To measure the capacity, charge the battery fully, using the manufacturer's recommended regime and discharge it through an electronic load with a constant current equal to C/5, where C is the nominal capacity of the battery, stated by the manufacturer. Monitor the battery voltage and measure the time taken to reach the minimum voltage, again stated by the manufacturer (usually 0.9V per cell for NiCd/NiMH and 2.8 or 3V for Li-ION/Li-PO). The capacity is then calculated by the formula C measured =[Current (C/5) in Amps] X [Time in Hours] = Ah. If no electronic load is available then a simple resistor, with an appropriate power rating could do the job, but requires more frequent measuring of the voltage to achieve accurate results. The value of the resistor would be calculated using Ohmâ€™s low â€" R=V/A, where V is the maximum voltage of the battery and A is the discharge current. The power of the resistor is then calculated by multiplying V by A. NiCd batteries should be charged with a constant current with temperatue monitoring and safety timeout. The best results are achieved using a dedicated charger, but if a manual setup for charging is required the charging current should not exceed C/3 and the timeout should be set to disconnect the battery after receiving 120-130% of its nominal capacity. The temperature should not exceed 50-55Â°C. Normally NiCd batteries are charged at C/10. Fast charge with rate up to C (C/2 for extended life) could be implemented occasionally, but careful temperature and overvoltage control is needed, because the battery can go into thermal runaway and can be damaged.
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