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Primary VS Secondary Batteries- Which is suitable for you

Battery technologies have significantly evolved over the last few decades and, understanding which offers the best solution for your application can be difficult.

With more than 40 years of experience in supplying cells, batteries, and battery packs we are uniquely positioned to provide analysis on which battery technology returns the best is 'bang for your buck'.

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The Right Battery

Firstly, every battery is different, they hold differences in individual capabilities- whether it is in areas such as: High drain or, low drain capability, extremes of operating temperature range, low rates of self-discharge, the list goes on. Therefore, not every battery will do a decent job at powering your device.

Primary Batteries VS Secondary

Primary/Non-rechargeable batteries (such as Alkaline) and secondary/rechargeable batteries (such as NiMH) both generate electrical energy through, an electrochemical reaction between, anode, and cathode across a separator in the presence of an electrolyte solution.

The electrochemical make up of Primary batteries is such that the battery is only suitable for single use in that the electrochemical reaction is not reversible and once discharged a primary battery cannot be safely recharged and will need to be disposed of.

However, the electrochemical reaction in Secondary batteries is reversible in that the electrochemical, reaction can be reversed to restore the battery, to full charge. An everyday example is when your mobile needs charging, the current is flowing into the battery for it to be recharged from an external power source. Alongside this, Ni-MH rechargeable batteries can, if correctly charged and maintained be recharged up to 500+ times.

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What is the difference between Primary and Secondary?

Cost Effectiveness-

As an initial outlay Primary cells are cheaper when considering the cost of a secondary solution which includes outlay for a charged. However they can only be used once and for applications used regularly on a daily basis and when the device is particularly power hungry such as: game controllers and motorised toys in the long run Secondary cells can prove significantly more cost effective.

Self-discharge Rate-

Primary cells now offer significantly low rates of self-discharge, so typically they are better for those applications which are used intermittently or in applications which require small currents over a longer period. Applications such as: smoke alarms, clocks and devices like motion sensors and remote controls.

Secondary cells did have a much higher self-discharge rate (less than 3 months shelf life) however these have evolved and are markedly improved offering 1 year and longer allowing for the “ready to use” technology that we supply.

Cost and Usage:

Primary cells as we know are relatively cheap and easier to use than secondary cells and, once they are discharged, we replace them. However, in the long run, this can be costly.

Secondary cells have a higher initial cost and will require you to purchase a charger, however they are efficient in the long run

In conclusion both battery types offer both positive and negatives regarding performance, both are efficient in their own ways and contain various benefits. The last real benefit, which is not performance related, which we have not mentioned is the environmental impact.

By switching to secondary cells, we significantly reduce replacements of batteries and therefore reduce pollution and the cost for construction. If we recycle the secondary cells after usage it can result in less water used in construction and therefore overall, they are more sustainable.

For more information on what battery type will best suit your application please call us on: 01462 851155 or email the team: Sales@H-Squared.co.uk