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For my next project I'd like to use a battery pack to power my Arduino. I would also like to get a small solar panel and charging module to charge these batteries when possible (during the day).

  1. What is the right type of battery for this kind of application?
  2. What are the differences given this context?
  3. What are the factors I need to consider when choosing a rechargeable battery for this application?
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    Both viable. LiIon easier to manage well if managed well. Easier to destroy if managed badly. As LiIOn cell has 3V-4.2V range probably need an inverter with 1 cell or buck regulator with 2 which is annoying. Nimh give 1.0 - 1.2 V/cell so eg 6 give 6 - 7.2V for 5V system and 4 give 4 - 4.8V for 3V3 system. NimH are easier overall to build half well and get half good reults. LiIon are very unforgiving of bad treatment past a certain point. – Russell McMahon Feb 23 '15 at 7:14
  • @RussellMcMahon if you could post this as an answer I'd like to mark it as accepted. Thank you for these explanations. – Phil Feb 24 '15 at 15:15
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Look at Battery University for many good ideas.

Both NimH and LiIon are viable for your application.

LiIon are easier to manage well if managed well.
ie do it right and they are easy to manage, but cut corners and they are easier to destroy.

NimH can be abused more with a slow degradation in capacity - although complete destruction is possible.

As a LiIOn cell has a ~= 3.0V to 4.2V range you'd probably probably need a step up inverter with 1 cell, or a buck regulator with 2 cells, which is 'annoying'. If you are prepared to use the cell over say a 3.4V to 4.2V range with an LDO regulator for a 3.3V system then you lose a significant amount of available capacity but increase battery cycle life substantially.

Nimh give 1.0 - 1.2 V/cell so eg

  • 6 cells give 6 - 7.2V for a 5V system,

  • 5 cells give say 5.25V - 7V if run down to 1.05V for a 5V system with a suitable LDO regulator, and

  • 4 cells give 4 - 4.8V for a 3V3 system.

NimH are easier overall to build half well and get half good results.

LiIon are slightly harder to get going with in most cases, work very well if treated well, and are VERY unforgiving of bad treatment past a certain point.

  • In some applications you can forgo any regulator and run the Arduino directly off the battery, if you're willing to accommodate doing so. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Feb 25 '15 at 4:14

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