Measurement and analysis of alkaline battery performance for low power wireless applications

  • Andrew Floyd

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


Alkaline batteries provide an inexpensive and readily available energy source for low power wireless devices. These devices can spend as much as 99 % of their operating life in an inactive state, consuming currents in the micro-Amp range. The operating current can be up to one hundred times higher. This causes a pulsed current discharge from the battery.From existing academic research and manufacturers' data it is difficult to estimate how the service life of an alkaline battery is affected by this pulsed discharge, and discharge currents in the micro-Amp range.This research project focuses on understanding the behaviour of the alkaline batteries, in particular the battery voltage, and analyses the effect on the service life under varying experimental conditions.To achieve this, in excess of 100 batteries have been discharged, contributing to more than 350 days worth of experimental results. The results show that through a combination of pulsed current discharge and long periods of inactivity the service life continues to extend at a linear rate. With further experimental work, a model for estimating the achievable service life could be developed.These results have also assisted the design of a low power wireless node that presents a method of power management to increase the efficiency of the power drawn from the alkaline batteries during the long inactive periods.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPeter Green (Supervisor)


  • Controlled battery discharge
  • Alkaline Batteries
  • Wireless Sensor Networks
  • Battery service life

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