Common Causes of Battery Failure – Part 1

All batteries will ultimately fail, stop working, and cease to operate, and or otherwise end their useful life. It is the reality of a consumable product. The cost to operate a replacement battery in your device, however, is relatively cheap so it is not a catastrophe when batteries stop working (although certainly an inconvenience). Yet when batteries do fail have you ever wondered why? In my next series I will look more closely at the common causes of battery failure including:

  • Batteries degrade and lose the ability to power a device
  • Batteries can warp or bubble
  • Batteries can explode
  • Batteries can have incompatible designs
  • Batteries can have improperly selected hardware
  • Batteries can be misused or abused

Battery degradation and power loss is the normal result of internal battery use. Technically battery degradation and power loss includes declining capacity, increasing internal resistance, elevated self-discharge, and premature voltage cut-off on discharge. I have written about each of these points in depth in another article at our Battery Education blog so please see that blog for more info, but what is important to get across is the fact that battery degradation and power loss is real! Much like gravity it exists regardless if we believe that it does not!

Furthermore battery degradation and power loss begins when one of the following occurs: when the battery is charged, when the battery is connected to a device (the device does not have to be turned on), when a battery is opened, or when a battery is chemically activated in any way. Any assumption you may have where a battery could still be considered new even after it was charged, connected to a device, been opened or chemically activated in any way is faulty. Why because inside the battery itself, a chemical reaction is produced the moment any of the aforementioned factors occur to begin electron flow. The chemical reaction is purposely designed to create electron flow (i.e. electricity). The electron flow is measured (or moves at speeds) in amperes, where 1 ampere is the flow of 62,000,000,000,000,000,000 electrons per second! Therefore once the chemical is activated and the flow of electrons takes place, even for a second, then the loss of power and battery degradation begins and there is no stopping it. Once battery degradation begins a battery is considered used and its natural life will deplete in a matter of time.

In part 2 of the series I will look at some of the other reasons why batteries fail including batteries that warp, bubble, explode, and batteries that have incompatible designs or improperly selected hardware.

Until next time, Dan Hagopian –
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