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Battery terms: the most common terms explained

Mar. 23, 2022

What is an anode? How would you explain self-discharge? Batteries are quite straightforward to use, but sometimes a little jargon can get in the way of your understanding. Below we've listed up some of the most common battery terms. Read on to find out more!

Battery terms: the most common terms explained

Ni-Cd Battery Pack SC 1200mAh 3.6V


Battery parts

What are the different parts of a battery? A short summary:

· anode: the negative electrode during discharge. While charging, this becomes positive. In AA and AAA batteries, this is usually the protruding part on the top.

· cathode: the positive electrode during discharge. While charging, this becomes negative. In AA and AAA batteries, this is usually the flat part on the bottom.

· seal: a part of the battery cell that makes sure chemicals cannot leave the battery. It also limits air intake. A good seal is essential for a safe battery.

Technical battery terms explained

Whereas they're simple to use, the electrical processes are often a little more complex. Let's take a look at the most common technical battery terms used:

· capacity: the amount of energy that is stored inside a battery. It is measured in mAh (milliamp hours).

· voltage causes electric charges to move through the wire or other conductors. It is measured in volt (V).

· cycle: one sequence of charge and discharge, or: how many times you can use and recharge a battery. Every rechargeable battery has a set amount of cycles (i.e. cycle life) before it starts losing capacity and efficiency.


(In)correct battery usage

What about some less technical battery terms? 

· (self-)discharge, drain: discharge or drain happens when a battery loses energy. This ideally happens while it’s used in a device. However, a battery may lose (more) power when used incorrectly or when stored for longer periods of time. This depends on shelf life (see further).

· shelf life: the amount of time you can store unused batteries before they lose a significant amount of their capacity. For Godson batteries, batteries maintain up to 70% of their charge after 10 years.

· short-circuit: when electricity flows unintendedly, usually through a very short ‘path’, it will make the battery heat up and cause damage. Read more about battery safety here.

· memory effect: when a battery is discharged to the same ‘level’. For example: repeatedly discharging a battery to only 50% of its capacity before recharging it will cause the battery to lose some of its potentials. Luckily, there is no proven memory effect in Godson batteries.


 Battery terms: the most common terms explained

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