Chapter 15. Getting a Charge Out of Batteries

For electronics, portability usually requires battery power — or a very, very long power cord. Even solar-power aficionados rely on batteries to store excess energy through the day. Batteries are everywhere and in every sort of device, and it seems there's a new type of battery every month! This chapter reviews the different battery types so you can decide what battery is right for the job.

A Bunch of Battery Basics

All the jargon associated with batteries makes a whole lot more sense if you know a little about what makes a battery go. In the simplest terms, a battery is a device that produces electricity through a chemical reaction. The interaction between self-contained chemicals is what makes batteries work; it's unnecessary to tap into another power source (such as a wall socket) when you use a battery. You increase the versatility and portability of your electronic devices when you use batteries — especially long-lasting batteries. You use several items every day that have batteries — your car, you laptop computer, your mobile phone, or your digital camera. Although you don't have to know chemistry to understand why batteries are important, you should know a little something about how (and how well) they work because you can waste a lot of cash on inefficient batteries.

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