Lithium Ion vs Nicod Battery Compatibility:
Nicod batteries are usually used in laptops and other portable devices. They have been around since the early 2000’s when they were first introduced. Nowadays, there are many different types of nicod batteries available such as AA, AAAA, C, D, E, F and G. Some manufacturers offer their products under multiple brand names.
For example; Samsung offers its own brands like Samsung Power Bank and Samsung Notebook Battery. These two brands are very similar in terms of features and performance. However, one brand may not work well with another brand or device. So it is always good to check the compatibility before making a purchase.
What Is A Nicad Battery?
A nicad battery is a rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-Ion) cell that uses nickel metal hydride (NiMH). Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cells are rechargeable batteries that typically contain a small amount of liquid electrolyte. These batteries provide longer life than standard alkaline or lead acid batteries due to their ability to store more energy per unit volume.
The main drawback of these types of batteries is that they do not hold as much power as other types of batteries and require frequent charging and discharging. These batteries are also less stable than other types of battery chemistries and can explode if not handled properly. The battery will usually indicate if it is a Li-Ion, LiPo or otherwise in the device’s manual.
Are Nicod Batteries Recyclable?
Nicod batteries are recyclable and typically contain more Nickel, Cobalt and Hydrogen than other types of rechargeable battery. Due to the small amounts of these materials, they are not considered to be a cost-effective method for recovering these materials. Instead, the spent batteries are usually recycled by shredding them into metal pieces and mixing them with other types of metal scrap. The mixture is then melted down to separate out the different types of metal.
Most types of Nicod Batteries are not accepted at most retail locations that accept rechargeable batteries due to their hazardous nature. Instead, they are usually shipped back to the manufacturer or a third-party recycling center.
Are There Any Alternatives To Nicad Batteries?
Nicad batteries are considered to be an older technology and due to their hazardous nature, manufacturers have moved on to newer types of rechargable batteries that do not require the use of toxic and flammable substances. Some of the most common types of battery that are used in modern devices are:
Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries: These batteries use lithium cobalt oxide in their cathode composition and can hold more energy density than other types of batteries. They also do not require a “learning” period like nicad batteries and can be charged whenever for instant use in any device. However, these batteries require protection circuitry to prevent overcharging or overheating. These circuits add extra weight and bulk to the battery and can sometimes cause the battery to short if punctured.
Lithium-Metal Polymer (Li-Po) Batteries: These batteries use lithium in the anode and polymer structuring to produce a more rigid and durable material for the cathode. This allows manufacturers to create cells that have a greater energy capacity than other types of battery chemistry. These batteries also require protection circuitry to prevent overheating and overcharging, but the rigid casing prevents the cathode material from coming into contact with the outside of the battery if damaged.
Lithium-Air (Li-Air) Batteries: These batteries are a newer type of battery that are under development and test phases for use in consumer electronics. These batteries use oxygen from the surrounding air to create electricity via a complex chemical reaction. These batteries boast a very high energy capacity and can be made in almost any shape, but the complex nature of the cathode composition make them prone to failure.
Preventing Nicad Battery Failure
Since nicad batteries are susceptible to temperature changes and stress on the cells, it is important that you try not to expose them to too much of either condition. Some general tips for prolonging the life of your nicad batteries are:
Keep The Battery Charged: One of the most important factors in preserving the life of your nicad battery is to keep it charged at all times. If you find that the battery will not be in use for a long period of time (Longer than a month or so), make sure to get the battery charged up to about 70% or so before putting it away. This will ensure that the battery does not fail due to discharge.
Try Not To Overcharge: Although this may seem like common sense, you would be surprised how many people overcharge their batteries. The general rule is that if you’re going to charge the battery for more than 24 hours, you need to place it in a charger that has a cutoff feature (This prevents overcharging).
Keep The Battery Warm: If you’re going to be using the battery a lot or are using it in an area that’s on the colder side, try not to purchase a battery that has been stored in a cold area (These are the types of batteries that have most likely been on the shelf for quite some time). Batteries that have been subjected to colder temperatures tend to fail quicker than batteries that have been stored at room temperature.
Keep The Battery Dry: An often overlooked aspect of battery maintenance is to keep the battery dry. If the battery comes into contact with water at any time, the outside metal casing can become pitted and will reduce the efficiency of your battery (Water inside the battery is very dangerous and can cause an explosion – See below).
What To Do If Your Battery Is Discharged Beyond Repair
Nicad batteries are pretty durable and can withstand some abuse, but there is a limit. If you find that your battery has been exposed to water, has developed a bulge in the metal casing, or if the battery has become extremely hot during use, you need to dispose of the battery immediately. Using a damaged battery is extremely dangerous and can cause an explosion. When disposing of the battery, please do not place it in the trash unless the cell caps have been removed from each cell.
If you do not feel comfortable removing the cell caps yourself, please contact your local garbage collection agency to see if they offer this service. If not, your last resort is taking the battery to a public hazardous waste disposal site as your last option.
Liquid Nicads: What To Do If Your Battery Leaks
If you ever notice that your nicad battery has developed a leak and fluid has come into contact with your skin, wash the area with soap and water immediately. If the leak is bad, and the fluid has come into contact with your eyes or other sensitive areas of skin, please consult a physician immediately. It is important that you do not let the leaked fluid come in contact with your mouth.
If the leaked fluid is not on your body and is limited to the immediate area, try to place something like dirt or sand around the battery to isolate it from further damage. If you’re in a car, bus or other vehicle of sorts, try to move it to a place where it won’t be damaged by the leaked fluid (Your local garage is a good example). DO NOT try to put out the fluid fire yourself. These batteries can burn for quite some time and the fire department should be contacted immediately.
Again, keep the area isolated until a hazmat team can properly dispose of the battery and clean the area.
Your local battery supplier should be able to help you dispose of any leaked or damaged batteries. Like we mentioned earlier, Nicads can be dangerous if not handled properly. If you feel uncomfortable handling or disposing of a damaged battery, please contact your local battery supplier or a company that specializes in hazardous waste disposal for assistance.
What To Do If Your Battery Leaks Acid
If you can, remove the acid spill with as much absorbent material as possible. Try not to let it come into contact with skin or eyes.
Wash the affected area immediately and thoroughly with running water for at least 5 minutes. If in eyes, hold eye open and rinse with tap water or a large amount of flowing water for at least 5 minutes. Obtain medical attention if irritation persists.
If acid has come in contact with clothing, remove the clothing and hold under running tap water or flow water for at least 5 minutes.
For small acid spills, dilute the acid spill with an equal amount of water and sweep up the diluted spill with a broom and dustpan and dispose of the mixture according to local, state and federal regulations.
If acid has come in contact with plastic (such as a cell phone), neutralize with baking soda and rinse off immediately.
For large acid spills, evacuate the area and call the fire department. Large quantities of water may be ineffective and can cause a serious accident if the spill is ignited or exposed to a ignition source such as sunlight or electricity.
If a battery leaks, smokes, begins to burn an exothermic reaction has occurred which can lead to an explosion. Keep people and pets at a safe distance and contact your local fire department.
If you have experienced a fire, explosion or chemical burn, flush the affected area immediately with large quantities of running water for at least 20 minutes. Obtain medical attention if necessary.
Designing Your Battery Box
Before we get into creative battery box design, remember that a battery box is only effective if it can contain any possible leaks. If your battery box design fails, the batteries can still leak acid which could damage your quad and cause serious injury or death. I know a lot of the popular DIY Drones builders are macho guys that think they know everything and ignore safety, but this is one area you DO NOT want to cut corners.
The other thing to keep in mind is that Nicads can be VERY dangerous if not handled properly. Please educate yourself on how to handle and dispose of damaged batteries.
With that being said, lets talk about battery box design…
There are several different types of designs but the two main types are rectangular and cylindrical.
Lets start with the rectangular box. As you might guess, this is a box that is rectangular in shape. The design advantages are that they are easier to build and usually cheaper to manufacture. The downfall is that the battery can slide around inside the battery compartment if not glued in place.
A cylindrical box is just as the name suggests, a box that is cylindrical (or tube-like) in shape. These types of boxes offer better protection from movement because the batteries are more secured in place. The downfall is they are a little harder to build and usually more expensive to manufacture.
Which Should You Use?
It really depends on what you want to do. I have built rectangular boxes for my quads and haven’t had any problems (knock on wood). A lot of it has to do with how you design the battery tray and how you place the batteries in the tray. If you are just starting out, I would recommend building a simple rectangular box as your first project.
Materials You Will Need
This is the fun part. Now that you have decided on a design lets get into the materials you will need to complete your project.
Materials for a Rectangular Battery Box
2 sheets of 3/4″ Plywood (make sure the sheets are as close to the same size as possible)
1 sheet of 3/4″ Plywood (make sure the sheet is as close to the same size as possible)
8′ 2×4 studs (you will need 2 of these, one 8′ long and another one cut in half so you have two 4′ pieces. These will be used for the sides and bottom of your box.)
4 – 2×2 studs (you will need two of these, one cut in half so you have two 1′ pieces. These will be used for the top and bottom of your box.
3″ wood screws (I used 30 for my project, it’s probably good to have a few extra)
Wood Glue (You will need two tubes)
1/4″ sheet metal screws (You will need about 40 of these, I used a #6 screw)
1/8″ Neoprene gasket (this can be purchased at your local hardware store)
4′ of 1/2″ PVC pipe (this can be purchased at your local hardware store)
2 – Hinges (I got mine at my local hardware store)
1 – Lock (I got mine at my local hardware store)
1/4″ drill bit (you can get away with a 13/64″, but I would recommend getting the 1/4″)
Wood Glue (You will need two tubes) 1/4″
Sources & references used in this article:
- Metal hydrides for lithium-ion batteries (Y Oumellal, A Rougier, GA Nazri, JM Tarascon… – Nature materials, 2008 – nature.com)
- The Dawn of Lithium-Ion Batteries (Y Nishi – Electrochemical Society Interface, 2016 – iopscience.iop.org)
- Before Li ion batteries (M Winter, B Barnett, K Xu – Chemical reviews, 2018 – ACS Publications)