Battery 101: How to Prolong the Life of Your Lithium Battery

Lithium based batteries are taking the lead in nickel-cadmium batteries, thanks to their stability and relatively low maintenance nature. Plus, self-discharge rate is lower than half the rate of a nickel battery, and there is little to no harm when the cells are exposed.

Although the lithium based battery has many advantages, it still has its limits and drawbacks. That’s why it’s so important to understand exactly how to care for and prolong the life of your lithium based battery.

Hot Temperatures

As with most batteries, lithium-based batteries need to be kept at cooler temperatures. The higher the temperature the greater the self-discharge rate.

Pro Tip: Try storing your battery at temperatures around 68 °F. Because charging and using the battery creates heat you should give your battery time to cool down in between times of charging and use. This is one of the most effective ways of prolonging the life of any battery.

Cold Temperatures

Just as heat can shorten your battery life, so can the cold. By letting them warm up a bit in the sun or near a heater on a cold day, you’ll help give your battery a power boost – and keep them running so you don’t have to switch batteries or recharge as often.

To be safe, regardless of the temperature outside, store your batteries inside. Indoor temperatures tend to stay pretty steady throughout the year and there is usually less humidity as well.

Moisture

Lithium and water are two things that should not mix. When they do, look out. They form lithium hydroxide and hydrogen which is extremely flammable. If your lithium battery catches fire for any reason, pouring water on it will only make matters worse. Make sure you have a Class D fire extinguisher on hand (and that your smoke detector batteries are fresh!).

Best bet is to keep all lithium batteries away from any water source. Even though the battery casing is designed to draw moisture away from the battery cells, nothing is accident proof.

Manage the Discharge

Recharge your batteries before they are completely dead. Not letting it die completely will extend the battery lifespan.

If you are preparing to store your batteries for a period of time, make sure you do so at half charge. Unlike other types of batteries that need to be recharged throughout their storage time, lithium batteries do better at 40%-50% DOD (depth of discharge).

Pro-Tip: After every 30 charges, allow your lithium based battery to completely discharge before recharging. This helps to avoid a condition called digital memory. Digital memory can mess with the accuracy of the power gauge of the device you’re using. By allowing it to discharge completely you will allow the power gauge to reset.

Voltage

Many batteries come to an early end because they were charged using the wrong voltage. One of the benefits of using a lithium-based battery is that they offer rapid recharging so there is no need to mess with the process. You’ll only cause damage that can’t be undone. In general, for a 12V lithium-ion battery, the best charging voltage to ensure maximum lifespan is 14.6V.

While not all batteries are created equal, they all need to be cared for properly to ensure they meet their maximum potential. That means understanding the special care requirements for different types of batteries. Manage the storage temperature, keep them dry, and make sure you are charging properly you’ll always have a reliable battery when you need it.

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