The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Batteries and Chargers

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The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Batteries and Chargers

In batteries, chemical energy is converted into electricity, and therefore they can be used as a source of power. Batteries are convenient to use and they allow various devices to be operated without needing to be plugged into socket outlets. Batteries are generally used for smaller portable devices, such as digital cameras, MP3 players, remote controls, heart rate monitors, and wireless computer mouses. Today, many batteries are rechargeable, meaning that they can be refilled with energy and used again. Rechargeable batteries are a sustainable option, and in the long run they are also cheaper, although the initial costs may be higher than those of disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are refilled using special chargers that are designed for different battery types.

When buying batteries and chargers,, there are a few things to consider. These include finding the right batteries for the device, as well as choosing a compatible charger for these batteries. Batteries and chargers can be purchased from many high street electronics shops and supermarkets, and they can also be bought on online auction sites, such as eBay..

Do Choose the Right Battery Size

Devices that use batteries as their power sources have marks on them that indicate what kind of batteries they require. If the wrong battery is bought, it simply does not fit, and it thus cannot be used to operate the device. In order to find the right battery, it is wise to first study the types available.

AA Batteries

The AA battery, also known as the double-A or R6, is a very common battery used in many portable devices. This cylindrical battery measures 50 mm high and has a diameter of 14.5 mm. The voltage can be either 1.5 or 1.2 volts. Before buying batteries, the device for which the batteries are intended should be checked for any battery recommendations. For instance, information about the required voltage may be included on the device. There are lithium, alkaline, NiMH, and zinc-carbon AA batteries, and each one of these types has different characteristics, being suitable for different devices.

AAA Batteries

The AAA battery is a smaller version of the commonly known AA battery. It is also known as the triple-A or R03 battery. The AAA battery measures 44.5 mm high and has a diameter of 10.5 mm. Alkaline technology is commonly used in AAA batteries, although rechargeable versions also use NiMH technology. The voltage of an AAA battery can be either 1.5 or 1.2 volts. AAA batteries are gaining in popularity because smaller portable devices are being manufactured, and thus lightweight batteries are often required.

9V Batteries

The 9V battery is also known as the MN1604, 006P, 6LR61, radio battery, or transistor battery. This battery is used in small devices that need to last for a long time. For instance, smoke detectors and security systems work on 9V batteries. In some electronic devices, the 9V battery is also used as a replacement battery. The 9V battery is rectangular and measures 48.5 mm high by 26.5 mm wide by 17.5 mm deep.

C Batteries

The C battery is a cylindrical battery that is commonly used for items that require lots of power. These devices include portable radios, toys, and some flashlights. C batteries are 50 mm high and have a diameter of 26.2 mm, while the voltage value is 1.5 volts. The C battery has a very wide operating temperature range.

D Batteries

D batteries, also known as LR20 or MN1300 batteries, are cylindrical batteries that measure 61.5 mm high and have a diameter of 34.2 mm. The voltage value is 1.5 volts and the operating temperature range is between -20 and 54 degrees C. The D battery is designed for modern electronics that require lots of power and are also known as high-drain applications. Video gaming systems are commonly powered by D batteries.

Do Read the Battery Labels

When a replacement battery is needed, the right one can be determined by looking at the label on the old battery. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard used for battery labels, because many manufacturers use their own systems. However, the International Electrotechnical Commission has proposed a standard system. This standard contains five elements that are described in the following chart.

Battery Designation Element


One digit

Number of cells included in the battery

One letter - L, S, C, B

Electrochemical system

One letter - R, P

Shape - round (R) or not round (P)

Two or three digits

Physical dimension

One or two letters

Designation modifier(s)

The letters in the electrochemical system denote alkaline (L), silver oxide (S), lithium/MNO2 (C), and lithium/CF (B), respectively. The physical dimensions designation may be replaced by a two-digit code for the maximum diameter and a two-digit code for the maximum height.

Don't Buy Expired Batteries

As with many other products, batteries come with a sell-by or expiration date. When batteries are not used, some of their charge tends to dissipate, meaning that they lose some of their power. The sell-by date on a package of batteries indicates the period over which the battery's capacity has decreased not more than ten percent. It is important to note that a battery's shelf life can be decreased because of humidity and high temperatures. The shelf life of a battery can be improved by refrigerating, although this is only marginally helpful and mainly works with C and D batteries.

Do Choose a Battery Charger by Speed of Charge

The speed of the battery charger is a matter of the time required in order to fully charge the batteries. When buying a battery charger, the speed should be chosen according to one's needs. The fastest chargers can boost the batteries in only 15 minutes, while other chargers must be left to charge overnight. Between these two extremes are battery chargers that require two or three hours for a full charge. Faster battery chargers tend to be more expensive than slower ones. The main advantage of fast chargers is that one does not have to carefully plan the battery usage. When the batteries run out, they can be recharged quickly. It is important to fully charge the batteries at each charge, because then they last longer and need to be recharged less often.

Do Choose a Compatible Battery Charger

Typically, battery chargers work with NiCad and NiMH batteries. When shopping for chargers for different kinds of batteries, compatibility should be checked before making the purchase. A NiCad charger does not work with NiMH batteries, although NiMH chargers are compatible with NiCad batteries. Another thing to look for in a charger is the number of batteries it accommodates. Most chargers fit four to six batteries at once. The size of batteries that can be charged with the charger is usually included in the charger's description.

Battery Charger Voltage

The voltage of a battery charger is important to notice because different voltage values are used in different countries. Many chargers work with both 100 and 220 volt sockets, and can be used worldwide. However, some cheaper chargers may require an external adapter that converts the power.

Buying Batteries and Chargers on eBay

On eBay, you can start your search for batteries and chargers by typing the respective keywords into the search box located at the top of any eBay page. When shopping for batteries, you will probably find the necessary batteries faster if you specify their type. For example, type in "AA battery" or "C battery" for the most accurate results. When looking for battery chargers , you may also indicate what kind of batteries you need to charge by looking for "AA battery charger", for instance. After you receive the initial search results, you may sort them by auction time or price. This helps you to find auctions that are ending the soonest or have been newly listed. Also, it can help you to stay within your budget.

Read detailed item listings in order to ensure that the batteries or the battery charger is the right type and comes with the right voltage. When it comes to battery chargers, it is worthwhile to check whether the charger fits into a UK socket. If a charger has been manufactured abroad, for example, in the USA, it may not be compatible with UK sockets. If you cannot find the information you require, you can always contact the seller and ask for the details.


Batteries are used to power small, portable devices. They contribute to convenience because the need for wires is reduced by using batteries. Devices powered by batteries include MP3 players, digital cameras, and remote controls, among many others. Many batteries are also rechargeable and can be used repeatedly.

Batteries come in many sizes, and the most common types are AAA and AA batteries. Other common battery standards include the 9V, C, and D battery. The type of battery required is generally written somewhere on the device. Another thing to look out for is the battery label, which describes the number of cells, the electrochemical system, the shape, and the physical dimensions. This is especially important when buying replacement batteries. Expired batteries should be avoided because their life expectancy is short. The shelf life of a battery is decreased by humidity and high temperatures.

A compatible charger must fit the batteries in terms of both size and type. Not all chargers are compatible with all batteries. For example, NiCad chargers cannot be used for NiMH batteries. The voltage should also be noted, especially when the user plans to travel to other countries. A battery charger is often chosen with reference to its speed. The fastest chargers fully charge the batteries in 15 minutes, while others charge them overnight.

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