Power

A modern take on an older cell design

24th January 2020
Alex Lynn

Ultralife Corporation has offered a modern contemporary CR123A cell. The small cells found a niche in powering cameras throughout the years, but modern lithium chemistry has redefined their place in the electrical world. Here, Ultralife has produced an infographic that explores the wide and diverse range of uses that the CR123A can now provide power for. 

Previously, batteries were designed for specific purposes. Alkaline nine-volts powered fire alarms and small radios, chunky C and D cells ran flashlights and larger electronics and AAs powered most-everything else.

Alkaline chemistries have been the workhorse of batteries for decades. However, due to improvements in battery technology and an increasing number of devices relying on portable power, it is important that manufacturers are aware of the versatility of cells like CR123A. Lithium batteries have got smaller and more powerful, meaning previously specialist designs have found their horizons expanded.

The infographic showcases the range of applications that Ultralife’s CR123A can power today, from home automation sensors to tactical military equipment including scopes. It highlights the benefits that Ultralife’s CR123A battery offers to design engineers that are developing these devices, such as a compact profile, a wide operating temperature range and a ten-year shelf life.

J.D. DiGiacomandrea, Applications Engineering Manager at Ultralife Corporation, explained: “Describing, exploring and explaining these new options is the purpose of this infographic. There’s a lot of common, traditional knowledge around batteries that just doesn’t hold up in the world of lithium battery chemistries and ever-advancing electronic technology.

“One instance is the home fire alarm. For decades they’ve invariably been powered by PP3 cells — the typical, rectangular nine-volt — but times have changed. Modern fire alarms often require as little as three volts to operate, making nine-volt PP3s too much. Furthermore, the advanced lithium manganese dioxide (LiMn02) chemistry carries far more energy than alkaline nine Volts, retains that power for longer and comes in a smaller, lighter package.

“It’s not just in replacing older cells that the Ultralife CR123A fits the bill, however. The home automation market is expected to top $100 billion in the USA alone by 2025, and all these devices need consistent power.

“The home automation case explored in the infographic involves smart lighting and speakers. The listening devices that govern the smart systems may sit idle for days, with that idleness broken up by only a few seconds of activity at a time.

“Therefore, the batteries powering these devices must be able to hold charge safely over long timespans, while also providing high-current at a moment’s notice. These reasons, and more, are why we recommend the Ultralife CR123A.

“Dispelling long-held battery traditions is an uphill battle, but crucial if the ambitions of modern battery-powered technology are to be realised. By reading this infographic, we hope to help design engineers understand the possibilities that little bit better.”

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