Small electrical appliances such as flashlights, cordless phones and toys are powered by compact power sources. These include conventional and rechargeable batteries, as well as one of the latest innovations – batteries with a USB port. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. What is the difference and what to choose from this list – we will answer the question in detail in our material.
A classic source of energy for all kinds of devices, from TV remotes to electric toothbrushes. There are more than five types of batteries that differ in form factor, size and nominal voltage – the marking includes numbers and Latin letters.
Most devices use finger (AA) or mini-finger batteries (AAA) with a voltage of 1.5 V, less often you can find a “crown” (PP3) of nine volts. The remaining species are already more specific and are much less common in household appliances.
When the battery is discharged, the voltage drops smoothly, and the operating time depends on the capacity – the larger it is, the longer the battery will last. According to the internal “filler” batteries are also divided into several groups:
Salt ones are considered the most budgetary solution, alkaline ones are a kind of “golden mean” – average autonomy at an affordable price. In the high price category are lithium, they offer the best performance.
It is also worth understanding that the discharge rate directly depends on the current. For example, most toys require a constant value of 200 mA, and discharges with pulses of 1000 and 2500 mA are necessary to power various digital equipment.
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The main feature of batteries is one-time use. As soon as you use up all the charge, the battery will have to be thrown away.
Visually, batteries are practically no different from batteries and are also available in various form factors. You can distinguish a battery from a battery by the corresponding inscription on the case, which indicates the possibility of recharging. Another difference is that batteries usually have an operating voltage of 1.2 volts.
Performance characteristics largely depend on the type of battery:
Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) – are considered obsolete and are practically not produced.
Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) is one of the largest groups. They are characterized by high capacity, affordable price and a large number of recharge cycles, but they are vulnerable to frost and have a memory effect.
Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) – offer the highest capacity, do not have a memory effect, but are quite expensive and demanding on charging conditions.
You can determine the type of battery by marking, which should always be present on the case. During discharging, they behave in the same way as conventional batteries, but after a complete discharge, the capacity can be replenished.
You can charge the batteries both in the device itself with support for charging from the outlet (cordless phones, electric toothbrushes), and in special chargers. The latter are produced in a huge range for various sizes with the ability to simultaneously charge up to eight batteries.
Rechargeable batteries come in handy in cases where, due to the active use of technology, you have to change batteries too often. Purchasing a rechargeable power supply will save you money in the long run. However, keep in mind that you will have to purchase a special charger if the gadget you are using does not support charging from a wall outlet.
One of the main problems with batteries is the operating voltage of 1.2 volts, which is why some devices recognize the battery as discharged. This disadvantage was solved in USB-accumulators due to the built-in controller and converter. This allows you to just give out a voltage of 1.5 volts like conventional batteries, and it keeps stable throughout the entire time of operation. As soon as the charge ends, the USB battery is completely turned off.
Because of this design feature, USB batteries are charged not through the usual “plus” and “minus”, but using the built-in micro-USB. Accordingly, for charging you will need a special splitter, usually from USB to micro-USB.
If you use gadgets quite rarely, for example, it’s a home flashlight or an air conditioner remote control, then ordinary batteries are quite suitable. Batteries are useful for actively used devices such as children’s toys, electric toothbrushes or walkie-talkies. So you save on the purchase of consumables. USB batteries should only be purchased if the device is voltage sensitive and will not run on conventional 1.2 volt batteries.