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How Long Will Your Battery Last?
When buying a battery for your PDA, MP3 Play most of us ask: how long will this battery last? Everyone of us has realized at one point or another that batteries do not last forever but have you ever wondered why? How many times can you charge and discharge your battery? How long will your battery run during after each charge?
When answering this question you have to look at the battery’s chemistry and capacity.
In its most basic form a battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy (electrochemical reaction). The process involved in creating an electrochemical reaction is complex and made even more challenging when calculating the advancements in battery technology including the onboard technology like the charge and discharge FETs, the sense resistor (RSENSE), the integrated circuitry, the fuel-gauge, pc board, and the EEPROM or firmware for the fuel-gauge IC.
But at a very quick glance the conversion process of changing chemical energy into electrical energy involves creating an electrical flow within the between the battery’s electrodes by first introducing electricity through charging.
This first step though necessary, also begins the inevitable loss of power within batteries, is called intercalation. Intercalation is the joining of a molecule (or molecule group) between two other molecules (or groups). When it comes to charging your battery you are in effect pushing ions in and out of solid chemical compounds. These compounds have minuscule spaces between the chemical’s crystallized planes for small ions, such as lithium, to insert themselves from a force of current. The current flow is then channeled back and forth between the electrodes and thereby creating an electrical flow to power on your device. Intercalation occurs everytime you charge your battery (aptly named a charge-discharge cycle) and as you can imagine there are only so many ions that can be pushed out of each and every chemical.
Lithium rechargeable batteries have a charge-discharge cycle that ranges between 300-500 cycles (for lithium based chemistries – NIMH can have up to 800 charge-discharge cycles and NICD chemistries can have up to 1200). A charge-discharge cycle means that a battery once at 100% draws power down to 0%. Then after recharge it will be back at 100%. This can be done 300-500 times on the same lithium based battery. Now most battery users recharge their batteries before the battery reaches 0%, this is perfectly acceptable, but still the same principles of the charge-discharge cycle limitations are in effect.
One common mistake is to assume that a battery that has a 1 year warranty will last for 365 days and when it does not last 1 year the assumption is is that the battery must be bad. This is a fallacy and an erroneous belief – in essence incorrect! Because the battery’s chemistry can only be charged so many times and if you charge 500 times within the first 9 months then you will most likely have used all the available chemical within your battery. Again this does not mean it is bad but simply that you used your battery’s life.
The other aspect of how long a battery will last for is an issue of runtime: the time in between charges. After each charge-discharge cycle the runtime (time between charges) is reduced by intercalation as discussed above. For example you may notice in the first 3-4 months you are getting between 3-5 hours of runtime on your battery.
Then in months 5-12 (after your purchase) you notice that you are slowly getting less and less runtime in between charges until you might be getting less than 5 minutes of runtime. This is the normal use of the chemistry inside your battery and DOES NOT mean that the battery is bad, but simply has been used by you. One thing to do to get the most runtime is to buy the highest possible capacity for your battery.
The batteries supplied by our Company are [compatible] sold for use with certain products of computer manufacturers, and any reference to products or trademarks of such companies is purely for the purpose of identifying the computers with which our products [are compatible] may be used. Our Company and this Web site are neither affiliated with, authorized by, licensed by, distributors for, nor related in any way to these computer manufacturers, nor are the products offered for sale through our web site manufactured by or sold with the authorization of the manufacturers of the computers with which our products [are compatible] may be use.