Industry Comment

Alkaline Batteries - still the best ‘bang for your buck’?

By Stephen Evangelou, Technical Design Manager, VI Pro, H-Squared UK D

espite the ever-increasing growth in rechargeable or “secondary”, Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) and particularly Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) technologies, the old faithful non-

rechargeable or “primary” batteries still have an important role to play in our everyday lives. There are many applications which do not lend themselves to a

rechargeable solution based on how and where batteries are used. Some applications can make recharging difficult or impossible simply by impracticalities of knowing & keeping track of what is charged or discharged – even partially. Where, as an example, the loss of a performers’ audio microphone would be a disaster in live theatre. Fortunately, there are several primary solutions for these applications although not as Eco-conscious as a rechargeable that are easily known to be fully charged due to packaging. Without doubt the battery of choice and largest selling battery technology

worldwide is the Alkaline Manganese Dioxide cell; the ‘Alkaline’. Commercially realised in the late 1950’s this technology has undergone continuous improvement responding to demands from seemingly endless applications. Today’s alkaline cells offer excellent energy densities with superior capacity to manage a wide range of loads for everyday use. We are familiar with AAA, AA, C, D and 9V Alkaline batteries which are known to industry as the 5-Type. All mainstream manufacturers offer IEC compliant 5-Type product, providing consistency and performance measurement data; IEC60086 defines

dimensions and power discharge capability. These standards have evolved reflecting the specialised power demands of modern loads in the IOT and Hive technologies with some manufacturers targeting specific power applications and others satisfying more generalised requirements. Today new chemistries are offering a variety of battery solutions for a multitude of uses, with several incrementally improved grades of power available. Plus, Max, Ultra, Intense, Super, Long Lasting, Improved, are all advertising words we have become used to in these times of competitive selling making the correct choice of battery for your specific needs-difficult at best. Reacting to increasing prices there is a notable shift of battery purchases

toward premium ‘Own Brand’ alternatives being produced in the same factories as the leading 5-Types. These new ‘Own Brands’ will often deliver the same class of power as recognised consumer labels, but at a much lower cost because millions of Pounds in advertising is not borne by the consumer. Our advice; look for the power you need- motor, lighting, audio, etc., and check if the brand is IEC compliant. * On a final note, beware the unbranded (no-name) products because you get

what you pay for- stay with quality options like VI-PRO combining a low price with high-performance and fully guaranteed by its UK-based manufacturer.

Go to for battery manufacturers data and IEC load comparisons to select the right battery for your needs.

November 2019 electrical wholesaler | 35

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