Why a Battery Is Not Just Any Battery

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It can be tempting to think we can mix any battery with what we already have. Manufacturers often supply them in packs of four while many devices want only three. This can mean we end up with odds and sods in the bottom kitchen drawer. Buying more of the same does not often solve our problem. Why then do battery manufacturers compound this by telling us any battery will definitely not do?

Is “Any Battery Will Not Do” Just a Marketing Strategy?

any battery

Nickel-Metal Hydride Batteries: Tiia Monto: CC 2.5

Battery manufacturers go through a great deal of trouble to distinguish their brands. They know consumers like to stay with what they know and trust. Therefore, they spend billions of their dollars – well ours actually – telling us to trust them even more.

However, consumer resistance still kicks in when we compare the prices with Asian wannabee disruptive brands. After all, any battery of a particular size like AAA looks the same to us. A cabbage is a cabbage, we tell ourselves as we start using up what we already have in the bottom kitchen drawer.

Batteries Do Not Work the Same as Cabbages

any battery

Nickel Cadmium Batteries: 星空マニア: CC 3.0

You see, individual battery manufacturers are trying different routes towards making the best batteries ever. This is not necessarily a crusade. Most simply want to maximize their turnover and profit. Hence, each brand contains subtly different chemicals and stabilizers.

To complicate matters further, any battery brand does not have precisely the same voltage as the next one. This may be down to design specification, or the result of aging. Now mixing different voltage batteries sends confusing signals to electronic circuits inside devices.

Moreover, if one of those batteries has less charge remaining than the others it can stress and spring a leak. The dollar we saved by mixing batteries, can cost far more in consequences of acid spills. That’s why any battery is not the same as all the other ones on the market.


Should We Mix Different Brands of Batteries

Mixing Old and New Batteries

Preview Image: Mixing Button Cells May Lead to This


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard Farrell

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