Battery Guide Dry Cell (Ordinary) Batteries
Types of Batteries
The most common form of stored electrical energy is the dry cell battery. Dry cells drive radios, clocks, and mp3 players. All dry cells derive their electrical energy from a chemical reaction that occurs between a core and a surrounding near liquid acidic fluid. These batteries come in several many different packages, but the most common are:
  • AAAA, AAA, AA, C, and D batteries are cylinders increasing in size up to about one and a quarter inch in diameter and almost two inches long. All of these batteries produce 1.5 volts and are used, often in several at once, in everything from flashlights to digital cameras.
  • 6 volt batteries are often called lantern batteries. They are rectangular blocks about two and one-half inches on a side and about four inches tall with two coil terminals on the top. They acquired their name from their original use in camp lights and signal lanterns.
  • 9 volt batteries are often called transistor batteries from their early use in portable transistor radios. They come as small rectangular cans about an inch by two-thirds of an inch and two inches tall. Today they are the most common battery for smoke detectors.
Regardless of package, the chemical composition of the acidic solution inside the battery is one of three common kinds:
  • Carbon zinc batteries were the earliest available technology, but they now are less popular even though least expensive because they tend to have short shelf lives, work poorly in the cold, and leak when the contents erode the battery walls. They remain attractive for low drain uses in clocks and timers because of cost.
  • Alkaline batteries are the most common available today. They tend not to discharge as quickly while awaiting use, maintain their voltage better with decreasing temperature, and remain intact longer because their contents are less corrosive. Alkaline batteries have a good balance of cost with lifetime in most common applications.
  • Lithium batteries have enjoyed recent popularity because of their ability to deliver current on demand in products like cameras with built in flashes. A lithium battery can repeatedly meet the surge demand of these products where an alkaline battery will be quickly depleted. Lithium batteries tend to be the most expensive batteries generally available.
Mercury and silver are also found in speciality applications like batteries for watches and hearing aids because of their ability to deliver power from smaller packages.

Dry cells

Batteries by Use
Car batteries
Laptop batteries