Cell Phone Battery FAQs

  1. How should I charge my battery the first time?

  2. How long does it take to fully charge a battery?

  3. Will overcharging my battery hurt it?

  4. What is "Memory Effect"?

  5. What is the difference between a Lithium-ion and a Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery?

  6. Why is my battery performance less than the advertised Talk and Stand-by times?

  7. How can I maximize the performance of my battery?

  8. How long will a battery last?

  9. How can I find out the size and capacity of a battery?

  10. Why can’t I find a Lithium-ion battery that matches the voltage specified for my phone?

  11. What is the difference between battery models (Slim, Super, Extended, Auxiliary etc.) ?


How should I charge my battery the first time?

For the first 3 charge cycles, a new battery should be fully charged before being used and then allowed to fully discharge before recharging.  This will help ensure a true "full charge" of the battery during the first few cycles and will condition the battery for optimal performance.  Proper conditioning of a new NiMH battery is critical to achieving optimal performance.  While less critical for Lithium-ion batteries, proper conditioning will provide benefits to new Lithium-ion batteries.  Note that when a new battery is first charged, it is not unusual for the battery to show a full charge after only a short period of time.  If this occurs, keep the battery on the charger overnight to help ensure a true full charge.  Removing the battery momentarily from the charger and then replacing it may also help.

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How long does it take to fully charge a battery?

The time required to charge a battery depends on the battery type, the capacity of the battery, and the type of charger being used. A higher mAh battery will take longer to charge than a lower mAh battery.  In general, it will take 3-4 hours to "rapid charge" a battery to the 80% level, and an additional 8 hours to “slow or trickle” charge a battery to the 100% hgh level.  A good approach is to charge your battery overnight for about 12 hours.

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Will overcharging my battery hurt it?

Yes, overcharging a battery causes it to overheat and can result in damage to the battery, causing degraded performance and eventual failure.  As a general rule, do not charge a battery for more than 24 hours.

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What is "Memory Effect"?

"Memory Effect" is a condition of reduced battery performance (and eventual failure) due to a battery only using those cells that are fully discharged and charged on a regular basis.  In other words, if on a regular basis a NiCd or NiMH battery is only partially discharged before being recharged, it "forgets" that it has usable capacity to further discharge all the way down.  The result is degraded battery performance and shorter battery life because the battery is using less than it's true full capacity.  Lithium-ion batteries do not develop "memory effect".  NiMH batteries, while considerably better than their NiCd counterparts, are prone to developing "memory effect."  However, proper care and conditioning over the life of a NiMH battery will significantly reduce the potential negative impacts.

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What is the difference between a Lithium-ion and a Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery?

In general, a Lithium-ion battery will provide slightly higher performance at a lighter weight than a NiMH battery (a Lithium-ion battery will typically offer 10-20% better performance and weigh 20-35% less than a NiMH battery with equivalent mAh).  In addition,  Lithium-ion batteries are the only batteries not susceptible to "memory effect".  As a result, you will typically pay a premium for these qualities.  NiMH batteries, while much better than their NiCd counterparts, may develop the "memory effect" and experience degraded performance over the life of the battery. Proper care and conditioning of a NiMH battery will significantly reduce the potential negative impact of the "memory effect.".

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Why is my battery performance less than the advertised Talk and Stand-by times?

Many factors affect the actual talk and stand-by times of a battery.  The conditioning of the battery, the type of service – digital or analog, the options selected on the phone, service area signal strength, the accessories used, the typical operating temperature, etc., all affect battery performance.  The manufacturer’s specified talk and stand-by times typically represent "up to" or maximum battery performance under optimal conditions. Depending on these factors, the performance you experience may be more or less than the specified talk and stand-by times.

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How can I maximize the performance of my battery?

There are several things that can be done to maximize battery performance:  In summary,

  • Properly "condition" your battery when it is new (this is particularly important for NiMH batteries)

  • Keep your phone, batteries, and the contact terminals clean.  The contacts can easily be cleaned with cotton swab and rubbing alcohol.

  • Avoid exposing the battery to extreme heat and cold.

  • Use the battery.  If possible, avoid letting your battery sit dormant for long periods of time.

  • Use only the phone options and accessories that you really need.

  • If the battery is to be idle for an extended period (a month or more), store it in a cool, clean, dry location.  Charge and re-condition it upon re-use.

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How long will a battery last?

In general, the life of a regularly used battery is between 300 and 500 charge/discharge cycles.  Depending on the battery, this translates into a 1-to-2 year timeframe.  As a battery nears the end of it's productive life (typically considered 50% of its original capacity), the talk and stand-by times of the battery will be noticeably shorter.  It is interesting to note that a Lithium-ion battery will, over it's useful lifetime, maintain more of a full capacity charge and then "die" rather suddenly; a NiMH battery will demonstrate a more gradual decline in performance as it nears the end of it's productive life.

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How can I find out the size and capacity of a battery?

Size and performance specifications for batteries are found in the product tables. Where available, specifications for Weight, Thickness, Talk and Stand-by time, milli-Ampere hours (mAh), and Voltage are provided.

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Why can't I find a Lithium-ion battery that matches the battery voltage specified for my phone?

Lithium-ion batteries typically operate at slightly higher voltage levels than their NiMH counterparts (for example, a 7.2V Lithium-ion is the typical equivalent for a 6.0V NiMH). The higher voltage Lithium-ion batteries are completely compatible and will not adversely effect the phone.

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What is the difference between battery models (Slim, Super, Extended, Auxiliary, etc.)?

Different battery models provide different performance advantages.  In general:

Slim: A thinner, lighter battery manufactured to still provide excellent capacity.

Extended: A battery manufactured for increased capacity (longer talk & stand-by times).

Main: Main battery for phone models that allow for simultaneous use of a main battery and a second, auxiliary battery.

Auxiliary: The second (“piggyback”) battery for phones that allow a main and auxiliary battery.

Super: A battery manufactured with “extra, extra” performance, such as a Slim Super.

Vibrational: A battery manufactured to enable “vibration mode” on phones that support this function.

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