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[IP] Batteries, batteries, and more batteries

Potentially boring information on the subject of batteries:

[If you don't give a whit about battery life, skip the rest of this...]

As most of you probably know, not all batteries are created equal.  There
are many variables that affect a battery's service life _before_ it is even
put into service.

Here are some notables:

1. Manufacturer - different manufacturers use different materials and
techniques when constructing their batteries.  Every tiny difference can
affect the service life of a battery.  Even with the same manufacturer,
differences in available materials over time can affect service life between
production lots.

2. Storage time - the longer a battery sits on the shelf, the shorter it's
overall service life will be, since the chemical reactions that generate the
electricity continue even when the battery is not in service.  This is
related to something called the 'internal resistance' of a battery.

3. Storage temperature - higher storage temperatures increase the
abovementioned reaction rate, thereby shortening the service life.

These are just a few of the major variables that affect battery service
life.  So, if you want to maximize the service life of the batteries that
you buy, consider these recommendations:

a) Buy name-brand batteries.  They're more expensive, but there's a reason
for it...quality of materials and consistency of performance.

b) Most battery manufacturers now put 'best-used-by' dates on their
packages.  Batteries with the latest best-used-by dates were manufactured
most recently.  When you buy some, look for a well-used, high-traffic
battery rack and reach as far back in the rack as you can get so that you
might get a later expiration date.

c) Don't buy more batteries than you'll need for about a year or so (if
you're buying alkaline, lithium or silver-oxide batteries).

d) And most importantly: store your batteries in the fridge (NOT the
freezer) if at all possible.  Otherwise store them in a relatively cool
place in your house.

BTW, one of the worst battery 'features' that's come along in some time now
is those built-in battery testers that you see in some of the name brands.
These testers were useful when they first came out because they were only
placed in the _packaging_.  Now some of them are putting one on every
individual battery. Those things cause no end of trouble, because they can
cause additional battery drain in storage even when they're not being
activated.  I tend to steer clear of those manufacturers if at all possible.
Obviously this doesn't apply to pump batteries (yet!).

OK, battery class dismissed.
Next week's discussion: Fuel Cells - The Ultimate Battery? (just kidding)

And no, I don't work for a battery manufacturer, but a past hobby of mine
has led me to do a lot of personal research into them.


Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.bizsystems.com/Diabetes/
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