Storing and charging batteries correctlyHow to optimize battery life!
Batteries accompany us every day. Whether in smartphones, laptops, e‐bikes, e-cars or as batteries for tools. Nevertheless, there are some things we can do better in daily use to optimize their service life. In this battery guide, you will learn how to properly charge and store the handy energy storage devices to prevent a loss of capacity, or at least how to slow it down. We will clarify the myth of the memory effect and refresh your knowledge of the most important units and technical data. What was that about watts, volts and ampere‐hours? Here comes your portion of battery knowledge:
Why do batteries lose capacity?
In this context, „ageing“ means the loss of capacity. Everybody knows the phenomenon that after a few years the smartphone runs out of juice faster and faster. Therefore, the battery is also considered a wear part. This is due to the chemical processes that take place during charging and discharging. The lithium‐ions become less and less and this inevitably leads to a loss of capacity in the battery at some point.
A battery can also age even without being used, e.g. due to the heat generated when it is exposed to direct sunlight. It is therefore quite normal for lithium-ion batteries to age. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to slow down the loss of capacity and support a longer battery life.
Store lithium-ion batteries correctly: where, how and how long?
The room for storage should be dry and protected from dust. The reason for this is a bridging between the positive and negative pole. This accelerates the higher the air humidity is. As a result, the lithium-ion battery starts to discharge itself, which increases the risk of deep discharge.
As already mentioned, temperature also plays a decisive role. A temperature between 10–40 degrees Celsius is recommended for batteries, but a cool room temperature of 15–20 degrees Celsius is optimal. Since higher temperatures accelerate ageing, lithium-ion batteries should also be protected from sunlight and direct heat. A too low temperature, i. e. temperatures below 0 °C, should also be avoided. In winter, therefore, the batteries of cordless gardening tools should not be stored in the garage, but rather in a frost‐free cellar or directly in the house.
When storing the batteries, you should also make sure not to store them for too long. Ideally, a period of up to six months should be observed. During long storage, the battery should have a state of charge of approx. 30–70 percent. With Power X‐Change batteries, you can recognize this by the fact that 2 LEDs are still lit. In addition, the battery should be stored separately from the charger to prevent premature aging.
Key figures for lithium-ion batteries
The most important battery figures are ampere hours (Ah) for runtime and watts (W) for power. For a better understanding, you can use a car as an example for comparison. While the ampere-hours for a car stand for the tank capacity or range, the wattage is responsible for the power, i.e. the horsepower for a car. This applies to the comparison within a power class, which is given in volts (V). Here, the volt classes 10.8 V, 18 V and 36 V have become established, especially for tool batteries. Anyone who can still remember the physics lessons at school knows that 1 W = 1 V * 1 A. This means that if the voltage (volts) doubles, the power (watts) also doubles.
Battery belt for weight relief
The weight of a Li-Ion battery also plays a relevant role, because it ultimately influences how handy a device is. Half a kilo may not make a difference with a cordless lawnmower, but 500 g can make a big difference when working with a cordless drill for longer periods of time. Our battery belt can help here. For example, when working with a 36 V hedge trimmer, both batteries can be carried in the belt on the hip. This puts less weight on the arms, which can be an important relief, especially for time-intensive work.
By the way: If you are looking for a lighter battery with a lot of power, you can take a closer look at our Power X-Change PLUS batteries. Thanks to the latest lithium-ion cells, these battery models are more compact and lighter - without sacrificing power and performance.
Attention: Why 18 V and 20 V are actually the same thing
18 V = 20 V? No, we have not made a mathematical error here. In the case of tools, it occurs more often that for example 18‐volt devices are presented as 20‐volt devices or 36-volt tools as 40-volt tools. Is that a lie, then? No.
Lithium‐ion batteries consist of battery cells with a nominal voltage of 3.6 V. However, the maximum voltage in a charged state is approx. 4.0 V. If now several accumulator cells are connected in series, the result is e. g. 5 * 3.6 V = 18 V and 5 * 4.0 V = 20 V. However, the technology used – and thus the performance – is the same. So don't get confused!
As you can see, even modern lithium-ion batteries need careful handling - although they are not nearly as sensitive as older energy storage devices. But with our tips, you can easily extend the life of your batteries and enjoy their wireless energy for even longer.