FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Get answers to your Duracell product or brand-related questions. Select a category from the pull-down list below or click on the question you’re interested in to expand it and see the answer.
- All Questions
Q. Why use a rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery?A.
Many of today's high-drain devices like digital cameras require replacing your batteries more often than you're used to—why not choose Duracell NiMH batteries? They can be recharged hundreds of times.
The Duracell rechargeable AA battery is ideally suited for powering digital cameras and other devices that require a lot of power. Also available are AAA batteries, useful in small electronic devices such as MP3 players and handheld games. Duracell rechargeable NiMH batteries and chargers offer you the quality and dependability you've come to trust from Duracell, in a long-lasting, cost-effective power option.
Q. How does a battery work?A.
Batteries may seem simple, but the delivery of packaged power is a complicated electrochemical process. Electric current in the form of electrons begins to flow in the external circuit when the device—a light bulb for example—is turned on. At that time, the anode material, zinc, gives up two electrons per atom in a process called oxidation, leaving unstable zinc ions behind. After the electrons do their work powering the light bulb, they re-enter the cell at the cathode, where they combine with the active material, manganese dioxide, in a process called reduction.
The combined processes of oxidation and reduction couldn’t occur in a power cell without an internal way to carry electrons back to the anode, balancing the external flow of current. This process is accomplished by the movement of negatively charged hydroxide ions present in the water solution called the electrolyte. Every electron entering the cathode reacts with the manganese dioxide to form MnOO-. Then, MnOO- reacts with water from the electrolyte. In that reaction, the water splits, releasing hydroxide ions into the electrolyte and hydrogen ions that combine with MnOO- to form MnOOH.
The internal circuit is completed when the hydroxide ions produced in this reaction at the cathode flow to the anode in the form of ionic current. There, they combine with unstable zinc ions, which were formed at the anode when the electrons were originally given up to the external circuit. This produces zinc oxide and water. This completes the circuit (which is necessary to have a constant flow of electricity) and powers your flashlight.
Q. Why do batteries have different voltages and capacities?A.
Different devices operate at different voltages and power levels. They all require batteries that provide the necessary power output at a minimum discharging voltage. The voltage of a given battery depends on the number of single cells connected in series and on their electrochemical system. For instance, a lithium-manganese-dioxide cell has a nominal voltage of 3 V, a rechargeable lead-acid cell offers 2 V, while an alkaline-manganese cell has an initial voltage of approx. 1.5 V.
The capacity of a battery is calculated by the amount of active ingredients stored inside its housing. Rated capacity can be misleading because it doesn’t provide a measure of a battery's ability to deliver energy. The actual delivered capacity is highly dependent on:
- Drain rate (load)
- Operating temperature
- Cutoff voltage
For instance, Ultra Advanced with POWERCHECK™ delivers more energy in power-demanding devices than standard Duracell batteries, while both products would have similar rated capacities.
In order to properly operate a specific electrical device:
- The battery's operating voltage must be matched to that of the device
- The correct battery size must be selected in order to provide the desired operating time for the device
- The battery must be able to deliver the power required
- The battery's internal resistance must be smaller than that of the device
Q. What is an alkaline battery?A.
Duracell pioneered the Alkaline Manganese Dioxide electrochemical system nearly 40 years ago. In the 1960s, this battery system rapidly became the popular choice of designers in the ever-widening field of consumer electronics. Alkaline or Alkaline Manganese Dioxide cells have many advantages over zinc-carbon cells including up to ten times the ampere-hour capacity at high and continuous drain conditions.
Also, its performance at low temperatures is superior to other conventional aqueous electrolyte primary cells. Other significant advantages are longer shelf life, better leakage resistance, and superior low-temperature performance. Its more effective, secure seal provides excellent resistance to leakage and corrosion. Today, Duracell manufactures two alkaline batteries: Ultra Advanced with POWERCHECK and CopperTop.
Q. What’s the difference between PowerPix™, Ultra Advanced with POWERCHECK™ and CopperTop batteries?A. Certain devices—like digital cameras—require more power and drain batteries faster than others. PowerPix batteries are specifically designed to work with digital cameras. Ultra Advanced batteries with POWERCHECK are designed to get the best performance out of high-drain and frequently-used devices such as MP3 players and remote control toys, and, with POWERCHECK, you can literally see how much power you have left. Duracell CopperTops are designed to give you reliable, long life in devices like smoke detectors, radios, and clocks.
Q. Do all batteries last the same amount of time?A. No, different batteries provide different lengths of life and power output depending on the type and amount of chemicals used to compose them. Think of it like cooking a meal: Using different ingredients and amounts make the meal taste different.
Q. What is inside a battery?A. Batteries may be small, but they're far from simple. They're highly engineered electrochemical cells. Chemical energy is converted to electrical energy by means of redox reaction. This process takes place between the three major parts of a battery: The anode, cathode, and electrolyte. Different types of batteries use different materials for these parts. The materials for these parts are chosen depending on how well they give up or attract electrons, something that must happen for an electric current to be generated. The anode is often a metal, the cathode a metallic oxide, and the electrolyte a salt solution that facilitates the ion flow.
Q. Who invented the battery?A.
In the 1860s, George Leclanche of France developed what would be the forerunner of the world's first widely used battery—the zinc carbon cell. The anode was a zinc- and mercury-alloyed rod (zinc, the anode in Volta's original cell, proved to be one of the best metals for the job). The cathode was a porous cup of crushed manganese dioxide and some carbon. Into the mix was inserted a carbon rod to act as the current collector. Both the anode and the cathode cup were plunged into a liquid solution of ammonium chloride, which acted as the electrolyte. The system was called a "wet cell.”
Though Leclanche's cell was rugged and inexpensive, it was eventually replaced by the improved "dry cell" in the 1880s. The anode became the zinc can containing the cell, and the electrolyte became a paste rather than a liquid—basically the zinc carbon cell that is known today.
Q. When should I remove batteries from my device?A.
Batteries should be removed from devices/equipment when:
- The device is not expected to be in use for several months
- The batteries are worn out (to prevent possible damage from battery leakage)
- The device is being powered by household (AC) current
Q. Should I clean the battery compartment?A. For best performance, keep battery contact surfaces and battery compartment contacts clean by rubbing them with a clean pencil eraser or a clean cloth each time you replace batteries.
Q. Can I recharge any battery?A.
You can only recharge a battery if it’s specifically marked “rechargeable.”
Recharging a non-rechargeable battery may cause it to rupture or leak and may cause personal injury.
Q. Can alkaline batteries be recharged?A. Only batteries that are specifically labeled "rechargeable" should be recharged. Any attempt to recharge a non-rechargeable battery could result in rupture or leakage. We recommend that you use NiMH Duracell rechargeables. Paired with one of our different chargers, they can be recharged hundreds of times.
Q. Which battery type should I use in extreme temperatures?A. If equipment must be used periodically in extreme temperatures, premium alkaline batteries are recommended because they perform much better than zinc carbon batteries under such conditions.
Q. Does it matter what type of battery I use in my device?A.
Always replace the battery or batteries in your equipment with the size and type specified by the manufacturer.
Alkaline batteries are often recommended for best performance because zinc carbon batteries have inferior life spans and equipment may not operate properly if zinc carbon batteries are used.
Q. How can I get a better life out of my batteries?A.
To help extend the life of your batteries:
- Turn off battery-operated radios and appliances when they’re not in use
- Remove batteries from devices that won’t be used for a while
- Store your batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature without the contacts touching
Q. Can I mix old and new batteries?A. Do not mix old and new batteries. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may cause battery leakage or rupture. We recommend replacing all batteries within a device.
Q. Can I mix different battery types?A.
No, different batteries are designed for different purposes. Mixing a lithium battery with an alkaline battery will not improve device performance. In fact, it will reduce performance and may even damage your device or cause battery leakage or rupture.
As well, do not mix different battery brands within a device. Doing so will reduce overall performance and may also cause battery leakage or rupture. We recommend using the same type of batteries within a device.
Q. Which way does the + and - go?A.
Carefully follow instructions on your equipment regarding proper insertion of batteries, ensuring that the + (plus) and – (minus) terminals are aligned correctly.
CAUTION: Some equipment using three or more batteries may appear to work properly even if one battery is inserted incorrectly; such usage may lead to battery leakage or rupture that could result in equipment damage.
Q. Are batteries affected by temperature?A. We recommend storing batteries at room temperature in a dry environment. Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. You'll want to avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended.
Q. Should I store my batteries in the refrigerator or freezer?A. We recommend storing batteries at room temperature in a dry environment. Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. You'll want to avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended.
Q. Do I have to change all the batteries at the same time?A. We do recommend changing all batteries in a unit at the same time. A partially used battery will drain energy from a new one, reducing the total amount of battery power available.
Q. A battery turned warm in my pocket. Is this normal?A. No, batteries should not become warm when not in use. We print a caution on our packaging warning consumers not to carry or store batteries loose in your pocket or purse. They can be shorted by contact with metal objects and leak or rupture and cause personal injury.
Q. Can I light a battery on fire?A. NEVER light or dispose of batteries in a fire—they may explode, rupture, and cause safety risks.
Q. How should I handle batteries that leaked in a device?A. Although most batteries contain chemicals that won’t harm exposed skin, they should still be treated as any chemical would. Always take precautions when handling exposed battery chemicals. Battery chemicals shouldn’t be placed near the eyes or ingested. Contact a physician immediately if this should occur.
Q. Should I remove batteries from my device if I’m not going to be using it for a while?A. Yes. Remove batteries from a device when it is not expected to be in use for several months.
Q. How do Duracell batteries affect the environment?A.
In 1993, we voluntarily eliminated added mercury from our batteries. Our alkaline batteries are composed of primarily common materials—steel, zinc, and manganese—and do not pose a health or environmental risk in normal use or disposal.
What’s more, we are going green by eliminating PVC clamshells and replacing them with high-fiber content cards and RPET (Recycled PET) blisters. This is a complete, sustainable packaging solution, one of the best PVC alternatives available today.
As the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries, we recognize our responsibility to help protect the environment. We're committed to designing, manufacturing, and distributing batteries in a way that minimizes impact to the environment. We also participate in the Call2Recycle program to ensure the safe and proper recycling or disposing of batteries.
Q. Can I take a battery apart?A. No. Do not dismantle batteries. When a battery is dismantled, contact with the components can be harmful and may cause personal injury or fire.
Q. My child likes to play with batteries. Is this ok?A.
Young children should not play with batteries. Batteries are made to power devices, not to be played with individually.
Remember that while batteries are popular, commonplace devices, they generate portable power by means of potent chemical reactions. Batteries should never be disassembled, abused, mishandled, or treated as toys.
Although most batteries contain chemicals that won’t harm exposed skin, they should still be treated as any chemical would. Always take precautions when handling exposed battery chemicals. Battery chemicals shouldn’t be placed near the eyes or ingested. Contact a physician immediately if this should occur.
To assure safety, use of batteries by children should be closely monitored by a responsible adult.
Q. My battery got wet and now there is a white powdery substance on it. What do I do?A.
In the unlikely event that a battery is wet or covered with a white powdery substance, limit your handling of the battery to that required for proper removal and disposal and immediately wash any exposed body surfaces and clothing with soap and water.
If contact with the eyes occurs, immediately flush the eyes with running water for at least 15 minutes and then seek immediate medical assistance.
Q. There are Chinese letters on my batteries. What does it mean?A. The characters indicate that the batteries are mercury free.
Q. Do you have any contests, offers or sweepstakes?A. All our promotions are live on this site, on our Promotions page. Check back often for updates.
Q. How should I dispose of batteries?A. All rechargeable batteries should be recycled. Other batteries can and should be recycled as well. Refer to our Care and Disposal section to get all the details on this topic.
Q. What is the difference between lithium and alkaline?A. Lithium and alkaline batteries employ different chemistries for maximum performance in different devices. Light in weight and compact, lithium batteries often come in distinctive sizes for use in specific devices.
Q. Is it normal for Duracell NiMH Rechargeable batteries to become warm while charging?A. Yes, it is normal for both the cells and charger to become warm while charging.
Q. Can I charge other brands’ rechargeable batteries in a Duracell charger?A. Yes, Duracell chargers will charge other NiMH AA or AAA batteries. However, Duracell cannot guarantee the quality, safety, or performance of other battery brands, so using Duracell rechargeable batteries is recommended.
Q. Do Duracell rechargeable battery chargers shut off when charging is complete?A. Duracell chargers switch to a trickle charge when the normal charge is complete. You should unplug your charger when charging is complete or when it is not in use.
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