Some exotic cells in sizes of 14500 (AA), D and specialized 3.7 to 12v LiPO packs are cheap and easy to obtain but the battery CHARGERS are often difficult to find or VERY expensive. These types of packs and bundled cells are also VERY sensitive to charging rates, temp and current! OR they Explode.
PCB's and special chargers can be had or built from scratch. However free or cheap voltage converters available off the shelf, workbench power supplies are DANGEROUS!
This instruction will show rechargeable battery types, several sizes with codes and nomenclature along with their compatibility with conventional sizes.
Use these in Lights, small toys & Appliances and RC planes and Cars.
Step 1: Exotics - Recharging
Recharging is dangerous take proper precautions:
-never recharge unattended batteries
-charge outside or on fireproof surface (marble/tile/cement)
-Use approve charges that monitor
-never use unrated or unknown batteries
-never use more or less cells than charger was designed for!
1) Test cells with Multimeter or rated battery tester, in a pinch use a small LED or lightbulb like a flashlight.
2) Dead cells with ZERO voltage are usually b ad and are to be discarded.
3) THREE or FOUR major battery types are in use
Alakline - these are 'Disposable' like Eveready voltage 1.5v
NiCD/NiMH - 'Re-chargables' reusables usually 1.2v
Zinc Air - One time use when exposed to air, 1.5 to 3v+
Lithium - Polymer packs as below or for 'high drain' devices
4) Specialized rechargers are required for Rechargeable Lithium Polymer packs, these monitor voltages, temp or charge rates. Do not use NiCD or NiMH chargers with lithium packs!
5) Specialized LiPO cells are available in 18650 and 14500 sizes. These can be used in some AA or C cell and larger devices with adaptors.
See my other instructables....
Test positive and negitive poles/tabs with a multimeter. Some "protected" cells have small PCB to control charge/discharge rates and have no "button" tops.
Step 2: Charging!
Some Examples of cells:
Be sure to match charger with cells, current and heat/monitoring PCB's
Reminder: some LiPo cells have 'built-in' charge monitoring PCB's and temp/current cutouts!
The Lt Blue cell below is a AA sized (14500) 3.7v protected Lithium Polymer cell. Great for regulated lights and high power LED or HID bulbs! The Red is a LONG size AA for specialized packs.
Rechargable cells in NiMH for 1/2D size 1.2v can be combined for higher voltages in smaller spaces.
See my flashligh post on instructables.
Step 3: TIPS
Charge multiple cells only in rated chargers and in series if charger is rated for multiple voltages.
Lithium cells are EXPLOSIVE if charged in a NiCd or NiMH charger!
Step 4: Custom Work
Some "custom" battery packs...