Battery Glossary – Secondary Battery

Secondary Battery – a battery designed to be depleted of power, then recharged and used over and over as apposed to a primary battery which can be discharged once and then needs to be disposed of. Secondary batteries are more commonly known as rechargeable batteries.

Common secondary battery types (chemistries) include:

  • Nickel (e.g. Nickel Cadmium, Nickel Metal Hydride, Nickel Iron, Nickel Zinc, Nickel Hydrogen)
  • Lithium Ion (e.g Lithium Ion Cobalt Oxide, Lithium Ion Manganese Oxide, Lithium Ion Iron Phosphate, Lithium Ion Nickel Cobalt Aluminium Oxide, etc.)
  • Lead acid (e.g. flooded lead acid batteries and sealed lead acid batteries)

Secondary batteries have the following attributes that vary depending on the chemistry (materials used to make the cells) of the battery.

  • cycle life – how many times a unit can discharge and charge.
  • cell voltage – the voltage supplied by a single cell and measured in 4 different ways – float, nominal, charge and discharge.
  • capacity – Ampere hours, milli Ampere hours or cold cranking amps define how long the unit can power what types of appliances.
  • specific energy – how many Watt hours of energy can be supplied by a 1 kilogram battery.
  • shelf life – how long the battery can be stored for.
  • operating life – how long the battery will last in units of time (e.g. years) if used regularly and well maintained.
  • self discharge – how much power the battery loses when not in use and not on charge expressed as a percentage over time – e.g. 5% per month.



Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?