The first electrochemical battery was documented by Alessandro Volta in a letter to the Royal Society of London in 1800. 1780 Volta's friend Luigi Galvani discovered that contact of two different metals with the muscle of a frog resulted in the generation of an electric current.
A battery is made up of a number of cells. A primary cell has a chemistry that is not rechargeable while a secondary cell can be recharged. A battery may have more than one output voltage either by means of taps in a single string of cells or by separate strings of cells. There are many chemistry types used for an individual cell and the cell voltage depends on the chemistry. Typically a battery's capacity is expressed in ampere hours and is for a discharge rate of the capacity divided by 20.
BA-5590 - 5590BA Battery Adapter
BA-5800 - Battery Adapter
BA-386, BA-4386, PRC-25, PRC-77 type batteries - 257477BA Battery Adapter
PRC-68 Squad Radio Family of Batteries 68BA Battery Adapter
Primary (non rechargeable) Military BA-series
Chemistry Open Ckt Cell V Comment Wh/# Wh/cu in Wt
10 "D" cells
Alkaline-Manganese Dioxide 1.55 very good energy density
75 6.5 3.7 #
Mercury Oxide 1.2 discontinued - environmental
Silver Oxide 1.6 small size apps 60 8.2
Zinc Carbon 1.5 First Generation Leclanche 181
Zinc Air 1.5
infinite shelf life prior to activation
Lithium Iron Disulfide 1.5 1.5 V/cell, not 3v/cell
Lithium Manganese Dioxide 3.0 no venting like LiSO2
10 yr shelf, good very cold
Lithium Sulfur Dioxide shelf life may be > 20 years
best energy density
can vent SO2 gas
Zinc Manganese Dioxide(Zn/MnO²) 3.2 memory backup 105 9
Mg/AgCl 1.5 Reserve battery
infinite shelf life prior to activation
There were over a thousand Mercury batteries used on many Military programs (BA-1001 through BA-1999 plus others).
They had very good shelf life and high energy density, but Mercury is one of the heavy metals that cause medical problems and does not readily decompose when in the ground.
Secondary (rechargeable) Military BB-series
Chemistry Nom Cell V Fresh
10 "D" cells
NiCd Sintered Plate 1.25 1.7
has memory, very low resistance good $/WH
Nickel Metal Hydride 1.25 1.7
no memory - modern rechargeable good $/WH
Lithium Thionyl Chloride
Military i.e. BB-451
Lead Acid - Gell (sealed) 2.3
Lead Acid - Flooded (wet) 2.4
Ray-O-vac 3.3 #
The components of the battery are separated until activated thus giving the battery pretty much infinite shelf life. The main types are:
Water activated - Sonobuoy - weather balloon lights & radiosondes, torpedos
Gas activated - some hearing aid batteries are activated by removing a tab to let air inside
Heat activated - aka thermal battery - fuses, mines, missiles, nuclear weapons
|LiMnO2||123||3.0||1.4||4.2||13.99 / 2||166
|LiFeS2||AA||1.5||2.5||3.75||8.99 / 2||120
||2.69 / 2
||9V||9.0||0.595||5.35||8.99 / 4||42|
||8.39 / 12||37.3
||6.0||26||156||10.99 / 1||7.0|
||16.59 / 2||0.46
||16.59 / 2
||19.99 / 4
||12.99 / 1
||7.49 / 2
|UltraFire||TR18650||Li-Ion (2)||2.4||1 amp
AEA Technology Battery Systems Ltd -
Advanced Power Products - dealer?
AMP Division of TYCO - distributor has battery connectors
Astratec Electronics Ltd - battery testers
BatterySpace -US stock of Chinese batteries - Data Sheets -
Boulder Technology - Thin Metal Film
Bren-Tronics -Primary & Rechargeable mil battery maker
C&D Technologies - energy storage batteries and related tech lib
DAEWOO batteries - makes the Tekcell LiMNO2 CR123A & others
Deal Extreme - on line ordering from Hong Kong (order should be here tomorrow (7 to 10 days)
Delta Concepts - made BA-505/U 6 Volt cylindrical batt for PRR-9
Diehl & Eagle Picher GmbH -
DigiKey - will strap and shrink wrap NiCads to order
Duracell - technical info online (9 Dec 1)
Eagle-Picher, Eagle-Picher Technologies - LiSO2.pdf - LiMnO2.pdf - AgZnMan.pdf -
http://www.epi-tech.com/, click on: departments, scroll down to EPEnergy Products, applications
then you will see: Lithium Sulfur Dioxide: Cells & Batteries, Lithium Manganese Dioxide: Cells & Batteries, Lithium Ion Cells
Eastman Kodak Company -
EEMB - a number of different Lithium chemistries & super caps
Electric Fuel Corp. - Baqttery & Power Systems - BA-8180 Zinc Air Battery
Electrochem Battery Division, Wilson Greatbatch Ltd.- formerly Battery Engineering -
Elna - Double Layer Caps - 0.047 to 100 Farads Note: even though called low ESR it may be 30 to 120 Ohms! for backup not energy.
EnerSys - has a number of product families - very good reputation
Eternacell (formerly Power Conversion Inc.) -
Eveready - Energizer - Technical Information Battery Engineering Guide
Frezzi Energy Systems - BB-542/U, OP-177/U
Germanos S.A. (Sunlight) -
Golden Season Pte Ltd - makes mil batteries and chargers & cells
Hawker Eternacell, Inc.- U.S. Miltary Batteries -> Bought by Saft
Kokam - Li Poly battery manf. - Kokam USA -
Laor - Lead Acid industrial, telephone batt mfg
Leclanche - Swiss battery maker
LG Chem - Rechargable Batteries -
Mathews Associates (Mathews Battery Assemblers) - makes a number of mil batteries
Maha Energy Corporation - NiMH Rechargeable Batteries - 8 AH D cell
McDowell Research Corporation (MRC) - support equipment for tactical transceivers, battery chargers, battery eliminators, batteries
Millennium (a division of Moltech Power Systems, Inc.) - NiMH batteries
MIL Power Limited - Mil Batt -
Military Logistics - Battery Adapters for Military Radios
Moltech - Li battery technology, custom packs & Millennium NiMH Batteries
Motorola - cell phone batt.
Napco - BA-4386 Magnesium Battery for PRC-25
Natek - battery chargers, battery testing devices, control units etc
Odyssey - rechargable battery with benefits of primary battery Highly Recomended (USDOT "non spilable" can ship using any method) - shop for price. Special charging requirements.
Panasonic Industrial Company - Nickel-Metal Hydride -
Polaroid Corp -
Power Conversion Inc. - see Eternacell -
Quality China Goods - English on line ordering - about 2 weeks delivery time.
Radio Reconnaissance Technologies (RRT) Inc. - BC-778(A) direct replacement for BA-5590/U lithium sulfur dioxide battery uses 32 each BA-5123/U (CR-123) - no longer on their web page, now seems to be just a reseller?
Radio Shack - carries many battery types.
RayOVac - Specifications and Product Guides
S&G Electronics - Batteries for Antique Radios -
Saft - makes the BA-5598/U sold by Fair Radio for the PRC-25, -77 etc. Some Mil LiSO2 batteries BA-5372 LiMnO2 @ Valdese North Carolina site
Statpower - smart lead acid chargers/maintainers & DC to AC inverters
Storage Battery Systems - small deep cycle lead based batteries and test equip
Sunn Battery Company -
Tadiran Battery - Lithium batteries
The NiCd Lady Company -
Thomas & Betts (bought Telecommunication Devices Inc 7/2/98) -
Tyco Electronics - 70 year life round cell flooded lead acid battery -
Ultralife Batteries - Lithium Military Cells -
U.S. Battery - deep cycle batt mfg
Wilson Greatbatch Technologies, Inc - Lithium Ion rechargeable cells
Xeno Energy - Lithium Thionyl Chloride - abut twice the Watt Hrs of Alkaline but not for high current apps
Yuasa - makes EXIDE battery, valve regulated lead-acid - good reputation
I have included super caps because there is a fine line between a battery and a super cap. These have application as a keep alive power source for electronics. For example the HP Rocky Mountain Workstation computers have a super cap that keeps the clock running for weeks. When they arrive from the factory the clock is correct. The U.S. Army is looking into using them in parallel with a vehicle battery to supply the high current starting energy thus saving the battery from this big load.
2003 - I have seen ads for Super Caps with 100 and 1,000 Farads. But typically each individual cap is rated for only 2.5 Volts. This is a problem because you can not easily add them in series.
Another problem is that most if not all of the super caps you see advertised for hobbyist use are "memory backup" types and can NOT deliver a high current. They are fine for keeping a memory alive that draws a very small current, but no good for supplying any kind of current.
Peridot - Battery Contacts -
Often a "battery" is made up of standard letter size (AA, AAA, C, D) cells and can be opened up and rebuilt. Unfortunately the small straps that connect the cells are usually spot welded, not soldered, it's a neater way to connect but not a tool in most homes. This is also called Re-celling.
Photo of PRC-68 radios with a PRC-68 "battery" sawed in half).
Provide the same outputs as the battery being replaced using A.C. line or vehicle D.C. power as inputs.
Surplus Sales of Nebraska -Surplus dealer changing stock
Ersatzschaltung zur Stromversorgung - + and - 2.5 for Eastern Block Mil Radios
ARBE-III - Universal A, B and C voltages for powering tube radios from the AC line
By using a Battery Adapter it's possible to use common batteries to replace either a specialized battery or a larger battery or cell. For example you can buy plastic battery adapters that allow the use of a "C" cell in an application where a "D" cell is needed.
In the case of the SDU-5/E Distress Strobe Light, the original battery was Mercury based and is now obsolete. The replacement battery is very expensive. By using my 5BA Battery Adapter the strobe can be powered by two common 123 photo batteries.
For a number of Battery Adapters made by me see http://www. PRC68.COM
Allow using a number of batteries of one type to look like another type. For example I have one that uses a lot of 9 Volt batteries for the PRC-6. The BA-491 powers the PRC-6 with D cells.
Associated Industries in North Hollywood - BA-7477N for the PRC77 using 10 D bat
Or and active inverter type that uses 4 "D" cell to generate 67.5 V power supply that fits in the space of a 67.5 V battery
Voltage(s)See the BA-5590 web page for a discussion about when a "12 Volt battery" is really a 15 Volt battery.
Capacity - State Of ChargeFor batteries with a steep discharge curve simply measuring the terminal voltage (maybe with a small load) is adaquate to know the SOC.
For batteries, like Nickel Metal Hydride or NiCad where the curve is almost flat and there are temperature effects, the terminal voltage is not a good method (although if a temperature sensor is part of the battery, not added on) it may work. For these measuring curent * time called coulometry is the best method. http://www.moltechpower.com/ may be a source for more information.
State of Charge Tester, Chemtronics LS 91(TS-4403/U) - a microprocessor controls an electronic load and monitors the voltage, current draw and temperature made for the BA-5590/U and BA-5598/U.
ZTS, Inc. - hand held SOC ZTS MULTI-BATTERY TESTER™ for common commercial batteries using a patent pending pulse method
TS-4403A/U - NSN 6625-01-370-8278 is a SOC meter that can test the batteries used on Squad Radios.df The TS-4403A/U is the same as the LS 91 (now renamed LS 94) and probably has a different EEPROM with the data for the BA-5588/U.
TS-183, -183A, -183B - Separate Web Page with large Battery Type Table, NSNs, Replacement numbers, etc.PSM-13 - can be carried on a soldiers belt
US 6,114,838 - Battery capacity test method and apparatus -
Electronic LoadsThese are functionally variable resistors, except that they can be set for constant current, resistance, voltage or power (dempending or model and mfg.) and most have readback of voltage and current and some have remote programming capability.
Could be used as a automated version of the TS-183 or other battery testers.
Kikusui - Electronic Loads & Battery Tester - PLZ72W - eBay
American Reliance - AMREL Programmable Electronic Loads - AMREL EL-1132
Agilent - Electronic Loads - 6063B 250 Watt dc Electronic Load USD 2,676.00 new
Internal ResistanceMoved to Battery Tester web page.
Midtronics - Conductance testers
AVO International - NiCad & Lead Acid Battery AC impedance test Equipment -
Flash Amps is a measure of the short current that a battery can deliver for a very short time. Although it's not an indicator of state of charge it IS an indicator of what the battery is capable of. Also an important thing to match when making a battery pack.
Max Available Current
In the case of RC batteries the max current available must be larger than the current needed to drive the motor(s).
This did not happen recently (Sep 2013) in the case of the Tamiya Grasshopper RC model dune buggy.
New 3800 mAh batteries failed to power the motor (see video at link above), but another new battery with a lower capacity (Duratrax Onyx 1800 mAh) worked fine. Note the huge difference in internal resistance and calculated short current current in the table below.
Prog Tech Inc
Super Qual Bat
0.23 Ohms 0.16 Ohms 0.14 Ohms Note 1
0.066 Ohms 0.128 Ohms 0.063 Ohms 0.049 Ohms 0.064 Ohms 0.014 Ohms 6.6 A
Note 1: Smoke came out of the ESR-Cap meter. Maybe I connected it with the leads reversed?
Note 2: Now have SM8124 Battery Internal Resistance meter.
There's no question that the "New" Ni-MH batteries although they have a higher mAh rating (3800) than all the other batteries, they also have a much higher internal resistance thus limiting their output current. The current shown on the bottom line is the battery voltage divided by it's internal resistance. Theyall have been sitting for over a month untouched so the older batteries have discharged more (or didn't take a charge that well before). It's a shame that the battery vendors do not specify internal resistance or short circuit current.
Number of Recharge Cycles
MilitaryBest Manufacturing Practices - Primary & Secondary Batteries NAVSO P-3676 -
Signal Battery Matrix -
Deep Cycle Energy Storage
Portable Electronic Equipment
|Fedex has a sheet where one side is about
primary batteries and the back is for rechargeable
batteries and the allowable weight/capacity. They
have this down and the shipping was under $10 and they
arrived (from within California) the next day. The
actual volume for the batteries is maybe 1/10 that of the
package, i.e. they were will padded.
Toyota Prius - 28 Ni-MH modules, each module has 6 cells
Chevy Volt -
Nissan Leaf - 36 LiFePO4 Modules - Gen1: 60 AH, GEN2: 64 AH, 7.5 Volts/module
As of 2022 the only grid scale energy storage system I've seen is the Molten Metal battery.Donald Sadoway, David J. Bradwell,
Innovation in energy storage: What I learned in 3.091 was all I needed to know - 2010
Ambri Incorporated -
For some applications, like listening to Low Frequency radio signals, the noise from the AC mains power line is so high that using a battery power supply is a useful way to get a low electrical noise power supply.
Ref: Noise Measurements On Chemical Batteries by Gerhard Hoffmann, 2014 - Papers -
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page created 11 Oct. 2000.