Battery Books

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I do admit that this is not much yet. But I am in the habit of really reading the books I review because I prefer to be sure what I am talking about. Which unfortunately takes way more time than just leafing through them which appears to have become common practice among reviewers these days.
If you know a book that should be mentioned here, please
drop me a line.

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Dr. A. F. Bogenschütz: Technical dictionary for Batteries and Advanced Energy Conversion
(English - German / German - English)

When I received this book, I could hardly believe my eyes. Written 33 years ago, it is still the first edition.
Age, though, does have its benefits. This book is rugged and thus likely to survive heavy use for quite a long time.
As opposed to most books sold these days. And it is small enough to have it nearby on a permanent basis.
The title is an understatement because the book not only provides info on batteries and advanced energy conversion, but on many more general technical terms as well. Even "action of patent office" or "bicycle light" are mentioned. The battery-related translations are amazingly detailed, you will even find the names of many chemicals required for battery manufacture. My favourite  is "Äthylendiamintetraessigsäure" (edetic acid, also ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid)...
Although it is, even for me, not common to read a dictionary from beginning to end, I ended up spending the better part of three nights reading the first half (the english - german part). If you, like me, often have to read technical documentation, this book is an excellent way to improve your mastering of the foreign language. And it will definitely improve your general knowledge of batteries as you will find yourself seeking info on terms you don't know in either language. Or do you happen to remember what a Poggendorf cell (Poggendorf-Element) or a Pörscke cell (Pörscke-Element) is?
The down side of a book written that long ago is, of course, that its content reflects what was state of the art in 1968. Nickel-Cadmium or Silver-Oxide cells, for example, are mentioned, Nickel-Metal Hydride cells are not. Trickle charge is mentioned, pulse charge isn't. It doesn't surprise that Lithium Ion cells, which as secondary cells were put on the market by Sony only more than two decades later, are not to be found, either.
The book also includes an extensive amount of conversion tables. Although this is not as helpful as it used to be before the pocket calculator was invented, I still appreciate the fact that I don't have to boot my PC (or search for my calculator) just because I happen to need the equivalent of ten english pounds in kilograms .

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Dipl. Ing. L. Retzbach: Akkus und Ladegeräte

This book is in German. It is for all who concern themselves with rechargeables and charging concepts professionally or as a hobby. First published in 1985, it is revised and actualized on a regular basis. My copy is from the 12th edition, published in 2000.
To begin with, the author gives an overview of the history of rechargeable power supplies. He then explains the difference between primary and secondary battery cells, followed by an explanation of some technical terms like nominal voltage, cut-off voltage, internal resistance, capacity, energie efficiency and density of energy.
The following four chapters describe the four most important technologies used for rechargeables: Nickel-Cadmium, Nickel-Metal Hydride, Lead-Acid and Lithium-Ion.
The general structure of all four chapters is
a) Construction
b) Electrochemical processes
c) Discharge characteristics and interior resistance
d) Charging concepts
e) Storage and maintenance
Storage and maintenance aren't sufficiently discussed in my opinion, for the Nickel-Cadmium technology this topic is granted 9 lines only.
Still, the chapter on Nickel-Cadmium is the most detailed of the four. This is because characteristics common to all four rechargeable types are only discussed here. In the other chapters the main emphasis is on the considerable differences in treatment and usage.
The very interesting last chapter describes universally usable chargers. Thanks to regularely actualized editions these chargers are current devices that are still available. Also to be found here are circuit diagrams that provide solutions for many often encountered charging problems. These circuits are easy and inexpensive to build.
The index provides a short explanation of each entry next to the page numbers which is quite helpful and makes this last part a "small dictionary". However, some terms that are discussed in the book are missing.
This abundant wealth of information is presented in a fluent, easy-to-understand and often humorous style. This makes reading a very instructive pleasure, rousing one's curiosity as to the author's other books. Given the amazing rate of nearly one new edition each year, the little that is still missing (pulse charge for example is only mentioned in the context of trickle charge) will probably find its way into this book soon.

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Heinz Wenzl: Batterietechnik

This book is in German. It is one volume of a technical book series which is the result of a cooperation with the technical university in Esslingen / Germany. It came into being as the result of many seminars the author has held in Germany and in the United States of America.
Lead-acid batteries are predominant. Other technologies are (briefly) mentioned whenever this helps understanding lead-acid batteries better or when special attributes are described that are very different. Fortunately, the main emphasis here is on issues the user can actually control.
Chapters 1 to 4 are on battery construction and the electrochemical basics. The following 5 chapters provide detailed descriptions of charge and discharge processes, also mentioned here are new processes that improve battery performance and battery life. The effects of temperature and corrosion are discussed, followed by information on battery test methods
Chapter 10 deals (on only two pages unfortunately) with something you hardly ever find in this kind of book: Info on environmental problems caused by batteries.
The third part, consisting of the chapters 11 to 14, deals with some concrete scenarios. Systems that help optimizing battery performance and reduce maintenance time are discussed.
Target group for this book are people looking for concrete and very detailed information on how to design a lead-acid battery system for commercial use. It helps to have some basic knowledge of this subject already. The fact that a 100 Ampere current will change around five percent of the 1023 molecules on the electrode surface of a 40 Ah battery per second is certainly important information if you need to solve this kind of problems, for the average end user, though, this will certainly be of minor importance.
The usability of this book is (very slightly) reduced by some linguistic mistakes. Occasionally this impedes fluent reading, in rare cases it made me think I might have misunderstood what the author tried to get across. A thorough proof-reading before the next edition is published would increase this book's already high usability even more.

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