period of time, perform the new battery break in procedure described above.
  4. 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.
What is "Memory Effect"?

NiCad batteries, and to a some degree NiMH batteries, suffer from what's called the "memory effect". “Memory Effect” means that if a battery is repeatedly only partially discharged before recharging, the battery will “forget” that it can further discharge. The best way to prevent this situation is to fully charge and discharge your battery on a regular basis.

What is a "smart" Battery?

"Smart" batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips which allow them to communicate with the notebook and monitor battery performance, output voltage and temperature. "Smart" batteries will generally run 15% longer due to their increased efficiency and also give the computer much more accurate "fuel gauge" capabilities to determine how much battery run time is left before the next recharge is required.

Should I Recycle the old battery?

Yes. Do not throw these batteries in the trash.
For recycling nearest you, please call 1-800-822-8837 or visit www.rbrc.org. Please be kind to the environment and Recycle.

The Does and Dont's 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 Dont's:

  • 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.