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Battery Guide

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Battery Junction's Guide To Battery Care and Upkeep

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By: The Battery Junction Team
Published: March 28th, 2022, 5:00pm EST

Battery Handling Basics

Just like any other technology, batteries should be handled with care, both to keep your battery and yourself safe! Here is a list of four simple things to keep in mind when using your batteries.

General Steps

Batteries are designed to be durable so that you can use them for any and all of your needs. In the unlikely event that a battery gets damaged for any reason, it can experience leakages of their corrosive liquid materials which can cause acid burns to your clothes, skin, or your devices. Please refer to the manufacturer's site on how to handle damaged units.

Depending on a battery's chemistry, each unit will have different requirements to best ensure its overall health, especially when stored. Always be sure to consult the manufacturer's guidelines for your battery's optimal storage temperatures. Maintaining optimal temperature conditions for your battery will not only ensure a lessened chance for mishaps occurring, but also prolong its shelf-life.

Keeping your batteries dry, whether when in use or in storage, will keep both your batteries and your devices safe. Ensuring your batteries stay dry can prevent a wide variety of different issues, letting you use them safely for as long as possible!

When a battery is no longer useable, be sure to properly dispose of it based on the manufacturer's safety guidelines. Depending on the chemistry, some batteries can be recycled. Please refer to this link for more information.

In-Depth Information

Now that you know some of the basics, here are some more specific things you can do to keep your batteries safe, and some information to understand battery health better!

Self Discharge During Storage

If a battery goes unused for an extended period of time, it is entirely natural for it to slowly lose its previously held charge, as it isn't possible for a battery to forever hold its full charge. If you remove a rechargeable battery from storage to use, it's always a good idea to recharge it as a precaution before using it again. For primary batteries, their shelf-life is based on this rate of self-discharge. For more information, please contact the manufacturer of your battery.

Run-Time Performance in Different Devices

A battery's run-time when in use will be different from its internal capacity. Different devices impose different power consumption demands which can affect your battery's overall performance. For example, while your battery might give one flashlight a 4 hour run-time, it may only provide a different flashlight with a 2 hour run-time. This isn't a reflection of something faulty with your battery, but that the device that is using the battery has an overall high power drain due to its specifications.

Internal Battery Temperatures and Overheating

When in use, your battery will experience a rise in temperature. This is usually perfectly normal and to be expected since the electrochemical process a battery uses to generate power will produce a certain amount of heat. However, if your battery starts to overheat beyond its normal specifications, it could potentially damage itself, your device, or even harm you. Be sure to check its specifications with the manufacturer's guidelines so that you know its safe operating temperature thresholds.

Rechargeable In-Depth Information

When you first receive your rechargeable battery, there are a few important details you should know and certain maintenance steps to take before jumping right into using it.

A Rechargeable Battery's Lifespan

The lifespan of a rechargeable battery is measured in the number of full discharge to charge cycles it is capable of before reaching the end of its rated specifications. When this end is met, it is recommended that you replace the battery. Weaker batteries usually last a few hundred cycles, while stronger, more efficient batteries can last for thousands of cycles. Depending on how often you use a battery, it can last anywhere from a few months to multiple years before becoming inoperable. If your batteries are constructed with a NiMH or NiCd chemistry, make sure you consult the manufacturer's website and perform proper conditioning to ensure they last as long as possible.

How to Condition a NiMH or NiCd Battery

Recharge your NiMH or NiCd battery to full capacity. Next, place the battery in a device, such as a flashlight, and run it until the battery fully discharges. Repeat this process three to four times. Finally, recharge your now conditioned battery to maximum capacity. For best results, repeat this process every two to three weeks. Please note that this is only meant for NiMH or NiCd batteries, and that not performing regular conditioning can cause the Memory Effect in nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hybrid batteries, which will greatly reduce your battery's health and lifespan.

What is the Memory Effect?

When your nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hyrbid battery memorizes a shortened life cycle caused by repeated incomplete discharges, reducing its overall lifespan.

How to Recharge Your Batteries

There are a wide variety of different ways for you to charge your rechargeable batteries. Many batteries can be recharged through the device that they're installed in, while others use a dedicated external charging device that plugs into a wall outlet. Some batteries, however, come with a built-in charging port for you to recharge them directly with a USB charging cable. Please always make sure to recharge your batteries according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Do not, under any circumstances, recharge a battery with a charging method that it is not designed for as this can cause serious complications.


Make sure that you recharge your batteries in a dry environment that is room or cool temperature. Please also ensure that you recharge your batteries in a location where they cannot get damaged from falls or impacts. Also, do not leave your charging batteries unattended as they could potentially overcharge.

Caution: Rechargeable batteries should never be thrown away in the trash under any circumstances. These batteries should always be recycled by dropping them off at dedicated recycling locations. Refer to this link for more information.

Primary and Secondary Batteries

There are two types of batteries that all units fall under: Primary Batteries and Secondary Batteries.

Primary Batteries

Without a need to recharge, Primary Batteries are inherently more reliable as they need less upkeep. For this reason, Primary Batteries are a go to resource for many medical purposes, such as for hearing aids and pacemakers. Due to their higher level of reliability, they are incredibly effective for tactical missions as well. In these instances, personnel will carry a variety of spares to replace discharged batteries. They are also great in devices that have a low power drain such as a TV remote. Their low self-discharge rates ensure a long shelf life. However, they do need to be replaced and disposed of after being fully discharged.

Secondary Batteries

A battery built from secondary cells which can be recharged by reversing the flow of the electrical current. This process restores the battery's active materials through a reversed electrochemical reaction after a full discharge.

With the ability to recharge, Secondary Batteries are great for work tools, household appliances, and personal electronic devices. This allows you to power the same device for far longer. They are also well suited for devices that have higher power drains. The reusable nature of these rechargeable batteries makes them more environmentally friendly and recyclable. However, this is not a recommendation; due to their construction, they cannot be safely disposed of like Primary Batteries. Please consult the manufacturer's guidelines for proper recycling methods. Also, please refer to this link for recycling information and locations.

General Specs

Primary Secondary
Rechargeable NoNever attempt to recharge Yes
Environmental Impacts HighDue to being disposable LowDue to being reusable and recyclable
Disposal Method Consult battery manufacturer Recycle


Typical Shelf Life Typical Safe Temperature Range
Zinc 2years 0~45°, -10~25°celsius
Alkaline 5years -18~55°, -40~50°celsius
Lithium-iron 10years -40~60°, -40~60°celsius
Lithium 3V 10years -30~75°, -55~75°celsius
Silver-oxide 5years -10~55°, -10~55°celsius
Zinc-air 2years -10~55°, 10~25°celsius


Typical Shelf Life Typical Safe Temperature Range
NiCd 5years -20~65°, 10~30°, 0~50°celsius
NiMH 5years 0~50°, -20~30°, 0~50°celsius
LSD NiMH 5years 0~50°, -20~30°, 0~50°celsius
Li-Ion (ICR) 10years -20~60°, -20~50°, 0~45°celsius
Li-Ion (IMR) 3years -20~60°, -20~50°, 0~45°celsius
Li-Ion (INR) 3years -20~60°, -20~50°, 0~45°celsius
Li-Poly 3years -20~60°, -20~25°, 0~45°celsius
Lead Acid 6months -40~60°, -40~50°, -20~50°celsius

Additional Terms

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