An Introduction to Batteries

Home / Podcasts / An Introduction to Batteries

An Introduction to Batteries

Batteries – something that are in practically every device we touch.

What you need to know

There are many types of batteries out there.  I'm not talking about battery sized, but the chemical composition that makes up a battery.  From one time use to rechargeable – there is a correct type for every application

In this session, we discuss:

  • Alkaline Batteries
  • NiCd Batteries
  • NiMH Batteries
  • Li-Ion Batteries
  • Battery Voltages
  • Rating in ampere-hours


I have swapped all of my ‘stock' batteries with either Eneloop or Tenergy Batteries.  I have found that even though they have the same mA-h rating as some of the batteries that come with our scanners, the Tenergy and Eneloop batteries work longer.

You can purchase Eneloop and Tenergy Batteries here (note, this is an affiliate link)

Batteries have several ratings you want to look at. All batteries have DC Voltage

Common Terms:

  • Voltage
    • The amount of electric potential inside the battery.   Ex – car batteries are normally 12v.  Alkaline AA batteries are 1.2v.
  • Ampere Hours (A-h) or mili-amp Hours (mA-h).
    • The amount of energy charge in the battery that will allow one ampere of current to flow for one hour.


Non Rechargeable batteries, such as Alkaline batteries can't be recharged because the chemical reactions inside of the battery are non-reversible.  

Rechargeable batteries come in various forms, and are very familiar to those of us in the scanner radio hobby.  Unlike single use non-rechargeble batteries, rechargeable batteries can have their chemical reactions reversed by recharging them.

Common Types:

Wet Cell – also called a flooded cell.  Wet Cell batteries have a liquid covering on their internal parts..  

They are vented so that the gasses produced during the chemical reaction can escape out into the air.  

Typical Wet Cell Led Acid batteries are designed for deep discharge.  Commonly found in large backup power supplies. Such as off the grid household power.   These have a liquid electroyte.  They must be orientated to prevent spilling of the internal chemicals.


Dry Cell – Uses a paste electrolyte.  Since they are sealed, they don’t need to be kept is a set positions and can be installed and kept in any orientation

Led Acid commonly found as marine and automobile starter batteries.  Also found in many electric vehicles and uninterrupted Power supplies (UPS.)

NiCd – Nickel Cadmium: Ni = Nickel and Cd= Cadmium.

Made with Nickel Oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes.

Normal cell is 1.2v, which is the same as an alkaline battery

Have been widely replaced by the cheaper to manufacture NiMH

Suffer from the Memory Effect

If the battery was charged and discharged to the same voltages over and over, the battery would remember this state.  At this point in the discharge cycle, the battery would then begin a rapid drop in voltage. If your devices couldn’t operate below this point, the battery would seem to be dead earlier than normal.


NiMH – Nickel Metal Hydride

Replaced the NiCd battery.  Uses Nickel Oxide Hydroxide (like the NiCad) but the negative terminal is made from a hydrogen-absorbing alloy instead of the Cadmium in NiCAD.

NiMH has 3 times the capacity of NiCD

Tyipcal cell is 1.4 to 1.6v

Has pretty much replaced the NiCd market

Can be quick charged and trickle charged.


Li-Ion – Lithium Ion.

Are very popular in smart phones, portable electronic devices, two way radios and now the SDS100.  

Lithium Ions move from the positive to negative electrodes.  They have a very small memory effect

Also have a very low self discharge rate.  Where NiMH self discharge at various rates from 5 – 20% depending on time off charge and temperature,   LiOin are 1.5 – 2% per month

If a LiIon battery overheats or is shorted, it could go through a thermal runaway.   Many LiIon packs have safety features built in that can can disconnect the cells if the voltage goes outside of a safe range.

Unlike alkaline, NiCd and NiMH, Li-Ion batteries are not found in common sizes.  They are mostly packs that are built specifically for electronic devices.



Please support the Scanner School podcast.  Visit to see how you can help us.  Some of the ways you can support us won't cost you any additional money!

Links from this session:

Scanner School Resources Page

Eneloop and Tenergy Batteries

(Some of the above links are affiliate links.  Scanner School may earn a small fee, at no additional cost to you, if you use these links to make a purchase.  This is a great way to help support Scanner School.)

Bonus Material:

Are you looking for your first scanner radio?

Download our new e-guide, “5 Thinks You Need to Know Before Buying Your First Scanner”.   This free PDF is about 30 pages long and has 5 things you should look for, plus a few extra bonus items to make sure you make an educated purchase.


Follow us on Social Media

Like our Facebook PageJoin your fellow listeners on our FACEBOOK GROUP page | Follow us on Twitter | Subscribe on YouTube

Podcast Transcription:

(Coming Soon)

Join our e-mail list!

Stay up to date on all of our podcasts and tutorials.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar