Indirect, Abuse, Cycle Testing, and More: Variations in Testing Battery Capacity and Failure Points

Battery Testing VariationAll batteries, rechargeable and one-offs alike, contain chemicals.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel-metal Hydride (NiMH), Lead Acid, Lithium Ion (Li-ion), or Lithium Ion Polymer (Li-ion polymer) because all of them have the propensity to explode under the right conditions.

According to Qualmark Corporation, there are different ways of testing batteries to make sure accidents won’t happen. Apart from the actual dry run of the battery to test its capacity, there various metrics that evaluators look at. You can find all about them below:

The Need for Indirect Methods

While direct cell power testing would produce the most accurate result, they’re not the most convenient and efficient method. As an example, if you try to measure the capacity of a battery by knowing the State of Charge (SOC), you will need to wait for hours before it fully drains. That’s why there are alternatives to direct measurements, which provide a more economic yet sustainable approach.

Shake and Bake

There are two types of shake and bake approach: mechanical and environmental. What transpires in a shake and bake approach is the determination of the dimensional accuracy and the dynamic adaptability of the batteries to function in both static and dynamic environments. The life span and the sustained mechanical effectiveness of the battery are what’s being measured in the shake and bake test.

Abuse Testing

Abuse or stress-to-failure testing makes sure the product will remain fully intact in case of accidental or intended wrong usage. The main objective of abuse testing is to cross-check the mandated safety use guidelines to the actual capability of the battery to withstand conditional factors. It’s also a requirement for most logistics firm, as transporting batteries without abuse tests are dangerous.

Cycle Testing

Perhaps the most disputed metric, cycle testing determines the exact number of time a battery can be recharged. It verifies the claimed life of the manufacturer along with the charging and discharge times. Generally, new batteries should be able to perform at least 90% – 95% of its rated capacity and slowly decline to 80% after 1 – 2 years of use.

The different approach to testing batteries is an important process that clearly sets the boundaries between a safe-to-use power cell to a potentially hazardous one.