How to Buy USB Rechargeable Batteries

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How to Buy USB Rechargeable Batteries

The concept of rechargeable batteries is a welcome change for a couple of good, solid reasons. First, it is a money saver, as the batteries can be used several hundred times after recharging. This feature greatly delays disposal of rechargeable batteries, making them environment friendly, as fewer batteries are thrown into landfills as compared with disposable batteries. Considering the mind-boggling number of batteries in use the world over, the figures for disposable batteries that reach landfills globally is a staggering 15 million. This can have devastating effects on the environment.

Rechargeable batteries use a bulky battery recharging cradle capable of holding two to four batteries and for those on the go, it means taking a charger along as well. The solution to do away with battery chargers lies in USB rechargeable batteries. The convenience it offers is unmatched, as the USB rechargeable batteries can simply be plugged into the USB ports of powered computers, laptops, towers, or any such devices and are ready for use within a couple of hours. The working of USB rechargeable batteries, the types available, and where to obtain these are discussed below to educate the reader about this product. USB rechargeable batteries are relatively new, but are easily available online from eBay.

What a USB Rechargeable Battery Looks Like

Being able to recharge batteries just about anywhere without the charger cradle is indeed a great convenience and with USB rechargeable batteries users will not need a battery charger ever. As the name suggests, these batteries can be recharged through any powered USB port available on any type of gadget and the designs on these are evolving. A rechargeable battery with a USB design looks exactly like a conventional alkaline battery having a USB connector with a cover on it on one end and can plug into any USB 2.0 port. The design is a combination of cylindrical battery on one end and a typical USB memory stick at the other, with a lid on it. A built-in LED flash on the USB battery flashes to indicate charging and will turn off after the process is complete, which takes about five hours. The first USB rechargeable batteries, called the USBCell, was introduced by the British company Moixa using AA type NiMH rechargeable batteries.

Types of USB Rechargeable Batteries

Most cylindrical battery sizes such as AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V are available as USB rechargeable batteries. While the chemistries may differ, nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) is the most favoured composition for rechargeable batteries. A precursor of the NiMH, the nickel cadmium battery (NiCd), is losing popularity because of the toxicity of cadmium.

NiMH USB Rechargeable Batteries

This battery is used like conventional AA and AAA batteries except that one can recharge it by plugging its USB connector into any powered USB port. USB ports on computers, towers, laptops, gaming consoles, and other such devices serve as recharge points for the NiMH USB battery without needing a charger or even a cable. The AAA battery has a fold-out, full-sized USB connector and is also available with mini-USB connector. Cost-effective and eco-friendly, the NiMH USB battery can be recharged and reused hundreds of times.

The C and D size converters available are shells that fit over the AA NiMH batteries to transform the size of the smaller AA batteries.

9V USB Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries used in smoke detectors, walkie-talkies, radio controllers, and old transistor radio are 9-volt. The 9V battery unit looks like a rectangular prism and inside are six smaller batteries each with 1.5V rating, which collectively gives the battery 9V rating. A folding USB connector at one end of this battery makes it easy to recharge it directly using a USB port.

USB Batteries for Devices

A design feature on some batteries used in digital cameras and mobile phones, the USB connector, transforms the ordinary battery into one capable of establishing a USB connection. One can simply plug these batteries into the USB port of any powered gadget such as laptops or PCs.

NiMH Battery Charger Package

This battery charger package has a slot that opens to hold two AA or AAA rechargeable batteries. After replacing the lid, one plugs the charger package into a powered USB port, using its USB connector to charge the batteries it holds.

USB Power Bars

These tubular, bar-shaped batteries with a USB slot and can be recharged from the USB port of any powered device using a USB cable. The USB power bars works as a backup battery for mobile phones, iPods, PDAs, and trackpads.

Li-ion USB Rechargeable Batteries

Lithium batteries are generally available as block or rechargeable battery packs with single or dual USB outputs. Rechargeable batteries with dual USB outputs allow simultaneous connection of two gadgets. Factor such as low self-discharge, better energy density than nickel and lead chemistries, and efficient discharge current ensures that lithium technology is rapidly gaining ground. Available as lithium ion and lithium polymer rechargeable battery packs, these have voltage ratings at 3.2V - 3.7V and 3.6V - 3.7V respectively. The difference between lithium ion and lithium ion polymer batteries is the use of a polymer composite to hold the electrolyte in the polymer batteries. This plastic film does not conduct electricity but allows exchange of the lithium ions through it. Other features of the two lithium rechargeable battery packs compare as follows:


Lithium Ion

Lithium Polymer


3.2V - 3.7V (nominal)

3.6V - 3.7V (nominal)


500 mAh - 5000 mAh

500 mAh - 3000 mAh

Cycle Life

Up to 1000 recharge cycles

Over 500 recharge cycles


Cylindrical and prismatic cells

Cell thickness as little as one millimetre


Consumer electronics, medical, industrial, military applications

PDAs, notebook PCs, cell phones, A/V equipment

Lithium ion batteries are ideal, energetic rechargeable batteries on many counts, but failed packs may burst into flames.

Advantages of USB Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries, if used properly, give several hundred recharge cycles and these have a long shelf life as well. The disadvantage is that if one misplaces the charger or forgets to take it along, one cannot charge the batteries. Not so with USB rechargeable batteries, because of the presence of its USB connector. With hundreds of devices sporting USB ports, one can simply plug USB rechargeable batteries into a powered device for charging. The big advantage of these USB batteries is that the user need not carry any charger along, as a laptop, PDA, computer towers, gaming consoles, or even a cell phone plugged into an electric socket will suffice. The USB rechargeable batteries are available in different sizes such as AA, AAA, 9V, C, D and even those for cell phones, cameras, and other special applications as well. Though these are expensive, the batteries' high energy densities and long life more than makes up for the cost.


USB rechargeable batteries offer the convenience of charging the units from any powered device that has a USB port. Today hundreds of gadgets that people use have at least one USB port. Personal computers and peripherals, computer towers, laptops, notebooks, PDAs, cell phones, iPods and iPads, gaming consoles, trackpads, and a vast array of others are included in this list. This means that there is no dearth of powered gadgets with USB ports and users can easily find one when they need to recharge their USB batteries. A user having such batteries need not lug around bulky recharging cradles anymore. Rechargeable batteries using NiMH, lithium ion and lithium polymer chemistries are long-lasting and energy-efficient and, with a change in the design, these regular rechargeable batteries transform into USB rechargeable batteries. The USB rechargeable batteries have a USB connector on one end which allows them to be connected into a USB port on any compatible gadget. And plugging USB batteries into these gadgets allows the batteries to recharge without the need of a recharging cradle.

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