Lithium Ion Batteries - What You Need to Know About Li-Ion Technology
Ion (Li-Ion) battery technology
is one of the fastest growing trends in the
tool community, and certainly for good reason. Lithium Ion batteries have the best
energy to weight ratio, meaning they pack the most power with the smallest
amount of bulk. They also experience no memory effect or, lazy battery effect.
This occurs when a battery can no longer accept a maximum charge for having
been repeatedly recharged without being fully used (a common symptom of Nickel
Cadmium (NiCad) batteries). Li-Ion batteries, conversely, have absolutely no
memory and can continually accept a maximum charge. Additionally, Lithium Ion
batteries have a very slow rate of charge loss while the battery is disengaged.
What is the difference between Lithium
Batteries and Lithium Ion Batteries?
The difference is in the chemistry; a
Lithium battery is a disposable power source composed of lithium metal
compounds - the key word, here, being disposable; Lithium
can not be recharged. Lithium Ion batteries, on the other hand,
are intercalated, meaning the lithium ion inside the battery moves between two
internal electrodes. This movement, or reversibility of the lithium ion accounts
for the battery's rechargeability.
What are the benefits of Lithium Ion
hold a lot of power and are surprisingly light-weight,
especially with consideration to other rechargeable batteries.
-- Li-Ion batteries combine single cell technology with a greater energy
reservoir than Nickel Metal Hydride and Nickel Cadmium batteries. They store
more power for their size than both NiCad and NiMH.
hold their charge for significantly longer than other comparable
batteries, and provide steady power until that charge is completely gone. Other
batteries gradually and consistently loose power as you work. Li-Ion batteries
stay strong until the last push.
Are there disadvantages to using Lithium
The disadvantages with using Li-Ion
battery technology are generally few and far between, and technological
advancements are making them even less so. Manufacturers have recently improved
the Lithium Ion recipe to reveal a more reliable battery. Still, every giant
has its weaknesses:
-- Li-Ion batteries are sensitive to
intense hot and cold temperatures. In extreme temperature conditions, the
battery will degrade more quickly.
-- Li-Ion batteries degrade regardless frequency of use.
-- The Li-Ion battery's built-in computer chip tells the battery to refuse a
charge once the batteries power falls below a certain point. If this occurs,
the battery is beyond repair.
Although these defects are more
applicable to the older Lithium Ion
, the possibility of seeing these problems is still worth noting.
Fortunately, these said defects are fairly rare, and easily avoided.
-- Store Li-Ion batteries (and other
batteries as well) in a cool, dry place.
-- Use your Li-Ion batteries often.
-- Be certain Li-Ion batteries have a full charge before storing them, and pull
them out every so often to use and recharge. Watch the
power level to be sure it doesn't fall below the charge limit.
General Li-Ion Battery Tips:
-- On occasion Lithium Ion batteries require
more than one charge (sometimes 2 to even 10) to accept a full charge. The
first time you charge your battery, leave it to charge over night. This ensures
you'll have maximum power for your first use.
-- To maintain proper balance in your battery, leave it charge over night about
once per week for the life of the battery.
-- When buying a new Lithium
, make certain you are buying a fresh one. There's a chance a
battery has been degrading on the shelfs of manufacturer's and distributor's so
be certain you are buying a new one. Most manufacturers provide a date code on
the battery or packaging. Check dates before you purchase, and be confident you
are getting a fresh, high-performance battery.