3 Tips for Safe Battery Storage

October 19, 2022

Most applications are only able to run from one day to the next, performing a variety of functions, thanks to batteries. However, if your battery-powered application or equipment will not be used for a while, it is best to remove its batteries and store them properly to maintain their quality and extend their lifetime. The same can be said for backup batteries.

Many batteries that are used in specialized applications or equipment are custom-made with specific chemistries. When storing your batteries, it is crucial to be aware of their exact chemistries since each type requires its own unique set of optimal storage conditions. Knowing this ahead of time may also help you decide on battery chemistries that suit your needs while you are designing an application.

Common Battery Storage Issues

Unfortunately, batteries can be prone to certain issues when stored for extended periods of time. However, the scale and likelihood of such problems typically depend on numerous factors, such as how they are kept and the length of time they are stored before being used again. Other factors to consider include the following:

1. Temperature control

Batteries tend to be sensitive to the temperatures in which they are stored, especially when they are exposed to these temperatures for a long time. The temperature of the room where a battery is stored can have an impact on its charge, and can consequently lengthen or shorten the battery’s overall life cycle.

Extremely hot temperatures should be avoided because they can degrade a battery’s chemistry, either shortening its life or causing permanent capacity loss. Likewise, extremely cold temperatures (below 0 degrees Celsius) should be avoided, too, since batteries stored in such conditions can encounter problems once the aqueous electrolyte fluid inside them begins to freeze.

Therefore, it is best to store batteries in moderate temperatures whenever possible, with the ideal storage temperature being around 15 degrees Celsius to prevent extensive degradation.

2. Avoid contact with other items

While storing your batteries, you should be extra cautious to ensure that they never come into contact with metallic items or other batteries. Even if your battery is temporarily kept in a bin containing some small metallic items or a purse with metal keys or coins, this could pose a problem. When a battery touches either another battery or a metallic item, it significantly increases its risk of short-circuiting.

Once a battery has short-circuited, a flow of excess current increases its temperature, making it more susceptible to leakage. Potassium hydroxide battery acid is corrosive to electronic components and organic tissues, which is why you should avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or nose if you have handled a leaking battery. To avoid all of these problems, it is best to store batteries in their original packaging or to individually wrap them in plastic before storing them.

3. Avoid charging batteries before storing them

It is commonly assumed that a battery should be fully charged before being placed in storage. However, that is not always the case since some battery chemistries do not always need to be in a fully charged state. Before storing a battery long-term, it’s best that you discharge it or keep it at a partially charged state and restore it to a reasonable state of charge again before using it.

Ideal Battery Storage by Type

Although all batteries have relatively similar storage precautions that should be adhered to, there are other storage factors for each battery that are wise to consider, and which correlate to their specific chemistries. When you follow these set standards, you can ensure that your batteries will have a much higher chance of maintaining their performance even after extensive storage.

Nickel-Based Batteries

If you have a nickel-based Ni-Mh or Ni-CD battery, you should store it at about 40% state of charge. Doing so will prevent age-related capacity loss, allow for some self-discharge, and keep the battery operational. When a nickel-based battery is stored in a cool and dry area, it can withstand 3-5 years of storage.

Lithium Batteries

The ideal state of charge for storing lithium-ion batteries is 40% as well. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can last for up to 10 years with minimal capacity loss when stored at 3.7V. It is important that lithium-ion batteries never sink below 2V/cell since that could trigger a sleep mode and lead to the formation of copper passages that elevate self-discharge. That means it may be necessary to top off a lithium-ion battery’s voltage occasionally if it is being stored for a long time.

Alkaline Batteries

If you have either a cylindrical or coin alkaline battery, it should be stored at a cool temperature in a room with about 50% relative humidity. You can store modern alkaline batteries for up to 10 years with only moderate capacity loss. Rechargeable alkaline batteries have a very low self-discharge rate of less than 0.5% per month.

Lead Acid Batteries

If your battery has lead acid chemistry, you can charge it at a full state. You can store a lead acid battery for up to two years, but it is wise to occasionally monitor its voltage and charge it when its state of charge falls below 70%. If a lead acid battery’s voltage ever drops too significantly, it can undergo sulfation, which involves the formation of an oxidation layer on the negative plate that can impede the flow of current.

How Circuits Central Can Help With Electronics Manufacturing in Toronto

Are you looking for some assistance with electronics manufacturing in Toronto? If you are in the process of developing an electronic product that will need a battery of some sort, you may be wondering what your options are and how to choose the best fit to optimize your outcome.

Circuits Central can be of great assistance at any stage of your product’s development, and we can certainly help you work out any kinks in your design that are related to battery choice.

We value the importance of product reliability and can collaborate with you to come up with product manufacturing solutions that focus on efficiency, availability, cost, and performance. Circuits Central supports our clients every step of the way as they develop and manufacture state-of-the-art electronics.

From prototyping to drop shipping, we can be your go-to partner throughout the entire process. We will work closely with you to ensure that all of your needs are met at each stage so that you will be completely satisfied with your product’s end results.

For more information about how we can help you to develop and manufacture your electronics, call Circuits Central at 1 (888) 602-7264 or email us at info@circuits-central.com.

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