What is a C Cell Battery, and How Many Amps Does It Have?


Not all your appliances will need to be plugged into an outlet for them to work; some of these require the power of an external power source; in this case, dry cell batteries. The C battery, which is also referred to as an R14 battery, is a typical-sized dry cell battery; its R14 designation was given by the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC). A good quality c cell battery has medium drain battery capabilities meaning they run flashlights, toys, remote controls, and other devices.

For those who might not know what a dry cell is, let us explain. They are batteries that were created to work under minimized internal moisture, which made them practical for use in portable devices, some of which have been mentioned above. Most people know about AA and AAA batteries. However, those batteries are smaller and thus have a lower lifespan than C batteries. 

The Varieties of C Batteries

Before we have a look at what makes C batteries different from other C batteries, we will first have a look at some common ground. These kinds of batteries have a length of 1.97 in (50 mm) and a diameter of 1.03 in (26.2 mm). 

There are two kinds of C batteries, the standard non-rechargeable kinds, and the rechargeable C battery type. Each of these types has its own benefits and drawbacks, which need to be put into perspective when it comes to your specific applications.

Non-Rechargeable C Batteries

These battery types have that built-to-last quality about them. This is a necessity ingrained into this type because once it’s run out of juice, you will have to dispose of the dead C cell battery like yesterday’s garbage. These kinds of dry cell batteries are suitable for medium to high powered applications, including some video and music equipment.

The non-rechargeable batteries also have standardized sizes to ensure maximum compatibility across a vast array of appliances. Typically, these batteries have lengths of 50 mm (1.97 in) and with a diameter of 26.2 mm (1.03 in).

Rechargeable C Batteries

These types of batteries beat the non-rechargeable option by a country mile when it comes to sustainability. This is because, as you probably might have guessed from their name, these cells can be recharged a lot of times. 

Some C battery models will require a separate external adapter to charge them, while the rest of the battery models are built into the contraption they give power to. There are different kinds of these batteries, which include: Li-ion (lithium-ion), NiMH (nickel-metal hydride), and NiCd (nickel-cadmium).

The Voltages

We cannot talk about batteries without saying a little something about the voltages. Each battery has what we called a ‘nominal voltage’ labeled to it. This figure is used to define its capacity when in ideal conditions. However, life does not allow for ideal conditions due to curveballs such as resistance, and so the voltage will get discharged depending on its operational conditions.

We will look at a few non-rechargeable C type batteries in terms of their nominal voltages.

  • 1.5 Volt C Batteries

These are the canon. The 1.5 V C battery is the standard when it comes to non-rechargeable C dry cells. They can be used in everyday items such as toys, clocks, and remote controls.

  • 3 Volt C Batteries

This variety finds a lot more use in professional applications rather than household purposes. Some typical applications include in petrochemical facilities, gas-and-leak detectors, and even smart gas meters.

  • 3.6 Volt C Batteries

This last type is used almost exclusively for industrial and professional uses. Examples of its applications include buoys, utility meters, and measuring equipment.

The amount of current drawn from these cells is a relative figure as each application/device only draws what it needs. Their current ratings are normally seen in terms of longevity and discharge rate. For instance, a 1.5 V C battery can last in excess of 18 hours when discharged at a rate of 200mA. Rechargeable C batteries, on the other hand, have a rating of between 2200 to 4500mAh (milliamp hours). 

Assessing their Chemical Composition

We have seen so many ways rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries differ from each other already. However, it is not always only about the capacity nor the voltages; you also need to look at their chemical compositions to know what kind of performance you will be expecting. 

  • Alkaline C Batteries

These types of C batteries employ the use of an anti-acidic electrically-conducting (alkaline electrolyte) blend of potassium hydroxide. C alkaline batteries are therefore some of the most vastly used battery type, especially when it comes to household items, due to their longevity and high energy densities. 

  1. Lithium C Batteries 

This type uses lithium as its electricity conduit (the anode). They are, however, not to be confused with their incredibly popular cousins, the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that can be found in cellphones and laptops. They also have impressively long lives.

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