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What is a Ni-Cd Battery?

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What is a Ni-Cd Battery?


1. Main Characteristics of Ni-Cd Batteries:

The nickel-cadmium battery is what stands behind the abbreviations Ni-Cd or also known as “Ni-Cad”.It is a type of battery that consists of Nickel and Cadmium electrodes, as we can already tell by its name. An interesting fact is that the abbreviation Ni-Cd stands for the chemical symbols of its two main components – nickel oxide hydroxide (Ni) and metallic cadmium (Cd).

NI-Cad batteries are rechargeable types of batteries, that have terminal voltage of around 1.2 volts during discharge which decreases a little over time until nearly the end of the discharge. They are being produced in different sizes, specifications and capacities. Some of the most commonly known Ni-Cd battery types are portable sealed types interchangeable with carbon-zinc dry cells, to large ventilated cells used for standby power and motive power.

In comparison with the SLA batteries for example, they provide a good life cycle with the ability to perform at low temperatures with a decent capacity. However, the main advantage of those batteries would be the ability to deliver their fully rated capacity at high discharge rates (discharging in 1 hour or less). Nevertheless, the materials of which the batteries are being made, are not that expensive but efficient in comparison with the sealed lead-acid batteries. At the same time, their cells have high self-discharge rates.


2.Usage: In our daily lives, Ni-Cad batteries are quite popular and can be used in lots of different applications. Sealed Ni–Cd units may be used individually as well as they can be packed in sets of two or more. The smaller ones are used for portable electronics and toys (for ex. solar garden lights), often using cells manufactured in the same sizes as primary cells. When Ni–Cd batteries are substituted for primary cells, the lower terminal voltage and smaller ampere-hour capacity may reduce performance as compared to primary cells. The smallest ones are often used in photographic equipment, hand-held lamps (flashlight or torch), computer-memory standby, toys, etc. Specialty Ni–Cd batteries are used in cordless and wireless telephones, emergency lighting, and other applications. With a relatively low internal resistance, they can supply high surge currents. This makes them a suitable choice for remote-controlled electric model airplanes, boats, cars, as well as cordless power tools and camera flash units. Larger Ni- Cd batteries can be used for aircraft starting batteries, electric vehicles, and standby power.

3. Maintenance of a Ni-Cd Battery: 

The Nickel-Cadmium batteries might be charged on several different rates with regards to how the battery was manufactured. Regardless of the charge speed, more energy must be supplied to the battery than its actual capacity, to account for energy loss during charging, with faster charges being more efficient. For example, an "overnight" charge, might consist of supplying a current equal to 1/10 of the AmpHour rating (C/10) for 14–16 hours. That is a 100 mAh battery takes 10 mA for 14 hours, for a total of 140 mAh to charge at this rate. At the rapid-charge rate, at 100% of the rated capacity of the battery in 1 hour (1C), the battery holds roughly 80% of the charge, so a 100 mAh battery takes 125 mAh to charge (that is, approximately 1 hour and fifteen minutes). However, if you decide to charge up your Ni-Cd battery on a higher rate, so that it can charge faster, there is a great chance of it getting overcharged and thus damaged. The safest temperature range of usage would be between -20 C and 45 C. When not under load or charge, a Ni–Cd battery will self-discharge approximately 10% per month at 20 °C, ranging up to 20% per month at higher temperatures. It is possible to perform a trickle charge at current levels just high enough to offset this discharge rate; to keep a battery fully charged. However, if you are planning to store the battery for a longer period, without using it, it would be highly recommended to store it at around 40% of its load (some manufacturers recommend fully discharging and even short-circuiting once fully discharged and stored in a cool, dry environment. There is the so called “memory effect” that may occur, if your battery is being charged only to a certain level each time, for too long. This is a state in which the battery "remembers" the point in its charge cycle where recharging began. During subsequent use it suffers a sudden drop in voltage at that point, as if the battery had been discharged. The capacity of the battery is not actually reduced substantially. Some electronics designed to be powered by Ni–Cd batteries are able to withstand this reduced voltage long enough for the voltage to return to normal. In the same fashion, if the device is unable to operate through this period of decreased voltage, it will be unable to get enough energy out of the battery. Therefore for all practical purposes, the battery will appear "dead" earlier than normal.

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