Secondary cells or rechargeable batteries can be regenerated by forcing electric current into them using battery chargers. The current being charged would depend on the capacity and technology of the battery.
What are the functions of the charger?
Your battery charger has three important functions. One of them is to get the current into the discharged battery. Stabilizing such charging rate and knowing when to terminate the charging process are also part of the process.
Once your battery is charged fully, the current charge has somewhat dissipated and would result in the production of gasses and heat that would be quite bad for your batteries. You need to know when to stop the charging process before any damages will happen and help preserve the battery life. Therefore you need to know the set termination voltage and when this is reached.
Overcharging of batteries is usually accompanied with an increase in the internal temperature of the battery. If this happens, this would mean that the battery maybe beyond the safe limits of its operating temperature and besides this would speed up the death of your batteries.
So what are the charging rates of batteries?
Batteries have different charging rates and requirements. Slow charging requires the battery to be plugged in overnight or for 14 to 16 hours at 0.1C. This process has less chance of overcharging the battery.
Quick charging requires 3 to 6 hours at 0.3C while fast charging requires less than an hour at 1.0C.When the charging rate is increased, the tendency for overcharging is also increased.
Therefore it is not advisable to use a charger designed to a specific cell chemistry in a battery with different chemistry. This would only damage the battery and shorten its life.
What are the different battery chargers?
Chargers have various types and are designed in different ways. Therefore, they also operate differently too. There are simple chargers, trickle versions, intelligent chargers and those timer-based versions. There are even USB based chargers, inductive chargers, fast ones and solar models. These models have the same basic functions but they do these functions in different ways and at different levels.
These chargers also use various means of discharging power to the battery they are charging. Those simple chargers would provide a fixed DC power source and would generally require more time for full charging to occur. These types of chargers have higher tendencies of damaging your battery as they are not equipped with an indicator that would tell you that the battery has been fully charged.
Timer-based chargers have internal timers. However, batteries are still prone to be overcharged since the cell chemistry of a battery would determine the amount of time it needs to be charged. Since batteries have different cell chemistries, then batteries have different charging times. Trickle chargers, on the other hand, charge batteries in the slowest manner possible. They use DC power but have components that would prevent over charging.
Pulse chargers supply energy (DC) in timed pulsations. Intelligent chargers are capable of measuring the condition of the battery by determining its voltage and temperature.
Genius battery charger are now part of most of the gadgets and vehicles that we use. Much as we want to deny it, these are important contraptions that we use. How you use them would determine how long your battery life will be and eventually the life of the gadgets your battery are being used for. Charging is not just a what-the-heck process; you must know the basics.