Improve the life of a battery
A battery, whether it is lead, lithium, nickel, etc., is not eternal! Its life span is limited, but solutions exist to make it last longer and therefore improve its life span. Present in many portable gas detection equipments, batteries are at the heart of our activity.
It is important to know that several factors have an impact on battery life: its manufacturing material, the type of device in which it is used, its frequency of use, etc.
1. The gestures to adopt
Generally speaking, the life of a battery, regardless of its technology, depends heavily on the depth of discharge regularly undergone, but also on the temperature of use, its natural aging, etc. Its storage and transport are also parameters not to be neglected, since they can accelerate its ageing or even make it unusable.
Below are several behaviors that can help you extend the life of a battery:
1.1. Beware of the load!
First of all, when you receive a device equipped with a battery (portable gas detector, smartphone, etc.), it is important to do a first full charge in order to balance the cells.
A battery has a self-discharge: this means that your battery has the ability to discharge without necessarily having a consumer / user.
However, you should know that a battery does not need to be completely discharged to recharge it. Indeed, manufacturers generally recommend a use on the range 30 to 80% of charge level. It is still important to do a full charge from time to time to rebalance the cells.
It is also important not to leave your charger plugged into a power outlet without supervision!
1.2. Adapting battery storage
In order to preserve the autonomy of your battery, it is necessary to know that its storage must be done with a certain level of load.
At 100%, and stored for a long time, your battery may be degraded quickly. When your battery reaches 100% charge, it is better to use it directly.
Similarly, if you store a battery for a long time with a charge level below 30%, it will alter its life. Worse, if you store a battery with a charge level of 0%!
This is why it is advisable not to recharge the devices after use and before storing them. It is better to recharge them before using them again. For storage, a charge level between 50 and 70% is ideal.
1.3. Batteries and weather conditions
If you are using your device outdoors or in abnormal temperature or humidity conditions, it is recommended that you open your device to check the condition of your battery and look for any traces of moisture. Moisture can be really disastrous for the battery, as it could oxidize, become unbalanced, or even cause a fire.
In addition, batteries do not like low temperatures. In fact, sub-zero temperatures significantly reduce their lifespan. For example, a lithium battery can completely refuse to recharge in low temperature conditions.
1.4. Be careful when transporting batteries
Special care must be taken during the transport and shipment of batteries, mainly lithium batteries. These are classified by the UN as a class 9 hazardous material.
When transporting a lithium battery, several concepts must be mentioned on the packaging and on the transport documents:
- The UN number
- The classification code "9 (miscellaneous hazardous materials and objects)
If lithium batteries are not packed properly or if they are damaged during transport, they may short-circuit, causing overheating and the risk of fire. For this reason, it is important to train personnel in packaging and handling procedures.
- ADR certification, relating to the international transport of dangerous goods by road.
- IMDG certification, relating to the maritime transport of dangerous goods.
- IATA certification, relating to the air transport of dangerous goods.
2. Battery life according to its technology
Batteries have a number of cycles and a lifespan predetermined in advance by the type of use we will make of them and by the climate. A cycle is simply a use of 100% of the battery, but not necessarily at once. For example: 60% used one day, then recharge, then 40% used the next day. Total 100%, that is a cycle.
Their lifespan will depend on the type of technology and their manufacturing quality.
- Lead-acid batteries
In general, lead-acid batteries have a lifespan of 3 to 12 years. To extend the life of these batteries, they should be charged to 100% regularly.
- Lithium batteries
Typically, they provide about 1,300 cycles at 100% discharge, 2,400 cycles at 80% discharge, and 600 cycles at 30% discharge.
- Nickel batteries
Contrary to other technologies, nickel batteries tolerate a great variation in temperature (from -50°C to +70°C), and present a great resistance to shocks. Their lifespan is not calculated in cycles but in years, between 12 and 15 years of efficiency for a regular use.
The choice of battery depends on the type of device and the frequency of use. For portable gas detectors, lithium batteries are often preferred. Indeed, their cycle life allows an adaptation to the frequency of use.