Battery Operated Products
The Use of Batteries
Most appliances and electronic devices come with some type of battery. There are batteries of different sizes, colors and currents used for the large number of existing devices on the market. This is a multibillion dollar business worldwide. Did you know that in 2016 over 600 million batteries were used in the United Kingdom?
Volta first invented the battery back in 1800. This battery was known as the voltaic pile. Copper and zinc discs where layered and separated by a layer of cloth or cardboard soaked in brine.
The battery is an energy source that is used for portable devices to function properly. That means that it allows the operation of all devices that run on electricity but in a portable way.
What Are Batteries Used For?
A battery has enough power so you can listen to music and operate technological devices and electronic equipment such as:
2. Mobile Phones
4. Music Devices
8. Remote Controls
10. Home Phones
14. Hearing aids
15. Medical devices
We use batteries so often, and in such a variety of appliances, that we often just take their availability for granted. A home is not a home without a drawer full of batteries! I am sure everyone has had a Christmas morning where batteries have been forgotten for that new must have toy. Disaster! Most toys are battery operated and not electric! Think train sets, remote control cars, musical toys, some dolls and even your pet
cat’s toys! Many toys do not have batteries included so be sure to stock up at Christmas time!
We need batteries for clock radios, mobile phones, laptops, flashlights and PDA’s. We need them for our camping equipment i.e. stoves, kettles and lights. Some home appliances use a battery or battery backup. For example lamps, irons, fans and air pumps. Many tools use batteries such as cordless drills, saws
and garden trimmers. And how many people could even shave or brush their teeth without a good quality, reliable battery?
Has your battery ever gone flat in your smoke alarm? That screeching beep, beep, beep sound is a sharp reminder to – change the battery! Every household needs a blackout kit – that little easy to find bag of items needed in case the power goes out. Candles, flashlight, batteries! Wireless doorbells, remotes, gate controls, cordless phones and clocks all need batteries.
In the workplace, batteries are used in a variety of industries. In the factory they are used in forklifts, emergency lighting and radios. Heavy duty batteries are generally lithium batteries.
Batteries are used so much in our daily lives, that their disappearance could even mean the death of a person. Batteries are an essential service in hospitals, powering pacemakers, defibrillators, pagers and baby monitors.
Everyday, especially in developed countries, technology is advancing by leaps and bounds in today’s society. In Europe there are many types of batteries as the technology market in these countries have been growing stronger in recent years.
Alkaline batteries are the most popular type of household batteries. The batteries are readily available, have a long shelf life and last for a reasonable amount of time. Alkaline batteries are not rechargeable, but they do last much longer than older battery types such as Carbon Zinc batteries.
The two main categories of household batteries are non-rechargeable disposable (primary battery) and rechargeable (secondary battery). Both are commonly used. Disposable batteries are designed for one use only. Common sizes for standard household batteries are AAA, AA, C and D.
Disposable batteries are most commonly used in portable devices where the device has a low current, is only used from time to time, or used when there is no other power source. Primary batteries can also commonly be used for alarm and communication circuits where other electric power is available.
Common Types of Batteries
Computers and other home electronics commonly use lithium ion batteries. These rechargeable batteries use an intercalated lithium compound, compared to the metallic lithium used in a rechargeable lithium battery. Also known as LIBs, these batteries are also used in the military, aerospace and electric vehicles. Portable electronic devices generally use LIBs with lithium cobalt oxide, producing high energy density, but there are potential safety risks if the battery becomes damaged. Battery voltages depend on the chemicals and materials used to make the battery. Primary, or non-rechargeable, alkaline batteries usually have a 1.5 volt charge. Rechargeable NiCd/nickel cadmium and NiMH/nickel metal hydride normally produce 1.25 volts. The most common battery types include:
1. Rechargeable Battery: They are also called secondaries and its main attraction is that your system can be recharged as often as needed. They have some green on them so that they can be identified from others. These aren´t convenient with cameras because, the battery is quickly depleted.
2. Disposable Battery: also called primary, they are batteries that contain a given load, that the completion should be discarded. Generally, they are identifiable by a cylindrical shape. For example, the battery that is used in remote controls.
3. Dry Batteries: These are mostly used for the operation of electronic devices or for domestic use, such as audio equipment.
4. Double A or “AA”: This is named for the stack size and in terms of its electrical capacity; they have a voltage of 1.5V. As an example they are used for remote controls for televisions.
5. Triple A or “AAA”: These are used for smaller devices and have a lower current. Its electrical capacity is diminished by three times on the double A, but also has a voltage of 1.5V. An example of the use that can be given is for older mp3 devices.
6. Watch Batteries: Are also called button batteries, are used, as the name denotes, primarily for wristwatches. In this case it is a round shape, flat, encased in a metal sheath in the same way. Different types of watches generally use different sizes of batteries, but the type of battery used in a watch is generally an alkaline button cell battery. There are various different sizes of watch batteries. Your friendly watch repairer
can decipher which watch battery size is needed and change it for you. Other uses are, for example calculators and hearing aids.
Wet Batteries and Vehicle batteries
This type is used for cars, motorcycles, trucks, tractors and other machinery; although they are also widely used in some types of portable electronic equipment. Wet Cell batteries (also known as flooded batteries) and VRLA Batteries are the two main types of car batteries.
Flooded batteries are lead acid. They have two different sub-categories. SLI Batteries use a fast burst of energy to start the car engine. The lead plate count is larger. It is a larger battery. Most cars come with this type of battery. Deep cycle batteries last longer. The bursts of energy are weaker than in SLI batteries.
The second type of car battery is the VRLA battery. This is a sealed battery and gas cannot leak from it. These batteries can not be serviced. There are two categories of VRLA batteries.
Gel batteries are made with gelified electrolyte. Gel batteries are extremely tough and can withstand heat, spillage, movement and evaporation. Gel batteries function as flooded batteries except they are sealed and dry.
In Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries the liquid is contained in glass mats. The mats are thin fibers which are interlocked. AGM batteries also work just like a wet battery without the spillage of battery acid. They are sealed.
Batteries and pollution
When a battery runs out or is damaged, it is common for it to be thrown away. Although this seems a harmless act it presents a serious environmental problem because they contain a high level of toxicity that threatens health.
The batteries have a polluting effect on the environment. The most polluting is cadmium and it is estimated that a cadmium battery from a cell phone can pollute up to 600,000 liters of water.
The fate of the batteries once depended on the laws of each country. In Europe for example, there are countries that state that all batteries must be recycled. In the United States, however, it is not considered that alkaline batteries are a danger, due to the relatively small amount of hazardous metals they contain and the fact they no longer contain mercury, as they originally used to carry. Because of this they can be thrown away.
The main components of batteries are mercury, cadmium, nickel and magnesium. Exposure to these chemicals can potentially cause cancer. Medical studies have shown that constant consumption of food contaminated with mercury can cause:
• Personality changes
• Loss of vision, memory, deafness
• Kidney problems and lungs
• Brain and tissue damage of infants who are especially sensitive to this substance
• Lesions in the lungs
A common adverse effect of nickel exposure in humans is an allergic reaction. Between 10 and 15 percent of the population is sensitive to it. Some people who are sensitive to this metal have asthma attacks after exposure periods. Exposure to very high levels of magnesium for long periods causes mental and
emotional disturbances, and cause slow and uncoordinated movements.
Batteries all around us
Batteries are an integral part of life. What with the use of laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other equipment our use is on the increase! Due to advances in production, the price has also decreased significantly over the past few years. Always look for quality products and shop around for the best service and pricing.