The Complete Guide to Battery Contacts

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

Have you ever wondered what magical component powers and keeps your electronic devices ticking? There is no magic wand, yet anything is possible because of your battery connections. This little component is critical in powering your electronics, ranging from cell phones to laptops and other electronic devices. We’ll walk you through the world of battery connections in this guide. From the many varieties to the materials used and the obstacles that may be encountered. They may appear tiny, yet without them, our electronics would not function properly. So, saddle up and prepare to expand your knowledge.

II. Types of Battery Contacts

Because batteries are the lifeblood of our devices, so are the battery contacts of transmitters. That being stated, it is critical to understand the many types of battery connectors accessible. This knowledge can help you choose the best battery contact type for your application. Their strengths and weaknesses provide us with actionable information prior to selection. Numerous varieties are listed below.

  • Spring contacts: On careful inspection of the interiors of your battery-operated torches and remotes, you’ll discover a spring, which provides a stable connection along with support to the battery to guarantee it’s correctly attached. Spring connections may shrink sufficiently to accommodate different battery sizes. This is achievable because of the flexibility it provides for the spring-like pressure needed to accept the batteries for efficient gadget usage. Since they can be easily installed, they are frequently used for most gadgets, including toys and other battery-powered devices.
  • Leaf contacts: Next on the types of battery contacts is leaf contacts. These are thinly striped metals that aid conductivity in your electrical device. These types of battery contact are typically found in devices with limited space such as smartphones, smartwatches, portable speakers, and other high-power specific electronic devices. The conductivity in leaf battery connectors is made sure by the contacts pressing against the battery to supply power to your device.
  • Coin cell contacts: This type of battery contact is specifically crafted for coin cell batteries. Batteries that are typically found in your calculators, hearing aids, and wristwatches. Coin cell contacts are specifically for devices that do not require high power. Hence its flat coined shape, which makes it a lot easier to assemble and disassemble. Coin cell contacts are naturally weightless as they are made from soft metals such as stainless steel or brass. Furthermore, they are majorly available in different shapes and sizes. And when it is well fitted, it supplies these devices to function at an optimal performance level.
  • Custom battery contacts: For powering unique products that are particularly designed to meet specific needs like in mold manufacturing, battery contacts that are fit for purpose are often designed and manufactured for these devices. Hence, why it is called custom. These battery contacts often require unique materials including copper, beryllium, stainless steel, and other uncommon materials that are fit for the unique use. Custom battery contacts are one of the most reliable in the industry with consistent conductivity.

III. Materials Used in Battery Contacts

Powering your electronic device isn’t just about the chemical reaction that occurs inside the battery, the battery contacts are equally important. This is what completes the circuit, therefore the materials these battery contacts are made of are essential. How so you may ask. Well, it determines the reliability and the longevity of the device’s battery life and the device itself. Let’s consider some materials and their challenges in making battery contacts.

  • Nickel-plated steel: First of them is nickel-plated steel. The nickel-plated steel is the most common material in battery contact manufacturing. It offers high conductivity, and its affordability makes it a top choice for battery contact manufacturers. This material also offers durability which makes it ideal for mass production. However, a major challenge of this material is its corrosiveness over time. Nickel-plated steel is prone to corrosion and this in turn affects the conductivity of the battery contact. Corrosion reduces the functionality and lifespan of the contact.
  • Beryllium copper: Next up is Beryllium copper. Beryllium copper like nickel-plated steel is highly conductive and durable. But also dissimilar to nickel-plated steel, beryllium copper is highly corrosion resistant. This material offers more springiness properties, and the quality of the beryllium copper allows it to maintain shape even after a long period of usage. On the downside, beryllium is a toxic material and it makes manufacturing dangerous. Furthermore, beryllium copper is also expensive, which becomes a huge turn-off for manufacturers
  • Brass: What makes brass very easy to work with, especially with CNC machining and other machines, is the element that makes up its alloy which includes copper and zinc. Brass is suitable for manufacturing battery contacts with complex shapes. It has an astounding conductivity level and is relatively cheap to access, which is why it is common among manufacturers. Its limitation is its strength since there are a number of other materials that are stronger than brass that are not as prone to deformation as brass.
  • Stainless steel: Lastly, stainless steel. Stainless steel is a very strong battery contact material with high corrosion resistance. In addition, it makes for a stronger and more durable material when alloyed with other materials. It presents as the best choice for battery contact production. Stainless steel when exposed to severe conditions doesn’t lose its quality. Stainless steel is applicable in producing other various components aside from battery contacts. Although, it suffers a little setback in not being as conductive as other materials.
Battery Contacts

IV. Design Considerations for Battery Contacts

The design considerations for battery contacts are as important as the battery that powers our electronic device because they complement each other to power devices efficiently. Without the battery, there will be no source of power for the device. Likewise, the device can’t be powered as well if the battery contacts are not present. We have highlighted critical considerations that battery contacts designers often consider to efficiently power devices.

We start with the contact force which is crucial in ensuring a reliable supply of power to the device. The contact force must be sufficient to sustain a balanced connection. Not too low that the power supplied is poor and not too much so as not to damage the device, battery, and the battery contact.

The next consideration is the surface area. The bigger the surface area the better the flow of current. This permits the even distribution of power through the battery contact. However, a large surface area can result in more cost, but ultimately it eliminates the risk of deformation or damage.

A third noteworthy factor to consider is reliability and longevity. Battery contacts must be produced in a way that guarantees they remain intact even with the constant removal and replacement of batteries. The risk of slag or deformities that may be caused by frequent insertion and removal of the battery must be mitigated. This is attainable only by selecting the right material for making the battery contact.

And finally, environmental factors such as humidity, exposure to chemicals and other harsh conditions, and temperature are also essential in the design of the battery contacts. Battery contacts may be susceptible to deformities or corrosion in severe temperature environments, and this must be factored in before designing your battery contacts. As it will not impair performance and reliability.

V. Battery Contact Manufacturing Processes

The manufacturing process of battery contacts varies according to design and material. But all processes are to the same working principle of supplying power to an electric device. There are a few of them which include wire forming, stamping, forming, and custom. Let’s examine each of these processes.

  • Stamping: This involves cutting out the battery contact shape from a sheet of metal using a press and die with the desired shape marked out on the metal sheet. This process is typically used by battery contact manufacturers because it’s precise, efficient, and fast. It is also used for mass production of battery contacts.
  • Forming: The forming process on the other hand requires a lot of specialized tools to bend the metals into the desired shape. Although a bit similar to stamping, it is done by shaping the metal into form. Most suitable for certain complex designs and creates room for customization as well.  
  • Wire forming: Wire forming entails shaping metal wires into a preferred contact shape and then fixed to another base. Wire forming can likewise be employed to shape intricate designs and when working with difficult materials which are harder to form or stamp.
  • Custom fabrication: When it comes to custom fabrication, designing and shaping is from scratch just like in rapid prototyping. That only means it will be shaped into the desired form for that uniquely built device. They may entail some welding and soldering with specialized tools to fit specific requirements for any device.

VI. Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Due to how essential batteries are to our devices they have become an inescapable requirement in modern existence, and so are battery contacts by extension. So, for one to work efficiently, it needs the other. Therefore, your maintenance schedule should include both the battery and the battery contacts for optimal functionality.

For starters, perfect functionality of battery contacts requires basic cleaning which should be done regularly with a light cloth. This helps remove dust, debris, corrosion, and dirt that may have accumulated over time. This maintenance method also mitigates the risk of poor connectivity and shortened lifespan of your battery contact.

Additionally, periodically fixing common issues such as moisture which may be due to exposure to environmental elements especially during outdoor use goes a long way in helping to maintain your battery contacts. Bent springs, loose contacts, and broken battery contacts are some of the easy simple maintenance practices that add to your battery contact lifespan.

However, you should replace your battery contacts when your device’s functionality isn’t at optimal capacity despite periodical checks and maintenance. Calling on an experienced technician is often preferred. Nevertheless, asking a technician to show you how it is done can also be effective. Maintaining and troubleshooting your battery contacts can save you unnecessary expenses and increase both the functionality and lifespan of your battery and device.

VII. Selecting the Right Battery Contacts for Your Application

When it comes to selecting the right battery contacts for your application, you might feel overwhelmed as many individuals usually feel. But it doesn’t have to be. You should know that choosing the battery contact you require is dependent on certain considerations and knowing these factors is the first step to choosing a suitable battery contact.

One such consideration is analyzing your device’s requirements. And analyzing means asking the right questions. The type of battery it uses, how many, voltage, and current rating are all valid points that must be noted in your analysis of your device. However, if you are unable to appropriately place this important info on your device, you need not worry as a quick internet search can assist.

Once an analysis of your device has been done, then you need to consider the best type of battery contact suitable for your application. As already established, there are various types of battery contacts. Would it be spring, coin cell, or custom? Each of these types will present its different benefits and challenges.

Just like in mold design or any other design, knowing the appropriate material to use for your battery contact must also be a priority on your consideration list. Mostly highlighting the durability and the conductivity of the material is crucial. Its design will ensure adequate pressure is guaranteed to connect with the battery and supply the right amount of power needed to function optimally.

So, instead of being overwhelmed with making the right choice, consider these factors and you’re ready to make the best choice of battery contacts.

VIII. Conclusion

In a nutshell, when you wonder about the magic of powering your phone, think of the tiny but mighty battery contacts that make it happen. In addition, understanding the various types of battery contact will help you in choosing the right one for your application. Moreover, the materials for making them are different with dissimilar pros and cons. The shape and design you’d prefer are also intertwined with the hardness or lightness of the material. Therefore, if you seek a battery contact with longevity and reliability, the contact force, and surface area of the contact will guarantee that for you. Conclusively, appropriate maintenance, troubleshooting, and identifying when to replace a battery contact are equally as important as the above-mentioned factors. We can only wish you luck now.


Gary Liao

Gary Liao

Gary Liao is the Engineering Manager of TDL Company and has more than 20 years of mold design experience.

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