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Battery Types &  Specifications

Values given for size and weight are typical of indicated batteries. Charge and discharge characteristics are quite distinct for each chemistry, so links to applications notes are provided above for most types. I wrote an article on my experience with Li-Po batteries that you might be interested in reading.

There are two categories of battery cells, Primary Cells and Secondary Cells. Here is the basic difference:

Primary Cells are not rechargeable (disposable).
Secondary Cells are rechargeable.

Worthy of note is the newest battery chemistry on the commercial market: Lithium Manganese (LiMn). This battery has all the advantages of LiPo and LiIon, only without the sensitivity to overcharging and heating that causes explosions. As you might expect, LiMn cells and battery packs are even more expensive that the already overpriced LiPo and LiIon varieties. I keep expecting prices to reduce as more and more consumer products use them, but as with printer ink cartridges, there does not seems to be any relief in sight.

(2005 data)

NiCad NiMH Lead Acid Li-Ion Li-Polymer Rechargeable
Alkaline
Gravimetric Energy Density (Wh/kg) 45 - 80 60 - 120 30 - 50 110 - 160 100 - 150 80 (initial)
Internal Resistance  (mΩ)
(includes peripheral circuits)
100 - 200
6V pack
200 - 300
6V pack
<100
12V pack
150 - 250
7.2V pack
200 - 300
7.2V pack
200 - 2000
6V pack
Cycle Life (to 80% of initial capacity) 1500 300 - 500 200 - 300 500 - 1000 300 - 500 50
(to 50%)
Fast Charge Time 1h typical 2-4h 8-16h 2-4h 2-4h 2-3h
Overcharge Tolerance moderate low high very low low moderate
Self-discharge / Month (room temp) 20% 30% 5% 10% 10% 0.3%
Cell Voltage
(nominal)
1.25V 1.25V 2V 3.6V 3.6V 1.5V
Load Current*
  -    peak
  -    best result

20C
1C

5C
0.5C or less

5C
0.2C

>20C
5C or less

>20C
5C or less

0.5C
0.2C or less
Operating Temperature -40 - 60°C -20 - 60°C -20 - 60°C -20 - 60°C 0 - 60°C 0 - 65°C
Maintenance Requirement 30 - 60 days 60 - 90 days 3 - 6 months not req. not req. not req.
Typical Battery Cost 5.0
(7.2V)
6.0
(7.2V)
2.5
(6V)
10
(7.2V)
10
(7.2V)
5.0
(9V)
Introduction 1950 1990 1970 1991 1999 1992

* "C" is a unit that specifies the peak current supply capability of the battery. Multiply the mAh rating by the "C" value to arrive at
   the peak current. For example a 1000 mAh battery with a 20C rating can supply a peak current of 20,000 mA = 20 A.

 
Physical Specifications of Common Cells
Type Size Dimensions
(in)
Weight
(oz)
Voltage
(V)
Li-Ion   Variable   3.7
NiCad AA 0.57 x 1.99   1.20
NiMH AA 0.57 x 1.99   1.25
Li-Polymer   Variable   3.7
Carbon Zinc D 1.34 x 2.42 3.07 1.5
Zinc Chloride D 1.34 x 2.42 3.74 1.5
Alkaline D 1.34 x 2.42 4.50 1.5
NiCad D 1.34 x 2.42 5.30 1.25
Carbon Zinc C 1.02 x 1.97 1.59 1.5
Zinc Chloride C 1.02 x 1.97 1.80 1.5
Alkaline C 1.02 x 1.97 2.20 1.5
NiCad C 1.02 x 1.97 2.50 1.25
Carbon Zinc AA 0.57 x 1.99 0.53 1.5
Zinc Chloride AA 0.57 x 1.99 0.71 1.5
Alkaline AA 0.57 x 1.99 0.75 1.5
NiCad AA 0.57 x 1.99 0.85 1.25
Zinc Chloride AAA 0.41 x 1.75 0.32 1.5
Alkaline AAA 0.41 x 1.75 0.40 1.5
Zinc Chloride N 0.47 x 1.18 0.23 1.5
Carbon Zinc 9V 1.03 x 1.94 x .69 1.31 9.0
Zinc Chloride 9V 1.03 x 1.94 x .69 1.36 9.0
Alkaline 9V 1.03 x 1.94 x .69 1.59 9.0
NiCad 9V 1.03 x 1.94 x .69 1.25 9.0
Lead Acid 12V Variable    


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