Talk:Primary cell

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A cell has one cathode and one anode. A battery is two or more cells. They can be in series (for more volatge), in parallel (for more current or less internal resistance), or in multiple (e.g. in series by twos and several batteries of two cells then in parallel). I have no idea why an unnamed editor reversed carbon and zinc, and I don't much care if she or he does again, but I am a bit curious why.

The usage of "battery" for several cells is consonant with usage for artillery batteries - ganged guns that can be fired in salvos, or (for less recoil problems) at close intervals. Also see Battery_Park (New York) Carrionluggage 04:54, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I think the reversal of carbon and zinc may be due to confusion about anode and cathode. In most situations the anode is the positive pole and the cathode is the negative pole but, in a primary cell, these labels are reversed. In a primary cell, the anode is negative in relation to the external circuit but positive in relation to the internal working of the cell. Likewise the cathode is positive in relation to the external circuit but negative in relation to the internal working of the cell. Biscuittin 14:38, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Alkalines are reversible[edit]

There's several write-ups around the Internet where DIYers have successfully charged alkaline batteries by forcing a constant current through them for an extended period of time. example. There have even been commercial battery chargers sold as chargers that will recharge even normal alkaline batteries, and they have been around since the early 90s or even earlier. It's safe to say alkalines don't qualify as primary batteries. example. 07:05, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Maybe ??? See this article and check out the Talk page for a discussion RE: the safety or otherwise of doing so ! (talk) 20:07, 8 October 2010 (UTC)
A recent revert has removed a reference to primary battery chargers. Primary batteries are not rechargeable. So called 'dry' primary batteries have their electrolyte in a gel or paste form. Unlike a flooded battery, the electrolyte cannot circulate throughout the cell easily. As a result, the electrolyte immediately adjacent to the electrodes is more 'run down' than the remainder (and runs down relatively more quickly with higher discharge rates). The 'chargers' appear to work because they encourage the remaining active electrolyte to move into the vicinity of the electrodes giving an apparent new lease of life. This is partly by the passage of current, and partly by the heating effect of the current, reducing the viscosity of the electrolyte. What they do not do is cause any chemical change which is what is required to 'recharge' the cell. (talk) 15:07, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Cool. If this could be cited, it would be a worthwhile addition in summary form (where the paragraph was moved and rewritten here) and at Recharging alkaline batteries. --Wtshymanski (talk) 15:17, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Here is an article from 1975 about a zinc carbon recharge system (page 36). As the author noticed, the zinc-carbon batteries held fresh charge easily and more consistently recharged 15+ times before leakage. Some of the better built cells would not leak; just eventually never rise above 1.1V. The 1978 Archer (Radio Shack) 10V/45mA trickle charger I used to revitalize zinc-chloride/zinc-carbon and alkaline cells (record recharge of 27 on one alkaline and over 30 on a zinc-carbon) died today. Eventually all batteries leak and the acid finally did in one of the charging prongs (39 years was a good run). The batteries are best used in cheaper equipment that gets regular usage and device that give hints of when the cells are near half drained (flashlights, remotes and wireless mice). I can not find a picture of the Archer. I also had a black one that was labeled "Household Batter Charger" with no manufacturer. At 20+ recharges from 50 to 90% the life was extended 10x normal. The semantics here is obfuscating. These batteries are obviously rechargeable even if not reversible. They do take a fresh charge and have new life and, by the standard definition of rechargeable, they are rechargeable. Alatari (talk) 10:48, 7 July 2017 (UTC)


Sure, many types of batteries used in a wide variety of consumer applications may be replaceable by rechargeables, but that hardly means that primary cells are obsolete. Many applications are far better served by primary cells, namely long-life and "hard-wired" applications. 20:20, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the above comment and I have modified the article accordingly. Biscuittin 14:48, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Electrons and redox[edit]

There was a following passage in this article: "Inside the cell the anode is the electrode where chemical oxidation occurs, as it accepts electrons from the electrolyte. The cathode is defined as the electrode where chemical reduction occurs, as it donates electrons to the electrolyte." Electrons cannot be accepted OR donated to electrolyte, because the electrolyte is not conducting them at all. That is the point of electrolyte. If it could conduct electrons, then cell would not run, because of the self-discharge. Electrons flow from one electrode through electrical circuit, in which way they run any device in it (or are forced to go other way by charger) and then go to the other electrode. Also, oxidation donates electrons (loss by donating atom) and reduction accepts electrons (gain by accepting atom), not the otherwise (as was written in the article) - these are basic definitions, see any chemistry book or redox. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AsalmZNC (talkcontribs) 00:52, 15 July 2013 (UTC)


The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was this was rolled into a multimove that was closed as no move

Primary cellPrimary electrochemical cell — is article deals around a primary ELECTROCHEMICAL cell— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:57, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose - needless qualifier, does not improve clarity or accuracy of the encyclopedia. --Wtshymanski (talk) 15:02, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose and suggest speedy close (is that possible?). This is not what the general public would be looking for. HumphreyW (talk) 15:27, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Primary cell should be renamed to 'single-use', secondary just to 'rechargeable'. I wonder when and why this exquisitely american nomination arised. Was maybe pushed to somehow disincentive the use of rechargeable cells, by the same productors that were banking on the single-use ones? Anyway if you read this, my american friend, please stop using these akward terms and tell all your american friends to do the same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:40, 5 May 2016 (UTC)