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What is a D Battery?

Author: Apogeeweb
Date: 28 Apr 2022
d size battery


Ⅰ What is a D Battery?

Ⅱ How a D battery Works

Ⅲ Types of D Battery

3.1 Non-Rechargeable D-Cell Batteries

3.2 Rechargeable D-Cell Batteries

Ⅳ D Battery VS. AA Battery

Ⅴ D Battery VS. C Battery

5.1 What Are The Similarities?

5.2 What Are The Differences?

Ⅵ D Batteries Buying Guide

Ⅶ Frequently Asked Questions About D Battery


Ⅰ What is a D Battery?

A D battery (D cell or IEC R20) is a dry cell of standardized size. A D cell is cylindrical and features an electrical contact at either end, with a nub or bump on the positive end. D cells are commonly used in high current drain applications such as big flashlights, radio receivers and transmitters, and other devices that require a long operating period. D cells can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable. Its terminal voltage and capacity are determined by the chemistry of its cell. In 1898, the National Carbon Company introduced the first D cell. D cells were popularly recognized as flashlight batteries until smaller cells became more common.


The D cell battery is a huge storage container for chemicals that generate electrons inside. The battery has two opposite terminals at each end of the casing, which are often referred to as the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals.


Carbon and zinc plates float and rotate inside the battery's shell in an acidic solution such as sulphuric acid, manganese dioxide, or hydrochloric acid. The acidic paste works as an electrolyte, causing a chemical reaction that generates electrons.


These electrons accumulate at the negative battery terminal of the carbon because they have nowhere else to go and no reactions are taking place.



Ⅱ How a D battery Works

A accumulation of electrons at the battery's negative carbon terminal will result in the battery powering your gadget. The battery's positive terminal includes zinc, which naturally attracts electrons.


If you attached a wire from the positive connection to the negative terminal the battery's energy would soon dissipate as electrons raced along the wire to the zinc plate at the positive terminal. When you place a battery into an electronic gadget, each terminal is connected to a wire.


The negative terminal then establishes a conduit for electrons to pass through the electrical device's wiring. This powers the equipment as it travels until the electrons arrive at the positive terminal at the end of their journey. This flow of electrons is what causes the wheels of your toy truck to spin or your radio to play music.


This effectively converts the gadget into a circuit for electron flow.


Batteries are not limitless, and this is due to the loss of zinc present at the battery's positive end. D batteries typically have a lifespan of 60 times that of an AA battery. The capacity of the battery and the drain applied to it by the device it is powering determine the battery's life.


A typical D battery has a capacity (mAh) of 12000 and a drain (mA) of 200. Each cycle of electrons travelling through the battery wears away at the zinc plate over time. When the zinc plate is completely depleted, the battery is dead and must be replaced.


Rechargeable batteries are another alternative that can save you money over time versus buying new batteries every time you need to replace them.


Ⅲ Types of D Battery 

Primary batteries are available in Alkaline, Lithium, Zinc Carbon, and Lithium Iron Disulfide varieties (LiFeS2). Zinc Carbon and LiFeS2 are the only two chemistries that are completely disposable cells. As in the case of  RAMs and Lithium-ion or rechargeable Lithium, both Alkaline and Lithium offer rechargeable variations. The rechargeable batteries Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) have nominal voltages and other characteristics that are predetermined by their individual battery chemistry.


D-cell batteries have dimensions of 34.2 61.5 mm (1.35 2.42 inches) and are one of the largest cylindrical batteries in general usage. F-cells (33.0 x 91.0 mm) are larger than D-cells but are not as prevalent.


The chemistry of the battery has a large impact on its capacity, voltage, output current, and other characteristics. The following comparison table lists the most frequent chemistries:


Chemistry Typical Label Rechargeable Typical Capacity (Ah) Nominal Voltage (V)
Zinc-Carbon R20, 13D No 6 to 8 1.5
Alkaline LR20, 13A No (Mostly No) 10 to 18 1.5
NiCd KR20 Yes 2 to 6 1.2
NiMH HR20, B006 Yes 8 to 12 1.2
Li-SOCl2 ER 34615 No 18 to 19 3.6
Li-FeS2 - No 18 to 24 1.8 (1.5)
Lithium - Yes 4 to 8 1.5 (built-in DC-DC converter)


3.1 Non-Rechargeable D-Cell Batteries

Non-rechargeable D-cells based on the iron disulfide (Li-FeS2) chemistry are not yet widely used, at least as D-cells, despite offering a nominal voltage of 1.5 volts (up to 1.8 open-circuit voltage), ultra-long storage time (10-20 years), and higher capacity, particularly in high-drain applications.


Non-rechargeable D-cell chemistries include zinc-carbon, alkaline, and Lithium-Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) batteries, whereas NiOOH (non-rechargeable chemistry) and NiZn (rechargeable chemistry) are uncommon in this battery size.


Zinc-Carbon D-cells typically have a capacity of 6-8 Ah (6000-8000 mAh) with a nominal voltage of 1.5 volts. Zinc-carbon D-cells are the most traditional type of D-cell, with a nominal voltage of 1.5V that is still practically required for D-cell batteries.


Zinc-carbon D-cells have a shelf life of 3-5 years and are reasonably priced and dependable. However, if they are not properly preserved, their shelf life can be reduced to 1-2 years. Furthermore, due to their chemistry, they may leak easily after a while.


Alkaline batteries have significant advantages over zinc-carbon batteries.


Alkaline D-cell batteries are slightly more expensive than zinc-carbon batteries, but they have a much larger capacity (12-18 Ah vs 6-8 Ah), a similar nominal voltage of 1.5 volts, and a shelf life of 5-10 years or more.


It is important to note that the actual capacity of these batteries is very dependent on the discharge current - some battery brands advertise 20+ Ah capacity for their D-cells, but such capacities are only attained when the batteries are drained at very low currents (15-30 mAh).


The most common type of D-cell battery is an alkaline D-cell.


Lithium-Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCL2) batteries are a type of D-cell battery that is very specialized.


These batteries have a 3.6V nominal voltage and are incompatible with 1.5V D-cell batteries. They also have a very large capacity of 18-19Ah and a very long shelf life of 20+ years.


However, Lithium-Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) D-cell batteries are incapable of providing higher currents. - The normal maximum continuous discharge current of Lithium-Thionyl Chloride (Li-SOCl2) D-cell batteries is 50-150 mAh, with a pulse current of 200-300 mAh.


As a result, Li-SOCl2 D-cell batteries are utilized in electronics as memory backup batteries, CMOS batteries, and other similar applications.


Li-SOCl2 D-cell batteries are available in a variety of configurations, including traditional D-cell batteries, batteries with soldering tabs, and batteries with pre-soldered wires and connectors.


3.2 Rechargeable D-Cell Batteries

NiCd, NiMH, and different lithium-ion batteries are the most common rechargeable D-cell batteries.


Due to the presence of cadmium, a heavy metal that is a severe pollutant, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) D-cell batteries are rarely used.


NiCd batteries have a relatively high self-discharge rate, a nominal voltage of 1.2 volts, and a typical capacity of 2-6 Ah.


When properly maintained and charged with intelligent chargers that monitor the battery's status, NiCd batteries may withstand hundreds of charging-discharging cycles.


However, NiCd batteries are noted for their ability to generate enormous currents, with some NiCd D-cell batteries capable of providing 50+ Amps.


Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) D-cell batteries have a comparable output voltage of 1.2 volts as NiCd batteries, but they have a bigger capacity (8-12 Ah), don't contain heavy metals like cadmium or mercury, have a significantly lower self-discharge rate, and can endure up to 1000-1200 charge/discharge cycles.


Some NiMH batteries are geared for high-drain applications and have lower capacity, whilst others are optimized for low-drain applications and have larger capacity.


The average capacity of a NiMH D-cell is roughly 10 Ah.


Modern NiMH batteries surpass NiCd batteries in practically every manner, making them the favored battery chemistry for rechargeable D-cells - and not only D-cells.


Lithium D-cell batteries have an internal voltage of 3.2-3.7 volts, depending on the lithium battery chemistry, but this voltage is reduced to 1.5 volts using DC-DC converters built into the batteries' built-in Battery Management Systems (BMS), making them backward compatible with non-rechargeable zinc-carbon and alkaline D-cell batteries.


These batteries' effective capacities are often in the 3-6Ah range.


Lithium 1.5V D-cells are recharged using micro-USB charging cables and any available USB charging connection, taking approximately 3-6 hours to fully recharge.


Because of the internal lithium batteries, lithium 1.5V D-cells can be charged and discharged 1000-2000 times.


Note: Lithium rechargeable 3.2-3.7 volts D-cell batteries are either not available or are extremely rare. However, they will NOT be compatible with "1.5V only" apps when they come.


Ⅳ D Battery VS. AA Battery 

AA batteries have physical dimensions of (D x H) 14.5 x 50.5 mm and are significantly less in volume than D-cell batteries (34.2 x 61.5 mm).


As a result, AA cells have a far lower capacity than D-cell batteries; for example, alkaline AA batteries have a nominal capacity of 1.8-2.7Ah, whereas alkaline D-cells have a nominal capacity of 10-18Ah.


Similarly, D-cells can deliver far higher currents than AA batteries without causing any damage to the batteries.


However, some manufactures provide AA-to-D battery adapters, which allow the user to replace the D battery with one, two, or three AA batteries connected in parallel.


Note: When putting AA batteries in such adapters, always use the same AA battery model from the same manufacturer, preferably from the same batch, to avoid battery imbalances.


Ⅴ D Battery VS. C Battery   

5.1 What Are The Similarities?

The voltage is the most striking similarity between C and D batteries. Both alkaline batteries are 1.5 volts. The rechargeable versions of these batteries have a voltage of 1.2 volts.


The only thing these two types of batteries have in common is this.


5.2 What Are The Differences?

Battery Size

  • C batteries measure 50mm x 26.2mm.
  • D size batteries measure 61.5mm x 33.2mm.


Because of the size difference, it is critical to ensure that you choose the correct ones when purchasing new batteries. If not, you may need to modify them to fit within the battery compartment or pay additional money to get the exact size.


Physical Size

Larger physical size for higher capacity

D batteries are larger than C batteries in order to store more energy. As a result, they will be more durable. Furthermore, these batteries have larger electrodes, allowing them to deliver much higher current levels.


Larger capacity batteries can supply a higher level of current concurrently and for longer periods of time.


In terms of mAh, the C battery has a capacity of up to 8,000 mAh, while the D battery has a capacity of up to 17,000 mAh.


Larger battery size for larger electronic devices

Because of the size difference, these batteries will be employed in a variety of equipment.


C cell batteries are often used in devices that don't require a lot of power, such as small flashlights, toys, and some musical instruments.


D cell batteries, on the other hand, are used in devices that require greater power, such as medium/large flashlights, radios, and alarm systems. In addition, any other gadgets that require batteries with a long run life. These batteries are twice as large as C batteries.


Can You Use C Batteries In Place Of D Ones?

Yes, C batteries can be used in place of D batteries. However, you must ensure that they are of the same voltage. So, if the D batteries in the device are 1.5 volts, you must replace them with 1.5 volt C batteries.


What will happen when replacing D battery with C battery?

The differences in voltage and capacity of batteries impact how successfully they produce power.


In a flashlight, for example, the voltage of the battery determines how strong the light it emits. The current, on the other hand, regulates how long a flashlight will glow.


As a result, when the flashlight is turned on, batteries with a greater voltage will create a significantly brighter light. Higher amp-hour batteries will produce more light for a longer period of time.


As a result, using a C cell instead of a D battery makes no change in the brightness of the light. However, because the number of amps in a C battery is fewer, you'll need to replace the batteries more frequently because they have a considerably shorter running time.


How To Use A C Battery  In A D-Size Spacer?

Another factor to consider is the amount of space available for the battery. Remember that C batteries are somewhat shorter than D batteries, so you'll need to create an adaptor to keep them in position.


To use a C battery in a D-size spacer, just insert two quarters, one at each end of the battery, into the gap where the battery sits.


Can You Place A D-Size Battery Into One Of The C-Spacers Or AA-Spacers?

Unfortunately, D-size batteries cannot be used in devices that require C or AA-spacers. As previously stated, these batteries are significantly larger and will not fit into the allotted area.


TV remote controls, for example, are frequently powered by C or AA batteries. They avoid using D size batteries since the remote control would have to be larger, making it more difficult to use.


Plus, devices like these don't use as much energy to operate.


What To Consider Before Buying C, D Batteries?

When shopping for such batteries, the capacity is the most important factor to consider. Choose batteries with a greater mAh rating if possible, as these will have a longer run time.


It is also critical to avoid purchasing low-cost generic models in stores, particularly rechargeable D-size models. These typically have a capacity of roughly 2,500 mAh, which is insufficient. You'll probably spend more time charging them than utilizing them in the devices for which they were designed.


Instead, go online and get such rechargeable batteries, as there are plenty that can give you with 9,000 mAh. It may cost more, but it will be worth it in the long run.


Ⅵ D Batteries Buying Guide 

The Most Important Features to Consider


1.Shelf Life and Work in Extreme Temperatures

Each battery has a minimum suggested shelf life of five years. Many of our recommendations have a 10-year shelf life. The greater the shelf life, the longer they are functional, regardless of environmental exposure. Some batteries, such as the Duracell DC1300, can also work in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 129 degrees Fahrenheit, increasing reliability in searing hot vehicle trunks and outdoor emergencies.


2.Number per Pack

The more batteries there are in a pack, the longer you can keep a single gadget charged over its service life.


3.Power or mAh

mAh stands for milliamp hours. The greater the number, the longer your devices will remain powered. It is important to note that the longevity of your device is determined by its power draw. Look for D batteries that have a minimum capacity of 10,000 mAh. If your device draws 100mA of current, the battery will last approximately 100 hours.


4.Rechargeable vs Single Use

When compared to single-use batteries, rechargeable batteries offer significant cost savings. The EBL Rechargeable D batteries have a lifespan of up to 1,200 cycles @ 10,000 mAh, equating to cents each charge. It's worth noting that rechargeable batteries often have a lower mAh rating than single-use batteries, so you're trading power for convenience. However, if you are powering low-power gadgets, this should be inconsequential.


Ⅶ Frequently Asked Questions  About D Battery

1. Are all D batteries the same?

They differ in amperage, which means they have varied total amounts  of energy (which is also why they are different sizes). D batteries are commonly used in high current drain applications, i.e. items that demand a long run time.


2. What is equivalent to D battery?

Electrically, one AA battery might accomplish the job because it has the same voltage as a D battery. It was, however, easier to combine four AA batteries into one to imitate the size of a D cell and effectively replace it.


3. Can you recharge D batteries?

Alkaline batteries can, in fact, be recharged. However, it is not seen as cost effective and carries some dangers. When a battery is recharged, gas is produced within the battery.


4. Is D4 same as D batteries?

The D4 is identical to the D3, but has only one layer of shielding and a 50 impedance. A D battery (also known as a D cell or IEC R20) is a type of dry cell. A D cell is cylindrical and features an electrical contact at either end, with a nub or bump on the positive end. D cells can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable.


5. Do D batteries have more power?

Some electrical gadgets require a lot of current but not a lot of voltage to function. This is when the size of the battery comes into play. The D size battery has a higher current rating than the C, AA, and AAA size batteries.


6. How can you tell if an a D battery is good?

Drop each battery from a couple of inches up (with the flat, negative end down). If the battery is fully charged, it should create a strong thud and most likely remain upright. If the battery dies, it will quickly bounce and tumble over.


7. How are D cell batteries made?

The battery shell is made of steel and houses the electrodes, an anode (the negative terminal) and a cathode (the positive terminal). The cathode is built up of silvery matte rings of manganese dioxide, graphite, and electrolyte. The anode is the zinc paste that is contained within the separator.


8. Whats the difference between D4 and D8?

Here are the D4's advantages, in my opinion: Smaller size, lighter weight, and fewer batteries to purchase and charge. The advantage of D8 is that it is much brighter. The D4 is powered by two 5.8 watt lamps, whereas the D8 is powered by two 14 watt lamps. According to UK, the D4 and D8 have a battery life of 7-10 hours.


9. How long do D batteries last in a fan?

While the four D batteries required aren't included, this fan can run for up to 214 hours on a single set, so you won't need to replace them very frequently. With a maximum noise level of 50 decibels, it's also an excellent choice for people looking for a quieter fan.


10. Why are D cell batteries so big?

In general, the larger the battery, the greater its potential for energy storage. So, while both the big and small batteries are rated at 1.5V, the big battery stores more energy and has a longer battery life.


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