# How Many Times Can I Charge My Battery?

500 million lithium batteries are in use today. A very big number indeed and the chances that you are one of them are quite high. You could have a laptop, PDA, MP3 or even a cell-phone, all of which more likely than not has a lithium ion or a lithium polymer chemical based battery system. If so then one question that you will have eventually is how many times will I be able to charge the battery before it is effectively dead? Is it 300 times, 400 times, or 500 times? The answer is between 300-500 times.

500 million lithium batteries are in use today. A very big number indeed and the chances that you are one of them are quite high. You could have a laptop, PDA, MP3 or even a cell-phone, all of which more likely than not has a lithium ion or a lithium polymer chemical based battery system. If so then one question that you will have eventually is how many times will I be able to charge the battery before it is effectively dead?  Is it 300 times, 400 times, or 500 times? The answer is between 300-500 times.

But what does that answer mean? As this article will explain the charge cycle is quite complex and involves the replenishment of electrons. In order to get a beginning understanding of what actually is taking place during a charge and discharge cycle we need to understand: what a battery is, how it works, what it produces, and finally what happens when you charge and discharge.

What is a Battery?

As I have written in other articles a battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries have two electrodes, an anode (the negative end) and a cathode (the positive end). Collectively the anode and the cathode are called the electrodes. What is positve and what is the negative terminal? It would be great to simply say that the anode is negative and the cathode is positive, however, that is not always the case. Somtimes the opposite is true depending on battery technology. In between the battery’s two electrodes runs an electrical current caused primarily from a voltage differential between the anode and cathode. The voltage runs through a chemical called an electrolyte (which can be either be in a liquid, solid, or gel state). This battery consisting of two electrodes is called a voltaic cell. Most batteries today are advance forms of the voltaic cells and have additional technology packed into the battery casing to support the overall system and its connected  device. These controls include the connector, fuse, charge and discharge FETs, the cell pack, the sense resistor (RSENSE), the primary and secondary protection ICs, the fuel-gauge IC thermistor, pc board, and the EEPROM or firmware for the fuel-gauge IC.

How Does a Battery Work and What Does It Produce?

We know that the result of a battery converting chemical energy into electrical energy allows us to turn on our laptop, PDA, MP3 or even a cell-phone. But how does the conversion process take place? As stated above the batteries we use today are variable changes of the voltaic pile. In addition to the controls I listed above today’s batteries are made up of plates of reactive chemicals (Li-ion, Li-po, NIMH, NICD) separated by an electrolyte barrier (which can be either be in a liquid, solid, or gel state), and subsequently polarized so all the electrons gather on one side. The system was designed to separate both positive and negative electrons. Then after separation an electron exchange occurs and a current of electron flow moves electrons to and from the anode and cathode. Simultaneously an electrochemical reaction takes place inside the battery to replenish the electrons. The effect is a chemical process that creates electrochemical energy.

Now the electrochemical reaction that is taking place is a chemical change that is necessary in order to create electricity. One factor that needs to be understood is that electricity is the flow of electrons. Specifically, electricity is a property of subatomic particles which couples to electromagnetic fields and causes attractive and repulsive forces between them. This repulsive force between the subatomic particles creates an electric current; the flow of electric charge transports energy from one atom to another. This electrical current is measured in amperes, where 1 ampere is the flow of 62,000,000,000,000,000,000 electrons per second!

Electricity therefore is a created energy source. All electricity in fact is a created source made or converted from coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, wind, heat, sun, water, biomass and or other chemicals. In batteries today electricity is created by two chemicals in a solution for example: {a Solution of Lithium hexaflourophosphate (LiPF6) – a mixture of Organic Solvents: [Ethylene Carbonate (EC) + DiEthyl Carbonate (DMC) + DiEthyl Carbonate (DEC) + Ethyl Acetate (EA)]}