Battery Cross-Referencing Guide

If the battery in your device runs out, be it your gadgets, flashlight, devices, boat, car, etc. and requires to be replaced, then an important thing to remember is that you must always replace the new batteries as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

It is advisable to check the various details such as the type of battery, dimensions, capacity, chemistry, charging voltage and/or current, discharge rate, shelf life, maximum pulse current and maximum drain current before replacing the batteries.

While this may sound quite complicated, it does not have to be. You can use a battery cross-reference chart. The chart is extremely easy to use. All you need to do is find the battery brand and then locate the battery model. The equivalent battery will be listed at the start of the row.

You can simply click on the link, which will take you to the battery options and you can easily purchase the battery replacement. Here are some batteries that we commonly use in our everyday lives.

Coin Cell or Button Batteries

Commonly used in devices like watches, hearing aids, remote controls, key chain flashlights, etc. coin cell or button batteries are non-rechargeable batteries. These batteries are available in many chemistry types—silver oxide, alkaline, mercury oxide and zinc-air.

Alkaline: These are cheap but reliable. With a shelf-life of around 5 years, alkaline coin cell/button batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V and the voltage drops over time as the battery is used.

Silver Oxide: While these are not very expensive, silver oxide coin cell/button batteries are most popular and have a shelf-life of around 10 years or more.

Zinc Air: Mostly used in hearing aids, these have a nominal voltage of around 1.4V-1.45V; however, these batteries are not very common because since they work using air and once the electrolyte dries out, they die and require replacement. These batteries have a shelf life of around 4 to 5 years if sealed and stored properly.

Mercury Oxide: These have a slightly lower voltage of less than 1.3V, but have a good capacity. However, they are no longer used because of their negative impact on the environment.

Cylindrical Batteries

Very commonly used in electric tools, flashlights, remote controls, clocks, electric tools, scooters, bikes, etc. cylindrical batteries are divided into two groups—non-rechargeable or primary batteries and rechargeable or secondary batteries. Both these types have varying chemistries offering various capacities, shelf lives, nominal voltages, etc.

Primary Cells: Whether alkaline or carbon-zinc, these batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V and so they are interchangeable. However, alkaline batteries have a larger capacity compared to zinc-carbon types. Primary lithium batteries typically have a voltage of 3V, they have a large capacity and are lightweight. They are used in high-power devices such as cameras, flashlights, etc. and are more expensive compared to alkaline and zinc-carbon batteries.

Secondary Cells: The nominal voltage of these essentially depends on the chemistry. You should be careful not to mix the batteries of different chemistries and you should always use a proper charger to charge them.

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries: NiCad batteries typically have a nominal voltage of 1.2V but produce large currents. However, because of their high memory effect, discharge rate and negative environmental impact, NiCad batteries are being phased out.

Nickel Metal Hydride: NiMH batteries have a good capacity with a low discharge rate, good shelf-life, large charging/discharging cycles and are mercury or cadmium free.

Lithium Batteries: These have voltages of 3.3V-3.7V. They offer a larger capacity, improved safety and higher drain current.

Lithium Non-Rechargeable 3V Coin or Button Cell Batteries

Mostly primary or non-rechargeable, these batteries have a lithium negative electrode and a carbon-monofluoride or manganese-dioxide positive electrode. In recent years, rechargeable coin or button cell batteries have been introduced with a nominal voltage between 3.6 to 3.7 volts. While the capacity of these batteries is much lower compared to non-rechargeable batteries, they can be charged/discharged several times.

Cylindrical Lithium Batteries

Typically, these lithium batteries are rechargeable and have nominal voltages between 3.3V and 3.7V. Some models come with a nominal voltage of 3V and are both primary non-rechargeable, as well as secondary rechargeable lithium batteries. These batteries are commonly also called lithium-ion, lithium-ion polymer, lithium-ion, etc., which essentially depends on their electrodes, construction and electrolytes.

Some models of cylindrical lithium batteries come along with protective electronics that monitor various parameters such as charging/discharging voltage and current, remaining charge, battery temperature, etc. and also shuts off the battery to protect it. However, while this increases the safety of the batteries, it reduces their capacity significantly.

Small Rectangular Batteries

While not very commonly used, these are available in many different chemistries and sizes.

Home Batteries

Home batteries or power inverters are essentially electronic devices that convert electric energy from deep cycle batteries, i.e., 12, 24, 36 or 48 volts DC into electric energy in another form, i.e., AC electricity (120 volts, 220 volts, single phase and triple-phase electricity).

Power inverters usually have USB ports that enable you to charge smartphones, tablets and other devices directly. Power inverters produce clean energy and do not emit fumes unlike power generators and so they can be used indoors.

About the author, Phil Borges

Phil Borges is a battery aficionado. He's written extensively about batteries, and he loves nothing more than discussing the latest innovations in the industry. He has a deep understanding of how batteries work, and he's always on the lookout for new ways to improve their performance.