How to Charge

How to Charge - When to Charge Table
Batteries have unique needs and Table 1 explains how to satisfy these desires based of common batteries. Because of similarities within the battery family, we only list lead, nickel and lithium systems. Although each chemistry has its own requirements, there are common denominators that affect the life of all batteries. These are: Keep a moderate temperature. As food stays fresher when refrigerated, so also does cool temperature retard battery corrosion, a life-robbing adversary of any battery. Control discharge. Each cycle wears the battery down by a small amount. A partial discharge before charge is better than a full discharge. Apply a deliberate full discharge only to calibrate a smart battery and to prevent “memory” on a nickel-based pack. Avoid abuse. Like a machine that is exposed to strenuous work, a battery wears down more quickly if discharged harshly and if force-charged with high currents. Strenuous demands cannot always be prevented, but the user has the choice of selecting the right battery size, keeping the temperature moderate and following life-extending service guidelines. Batteries for the electric powertrain have changed the philosophy of battery manufacturers from designing packs for maximum energy density, as demanded by the consumer market, to focusing on optimal safety and longevity. Batteries on the road are exposed to extreme environmental hazards; they must perform at maximum duty under severe heat, cold, shock and vibration. Storing energy of several kilowatts, batteries for the electric powertrain can be dangerous if stressed beyond normal conditions. Furthermore, vehicular batteries are expensive and must last for the life of the car. Pampering a battery to achieve an extended service life, as is sometimes possible with a laptop or cell phone pack, is more difficult with a large battery in a vehicle that must deliver high load currents on command and is exposed to freezing temperatures in the winter and blistering summer conditions. The user has limited control as to the care and attention of the battery. This task is passed over to an intelligent battery management system (BMS), which takes over the command and does the supervising. The BMS assumes the duty of a lead commander who must make sure that the troops in a large army are well organized and that all soldiers are marching in the same direction. While a battery in a portable device can have its own personality and occasionally slack off, this liberty does not exist in a large battery system where all members must be of equal strength. Managing fading and failing cells as the battery ages is a complex issue that the BMS must address effectively. Monitoring and eventual replacing the cells or battery groups is far more complex than getting a new pack for a portable device when the old one becomes a nuisance.

Frequently asked question How should I prepare a new battery? Can I damage a battery with incorrect use? Do I need to apply a full charge? Can I disrupt a charge cycle?

Lead acid (Sealed, flooded) Battery comes fully charged. Apply topping charge Yes, do not store partially charged, keep fully charged Yes, partial charge causes sulfation, Yes, partial charge causes no harm

ickel-based ( iCd and iMH) Charge 14–16h. Priming may be needed

Lithium-ion (Li-ion, polymer) Apply a topping before use. No priming needed

Battery is robust and Keep some charge. the performance will Low charge can turn improve with use off protection circuit Partial charge is fine Interruptions can cause heat buildup Partial charge better than a full charge Partial charge causes no harm

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How to Charge

Should I use up all battery energy before charging?

No, deep discharge Apply scheduled wears battery down. discharges only to Charge more often prevent memory Discharge NiCd every 1–3 months

Deep discharge wears the battery down No memory

Do I have to worry No, there is no about “memory”? memory How do I calibrate Not applicable a “smart” battery?

Apply discharge/charge when the fuel gauge gets inaccurate. Repeat every 1–3 months

Can I charge with the device on? Must I remove the battery when full? How do I store my battery? Is the battery allowed to heat up during charge? How do I charge when cold?

It's best to turn the device off during Some UPS systems charge; parasitic load can alter full-charge simultaneous charge detection and overcharge battery or cause and deliver current. mini-cycles Depends on charger; Remove after a few needs correct float V days in charger Keep cells above 2.10V, charge every 6 months Battery may get lukewarm towards the end of charge Store in cool place; a total discharge causes no harm Battery gets warm but must cool down on ready Not necessary; charger turns off Store in cool place partially charged, do not fully drain Battery may get lukewarm towards the end of charge Do not charge below freezing

Slow charge (0.1): 0–45°C (32–113°F) Fast charge (0.5–1C): 5–45°C (41–113°F)

Above 25°C, lower Can I charge at hot threshold by temperatures? 3mV/°C What should I know about chargers?

Battery will not fully Do not charge charge when hot above 50°C (122°F) Battery must stay cool; no trickle charge when ready

Charger should float Battery should not at 2.25–2.30V/cell get too hot; should when ready include temp sensor

Table 1: Best charging methods. Strenuous demands cannot always be prevented.

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