An Introduction to AA Batteries

The name "AA battery" can be pronounced "ay-ay battery" or "double ay battery". It is a cylindrical dry cell battery that is popular in portable devices since it is no longer than 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) and has a width of no more than14.2 mm (0.56 inches). It weighs 23 grams (0.81 ounces). Some portable devices will instead use AAA batteries since they are even smaller, but AA batteries last longer than AAA batteries even though they have the same output.

The AA battery is cylinder shaped and is sometimes casually referred to as a "flashlight battery". To put it simple; the nub cylinder end of the AA battery is the positive part, while the flat opposite end is the negative part.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) use four different formal names for the most commonly used AA batteries. The alkaline AA battery is called LR6, the carbon-zinc variant R6, the nickel-cadmium AA battery is known as KR157 / 51 and the lithium-FeS2 type is named FR6. The International Electrotechnical Commission has pursued since 1906 and over 130 countries are currently participating in the project of creating international standards for electrotechnology.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Educational Debate Association (NEDA) use another system for labeling batteries. According to their standards, the alkaline AA battery is a 15A battery. The carbon-zinc variant is named 15D, the nickel-cadmium AA battery is known as 10015, the nickel metal hydride 1.2H2, and the lithium-FeS2 type 15LF.

The capacity of AA and AAA batteries depend on which technology and compounds that have been used to create the battery. Alkaline AA batteries will typically have an electrical output of 1.5 volts, while the NiCd (nickel cadmium) and NiMH (nickel metal hydride) AA batteries have a voltage of 1.2 volts. Voltage is a way of measuring the capacity of an electric field to create an electric current in an electrical conductor, and this is in turn determined by the difference of electrical potential between to parts of the battery.

The electrical charge of a battery can also be expressed in mAoh (milliampere hours). The mAoh of a battery is good to know, since it will give you a rough estimation of how long the battery will last after being fully charged (either by the manufacturer or by you). Ampere is a unit used to measure electric current, and one ampere hour indicates how much electric charge that will flow through either terminal of the AA battery if the battery provides a device with one ampere of current flow during exactly one hour. The mAoh of an AA battery varies from 2700 in the case of certain alkaline AA batteries to 650 which is common in nickel cadmium AA batteries. You can get alkaline AA batteries with a lower mAoh, typically from 1800 to 2600. A carbon-zinc AA battery will typically feature 1100 mAoh, a nickel metal hydride AA battery 1400 to 2700 mAoh, and a lithium iron sulphur AA battery 3000 mAoh.

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