Why It's Important to Have Chargers and Power Stations for Your Batteries

Why It's Important to Have Chargers and Power Stations for Your Batteries

The question may have popped into your head at some time or another as to why chargers and power stations are important for your batteries. We use devices that are powered by batteries every day, thus making it important to know how they work, and the best way to charge your batteries to prolong their life, as to avoid expensive replacements or causing damage to your device. Read on to find out the best way to maximize your battery’s capabilities in providing power to your electronic devices. 

How Batteries Work 

Batteries can be divided up into three different sections that work together to produce electricity. This is called the battery cell. The middle section of the cell contains electrolytes. On either side of this are electrodes. The electrodes can be found on the outer side of your battery. When you pick up your battery you will notice the positive (+) and the negative (-). The positive side is known as the cathode and the negative as the anode. 

When an electrical circuit is attached to either side of the battery an electrical current is produced. The anode reacts with the electrolyte causing electrons to flow through the circuit. This begins at the anode and it works its way around to the cathode. Once it’s back at the cathode it continues into the electrolyte which further reacts with the anode, producing a consistent flow of electricity through the circuit. This electrical flow shall continue until all of the electrolyte chemicals have been spent. At this point, you either need to replace or recharge your battery. 

Types of Batteries

Not every battery needs to have a charger or power station to recharge them as some of them are single-time use. Primary cell batteries, otherwise known as lithium batteries, are non-rechargeable. Primary cell batteries use the metal, lithium as their anode. These batteries last a long time compared to their non-rechargeable counterparts and are commonly found in digital cameras, pacemakers, and digital watches. Lithium batteries are not as common as they once were due to not being chargeable. Additionally, they can be dangerous as lithium is a highly reactive metal, making any attempts to re-charge it difficult and problematic.

Lithium-ion batteries have secondary cells, which gives them the ability to be recharged easily. Our modern world is highly dependent on these types of batteries due to their rechargeable nature. Phones, laptops, and almost any portable electronic piece of kit that you own are powered by a secondary cell battery. They differentiate from primary cell batteries as the electrodes on either side are built from a combination of both lithium and carbon. 

Although they don’t hold the electrical storage quite as good as primary cell batteries, lithium-ion batteries still hold electricity relatively well if they are well maintained and can be recharged quickly to continue its usage. They have a more complicated operating system than primary cell batteries. Inside the battery are several electrical producing lithium-ion cells and other segments such as a small computer that controls the voltage, temperature and the power levels of the battery. The computer system is essential for the lithium-ion battery to work, making it a more advanced system than a traditional lithium battery.  

A collection of electronics.

Tips for Maximizing your Battery's Life and Charging Ability. 

You should partially charge your battery. Leaving your battery to lose all of its power and then to recharge it fully shall work. But not for too long. It is a common myth that batteries should be fully worn out before recharging them to restore ‘battery memory’. Instead, it is better to charge your batteries in smaller doses and consistently maintaining an amount of electrical power inside them. 

When secondary cell batteries are at the lower end of their charge scale, they start to draw constant current and begin to work on a low voltage. You may have noticed this on your mobile phone when it starts to reach the lower ends of the battery. A notification pops up, offering you to go to power-saving mode. When the power saving mode it does just that, and your phone operates at a lower voltage level.

When a battery is working at a low voltage it extends the batteries life, with the optimum power levels for prolonging it is between 30-80%. Try to keep your batteries in roughly this range if you wish to extend their lifespan. The most favorable way of keeping your battery living longer is to recharge it every time it drops by 20% of its capacity. Although this is not practical for most people it can extend your battery life by up to four times as much, compared to if you let it drop to 0% then fully recharge it every single time. 

Don’t Leave your Battery Charging for too Long

Many of you will charge your electronic devices overnight or all day and then either forget about them or don’t worry about them as you know that they will be fully charged when you return to them. This can cause a couple of problems for your batteries and devices. Firstly, a constant stream of electricity going into the battery may cause the lithium to plate. This can curtail the strength of the battery and cause your electronic device to be impaired in the future. It also causes your battery to undergo a high pressure of voltage and creates unnecessary heat from the excess electricity.

Once your battery is at its 100% capacity you should remove it from the charger or power station. After this, just top it up in small doses as required, making sure that it does not sit in the power outlet at 100% over a long time. Additionally, you should not use your device when you are charging its battery. This is known as a parasitic load when the battery is being drained at the same time as being charged. This is not good for the battery as it causes mini-cycles of electrical surges, when one piece of the battery is in a repeated loop, making it wear down at a faster rate than the rest of the battery. This applies mostly to doing heavy activities that use more power such as watching a movie on your phone - a few text messages won’t cause any harm.

A person holding film equipment in the desert.

Be Wary of Heat

Having your battery exposed to high temperatures will cause it to deteriorate quickly. High temperatures will cause stress to the cells and make it lose its power capabilities a lot faster than if it were to be kept in an environment that has lower temperatures. In general, a battery kept at temperatures below 30 degrees Celcius should still have approximately 80% of its electrical capacity after a year of regular use. When kept in the 30-40 degrees Celcius region this will diminish to between 60-70% of its capacity. Beyond 40 degrees, the battery shall be made redundant in the spae of just a few months. 

If your battery is at full capacity and exposed to high heat this will cause the most damage. If it is an excessively hot day, then try to not maintain it at full capacity, and instead below 80%, o you can ensure that big damage is not done to it. A couple of other steps can also be made to stop this. Do not leave your battery charging in a covered area, such as under a pillow or blanket and likewise, don’t leave it exposed to the hot sun for long periods if you can help it. If you follow this, if you live in a hot area will mean fewer problems trying to get it replaced, saving you time and money. 

With this in mind, be wary of long term use of quick charging chargers and power stations. These are particularly if you need to get power into your battery quickly, and by all means, use them for this. However, be careful not to leave them charging in these ports at full capacity for long periods. Fast charging devices bring forward higher currents and voltage levels, creating heat, which can impact the usefulness of your battery over the long term. 

The Perfect Charger for the Perfect Batteries

Hopefully after reading this short guide to the importance of chargers and power stations for your batteries you have a better understanding of how your battery function and how to charge it in a manner that is safe and maintains your battery life over the long term. Lithium-ion batteries are now the standard use batteries throughout the world, however they are often used in a manner that is detrimental to the condition to the battery. 

By making smaller and more frequent charges and not leaving your battery plugged into its charger or power station once it has hit  100% capacity you can prolong your battery's life to the maximum effect. Also, keeping your battery at a lower temperature shall extend its life span and prevent damage being extended into the device that you use your battery for. Likewise, using your device whilst its charging and overuse of power chargers should be avoided. A few simple changes to your charging habits shall help to ensure that your battery and electronic appliance lasts as long as possible.

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