A cell is a single electrochemical source of electrical potential, or voltage. They come in numerous sizes and chemical types, both of which directly determine the cell’s nominal capacity and voltage rating, respectively. When numerous cells of the same size and chemical type are connected together in various configurations to create higher voltage and/or capacity this makes a battery. Cells are electrically connected together in series to increase a battery’s output voltage and are connected together in parallel to increase a battery’s output capacity.
You can learn the cell configuration of a battery by the industry designation XSYP, which declares the number of series and parallel connected cells in a battery (e.g. 4S3P is a battery with 4 series and 3 parallel cells). Some batteries are known as “dual voltage mode” batteries. These batteries (like the Ultralife UBI-2590 family) actually have two independent batteries in one package. Many users incorrectly refer to the two internal, independent batteries of the UBI-2590’s as cells. In accordance with IEEE 1625 and 1725, to portable power source for a single-cell powered device must include its own protection circuit module and be encased to prevent tampering.
As cellular phone technology vastly grew in the late 1990’s, the term “battery pack” was created as a way to distinguish between a single bare cell used to make a battery and a single cell encased with a PCM designed for a single cell powered device, such as a cell phone. See “What is the difference between an Amp-Hour and a Watt-Hour?”.
Primary and secondary batteries are simply batteries that can be used one time or more than one time, respectively; primary meaning “once” and secondary meaning “twice.” A rechargeable battery (secondary) can be used more than once and a non-rechargeable battery (primary) can only be used once. It is really the chemistry type of the cell(s) that make up the battery that determine which type of battery it is.
In regards to lithium chemistries, all lithium metal cells and batteries are non-rechargeable (primary), and all lithium ion cells and batteries are rechargeable (secondary). See “What is the difference between a cell and a battery?”
Lithium based cells and batteries can be made up of numerous and various chemical compositions. The specific chemical composition will first determine whether the battery is rechargeable or not. Secondly, each composition has a particular benefit in the attribute areas of capacity, energy, energy density, specific energy, maximum discharge rate, number of useful cycles, inherent safety and/or cost.
In the early days of the development of rechargeable lithium cell technology some of the chemical compositions required a liquid electrolyte while other required a gel. Those with a liquid electrolyte were designated as lithium ion (Li-ion) and those with gel a lithium polymer (LiPo). Lithium ion chemistries have dominated the market preference since and lithium polymer technology has become extinct. Many Eastern producers of hobbyist lithium ion batteries still to this day market their batteries as lithium polymers, however, they are nothing more than a lithium ion cell (typically a high-rate one) placed inside a plastic (or polymer) case/wrapping. See “What is the C Rate of a cell or battery?”
SmartCircuit® technology is the trademark Ultralife is using to brand our family of batteries and chargers that are SMART, meaning they are fully compliant to the Smart Battery System specification, and above the performance standards of our competitors.
SmartCircuit® technology provides advanced power solutions to customers who require functionality and performance not available from traditional non-SMART batteries and chargers. Ultralife’s battery and charger circuitry and design expertise enable us to provide solutions specific to each customer's requirements. We can provide whatever information is required by the application, such as, but not limited to voltage, temperature, current, state-of-charge, remaining capacity, full charge capacity, run rime to empty, remaining capacity alarms, remaining time alarms, charging current, charging voltage, battery Status, manufacturer information, serial number, device name, device chemistry, cycle life, and so much more!
Ultralife's SmartCircuit® products are superior to the competition's smart batteries and chargers because they are designed with only the highest quality components, contain circuits designed for the most efficient performance, use flex circuit boards whenever possible to reduce the use of wire, are rugged and can take abuse, are thoroughly tested to meet the most stringent performance, reliability and safety standards, and are field proven and preferred by end users. See “What is a SMART battery?”
A SMART battery is a battery pack that comes with both an integrated gas gauge computing circuit and a two-wire interface to allow the battery to communicate with a host device for the purposes of reading fields designed to provide information on the battery’s state-of-charge, state-of-health, reason of any protection, preferred method of charge, and many other items.
Each of these items is based on the Smart Battery System specification available at http://sbs-forum.org/specs/. Any battery which meets the standard of the SBS specification is deemed a SMART battery. The two-wire interface all SMART batteries are required to use is known as the System Management Bus and is available at http://smbus.org/specs/.
SMART batteries can be charged with compatible SMART chargers for added benefit and safety. See “Is a SMART battery better than a non-SMART battery?”
It is important to understand that a SMART battery is simply a better option to an already good design. Whether or not a battery is “smart” has nothing to do with the assurance that the battery is safe, of good quality, is capable of meeting the power requirements of a device or indicate that the battery has no level of intelligence at all. In many cases a non-SMART battery is equipped with very comparable circuitry and processor technology as a SMART battery is, but lacks the communication contacts necessary to interface with host equipment.
Where a SMART battery benefits a user over a non-SMART battery is in its ability to communicate with a user: remaining runtime predictions, remaining useful life, end of discharge/charge warnings, protection modes, and preferred method of charging, etc. Such pieces of information allow a user (via the host equipment) to make better decisions regarding how to best use their battery, especially in situations where the battery is being remotely used.
SMART chargers exist to collaborate with SMART batteries, which typically allow for a faster charge rate, higher operating temperature and early identification of any possible battery faults. See “How do I communicate with Ultralife SMART batteries?”
All cells and batteries, being electrochemical sources of electrical potential, can only maintain that electrical potential for as long as the chemicals that create that potential exist inside the battery. As soon as the cell or battery is connected into the device it is designed to power, current immediately begins to flow though the device, and as a result, the chemicals inside the cell or battery which create that electrical potential are consumed. Therefore how much chemical material exists in the cell or battery must be declared so device designers and users know how long the device will be powered by the cell or battery. This declaration is known as a cell or battery’s capacity or energy.
Capacity is always represented in terms of Amp-Hours (Ah) and energy in terms of Watt-Hours (Wh). The practical understanding of those units is dependent on your method of discharge. Typically, safety and comparative characterization testing of a cell or battery is preferred to be discharged using constant current, where amperage is the primary unit of measure. Devices, which typically have a constant power requirement, use wattage as the primary unit of measurement. Therefore, capacity and energy ratings can quickly tell a user how long a cell or battery will last when being discharged by either known unit of measure.
Watt-Hours (Wh) is a equivalent to the multiplication of a cell or battery’s voltage by its Amp-Hour (Ah) rating. See “What is a battery gas gauge?”
In an effort to better compare and contrast various lithium cell and battery chemical composition attributes, lithium chemistries are given a standard method of designating their discharge rate capabilities known as a “C Rate.” The C Rate (or as it is known in technical publications, It) is an equivalent discharge rate in amperage that is based on the value of the cell or battery’s rated capacity and is expressed as a multiple of that rated capacity. In this context, the “C” stands for “capacity.”
The C Rate can also be used to designate at what rate the cell or battery has or will be discharged at, e.g. “discharge the battery at a 0.2C rate until the voltage reaches 10V.” In this case, the battery would be discharged at whatever amperage would complete the discharge in five hours. There is no such thing as an “E Rate” to express capabilities or discharge requirements in terms of wattage. Generally users choose a constant power rate of discharge that is mathematically similar to the desired C Rate. See “What is the difference between an Amp-Hour and a Watt-Hour?”
All cells and batteries, being electrochemical sources of electrical potential, can only maintain that electrical potential for as long as the chemicals that create that potential exist inside the battery. As soon as the cell or battery is connected into the device it is designed to power, current immediately begins to flow though the device, and as a result, the chemicals inside the cell or battery which create that electrical potential are consumed. As the chemicals are consumed, the electrical potential reduces.
This is why the voltage of a battery changes during discharge. Unfortunately, with lithium based batteries there is no direct correlation between voltage and state-of-charge. This is because lithium batteries have different internal resistances depending on the state-of-charge, and whether or not the battery is being discharged or resting. The only way to accurately inform a user of a battery’s state of charge is to count the coulombs leaving or entering the battery or to measure the cell’s impedance and compare it against characterized data until the cell reaches top of charge or end of discharge conditions. See “What is the difference between an Amp-Hour and a Watt-Hour?”
All Ultralife SMART batteries are compliant to the Smart Battery System specification and therefore make use of the SMBus protocol for the data exchange/link requirements of the system. Successful connection to the battery’s communication contacts is necessary to establish message reading and writing. Ultralife makes many Cables and Accessories, as well as provides dimensional drawings of interfaces, to assist with this task. Because the SBS specification mandates all SMART batteries have the same read/write addresses, users must be careful when trying to communicate with more than one SMART battery in a system.
Multiplexing is necessary for all multi-SMART battery systems and applications that require series connections of SMART batteries require isolation of the SMBus grounds to prevent shorting. For more information a whitepaper written by Ultralife on this topic is available at here. See “What is a SMART battery?”
Iron phosphate batteries are actually lithium iron phosphate batteries. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) is a rechargeable lithium chemistry that uses a liquid electrolyte. This makes lithium iron phosphate batteries just another type of lithium ion batteries. Like the other numerous lithium ion chemistries, iron phosphate comes with its own benefits in certain attribute areas over other chemistries.
The two greatest strengths of iron phosphate are in the areas of number of useful cycles and inherent safety. Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) charges at a lower voltage than other lithium ion chemistries and therefore does not see the level of electrolyte break-down that occurs at those higher potentials. This significantly increases the cycle life of the cell or battery. Standard lithium ion chemistries typically have a useful life of 300-500 cycles, where iron phosphate has been known to reach 3000 cycles with typical life expectancy to be greater than 1500 cycles. Iron phosphate also does not exothermically react to high temperature exposure meaning it does not go into thermal runaway like other lithium ion cell chemistries making it much safer during reasonable foreseeable misuse such as short circuiting and accidental over charging, should primary protection methods fail.
If energy density and high rate discharge capability are the main requirements of an application, other lithium ion chemistries should be considered as iron phosphate is not as beneficial in those attribute areas. See “What is the difference between lithium ion and lithium polymer?”
Batteries that must indicate to users its real time state-of-charge information, either via an integrated indicator display or remotely through electronic communication with host equipment, require the use of a gas gauge to do so. A gas gauge is a sophisticated microprocessor that converts the analog information of a battery’s cells into digital registers that compute into an accurate state-of-charge value for the battery.
The interesting thing about lithium chemistries is that there is no direct correlation between a battery’s voltage and its state-of-charge. There is a correlation however between a battery’s amperage, time of discharge, closed-circuit voltage, temperature and internal resistance and that battery’s state-of-charge. By properly characterizing reasonably foreseeable use cases and collecting those necessary data points, it is possible to accurately predict (and compensate) a battery’s state-of-charge in real time.
Battery manufactures are in the perfect place to acquire this characterization data as they are the original designers. Ultralife offers this service for many of its battery products, including custom battery designs. After the algorithm has been compiled and loaded onto the battery’s microprocessor, a gas gauge for the battery has been created and state-of-charge information can be sent via SMART communications to either integrated indicator displays or host equipment. See “What is a SMART battery?”
Iron phosphate is a relatively new lithium ion chemistry that has proven to be quite reliable, inherently safe and long lasting. While iron phosphate does not have as high an energy density or specific energy attribute as other lithium ion chemistries, it is still much higher than lead acid. These benefits make the chemistry quite attractive to markets looking to replace their lead acid with a lighter alternative.
Perhaps the best benefit of iron phosphate over lead acid is that its useful life is based on full cycles. Lead acid cells and batteries must be maintained at a state-of-charge that is at least 50%. This makes the useable cycling range of lead acid batteries half that of an iron phosphate battery of equivalent capacity.
For any application that does not require high-rate discharge performance at cold temperatures and/or is not using the weight of the battery as ballast, there is no reason to not use iron phosphate over lead acid. It is simply lighter and more useable. See “What is the difference between lithium ion and iron phosphate batteries?”
The 2590 battery (more specifically, the BB-2590 battery) is a U.S. Military designation used to define the design requirements a battery must have in order to properly power specific military equipment. These requirements are captured in U.S. Military Performance Specification 32052(CR). That specification (abbreviated MIL-PRF-32052) is a generic specification for all rechargeable batteries designed to power portable/wearable radio equipment and comes with associated specification sheets for each of the various types of batteries that fall under its scope.
The BB-2590 is specifically defined in the specification sheet MIL-PRF-32052/1(CR), as well as, the BB-390 and BB-590 batteries. The designation can be broken down into parts; the “BB” prefix means the battery is rechargeable and the “2590” suffix means the battery is lithium ion chemistry and conforms to the XX90 pack size and corresponding dimensions.
All Ultralife UBI-2590 batteries are designed to meet the requirements of MIL-PRF-32052/1(CR). While the standard dictates a minimum performance capability, there is no maximum limitation. Therefore Ultralife prides itself on its ability to exceed those specifications whenever it can. This is where it is not safe to assume that every BB-2590 is the same across manufacturers. Recently this military specification has been superseded by another one, MIL-PRF-32383/3(CR), increasing the performance requirements of these batteries even more.
Ultralife has recently released the UBBL10-01 which is designed to meet those new requirements, and is anticipating the same upgrade to be released for all of the UBI-2590 products soon.
Ultralife fully recognizes national regulatory requirements for lithium metal and lithium ion batteries and endeavors to ensure their batteries are compliant to such regulations. It must be noted however that most of these regulations are conditionally dependent on the specific application they are powering.
Most applications which are heavily regulated are for medical and industrial markets. Some countries have placed strict regulations on lithium metal and ion batteries demanding proof of their safety prior to selling within their jurisdictions. Typically, IEC 62133:2012 certification for secondary cells and batteries and IEC 60086-4 certification for primary cells and batteries have become the widely accepted safety standards for such countries.
A few countries, such as India and Japan, have created their own standards that have variations from the IEC ones. Contact Ultralife for more information and how we can assist in your battery certification needs.
The IEC 62133 standard specifies requirements and tests for the safe operation of portable sealed secondary cells and batteries (other than button cells) containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes under both intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse. IEC 62133:2012 is the second edition of this battery standard, replacing the previous 2002 edition. The 2012 (or 2nd) edition includes a number of significant changes from the 1st edition, namely: update of assembly of cells into batteries, addition of design recommendations for lithium systems only, separation of nickel systems and lithium systems, addition of specific requirements and tests for lithium systems, and the addition of charging of secondary lithium-ion cells for safe use informational.
The standard exists to ensure cells and batteries are manufactured by reputable battery designers that have good quality controls in place. IEC 60086-4:2014 is specific to lithium metal batteries and is very similar to IEC 62133 in terms of scope and purpose. IECEE, the administrative body for the International Electrotechnical Commission, is responsible for issuing and maintaining records of certification to either standard under the Certified Body Scheme (CB).
The focus of UL 2054 is a safety standard for household and commercial batteries by the Underwriter’s Laboratories. It encompasses more foreseeable misuse testing going so far as to actually recreate fault conditions in the battery to thoroughly test redundant measures. UL 2054 applies to all types of batteries (not bare cells) and comes complete with auditing requirements of the manufacturer and related documentation. See “Why do only some of the Ultralife batteries have safety certifications?”
The second edition of IEC 62133 (2012) is a complete cancelation and replacement of the first edition (2002). US, Canada, EU and several countries have adopted the second edition of the standard, however timelines for compliance vary by region and end standards. The biggest impact to battery manufacturers is the separation of nickel based and lithium based batteries, a reduction to the number of battery pack level testing and a significant improvement to cell level testing. As the primary changes are for Lithium-ion cells, battery assemblers should note that when certifying to the 2nd edition, they will need to be aware of the cell’s existing certifications.
The specifics of changes for lithium ion batteries are a reduction in the number of minimum samples needed, the inclusion of a second charging procedure that preconditions the batteries at their temperature limits prior to short-circuit testing, a short-circuit test at 55°C with one hour added duration during post-test, free fall defined in a 20°C temperature and a one hour minimum post test duration, and the movement of the overcharge test from cells to batteries.
At the cell level, there’s a reduction in the number of minimum samples needed, the inclusion of a second charging procedure that preconditions the cells at their temperature limits prior to short-circuit, thermal abuse, crush and forced internal short-circuit testing, a reduction in continuous charge testing (from 28 down to 7 days), a clarification of shorting resistance, free fall defined in a 20°C temperature and a one hour minimum post test duration, the addition of a 10% deformation end point to the crush test, prismatic cells are not only allowed to be crushed on the widest side, the mandatory compliance of UN 38.3 by all cells under test, and the addition of the nation specific forced internal short-circuit test. See “How does UN Transportation Testing differ from other regulatory compliance testing?”
For lithium ion batteries, there are three standards that are tested the most often: UN/DOT 38.3 5th revision, IEC 62133 2nd Edition, and UL 2054 2nd Edition. UN/DOT 38.3 is a self-certifying standard that presents a combination of significant environmental, mechanical, and electrical stresses, in sequence. They are Altitude Simulation (T.1), Thermal Test (T.2), Vibration (T.3), Shock (T.4), External Short Circuit (T.5), Impact (T.6), Overcharge (T.7) and Forced Discharge (T.8). Some tests are easier to pass than others. The altitude test is the easiest. The vibration test, on the other hand, is intensive and long-running; 3 hours in each of the three cardinal planes, and the T.1-T.5 sequence typically has a negative cumulative effect. IEC 62133 is mandated by many IEC end-device standards and is the de facto standard for international compliance.
UN 38.3 transportation testing is an integral requirement, but does not need to be repeated for certification purposes. The standard includes four tests: Molded Case Stress, External Short Circuit, Free Fall and Overcharging of Battery. Compared to the requirements of UN 38.3, these tests are relatively easy to pass. UL 2054 is a challenging standard involving roughly double the number of tests found in the UN or IEC requirements. Compliance with the requirements of UL 2054 is mandated by a number of U.S. end-device standards. Testing includes: 7 electrical tests, 4 mechanical tests, 4 battery enclosure tests, 1 fire exposure test and 2 environmental tests, with the inclusion of single fault criteria and worst-case operation, the electrical tests are the most challenging. The abusive overcharge test is the most difficult given the overvoltage conditions applied to the faulted pack. Abnormal charge, forced discharge, and two short circuit tests also involve significant risk of failure. For lithium batteries, UL 2054 defers all component cell level testing to UL 1642. See “What is the difference between IEC 62133, IEC 60086-4 and UL 2054?”
The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of the French phrase "Conformité Européene" which literally means European Conformity. CE marking is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area since 1985. The CE marking is also found on products sold outside the EEA that are manufactured in, or designed to be sold in, the EEA. This makes the CE marking recognizable worldwide even to people who are not familiar with the European Economic Area. It is in that sense similar to the FCC Declaration of Conformity used on certain electronic devices sold in the United States. The CE marking is the manufacturer's declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable EU Directives (legal acts which require member states to achieve a particular result without regulating the means of attaining such result).
The Official Journal of the European Parliament and of the European Council lists which Directives require CE marking and which do not. Currently there are no applicable Directives specific to batteries that exist dictating the need to CE mark batteries. There is a Directive which exists that relates to the disposal of batteries in the EEA, titled the Battery Directive (2006/66/EC) which dictates that batteries are exempt from RoHS requirements, identifies specific hazardous materials that must be limited within batteries, establishes the limit level for each of those hazardous materials and mandates the use of a specific separate collector symbol on the battery.
Ultralife waits for legislation to be introduced by the EU that would make the mandatory CE marking of batteries more apparently obvious. See “What about CE marking batteries that have sophisticated electronics in them?”
The only possibly relevant Directives for such batteries are the Low Voltage (2014/35/EU) and EMC (2014/30/EU) Directives. The Low Voltage Directive is only applicable to products that have an operating voltage greater than 75 VDC and the EMC Directive applies primarily to electromagnetic emissions and electrostatic immunity. Since the only time electromagnetics can be propagated from a product is during switching currents, this limits the applicability of that Directive to only batteries with integrated chargers in them.
Batteries with integrated chargers make up less than 1% of Ultralife’s battery products and none operate at a voltage of greater than 75 VDC. In addition, neither of those two Directives have an official, harmonized IEC standard that is specific to batteries in general, nor is there any mention of batteries in either Directive’s scope. Even in situations when a device powered by a battery is being certified for CE marking, the battery is tested within the system; not by itself. Therefore, Ultralife does not see any need to CE mark batteries for sale within the jurisdiction of the EU. See “Why are most of Ultralife batteries not CE marked?”
All Ultralife lithium batteries, regardless of type, must be stored in a cool, dry environment in as close as possible to room temperature. This is the best practice to assure battery charge retention and shelf-life. While in many cases the specified storage temperature range is wider than just close to room temperature, best practice is to stay between 15 and 25 centigrade (59 to 77 Fahrenheit). Storing lithium batteries at significantly hotter temperatures, especially above 65°C (149°F), has the unwanted effect of breaking down the solvent, dissolving cathode atoms into the electrolyte, and any moisture present in the cells begins to react with the lithium – all of which degrade both the shelf-life of the battery and, in the case of rechargeable batteries, their charge retention.
While storing the battery at significantly colder temperatures has the benefit of reducing the battery’s rate of self-discharge, it has the unintended effect of raising the relative humidity of the air increasing potential of condensation and possibly corrosion. While lithium metal batteries (primary) can be stored at any state-of-charge, lithium ion batteries (rechargeable) must be stored at a state-of-charge that is between 40 and 60%. This ensures that the battery will have enough charge to allow for an adequate amount of storage prior to becoming severely depleted and precludes any breakdown of electrolyte that begins to occur whenever a cell’s voltage is within its upper voltage range.
Lithium ion batteries should be recharged back to a 40-60% state-of-charge once every four to six months following the charging recommendations of the manufacturer. See “Is it safe to charge a lithium ion battery that is deeply discharged?”
Many times customers allow their lithium ion batteries to become deeply discharged. This is a result of improperly storing the battery from a fully discharged state, extending the duration of storage without performing a maintenance charge, exposing the battery to excessively high temperatures during storage, or any combination of the above. Lithium ion batteries which have been deeply discharged begin to dissolve copper out of the electrodes. This by itself is not a problem (cells can be safely discharged to zero volts), however, the issue is in the subsequent recharge of the battery. See “How do I properly store a battery?”
U9VL is the original model number for our basic 9-volt battery using a plastic housing. The U9VL was designed for applications in which the battery would most likely be used fairly quickly, such as in many medical, wireless security and music/audio devices.
The U9VL -J was the model number for our long-life 9-volt battery. It was actually a U9VL battery encased in an aluminum housing (or “jacket”). The aluminum housing reduces the amount of moisture that can enter the battery over time, which enhances its life. It is also slightly larger than the U9VL (U9VL-FP) battery, and presented a tighter fit in a small number of devices with smaller battery compartments that were originally designed to match the dimensions and shape of an alkaline 9-volt battery with more rounded edges.
The U9VL -J was designed for applications in which the battery needed to last a long time, such as in smoke alarms, or where it may be exposed to low temperatures or uncontrolled heat and humidity conditions, such as in electronic parking meters or other outdoor applications such as automatic watering systems and dog training transmitters.
The U9VL -J-P is the current model number for our FIVE TIMES LONGER brand retail-packaged battery. It is a vast improvement over the U9VL-J model as the U9VL-J-P features a smaller package size than the ANSI 1604 standard for 9-volt batteries and is comprised of three series connected Ultralife Thin-cells, complete with intermediate shutdown separators for its internal construction. The U9VL-J-P is designed for applications in which the battery must either last a long time, such as in smoke alarms, or where it may be exposed to uncontrolled heat and humidity conditions, such as in electronic parking meters or other outdoor applications. You can get more information on our U9VL -J-P battery here.
The -FP, -BP, and –X suffices specify the different external packaging types, such as individually sealed foiled package, blister-carded package, or the ten-year smoke alarm/contractor blister-carded package. An advantage to the sealed foiled package is that it must be torn open to remove the battery, which easily verifies that the battery has never been used.
Ultralife Corporation has a long history of cell and battery design within the Commercial product sector in various markets, including Medical, Security, Metering, Telematics, and industrial segments.
Ultralife can support non-rechargeable, rechargeable, and charge developments for your next project.
Ultralife has partnered with many cell manufactures to provide the capability to manufacture and design battery packs for both non-rechargeable and rechargeable applications across many different chemistries and sizes, including Lithium ion, Nickel Metal Hydride, Lithium Manganese Oxide, Lithium Thionyl Chloride, Lithium Polymer, Lithium Iron Phosphate, etc.
We continually test and monitor new and emerging technologies to provide the very latest energy densities and options to our customers. For more information visit our Custom Battery Solutions page.
For more information about us, including a Company Profile, Management Team overview and recent and past Press Releases, please visit our ’About’ page.
The CAGE code for the Ultralife Corporation is 0UU59.
You can locate a sales agent, reseller, or sales representative for your area by contacting our Corporate Sales office at 1-800-332-5000 (U.S. and Canada) or +1 315-332-7100 and ask for Customer Support or click here to send an Inquiry.
If you are a representative or agent interested in representing Ultralife products, please contact our Corporate Sales office at 1-800-332-5000 (U.S. and Canada) or +1 315-332-7100 and ask for Customer Support.
You may ship lithium based cells and batteries by air provided you meet the regulations put forth by the governing bodies for your jurisdiction. Lithium based cells and batteries are heavily regulated for the promotion of public safety, but not because they are inherently dangerous and completely unsafe to travel at all.
The most universally accepted regulation is that all batteries shipped by air must have first passed the UN’s Manual of Critical Tests, section 38.3, based on their Recommendation for the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Both the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have worked together to release the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air and the Dangerous Goods Regulations, respectively, which offer specific packing instructions for the air shipment of lithium based batteries. They are almost verbatim copies of each other. Particular to the US, the Department of Transportation has also written regulations that are almost verbatim of the Dangerous Goods Regulations.
From a practical stand point, what must be understood is the UN has sub-classifications under class 9 for lithium based batteries and that each of these have varying limitations of net weights per package. All lithium metal (primary) cells and batteries shipped by themselves (UN 3090) are forbidden for transport as cargo on passenger aircraft. All packages prepared in accordance with Packing Instruction 968, Section IA, IB and II, must bear a Cargo Aircraft Only label, in addition to existing labels. As of April 2016, two additional regulations were placed on lithium ion (rechargeable) batteries: all lithium ion cells and batteries shipped by themselves (UN 3480) are forbidden for transport as cargo on passenger aircraft. All packages prepared in accordance with Packing Instruction 965, Section IA, IB and II, must bear a Cargo Aircraft Only label, in addition to existing labels, and, all lithium ion cells and batteries must be shipped at a state of charge not exceeding 30% of their rated design capacity.
There are also passenger regulations regarding the transportation of lithium based batteries during personal travel, i.e. carry-on and checked baggage. The general rule here is that a passenger is allowed to carry-on or check as many spare batteries (within reason) they want provided the batteries are less than 100 Watt-hours (or 2 grams of lithium content for primaries) and be protected against external short-circuiting. Lithium batteries that are greater than 100 Watt-hours must be less than 160 Watt-hours, have airline approval, be carried-on only and is limited to only two spares maximum per passenger. For more information, download the IATA Lithium Battery Guidance Document located here. See “How does UN Transportation Testing differ from other regulatory compliance testing?”
Prototype or low-production lithium batteries may be transported by cargo aircraft if you do the following (See Special Provision A88): obtain approval from the competent authority of the State of origin prior to transport, protect the cells and batteries from short circuiting, individually pack each of the cells or batteries in an inner packaging inside an outer packaging that completely surrounds the cells and batteries (all packaging and cushioning material must be non-conductive and non-combustible), and place the cells and batteries in an outer drum or box made of metal, plastic or plywood that meets Packing Group I performance requirements.
ITAR is an acronym for International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It is a set of United States government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List and Commerce Control List (CCL). These regulations implement the provisions of the Arms Export Control Act, and are described in Title 22 (Foreign Relations), Chapter I (Department of State), Subchapter M of the Code of Federal Regulations.
The U.S. Department of State interprets and enforces ITAR. Most, but not all, of Ultralife’s military products used to fall under the ITAR export control regulations, but have recently been reclassified under Export Control Classification Number EAR99. Please contact Customer Support to determine if an export license is required for a product in which you are interested.
If your item falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is not listed on the CCL, it is designated as EAR99. The majority of commercial products are designated EAR99 and generally will not require a license to be exported or re-exported. However, if you plan to export an EAR99 item to an embargoed or sanctioned country, to a party of concern, or in support of a prohibited end-use, you may be required to obtain a license. It usually takes between 2 and 3 weeks to obtain an export license. In some cases it can take longer depending on the product and country to which it is being shipped
Download our pdf here for information on the lithium content and transportation classifications for Ultralife cells and batteries.
For safety precautions regarding lithium-manganese dioxide batteries you can Download our pdf here.
For safety precautions regarding lithium ion batteries you can Download our pdf here.
REACH is a European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (Regulation No. EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances. The regulation entered into force on June 1, 2007.
The aim of REACH is to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. Under the REACH regulations, batteries and communications systems are considered articles. Articles are exempt from registration unless they contain substances that are intended to be released during normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions of use (e.g. a ball point pen or marker.) By design, the chemical contents of a battery are sealed inside and not intended for release during normal, reasonable use. Therefore as a manufacturer of batteries and communications systems, Ultralife Corporation does not anticipate the need to register our products.
The REACH regulations also contain requirements for notification to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) of the manufacture or import of “one (1) tonne or greater of substances of very high concern (SVHC).” The SVHC list is intended to contain chemicals that are considered to be more toxic (e.g., carcinogenic, mutagenic, reproductive hazards, etc.) On June 18, 2012, a substance known as 1,2-dimethoxyethane was added to the SVHC list. Some Ultralife battery products do contain a small percentage of 1,2-dimethoxyethane as an electrolyte component. However, because this substance is already registered for this use under the REACH regulations, no notification requirements apply to Ultralife or importers and users of its battery products.
Finally, due to the inclusion of 1,2-dimethoxyethane on the SVHC list, Ultralife and downstream suppliers of Ultralife battery products are required to provide recipients (that is, users) with information to direct the safe use of these batteries. This information is published in Ultralife product safety data sheets, which are readily available on the Ultralife website. As always, please contact Ultralife If you have trouble locating or viewing these product safety data sheets. Again by design, the chemical contents of a battery are sealed inside and not intended for release during normal, reasonable use, and in such conditions, do not emit hazardous or regulated substances.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate the disposal of batteries in small quantities; large quantities are regulated under the Universal rules of Hazardous Waste regulations (40 CFR PART 273). Lithium batteries are not currently being collected by manufacturers for recycling. Lithium batteries are currently disposed of after their use. While there are no federal regulations for disposal of lithium batteries, individual states or localities can establish their own guidelines for battery disposal, and should be contacted for any disposal guidelines that they may have.
Following are Ultralife's recommendations for the disposal of Ultralife Lithium-Manganese Dioxide cells and batteries. Batteries for household use in small quantities, such as our 9-volt lithium batteries, can be disposed of with normal household waste after their use, in accordance with any local regulations that may apply. Larger quantities of batteries for commercial use should be in a discharged condition prior to their disposal. Generally, a Lithium-Manganese Dioxide cell is considered to be discharged once its voltage reaches 2 volts or less under a current of C/100 (C is the rated capacity of the battery in ampere-hours). For example, for our 1.2 Ah 9-volt battery, when the voltage reaches 2 volts under a load of 12 mA it would be considered to be discharged. Once discharged, large quantities of lithium batteries can be shipped to a hazardous waste facility for incineration. There are a few companies that recycle Lithium Batteries. The cost is quite significant to do this compared to incineration.
The shipment of live or discharged lithium batteries is governed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in their Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), paragraph 173.185(j). Incineration of lithium cells and batteries by consumers is not recommended. Incineration should be done at a properly permitted facility that can handle this waste. Contact you waste handler if you are unsure whether or not a facility can handle the batteries.
While there are labelling requirements concerning the proper disposal and recycling of NiCad and sealed lead acid batteries, do these requirements apply to Lithium ion batteries? Regulations and laws pertaining to the recycling and disposal of lithium-ion batteries vary from country to country as well as by state and local governments. The European governments have more strict regulations on the disposal of rechargeable batteries than the USA and Canada. You will need to check the laws and regulations where you live. The following is a recommendation by Ultralife for the USA: There are a number of facilities that recycle lithium-ion batteries. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation's web site, http://www.rbrc.org/, is an excellent source for finding a facility to handle these types of batteries.
Remember that before any type of disposal the batteries should be discharged completely. Tape the contacts with electrical tape and package so as to prevent contacts accidentally coming together at any time. These batteries can be incinerated if you have a large quantity and they will need to be packaged as lithium-ion batteries. Incineration must be performed by an approved and permitted waste treatment facility that handles lithium-ion batteries. If you are not sure if your waste facility can handle lithium-ion batteries, contact them and verify if they are permitted or not. For home disposal, many stores offer free recycling of rechargeable batteries. If no outlet is available in your area, it is safe to dispose of these batteries in your regular trash. As always, check with your local laws to make sure that this is acceptable.