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12V Battery Voltage – Introduction and Capacity
Have you ever researched how batteries work? If yes, you may have come across so much information. The internet is full of ideas on how to select the best-performing batteries.
Batteries vary in chemistry. It does not matter much about the manufacturer. For instance, lead-acid batteries have been around for over 100 years. The chemical principle of these batteries is the same across manufacturers.
Another popular technology is lithium-ion chemistry. These are the most powerful batteries on the market today. If you are looking for a battery that will power most devices effectively, it should be the li-ion ones.
Another factor that differentiates batteries is their design and size. Cells like 18650 are known for their specific shape. Then there is size C and size D.
Despite these differences, there are specific parameters that determine the real value of a battery. Among them are the voltage and capacity.
In this guide, we shall focus on battery voltage and capacity. Keep reading.
12v battery Voltage vs. Capacity
There are many ways to determine how effective a battery is. Some people will look at the energy requirements of the battery. They affect the cell’s lifespan.
Consider a battery like a piggy bank. What happens if you keep taking out and putting nothing back? You will end up with nothing. There are big piggy banks, and there are some that are much smaller.
In the same manner, battery requirements are huge in certain applications. You will not find any power in them if you don’t charge.
Voltage and capacity are the two factors that determine the real performance of a battery. One is about how much energy the battery can give, and the other one is how big the battery is.
A battery is rated both in terms of voltage and capacity. These are important aspects of power cells that every user must know.
Most people only think about the voltage. Some even think voltage is the same as capacity. But there is a huge difference as there are similarities between the two terms.
For instance, someone will tell you about 9volts in a battery. But they will not easily talk about the capacity.
So, what is the difference? Think of voltage as the potential the battery has to deliver a certain charge. In other words, how big is the energy that comes from that battery?
If a battery were a water tower, the voltage would be the pressure at its base. It determines how much water will come from the tank when a tap is opened. In the same manner, voltage determines how much energy a battery can give when connected to a circuit.
Capacity on the other hand is how the battery can provide that power. Think of a battery that you can use for one hour and it’s drained. Another battery can go for several hours before dying out
Capacity is measured in mAh. It’s the number of amps a battery can give over a specific number of hours.
In the water tower example, capacity would be the volume. It how much water the tank can hold.
What’s the relationship?
As you can see, both capacity and voltage are crucial to the performance of a battery. These are general factors that determine how well your battery can power the device it’s set for.
The relationship between the two is not rocket science. You can understand it easily from the explanation given above.
Let’s look at two batteries are two streams of water. On one side, you have a big stream. And on the other side, we have a smaller stream.
Imagine putting a small pipe in each stream. The pipe can provide the necessary flow. In this case, the pipe represents voltage. The streams are the batteries.
But then, the larger scream has more water. We can say it has a larger capacity. That also means more water (voltage) can come from it for a longer time.
Voltage is how much power a battery carries. Capacity is how long the battery can endure. In most cases, a battery that has a higher voltage also has a higher capacity. That’s the main relationship between the two.
Using Batteries Effectively
The way you connect your batteries matters a lot. If you place a large battery in a circuit that requires less than its maximum voltage, it will not use much of its potential. Such a battery is likely to last longer.
If a battery is giving out too much voltage above its rating, it will die factor. This is because the circuit is sucking out more power from the battery than it’s supposed to.
In a nutshell, drawing more power from a battery reduces its capacity. At the end of its life cycle, a battery will completely lose its capacity. It will no longer hold any power and may call for a replacement.
12V Battery Voltage Drop Calculator
You can estimate the voltage drop of an electrical circuit. For this, you will need a voltage drop calculator.
When the electrical current goes through a wire, it’s the electrical potential, also called voltage that pushes it forward. Along the path is a certain contrary pressure from the wire. The current must be larger than this opposing force. Voltage drop is the voltage loss caused by this opposing energy of the wire.
If you see lights flickering, or burning dimly, it means there is an excessive voltage drop. Heaters and other electrical items will not perform well either.
Experts recommend that voltage drop should be under 5% when the circuit is fully loaded. You need to select the right wire and take care of the extension cord of similar items. Use the voltage drop calculator to determine how much energy is being lost.
12V Battery Voltage Meter
A 12V battery is popular in motorcycles and vehicles. You can use a voltmeter to test this system and determine if it’s worth your time.
Although a dedicated voltage meter is the best tool, you can also use a multimeter. This is a device that measures voltage, capacity, and other aspects of the battery. You just need to know how to set the dial right.