Batteries – From Laptops to Motorcycles

Batteries – From Laptops to Motorcycles



What would you do without them? Seriously, if every single battery of every single type were suddenly zapped out of every single thing that it operated, what would any of us do?

Laptop computers, without a doubt, are the lifeblood of many a businessperson today. Portable, convenient, they allow us to work on the run and do more business. Laptop batteries are essential to keep this resource working, as it should.

The precursor to the laptop as we know it today was introduced by IBM back in 1986 and was called “The PC Convertible”. It weighed five and a half kilograms and cost around $3500.00.

As laptop computers have evolved, so too have laptop batteries.

o The first type of battery used in laptops  was Nickel- Cadmium (NiCad). These can still be found in some older laptops. Their lifespan between recharges is about two hours, however, this decreases with each recharge. Also, if a NiCad laptop battery is charged for too long it may explode.

o The next type of laptop battery used was Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH). These laptop batteries last longer than NiCad batteries but their total lifespan is shorter.

o The current standard laptop battery is the Li-ion battery. As well as being light and having a long life span they can also be randomly charged and won’t overheat if charged for too long. Being thinner, the Li-ion battery is ideal as a notebook battery and can last for between 950 and 1200 recharges.

Perhaps even more crucial to our business life as well as our personal life is the cell phone. There are also three different types of cell phone batteries:

o Lithium-ion Batteries: these are the newest type of cell phone battery and, while having certain advantages over the older NIMH and NICD batteries, care must still be taken to ensure they perform at their best. For example, a new lithium-ion battery should be “conditioned”. What this basically means is that for the battery’s first three charge cycles, fully charge the battery overnight and allow it to fully discharge before charging it again. This will increase the life and effectiveness of the cell phone battery.

o NIMH Batteries: These batteries also should be conditioned in the same way as a Lithium-ion battery. It is important to remember
that extensive overcharging (i.e.: on a battery charger for more than twenty-four hours) can damage these cell phone batteries.

o NICD Batteries: These are the oldest type of cell phone battery and, as is the case with the laptop computer, are less reliable than the newer types.

Okay, so we know we’d be sunk without our laptops and cell phones. But what about the car? Cars have batteries too. Perhaps you ride a Harley Davidson – not without a motorcycle battery! It’s interesting to think where we’d be if the afore-mentioned “zapping episode” took place. We know that our forefathers coped without batteries but could we?


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