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Summary of Do’s and Don’ts

Table 1 provides suggestions on how to extend battery life by following simple guidelines. Because of similarities within systems, the chemistries are limited to lead, nickel and lithium.
Table 1: Dos and don’ts summary how to use, maintain and dispose of batteries.

Battery care

Lead acid: Flooded, sealed, AGM

NiCd, NiMH

Lithium-ion: Cobalt, manganese, phosphate

Best way
to charge

Apply a saturated charge to prevent sulfation; can stay on charge with correct float charge.

Avoid getting battery too hot on charge. Do not leave battery in charger for more than a few days (memory!).

Partial and random charge is fine; does not need full charge; lower voltage limit preferred; keep battery cool.

Charge methods


Constant voltage to 2.40–2.45/cell, float
at 2.25–2.30V/cell; battery stays cool; no fast charge possible.
Charge  = 14h

Constant current, trickle charge at 0.05C, fast charge preferred.
Slow charge  = 14h
Rapid charge = 3h
Fast charge   = 1h

Constant voltage to 4.20V/cell; no trickle charge; battery can
stay in charger
Rapid charge = 3h
Fast charge = 1h



Do not cycle starter batteries; avoid full discharges; always charge after use.

Do not over-discharge under heavy load; cell reversal causes short. Avoid full discharges.

Prevent full cycles, apply some charge after a full discharge to keep the protection circuit alive.

How to prolong battery

Limit deep cycling, apply topping charge every 6 months while in storage to prevent sulfation, keep cells at or above 2.10V

Do not keep battery in charger for more than a few days, discharge to 1V/cell every 1–3 months to prevent memory (NiCd)

Keep cool, battery lasts longest when operating in mid state-of-charge of 20–80%. Prevent ultra-fast charging and high loads.



Do not store below 2.10V/cell; keep fully charged if possible

Store in cool place; NiCd stores for 5 years; prime before use

Store at 40% charge in cool place (40% SoC reads 3.75–3.80V/cell)


Do not dispose. Lead is a toxic metal

NiCd: Do not dispose.
NiMH: Can be disposed in low volume

Can be disposed of in low volume


Industry News Simple Guidelines for Storing Batteries
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