Types of Batteries Used in Robotics
There are many different types of batteries available on the market, but to keep things simple we’ll divide them into two groups.
There are batteries that are great for robots…
- Li-Ion — lithium-ion battery
- Li-Poly — lithium polymer batteries
- NiMH — nickel–metal hydride battery
…and batteries that are not that great (meaning, don’t use them):
- Lead-acid battery — all types (including VRLA, SLA, gel or AGM) don’t like charging-discharging cycles and works much better as a backup power supply for stationary applications. They also have low capacity per weight unit.
- NiCd — nickel-cadmium battery — similar to NiMH, but currently they are being withdrawn from use, because of toxic cadmium and no advantages over NiMH cells.
- NiH2 — nickel-hydrogen battery — have you ever heard about that one? Probably not, unless you were building the Hubble Space Telescope…
There are a couple of other types, however we won’t be discussing anything expensive, difficult to buy, or difficult to charge.
The table below will give you a general overview of the battery types mentioned above (the ones suitable for robots). There are many modern Li-Ion cells, which allow discharging them with current up to 90C, but the table would be 10 times wider if I wanted to describe all of them.