1/2 AA lithium batteries are one of the most common size lithium batteries used in the market, but many people don’t realise that as with all batteries, there are different types.
The two main Lithium technologies are the 3.6V Lithium Thionyl Chloride and the 3V Lithium Manganese Dioxide System. For this article I am going to concentrate on the 3.6V type and hopefully give you some clarification about the types available and correct some misconceptions.
First of all the voltage (this applies to all Lithium Thionyl Chloride cells).They are actually all 3.67V on open circuit load. Depending whether you round this up or down to one decimal place, people will refer to them as either 3.6 or 3.7 Volt batteries.
Secondly batteries are chemical systems and the make up of the batteries are usually optimised to meet specific performance requirements. The two major components are the lithium and the electrolyte. The performance that each type of cell will offer differs between different manufacturers, as it will vary on the actual make up and quality of these components.
Tadiran Batteries produce two different 1/2 AA batteries. The SL300 Series, which has been optimised for memory back up applications that essentially have low current drains in the order of microAmps. These are generally used to keep Real Time Clocks going in computers.
The SL700 Series on the other hand has been optimised for pulsing type applications that have slightly higher pulses, in the order of milliAmps. Applications such as Alarm Systems and Carp Fish Bite Alarms.
Saft produce the LS14250, which seems to sit in the middle and attempts to fit both applications.
There are then a multitude of lesser known brands. Often people hit problems with these because they simply assume that they are all the same. Take it from me that there are huge variances in quality and consistency. There are many people who have been attracted to the cheapest option only to find they are not value for money.
Tadiran Batteries and Saft are world leaders in Lithium Technology.