D-cell lithium batteries (Li-SO2)

Lithium/Sulfur Dioxide D-Cell Battery

Lithium battery

Discontinued - sold June 1999 through November 2013

Lithium/sulfur dioxide is an advanced primary battery chemistry that economically out-performs most commonly available battery chemistries - including the alkaline/manganese dioxide chemistry used in the ubiquitous alkaline battery.

D-cell lithium batteries can be used in a wide range of applications from flashlights to emergency radios to portable equipment - any place where their unique combination of high power density, light weight, wide temperature range or long storage life characteristics are needed.

The lithium battery has twice the voltage of an alkaline battery. You can replace two alkaline batteries with a single lithium battery but you may have to modify your device to make this work or make a dummy battery to take up the excess space. In the case of a 2 D-cell flashlight, you can use two lithium batteries if you change to a higher voltage bulb.

High power density. A "D" lithium/sulfur dioxide battery can produce 21Wh (7.5Ah at 2.8V) when being discharged at C/10 current rates. That's about 250Wh/kg (115Wh/lb) or 0.4Wh/cc (6.5Wh/cubic inch). It would take about 2 and a half alkaline batteries or about 20 carbon/zinc batteries to produce the same amount of power under similar load conditions.

Weighs only 85g (3oz). A "D" lithium battery is light weight because it uses light but highly energetic materials. The lithium anode, the carbon cathode and the sulfur dioxide reactants are very light weight for their energy content so you won't need a mule to haul around your spare batteries. A lithium battery is about half the weight of an alkaline battery while producing over twice the power.

High terminal voltage. The open battery voltage (i.e., with no load attached to the battery) is about 3 volts. That voltage drops to about 2.8V when the battery is under load. Under high discharge rates at very cold temperatures, the battery voltage can drop to 2.3V.

Flat discharge curve. The terminal voltage of a lithium battery is very stable. The battery is able to maintain a relatively constant terminal voltage until the last 15% of its life for significant discharge rates. At lower discharge rates the terminal voltage will stay almost constant until the last 5% of the battery's life.

This is in direct contrast to alkaline batteries where the terminal voltage starts a rapid drop from the very beginning as the internal battery resistance climbs, wasting much of the remaining power at high discharge rates.

Low internal resistance. A lithium battery employs a wound plate construction to provide a large plate surface area. This allows the battery to operate with a very low internal resistance and produce very large currents.

The low internal resistance in a lithium battery is maintained throughout its life, rising steeply just as the battery is dying. This is why the voltage curve is so flat and why the lithium battery is so efficient.

Wide temperature operating range: -60° to 80°C (-76° to 176°F). The lithium/sulfur dioxide chemistry is very tolerant of wide temperature ranges. Most other battery chemistries don't work very well below freezing and they also die in short order at elevated temperatures.

At -40°C (-40°F) the battery retains about 50% of its capacity when providing 0.5A, 65% of its capacity when providing 0.1A and 85% of its capacity when providing 0.01A.

Lithium batteries can take the summer southwest desert heat and still provide years of service.

Conventional alkaline batteries fail when the temperature drops below freezing. This makes them inappropriate for cold weather operations. Their shelf life is also dramatically reduced when exposed to high temperatures (alkaline batteries left in the glove compartment in the desert southwest sometimes don't make it through the entire summer).

10-year battery shelf life. Lithium batteries can be stored at room temperature for 10 years and still retain 70% of their rated capacity. The shelf life is reduced to 5 years at significantly elevated temperatures. If you are using lithium batteries to power emergency equipment, we recommend you test the equipment regularly and replace the lithium batteries at least every 5 years. The batteries removed from the emergency equipment can be used for less critical functions so their remaining capacity is not wasted.

The lithium/sulfur dioxide battery chemistry has an interesting characteristic you should know about. When a battery has been stored at elevated temperatures or for an extended period of time, a passive layer forms over the lithium anode. This layer contributes to the long shelf life of the battery. When the battery is placed in service, this layer dissipates quickly but may temporarily depress the battery terminal voltage.

Like all batteries, lithium batteries should be stored individually packaged. Care should be taken to avoid excessively high temperatures (80°C or 176°F), shorting the batteries or physically damaging the batteries.

Safety. The lithium/sulfur dioxide battery chemistry has an excellent safety record. The use of these batteries has been adopted by the military via the military specification MIL-B-49430. These batteries are also widely used in industry.

We supply only the UL recognized PTC-protected lithium batteries. The PTC device protects the battery from external short circuits while allowing the battery to continue functioning after a short circuit is removed. The advantage of PTC-protected lithium batteries over fused lithium batteries is reliability. If you accidentally short a fused battery, the fuse opens and renders the battery useless. In contrast, the PTC device automatically "resets" when the short circuit is removed allowing the battery to resume normal operation. The PTC device operates at currents over one ampere.

We cannot recommend you use unprotected lithium batteries because an external short circuit will cause the battery to rapidly overheat, resulting in the safety pressure relief mechanism operating and the venting of sulfur dioxide gas. As a result of this behavior, unprotected lithium batteries require a hazardous material shipping declaration for air shipment making them less convenient and more expensive to ship to customers.

If the product you are using comes with a third-party certification, you are required to use a short circuit-protected version of this battery to maintain the certification. We recommend you use PTC-protected lithium batteries exclusively.

We have included the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). Page 1 includes: material identification, hazardous ingredients/identity information, physical/chemical characteristics, fire and explosion data. Page 2 includes: reactivity data, health hazard data, precautions for safe handling and use, control measures. Page 3 includes: storage, packaging and transportation, domestic. Page 4 includes: international, transportation data, note, disclaimer. The PTC-protected lithium batteries have a non-dangerous classification.

Lithium/sulfur dioxide batteries are primary batteries. That means they cannot be recharged. Attempting to recharge these batteries will result in an internal short-circuit, overheating and cause the safety pressure relief mechanism to operate and vent sulfur dioxide gas. Further, the escaping gasses will be hot and can cause burns. DO NOT attempt to recharge these batteries or use them in a circuit that would allow a reverse current to flow in the battery.

The battery contents are under pressure. The battery is designed with a safety pressure relief mechanism to vent excess pressure. DO NOT short circuit or expose these batteries to high temperatures.

The battery contains lithium metal which is very reactive with water. DO NOT open, puncture or crush these batteries.

The battery contains sulfur dioxide gas which can cause respiratory distress if released in confined areas or inhaled in significant concentrations. DO NOT open, puncture, crush, short circuit or expose these batteries to high temperatures.

Dead batteries may be safely disposed of in a sanitary land fill. Check with your local authorities for local disposal requirements.

Dimensions: 60mm by 33mm (2.4" by 1.3"). The dimensions are height by diameter and are for a "D" battery.

Specifications are subject to change without notice.

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Updated November 2013