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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) and Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries?

Batteries in portable electronic devices such as laptop, digital camera, camcorder, scanner, printer, etc., are typically using either Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell. Each type of rechargeable battery chemistry has its own unique characteristics:

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad):
Ni-Cad battery is the oldest rechargeable chemistries used in today's portable electronic industry. Its low cost and high discharge rate make it suitable for low cost electronic applications such as games, toys, as well as the high discharge applications like cordless power tools. Due to its low energy density, Ni-Cad is undesired for use in equipment such as notebooks, digital cameras, camcorders, and scanners, etc. Furthermore, Ni-Cad has a chemistry-related problem known as “Memory Effect”, which limits the discharge capacity of the cell if it is not completely discharged during each use.

Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH):
Ni-MH battery is the most commonly used in laptops & notebooks, camcorders, cellular phones, etc. A relative of the Ni-Cad chemistry but offers higher energy density. It has improved performance in respect to the memory effect problem, increased capacity (approximately twice the capacity of Ni-Cad counterpart) and it is increased run-time with no additional bulk or weight. Operation of this chemistry at elevated temperatures decreases its life cycle of charge and discharge.

Lithium-ion (Li-Ion):
Li-Ion is the newest of the rechargeable chemistries and has become the new standard for portable power in electronic devices. With three times the voltage per cell as Nickel-based chemistries, Li-Ion has higher energy density and is desired for lightweight applications. It weighs approximately 20%-35% less than the Ni-MH battery. This can make a significant difference in devices such as laptops & notebook computers, camcorders, cellular phones, etc where the battery makes up a major portion of the total weight. Furthermore, Li-Ion is designed in a battery pack with a Pack Control Circuit (PCC) to protect the cells from abusive conditions such as current and voltage overcharging, high temperature, and over-discharge. Another reason Li-Ion batteries become so popular is they do not suffer from the "Memory Effect" problem.

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How do I know what battery I have?

There is a label on the battery that lists all of the information you will need to locate a proper replacement battery. Information such as the voltage of the battery pack, the capacity of the battery pack, and the chemical composition of the battery pack (Li-ion, Ni-Cad, or Ni-MH).

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How are batteries rated? What are Volts and Amps?

There are two ratings on every battery: Volts and Milliamp-hour (mAh).
Voltage of the new battery should always match the voltage of your original. However, some of the batteries may have higher amp-hour rating than the original battery found in your device. This indicates a longer run-time (higher capacity) and this will not cause any incompatibilities. In some cases, the voltage will differ from the original battery. This often happens when both Li-Ion battery and Ni-MH battery are available for the device.

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Why my new battery isn't charging. Is it defective?

New batteries usually come in with discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that the new battery to fully charge and discharge for 4 to 6 times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity. And generally, it is recommend an overnight charge (approximately twelve hours).
When charging the battery for the first time or charging a battery that has been discharged for several months, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a very common condition for rechargeable batteries known as “false peak”. If this happens, simply leave the battery on the charger for about an hour, remove the battery and then reinsert it. The battery will resume normal charging cycle. Note that this may happen few times for the first time charge battery.

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How to maximize the performance of my battery?

There are several steps you can take to help you maximize the performance of your battery:

• Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. This helps the battery maintain its maximum capacity. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries, which do not suffer from the memory effect.

• Keep the batteries clean. Clean dirty battery with a cotton swab and alcohol. This helps ensure a good connection between the battery and the portable device.

• Exercise the Battery. Do not leave the battery dormant for a long period of time. Generally, a battery should be used at least once every two to three weeks.

• Do not leave your battery in its charger for longer than 24 hours. This may shorten the life of the battery

• If you plan on not using the battery for a month or more, store it in a clean, dry, cool place away from heat and metal objects. Ni-Cad, Ni-MH and Li-Ion batteries will self-discharge during storage. Remember to recharge the batteries before use.

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How long can a battery last in general?

The life of a rechargeable battery operating under normal conditions is generally between 500 to 800 charge-discharge cycles. This is approximately equivalent to one and a half to three years of battery life for the average user.
As the rechargeable battery begins to die, the run time of the battery is reducing. For example, when your two-hour battery is only supplying you with an hour worth of use, it is time for a new battery.

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What is "Memory Effect"?

Ni-Cad batteries have a chemistry-related problem known as “Memory Effect”, this means that if a battery is continually partially discharged before re-charging, the usable capacity of the battery will be reduced. This is because Ni-Cad batteries remember how much charge was released on previous discharges. It has a tendency to release the same amount of energy with every charge/discharge cycle. For example, if you fully charge your battery and use only 50% of its capacity before the next recharge on a regular basis, the battery will become unaware of the other 50% capacity, which has remained unused. To minimize the memory effect is to fully charge and discharge the battery periodically.
Batteries can be discharged by disconnecting the device from the AC power supply and letting the device run on the battery until it ceases to function. This will maintain your battery performs at its optimum level.

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What is "smart" Battery?

”Smart” batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips, which allow them to communicate with the notebook and monitor battery performance, output voltage and temperature. Due to the increased efficiency, smart batteries will generally run 15% longer. Also it gives the computer much more accurate "fuel gauge" capabilities to determine how much battery run time is left before the next recharge is required.

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Can my device battery upgrade to another chemistry?

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) and Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery cell are fundamentally different from one another. Each type of rechargeable battery chemistry has its own unique characteristics and requires a different charging pattern. Therefore it cannot be substituted unless the device has been pre-configured from the factory to accept more than one type of rechargeable battery. Refer to your users manual to find out which rechargeable battery types support by your device.

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