How Do Rechargeable Lithium Batteries Work and How Many Times Can You Recharge Them?

Are All Lithium Batteries Rechargeable?

In order to better understand this concept, let’s compare lithium batteries with lithium-ion batteries. Lithium batteries are what we call primary cell batteries that cannot be recharged.
Watches, smoke detectors, pacemakers, and other devices that require continuous power can benefit from these batteries. Nevertheless, once they’re done, they must be disposed of.
On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries can be recharged. This type of cell is referred to as a secondary cell. Lithium ions can travel from the anode to the cathode when discharging and from the cathode to the anode when recharging. From earbuds to home backup power systems, lithium-ion batteries are used everywhere.

What Happens When You Recharge a Lithium Battery?

Let’s examine how a lithium battery works and what happens inside the cells when it’s recharged.
How Does a Lithium Battery Work?
A lithium-ion cell is made up of four components: an anode, a cathode, an electrolyte, and a separator. To understand how a lithium-ion battery works, we must first understand the components inside it. Manufacturers typically use graphite as an anode material for lithium-ion cells. Cathode materials include lithium iron phosphate, lithium cobalt oxide, and lithium manganese oxide.
Lithium ions flow from the anode to the cathode as the battery discharges (powering your electronics), passing through a separator, which forces electrons into the anode.
What Does the Battery Management System (BMS) Do?
Battery Management Systems (BMS) are electronic control units installed within batteries and are an integral part of the recharge process.
A BMS ensures that all cells of the battery are discharging and recharging at the same rate, and monitors the temperature of the battery constantly. By doing so, the battery is able to get the most out of its power and extend its life.
How Does Recharging a Lithium-Ion Battery Work?
When a lithium battery recharges, the flow of lithium-ions between the anode and cathode reverses. Instead of flowing from the anode to the cathode, the lithium ions flow from the cathode to the anode.
Do Rechargeable Lithium Batteries Need a Special Charger?

This process requires a programmable charger that can be set to the battery’s specific needs in order for the charge to be injected correctly. A battery charger increases the system voltage above the battery’s voltage to inject the charge. To prevent the charger from damaging a lithium battery, the BMS is in place in the above paragraph.
You should not try to charge your batteries with just any charger. For example, chargers for lead-acid batteries are specially designed to protect the battery life by periodically pulsating high voltages into the battery. Since lithium batteries run at a narrower voltage range, these lead-acid chargers could possibly overcharge your lithium-ion battery, which is why you should use a charger that is specifically designed for your batteries.

How Many Times Can You Recharge a Lithium Battery?

In order to determine how many times you can charge a lithium battery, you need to consider the type of battery and the way you use it. Not all lithium-ion batteries are the same, and cell design plays a significant role in longevity. For example, prismatic cells have significantly shorter lifespans than cylindrical cells. As a result, Battle Born Batteries use long-lasting high-quality cylindrical cells.
Before our batteries reach 80 percent of their original capacity, heavy use will yield around 3000-5000 discharge cycles.
Lithium polymer cells have even fewer usable cycles than prismatic cells.

When Should You Recharge Your Lithium-Ion Battery?

How much should you drain your rechargeable lithium battery before charging it?
You should recharge your lithium battery after using about 80% of its power, according to most manufacturers. Battle Born and Dragonfly Energy batteries can be completely discharged before needing to be recharged. With a 100% depth of discharge rating, you’ll be able to go longer without charging.

Recharging Lithium Batteries Vs. Lead-Acid

In terms of chemistry, composition, and recharge capabilities, lithium-ion batteries differ from lead-acid batteries. For example, lithium-ion batteries are much more energy-dense and less affected by Peukert’s law. Thus, lead-acid batteries have a shorter life cycle than lithium batteries. You’re likely to get between 100 and 300 full discharge cycles depending on the type and how you use your lead-acid battery.
Furthermore, lithium batteries charge twice as fast as lead-acid batteries, and charging can be stopped or started at any point without damaging the battery.

Extend Your Battery Life with Lithium

In addition to being energy-dense, compact, and lasting much longer than lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized how we store energy. Lithium-ion batteries are typically much more expensive than their lead-acid counterparts. If you’ve ever been shopping for batteries, you’ve probably noticed the price difference. Even so, they hold much more energy and have a lifespan that is over five times longer than a lead-acid battery.