Batteries and More

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What are Auto DC to AC Inverters?

Have you ever questioned how you can plug your phone charger in your car, van, truck, boat, or camper? How about any of your electrical items or devices? How does a moving vehicle have electrical outlets? The Answer: It’s all because of an Auto DC to AC Inverter.

Sure, you can utilize a cord that will plug into the vehicles lighter port. But what if that’s not enough? With an inverter for example, you can watch TV and use a DVD player. You can even use a gaming system. An inverter will even allow you to cook.

Power inverters convert direct current (DC), into alternating current (AC). Direct current comes from your vehicle battery. Alternating current is the kind of power supplied to your house as well as to power bigger electronics needed to function.

Determining what kind of power inverter you need isn’t hard. For example, most cars and motor homes have a 12-volt battery that they draw their power source from. A heavy-duty 24-volt battery is sometimes used as well. You need to know what your vehicle’s voltage is. The voltage rating of any inverter you choose should match the voltage of the battery you’re utilizing.

Why is it called a direct current? It’s because it only travels in one direction. A continuous current flows from the negative terminal on your battery, making a complete circuit and then right back to the positive end.

How do you install an inverter? Well, there are two ways to do this. One way is to plug it into your car or vehicle’s lighter port. This is the case for most of the small wattage inverters. It’s meant to be very portable and convenient. If you’re looking for a more lasting solution, the larger wattage inverters have clips that you can clip onto your battery terminals. Granted, this can still be removed. There are some that have wires that can be linked permanently to your battery terminals.

The wattage isn’t the only thing you need to concern yourself with. The size can also be an issue. The smaller the inverter the less the wattage. There are some inverters that can weigh upward to 30lbs. Determining what size you need may depends on the room you have for it.

Now even when you are on the go, you can have the luxuries as if you were at home. From hair dryers to curling irons, phone chargers and fans the possibilities are endless.


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Differences between NiMH and NiCad Batteries


When it comes to powering up portable devices, there are two common battery choices: Nickel-Metal Hydride, or Nickel Cadmium. They can be used interchangeably due to their 1.2V rating.

These two different battery types are used throughout the industry, so it’s helpful to know what the differences are between them and which type, if any, are more desirable for your application.

The main difference (and the most important) is that NiMH is the newer of the two and is able to provide a much higher energy density than the NiCad battery. In essence, the NiMH battery is twice as powerful and can power a connected appliance for twice as long as the older NiCad battery. All of this comes about without adding any additional weight or size to the battery. Due to this, more industry users are switching to this kind of a battery over the older NiCad. Consumers want a battery that’s able to last longer, all without having to weigh the device down. This is all possible by upgrading to the NiMH style of battery.

Besides just the power of the battery, NiCad batteries are suffering from what’s known as “Memory Effect.” This happens if a battery is continually charged before the power supply is spent. Hence the battery becomes used to not using a specific portion of the power. Once this is the case, the battery no longer uses that area, even though it’s available, which can cause the battery to drain much faster than before. There’s the old theory of not recharging a battery until it is completely dead, and that steams from this sort of a battery. Charging it too soon can eventually reduce the amount of power it provides the device. The NiMH batteries do not suffer from this issue, so it’s possible to connect it to a power outlet or other charging station and not worry about the battery becoming use to the memory effect.

Lastly, NiMH batteries do not contain heavy metals, which are often an environmental problem, so the NiCad batteries are seen more as environmentally unfriendly as well. All of this points to the NiMH batteries as the better option.

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Energize Me!

There are several different types of batteries that we rely on for different reasons and applications. There are watch batteries, solar batteries, rechargeable batteries, disposable batteries, etc. The type of battery you use does make a significant difference.

Lithium-based batteries are a fairly new type of batteries. The lithium-based battery is a highly recommended battery when it comes to providing power for high-drain and high-tech devices. When using a lithium-based battery, it can provide high performance for devices that we rely on a daily basis.

Here are some advantages to lithium-based batteries:

  • Higher energy density
  • Self-discharge is less than half of nickel-based batteries
  • No periodic discharge is needed
  • No memory effect to the battery
  • Certain cells provide high current

30594 30595 Lithium AA AAA group sm

Lithium primary (one-time use) batteries can have a storage life of up to 10 years. This battery is also 30% lighter weight than alkaline batteries.

18650 cells group copy

Lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries stand apart from other batteries because of their longevity and ability to outlast the competitors. Lithium-ion batteries are popular and are found in many electronic devices and also in hybrid cars.

The silicon anode and the sulfur cathode so far have been the most cost effective way to continue producing lithium-based batteries.