Battery charging is an essential part that the user needs to understand well. It is good to know the conditions of use for your battery to avoid damage or accidents. If the battery is charged to an acceptable voltage and in the right conditions, its lifespan is increased. Therefore, it is essential to know the maximum and minimum voltage that your battery can attain.
When you charge a battery, you expect it to attain a specific voltage. The voltage in a battery depends on the number of cells that the battery has. The battery is in a closed circuit voltage (CCV) condition during charging; thus, charging raises the voltage. Most manufacturers rate a battery by assigning a nominal voltage. The voltages assigned follow an agreed convention.
Batteries require charging up to a specific voltage and should be done with a regulated amount of current; otherwise, they can turn into potential bombs. A high amount of energy into a small space and tight package can be incredibly dangerous. There are several types of lithium-ion batteries, but most of them are charged the same way. Prevent accidents by charging your battery in the right conditions and in the right way.
Most batteries have a nominal capacity label. The nominal capacity is measured in amp-hour (Ah) or milliamp-hour (mAh). This is the amount of charge they can supply for an hour before being fully drained. But the battery has its minimum and maximum amount of voltage that it can attain during charge. This article will offer full details of the voltage amount.
Most lithium-ion batteries are charged to a capacity of about 3.7V to 4.2V per cell. Thus, you can calculate the minimum voltage using the lower limit. Higher voltages can increase this voltage capacity but shorten the lifespan of the battery. Likewise, lower voltages can increase battery charge cycles at the cost of less run time.
Charging beyond 4.2V per cell can cause stress to the cell, thus resulting in oxidation that reduces the service life and battery capacity. Lithium-ion batteries need tighter voltage tolerance on detecting full charge. Once they are fully charged, they do not allow to be a trickle or float charged. Determining if a battery has full charge is an essential feature because it prevents overcharging.
The charging of lithium-ion batteries can be classified into two main stages:
Constant Current Charge: In this stage, the charging of the battery is controlled. It is usually between 0.5 C to 1.0 C. For a 2000 mAh battery, the charge rate would be 2000 mA for a charge rate of C. For consumer-based batteries, the recommended charge rate is 0.8 C maximum. At this stage, the voltage across the lithium-ion battery cell increases for the constant current charge. The charge time for this stage is around an hour.
Saturation charge: At this stage, a constant voltage of 4.2 Volts is kept, and the current will fall steadily. The stage ends when the current falls to around ten percent of the rated current. The charge time for this stage can be around two hours.
The battery can attain a charge efficiency of 95-99 percent. Charge efficiency is the amount of charge retained by the battery or cell against the amount of charge entering the cell. Lithium-ion battery does not require to be fully charged because high voltages stress the battery.
Yes. It is good to know the voltage of your new lithium-ion battery before use. This checking will help you know the time that the battery can last. Batteries are usually sold when they are about 80 percent full; thus, checking will help you know that the battery is in good condition. To check the available voltage in your new battery, you need a multimeter.
Here are procedures to follow when using a multimeter:
Connect the red wire of the multimeter to the positive terminal of the lithium-ion battery.
Likewise, connect the black wire to the negative terminal of the battery.
For digital multimeters, the results will be shown on an LCD screen. Analog multimeters have a needle-like wire that will move over a graduated scale and is excellent for detecting slow voltage changes. This is because the needle will be seen moving over the scale.
The voltages in lithium-ion batteries can also be measured using a voltmeter. To do so, you need to follow some simple steps:
Remove the lithium-ion battery from the device. Usually, the battery is attached to a device charging it, or another device uses the battery.
Turn on the power to your voltmeter.
Set the voltmeter to measure in volts.
Mark the positive and negative terminals of your lithium-ion battery. The terminals are usually marked with positive and negative signs at the far ends.
Place the corresponding negative and positive wires of the voltmeter to the battery's negative and positive terminals, respectively.
Take the readings displayed on the meter’s scale.
The battery is bought when it is about 80 percent full. This means that for a 12V battery, the available voltage during the purchase can be about 10V. The amount of charge can vary depending on several factors: Time that the battery has taken in storage before being sold and the weather conditions of the storage place. Thus, we cannot say the exact voltage of a new lithium-ion battery unless we measure the voltage before using it.
It is always wise to monitor the voltage of your battery. This will help you know how long it can last when fully charged. Also, you can avoid overcharging because it can damage your battery. Taking good care of your battery gives it a long life. Avoid spending a lot of money on things that can be avoided, like the frequent replacement of batteries.
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