Buying Batteries – Brand New, Used or Refurbished?

When buying a battery for your mobile device (PDA, iPod, Digital Camera etc.) make certain you are only buying new batteries – never buy a used or refurbished batteries!

Why? The answer to that is analogous to the question ‘Would you Buy a Half Eaten Sandwich?’ The answer undoubtedly is no! Let me explain…

A battery is a device that stores chemical energy and through an electrochemical process (electromotive force) converts the stored chemical energy into electric energy via a direct current. The chemical conversion is a process of chemical change created by adding or losing chemical substances (electrons, oxygen, lithium etc.) inside the battery and used by a connecting device (i.e. PDA, iPod, Digital Camera).

Inside the battery as the chemical conversion begins a reaction produces an electron flow. If the electrons are not flowing between the anode, cathode, and electrolyte then the battery can sit on the shelf for a year or more. However, once the chemical is activated oxidation and reduction occurs and the flow of electrons takes place, thereby creating a direct electrical current. Considering that electrons flow a 62 quintillion per second (62,000,000,000,000,000,000 electrons per second) then it takes only a very small moment for power to be created and here is the kicker – the only way to stop is to let the chemical exhaust itself!

How is the chemical inside my battery activated? The technical answer is by placing a load on the battery (i.e. by connecting your battery to a device regardless if the device is turned on).  The basic operation is that electrons collect on the negative electrode, when a substance (i.e a wire, an electrolyte) is placed as a separator between the negative electrode and the positive electrode the electrons flow (are drawn) to the positive electrode. This flow creates a current. The electron current, or electricity, can then be directed to a device and used as a power stream.

Once electrical current is established then the only way to stop it is to let the chemical degrade to the point where the capacity is almost non-existent. This is called battery degradation and begins once the chemistry has been activated. Battery degradation is the normal wear and tear effect of battery usage and its inevitable effects are declining capacity, increasing internal resistance, elevated self-discharge, and premature voltage cut-off on discharge.

Because of these things you do not want to buy a used battery or a refurbished battery.

Until next time, Dan Hagopian
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