Benefits And Drawbacks of Lithium Ion Batteries

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Lithium Ion batteries were developed as long ago as 1912 by Gilbert N. Lewis, but it was a very long time before they were developed enough to be introduced on a mass market level. This happened in the early 1990’s with Sony pioneering their industrial usage.

Lithium Ion batteries have numerous benefits.

They can be constructed in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, leading to them being tailored to the available area in the gadget in which they are to be utilized.

The batteries are likewise much lighter than other equivalents, due to the nature of the material and the high open circuit voltage compared to other batteries. This low weight makes it perfect in hand held and mobile phones for obvious factors, and popular in these days of high tech gadgets.

Another major benefit is that they do not experience memory effect. This is the condition, whereby other rechargeable batteries, if not completely released before charging, lose their optimum energy capacity in time and therefore hold less charge.

They likewise do not have such a drastic self discharge rate as other batteries– just 5% monthly, compared to approximately 30% monthly in other battery types.

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Lithium Ion batteries are not perfect, and there are drawbacks.

One of these is that their life span depends upon their age– and not the time from which they were charged, or the number of times they have been charged. They start to lose capacity slowly from the date of manufacture regardless of the quantity of charging cycles they have. The production date is useful to understand, specifically if there is a huge time lapse from manufacture to being used e. g due to storage.

Some Lithium Ion batteries (such as laptop batteries) can lose around 20% of their capacity per year, when stored at typical temperatures. When exposed to prolonged higher temperatures, this figure can increase to as much as 35% per year. Another crucial element is the charge level– when stored partly charged, these figures can be considerably decreased.

This makes Lithium Ion batteries unsuitable for certain applications– such as back up batteries.

The battery must never be released below a certain threshold, otherwise the battery will be harmed irreversibly. The devices that utilize them have actually a built in system to shut them down when the charge level meets that minimum limit. For this reason, Lithium Ion batteries are developed and produced specifically for the device they are to power and are not offered as generic batteries.

Having said that, there are some versions readily available that have a built in circuit to monitor the minimum charge level and shut the battery down when it reaches that level. These are referred to as “clever” batteries.

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How to prolong the life of your Lithium Ion battery

  • Charge the battery early and often, unlike other rechargeable batteries.
  • If you do not intend to utilize the battery for a very long time, charge it to a level of approximately 40% of capacity.
  • The battery should be kept one’s cool.  They will age much faster at greater temperatures, so keep as cool as possible when not in use. They can be securely saved in a fridge for optimum prevention of aging. (note: they should not be frozen).
  • If the device you are utilizing is often ranged from a mains power supply (e. g laptop) and it is possible, eliminate the battery when using mains power. This prevent the battery from going through high prolonged temperature levels which can shorten it’s life.
  • Any actions to reduce the heat that the battery undergoes will benefit it’s life-span.
  • When buying replacements, try to acquire a battery that has the fastest possible time from manufacture to retail. (though it may be difficult to discover this information).

In other words Lithium Ion batteries are a really flexible battery, perfect in light-weight applications and exempt to memory impact. Nevertheless, they do deteriorate at higher temperatures which means they are not a universal battery option.

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