Thanks for selecting battery as a subject.I have been desining battery chargers in industry( Lead Acid) since 1972 for Indian Railways and Post and Telegraph Department. What I learned is they can use the LA batteries for more than 10 years. They used singal cell units with every day maintainence. However what I heard for my car battery themaximum life as per the auto repairer is one to three years as per usage of the car. Sulphatation, high starting current demand non tubular design and mobile use (Sunjected to acceleration in all direction) being the main problem.
I also heared about polymer conductor battery that has long life (may be now being used ih cell phones) But is there any varient in capacities comparable to lead acid batteries?
Ivan, although nuclear RTGs are not for mainstream applications, I hope you will incldue them in your discussion, for the benefit of we space junkies. I have read that the old standby Pu-238 is not the optimum choice for deep space vehicle RTGs and I'm curious about the pros & cons of different radioactive isotopes for RTG use.
I also find it fascinating that even after more than 36 years in space, the 487 watt (at launch) batteries on Voyager 1 are still producing about 250 watts.
@Caleb....I'm sure there's lots of tech like this, but just consider Peltier effect - discovered in the 1830's, but only in widespread used these days for coolers etc (and rings, as you recently pointed out, though as you also pointed out this is the complimentary Seebeck effect (ie generating electricity form a temperature difference, rather than Peltier which is generating a temperature difference form a current?))
@Ivan...I use a lot of NiCds and actually made up a "rejuvenator" for them to zap them with a high current for a short time, discharge, then zap again. I did this with a 555 and entered it for the 555 competition a couple of years ago, the circuit is here:
Mixed success, some batteries can't be fixed, but on some it works a treat. You need to put a battery on the rejvenator for an hour or two, then give it a full charge at the normal rate. I have specified 2C zap (ie a current of twice the AH capacity of the battery) but you can go to 5C or more for stubborn ones.
I just use a high current supply (eg a PC Power supply) but you can also use a capacitor to give the "zap". I prefer a high current supply as it gives a more sustained and controllable zap.
@Rgarvin640:Yes we used to manually use the lab power pack to step up the current to a dead NiCad untill the voltage started to drop and then discharge with a short, some times it would blow the short.
I have a lot of tales about battery use in London Underground Trains and before they were sold off Bus batteries.
I love the single cell lead acid batteries we used on the battery locomotives used to maintain track. They were very big 3 foot high an 1 foot deep float charged from the track 660 V DC during the day.