Rechargeable batteries are a powerful investment, for whichever the devise they may be suitable for. Nevertheless, there's often a bit of confusion, since they are available in a variety of forms. Therefore to satisfy the question, "what types of rechargeable batteries are there" -- let's have a look at the whole picture.
First of all, you must understand that there are TWO main forms of battery chemistry. Nickel Metal Hydride (usually branded as NiMH) and Lithium-Ion, or simply li-ion for short.
Pertaining to different types of rechargeable batteries; Let's begin with NiMH.
Basically, these are for use in almost any gadget that would ordinarily tolerate an alkaline AA or AAA cell. Throwaway cells operate at 1.5 volts. NiMH cells only operate at 1.2 volts. This slight difference means practically nothing with regard to available energy. Some gadgets will possibly not accept both types. But if they don't clarify, in that case a 1.2 volt should operate correctly. Quite often, NiMH cells are offered with a charger included.
Very important: Please take into account that the commonplace packs of Lithium batteries that you currently get in retail outlets, which say LITHIUM on them, are 100% disposable. Rechargeable batteries are clearly marked as such.
So now let's separate NiMH from Lithium-Ion.
Li-ion is a separate chemistry and frequently performs at 3.7 volts. Primary Li-ion's which are available in stores as CR123 size, operate at 3.0 volts. These batteries are throwaway. BUT, are obtainable online in a 3.7 volt rechargeable edition. Consequently, they're generally known as RCR123 or 16340. They need special chargers made only for lithium rechargeable batteries.
Lap tops and LED flashlights are the two most common consumer products to benefit from what is offered as a 18650 lithium cell. It might roughly resemble a standard AA, although is a bit longer, roughly a third thicker and can primarily just be picked up online. They operate at 3.7 volts and are available with varying energy capabilities. You'll see numbered sets for instance; 2400, 2600, 2900, and 3100. The much higher the number combination, the more power they'll store once thoroughly charged. They are in fact the strongest of any lithium battery. To recharge these, a separate Lithium-ion charger is needed. Specific precautions also need to be adopted when recharging this powerful chemistry.
Another popular rechargeable lithium-ion battery is the 14500 cell. It is virtually the same (in proportions only) to either a standard AA or an NiMH cell and operates at 3.7 volts. One of the limited number of products that I am aware of, that can take advantage of this cell is an LED flashlight. But even in that example, the flashlight will have to be able to accommodate the voltage. Because on many occasions, a flashlight suitable for a AA cell, would possibly not accept more than 3 volts. A handful of AA flashlights can go up to 4 volts. In that instance, it can accept either a traditional AA, an NiMH or a Li-ion 14500 cell.
Before you start your search for rechargeable batteries, be sure to figure out how you'll make use of them, and how to be free from danger once you do.
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