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Types of Batteries
There are two types of batteries available on the market today: Disposable and Rechargeable Batteries.
Disposable batteries are non-rechargeable and made to be used once then discarded. These batteries work best in low voltage apparatuses. Disposable batteries come in alkaline, zinc-carbon, zinc-air, cylindrical lithium manganese dioxide (CR) and button cell form batteries.
Rechargeable (storage) Batteries
Rechargeable batteries must be charged before use and recharged when the electrical current has been discharged. Batteries come in wet- and dry-cell. Types of wet-cell include lead-acid, gel cell and absorbed glass mat batteries. Types of dry-cell include lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium-ion or polymer batteries. Nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries are used in hybrid vehicles.
Battery Sizes and Uses
Button cell and CR – watches, keyfobs, pagers, pocket calculators, cameras and car alarms.
2-v, 3.6-v, 3.7-v and 4-volt – household appliances, cordless telephone, Nintendo consoles, mobile phones, toys, emergency power supplies, telecommunication equipment and garden tools.
4.5-v, 6-v and 12-volt – remote-control airplanes, alarm equipment, electric fences and newer transistorized equipment.
6-v and 9-volt – keyfob, remote control, cigarette lighters, smoke detectors and photographic equipment.
12-volt with a capacities range of 2ah to 73ah – golf trolleys & caddies, wheelchairs, electric bikes, scooters, lifts, elevators, forklifts, lawnmowers, jet skis and motorcycles.
12-volt with a capacities range of 85ah to 230ah – automobiles, sailing yachts and boats, motor-homes and caravans.
AA – torches, toys, electronic games, TV remote controls, mini portable radios, MD and CD players.
AAA – TV remote controls, penlights, children's toys, hand-held GPS devices and bike lights.
C – torches, toys, radios, clocks and remote controls.
Single Cell (SC sub C) – laptop, notebooks, digital cameras, camcorder, PDAs, CD, MD, MP3 players, shavers, electric toothbrushes, games and cordless power tools.
D – flashlights, radios and electronic games.
F – electrical bicycles, scooters, medical devices, transportation vehicles, communication equipment and power tools
Disposable batteries come ready to use and do not require charging prior to use. Rechargeable alkaline batteries will give you the same voltage as a standard alkaline battery. Most rechargeable and disposable batteries are recycled to prevent harm to the environment.
Disposable batteries have a short shelf-life and the wet-cell form is corrosive. Rechargeable batteries are expensive, require a charger and cannot be discarded in the rubbish due to harmful metals. Roughly 3% of the 30,000 tonnes of batteries are discarded instead of recycled annually.