Battery Specifications- Explained

Battery Specifications

Batteries come with a good deal of specifications which you would find with their specs, or datasheet.

Common specifications include the type of cell the battery is in, its standard voltage, its mAH rating, its standard charge (for rechargeable), and its rapid charge (for rechargeable).

In this article, we hope to explain and clarify all specifications which you may find with either standard or rechargeable batteries, so that you can understand each one.

Battery Specifications

Standard and Rechargeable
Type of Cell
Battery Voltage

Standard Charge
Rapid Charge

Standard and Rechargeable Batteries

Type of Cell

All batteries, standard or rechargeable, come in the standard cells, such as AAA, AA, C, or D cells.

When choosing batteries, you choose the type of cell you need for the device which you are powering.

Battery Voltage

Batteries, many times, are also referred to by the amount of volts which they have.

You've probably heard of a 9-volt battery. This is a battery which has 9 volts of energy across its terminals and which gives out 9 volts when connected in a circuit.

Usually 'AA' batteries have a voltage range of 1.2-1.5V. To know which it is, check the spec that comes with the batteries. This amount of voltage specified in the spec is the amount of voltage which the battery has across its terminals when it's fully charged. Battery voltage decreases during operation and usage. Therefore, the voltage will become less as the battery drains. Therefore, the voltage specified is the voltage which the battery has when fully charged.

Depending on the voltage you need for a circuit determines the amount of voltage which you would need in a battery.

Milliampere-hours (mAH)

All batteries, standard or rechargeable, also come with a specification of milliampere-hours (mAH). This shows how long the battery can last for in operation; or in other words, how long its life is.

Millliampere-hours shows how many milliamperes of current the battery can supply per hour of use. For example, a 1900mAH battery can supply 1900mA of current to a circuit for one hour, and then it will have used all of its charge.

Usually a circuit will not demand 1900 mAH of current all at once for operation. A circuit may instead use 380mA of current. In this case, the battery can supply 380mA for 5 hours, since 380*5=1900. Or it can supply 190mA of current for 10 hours, since 190*10=1900.

The product of the current consumed x the number of hours in use must equal to the mAH specification.

Thus, our same example, of a 1900mAH battery can be used in the following ways, as examples:

3800mA for 0.5hours
1900mA for 1 hour
950mA for 2 hours
475mA for 4 hours

The mAH specification shows how long a battery will be able to last in a circuit, given the circuit's power requirements, how much current the circuit demands.

Being that the mAH is the battery's life, the more mAH's means the longer a battery can last, or the more current it can supply in a circuit. When considering AA to D cell batteries, AA batteries usually have the shortest mAH life, while D cells have much greater mAH. A AA battery may have a mAH of 2000, while a D cell may have 10,000mAH. For this reason, D cells are physically bigger and are more expensive than C or AA batteries. It provides current for a longer period of time.

Rechargeable Batteries

Standard Charge

The standard charge of a battery is now specific to rechargeable batteries, since they are the only types of batteries which can recharge.

The standard charge is the normal amount of time which it takes to recharge a battery back to its full capacity or power.

The time it takes to do a standard charge is normally given as the amounts of hours it takes to charge the battery at the amount of current fed into the battery.

Standard Charge= Amount of Hours to Charge @Milliamperes of Currents

Thus, a battery's standard charge may be 16 Hours @ 300mA.

This means that it would take the battery 16 hours to charge up back to full power when fed 300mA of current.

Know that rechargeable batteries recharge up by current, when current is fed into them, this is how they recharge.

Rapid Charge

Many rechargeable batteries also come with a rapid charge specification.

The rapid charge is a quicker way to recharge a battery. It uses less time; thus, it must use a greater amount of current into to charge it.

Like the standard charge, the rapid charge is expressed by amount of hours @amount of charge fed into it.

Rapid Charge= Amount of Hours to charge@Milliamperes of Current

Thus, if a battery has a standard charge of 16 hours @300mA, it may have a rapid charge of 3 Hours @ 4000mA.

Rapid charge decreases the amount it takes for a battery to charge by significantly by increasing the amount of current that charges it.

Related Resources

Battery Life Calculator

How to Recharge Batteries with a DC Power Supply

How to Recharge Batteries with Solar Cells

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