Most consumers prefer to avoid the inconvenience of going to the shop to buy new batteries for a music player or digital camera. Over time, the expense of replacing batteries comes to equal the inconvenience of doing so. Using rechargeable batteries both lowers the cost of running favourite electronic devices and eliminates the hassle of replacing single-use batteries.
Choosing rechargeable batteries requires consumers to know basic information about these batteries, including their benefits, how they work, the types of rechargeable batteries, and key specifications. It is also helpful for consumers to know how to choose rechargeable batteries for electronic devices and how to responsibly use these batteries. When one knows what to look for in rechargeable batteries, there should be no problem in locating the batteries at traditional retailers or online at eBay.
Learn About Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries often look just like single-use batteries, with the difference being that rechargeable batteries are reusable after they lose charge. When buying rechargeable batteries, consumers should be aware of the benefits of these batteries as well as how they work, in addition to the other considerations listed below.
Benefits of Rechargeable Batteries
The obvious benefit of rechargeable batteries is that they are reusable, so consumers do not need to purchase new batteries when rechargeable ones expend their electricity. Rechargeable batteries may cost more, but they save money over time because consumers do not need to purchase new batteries regularly. Rechargeable batteries also minimise waste since consumers can reuse them instead of throwing them away as they do with single-use batteries.
How Rechargeable Batteries Work
Rechargeable and single-use batteries both feature an anode and a cathode between which electrons flow to create electrical current. Both types of batteries then discharge the electrical current to the devices they are powering. A chemical reaction inside the battery starts the flow of electrons.
The difference between a rechargeable and a single-use battery is that it is possible to reverse the chemical reaction and the flow of electrons in a rechargeable battery, while this is not the case in a single-use battery. Applying electrical current to a rechargeable battery reverses the chemical reaction and the flow of electrons in the battery, thereby recharging it. A charger connected to an electrical source is thus required to apply electrical current to a rechargeable battery.
Types of Rechargeable Batteries
Consumers should be familiar with the types of rechargeable batteries in order to purchase the right ones for their devices. The table below describes the different types available.
Rechargeable Battery Type
NiCd for short; original rechargeable batteries; nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium for electrodes; require a charger with greater voltage; must discharge completely from full charge before charging again or battery loses capacity
NiMH for short; nickel oxyhydroxide and hydrogen-absorbing alloy for electrodes; maintain capacity longer and self discharge less than NiCd batteries do; shorter shelf life than that of lithium-ion batteries
Li-ion for short; intercalated lithium compound for electrodes; maintains capacity for a very long time and has a long shelf life; many devices have non-standard li-ion battery built in, but battery comes in standard sizes too; expensive
NiMH batteries have largely replaced NiCd batteries due to the memory effect of the latter. Li-ion batteries perform particularly well, but the extra cost for these batteries means that consumers should reserve them for high-drain devices such as MP3 players and digital cameras.
Specifications for Rechargeable Batteries
In order to choose rechargeable batteries for specific devices, consumers should pay attention to the battery's size and its capacity.
Electronic devices are usually designed to accept a specific size of battery. AAA is on the small end of the form-factor scale, followed by AA, C, and D. AA and AAA rechargeable batteries tend to be more commonly required for devices than the C and D sizes. The form factor prefix CR indicates that the battery uses lithium manganese dioxide, and many of these batteries are coin-shaped cells. Some devices, such as a smoke detector, accept a 9-volt rechargeable battery.
A rechargeable battery's capacity is measured in milliampere hours (mAh). The higher the mAh rating, the more electricity the battery can store. A battery with more capacity can power a device longer than what a battery with less capacity can achieve with the same device.
Choosing and Using Rechargeable Batteries
When buying and using rechargeable batteries, consumers need to factor in many considerations. This includes taking into account the devices for which they are buying batteries, finding the right charger, correctly storing the batteries, and recycling them once they lose their capacity.
Consider the Device
When it comes to choosing the battery size, the consumer must consider the device the rechargeable battery is meant to power. The device determines battery size since only one size is compatible with the device. Some electronic devices also have higher power requirements than others. For example, the consumer may want to spend a bit of extra money to buy rechargeable batteries with a higher mAh-rating for a digital camera. Other devices, such as an LED headlamp, do not require as much electricity, so a less-expensive, lower-capacity battery may be suitable.
Find the Right Charger
Rechargeable batteries require a charger. Most chargers are designed for batteries of a specific size, so consumers should be sure the chargers they buy are compatible with the rechargeable batteries. Many chargers come with a reconditioning cycle. This turns the charger off when the batteries are full in order to prevent overcharging. Some chargers have an automatic reconditioning cycle, while others require the user to switch it on.
Storing Rechargeable Batteries
Heat degrades batteries, so it is important to keep rechargeable batteries in a cool place. Rechargeable batteries can withstand cold temperatures, so consumers should not worry about keeping them in a controlled environment. Touching rechargeable batteries with magnets can damage the batteries.
Recycling Rechargeable Batteries
Although rechargeable batteries last much longer than single-use batteries, they still lose capacity over time. Once a rechargeable battery is spent, it is important to bring it to a facility that can handle it. Rechargeable batteries include both recyclable materials and toxic materials. Facilities that can properly handle spent rechargeable batteries are located throughout Australia, so they should not be hard to find.
How to Buy Rechargeable Batteries on eBay
You can buy rechargeable batteries from a wide variety of sources, including local and online home goods and electronics shops. You can also find a large selection of rechargeable batteries on eBay. Start a search for rechargeable batteries on any eBay page with the search bar, using a term such as "Li-ion battery" and then selecting the series of categories related to electronics and rechargeable batteries. You can then select the size of battery that you need. If you browse the listings, you should be able to find batteries that meet your requirements.
You may be able to save money on rechargeable batteries by checking the eBay Deals page for electronics.
Consumers can save money on running electronic devices by using rechargeable batteries. These batteries are also more environmentally friendly than single-use batteries because one can use rechargeable batteries for a much longer time period before disposing of them. Understanding how rechargeable batteries work helps consumers shop for them with confidence. One should also be aware of the different types of batteries and their key specifications.
In addition to having good product knowledge, consumers should know which batteries their electronic devices require, how to select the right charger, how to store rechargeable batteries, and how to recycle them once they are used up. Rechargeable batteries may cost more than single-use ones, but consumers can expect to find affordable batteries when they shop on eBay.
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