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How can a battery charge and operate simultaneously?

  1. Nov 4, 2014 #1
    How does a battery charge while it is operating? Just out of curiosity. I cannot figure out how this could possibly work if charge must travel from anode to cathode in order to operate the device, but must travel the opposite direction in order to recharge.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    As far as I understand it, (at least in light-load automotive cases) the load simply takes the power directly from the charger while it's attached to the battery rather than using the cells as an intermediary, as long as the required current is available. In any case, it's simply a matter removing chemical potential energy while adding more. To make an analogy, it's sort of like refuelling your gas tank while the car is running.
  4. Nov 4, 2014 #3


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    Can you doodle us a circuit to show what you are describing?
  5. Nov 4, 2014 #4
    If recharging means simply reversing the current, how can the cell send charge through the device simultaneously?

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  6. Nov 4, 2014 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    It does not. The charger takes care of that. The battery is like an additional load (and the charger keeps it above the voltage it would supply).
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