Every home is filled with innumerable gadgets and instruments that require batteries. Batteries can be divided into two broad categories: non-rechargeable or primary batteries and rechargeable or secondary batteries.
The commonly used type of battery at home for most gadgets is the primary type of battery. They are called alkaline batteries. They are used in toys, torches and many other household instruments. They come in various shapes and sizes and can range from small, round and coin-sized lithium batteries, used in watches, to large cylindrical zinc-carbon batteries, used in torches.
The secondary batteries or the rechargeable ones can be primary batteries that can be charged or large cuboids used in cars or inverters.
All types of batteries can be put into optimum use, maintained well to increase their life and discarded safely to avoid polluting the environment. The article takes you through the basics of battery.
Maintenance of Batteries
The following tips help in optimising the usage of the batteries.
- Primary batteries are easy to maintain. One has to keep a close watch on any kind
of leakage, discharge or rust formation on the battery or around the terminal while in
use. Cleaning primary batteries regularly lengthen the life.
- Another important point to look out for is the battery should be inserted correctly into
the instrument. That is the positive side touches the raised knob of the battery.
- Primary batteries should be stored in cool and dry places.
- Acid levels of batteries that are used in cars or inverters should be checked periodically. Acid batteries run a risk of acid stratification. Stratification is a term used when the electrolytes settle at the bottom and the top of the battery has nothing to be charged. This generally happens if the battery is charged less than 80% or partially charged or not quite adequately charged.
- One should always charge batteries when it has reached the 20% bottom mark. If the battery runs below 20%, there are risks of the instrument getting heated up, decreasing in performance and eventually damaging the instrument.
- Regular checking of the water level is a must to maintain the battery. One can refill the battery with distilled water. One has to be very careful while filling the water level. Water has to be filled only when the plates are visible and the level of electrolytes is low. Charging should be done only after filling it with water.
- While conducting a periodic check-up of the battery, it is important to check the voltage of the battery. This is mandatory, especially for car batteries. A low-voltage battery might cause a breakdown.
- Another important aspect of car batteries is that they discharge when the car is not running for a long period. So it is important to either run the car or disconnect the battery for optimum charge.
- Keeping the battery insulated from extreme climates is necessary. This not only maintains the charge but also extends the life of the battery.
Tips to extend Battery life
- The seal on the terminal of primary batteries should be removed only when the battery
is put to use.
- Removing batteries from the instrument or switching off the battery when not in use
increases the life of the batteries.
- Primary batteries that are in use should not be kept with dead batteries.
- Every battery needs a specific charger and a charging point. While some may use a 2
pin plug others might need a power plug. Eco-friendly battery cars have charging
points that are completely different. One should be mindful of using the recommended
and correct charging point for the particular instrument.
- Storing batteries in hot places can not only lessen the life of the batteries but also
provide a perfect condition for the battery to leak and explode.
- Rechargeable batteries should not be overcharged. Putting batteries either to charge
overnight or for a longer duration or unattended is a strict no.
Disposal of Batteries
While the usage of batteries in our day-to-day life has become essential, its way of disposable post usage is equally important to follow. Improper disposal can lead to lead and mercury contamination of land or water, wherever it is thrown away. The contamination can enter the human body through the food and water causing fatal health hazards.
Household batteries, often known as pencil batteries, can be reused in any DIY project. Other batteries can be ideally returned to any dealer or manufacturer. They either destroy them chemically or reuse them.
Batteries need a lot of care to avoid any kind of mishaps. Thus, one can say that the health of any instrument at home or outside, where batteries are used, depends completely on the health of the battery. Just like a well-oiled and serviced car gives the best mileage, a well-maintained battery provides the finest support to the instrument in which it is present.