Batteries, part II

Here’s a follow up on my post of a few weeks ago regarding maximizing battery usage.

A gentleman I used to work with, Rick, offered up more info on batteries.  Rick pointed out that different battery chemistries produce different voltages. Here are the most common ones:

* Carbon-Zinc – 1.5V
* Alkaline – 1.5V
* Silver-oxide (button batteries) 1.55V
* Lithium – 3.0V

* NiCad – 1.2V
* NiMH – 1.2V
* Lead-acid – 2.1V
* Lithium ion/Lithium polymer – 3.6V

Most people think of a AAA-, AA-, C-, or D-cell battery as always 1.5V when new or fully charged. This is not the case with NiCad and NiMH batteries, even when new and fully charged.  This means there is nothing wrong when you replace a dying 1.5V alkaline battery only to discover your new, fully-charged NiMH rechargeable battery measures just 1.2V.

About a week ago I was excited to see a coupon in the Harbor Freight ad for a free digital multimeter with a purchase.  This is the same multimeter I recommended people go out and get to check battery life.  I’ve even found an online version of the coupon on the Harbor Freight website that gets you a free multimeter when you buy something on the website.  So here’s a reminder to go out and get that multimeter and maximize your battery usage.

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