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How to Measure Internal Resistance of a Battery

The battery is the assembly of one or several cells. These cells produce chemical reactions that generate the flow of electrons in a circuit.  It could also mean a device that stocks chemical energy and changes it to an electrical current. This process of energy change is suitably called the electrochemistry process. The system that supports the battery is also known as the electrochemical cell.

Furthermore, every battery consists of three basic elements. They are the anode, cathode, and electrolytes. The anode and cathode form part of the terminals. Electricity flows within the elements in a circuit through the terminals. Anode allows an inflow of electrons, while the cathode permits an outflow of current. However, the electrolytes hinder the flow of atoms between the cathode and anode. It is to enable easy movement through the outer circuit. Also, the current flow would not go through the electrolytes.

The battery consists of one or various electrochemical cells. Every electrochemical cell comprises two conductors, set apart by an electrolyte. The electric current provided by the flow of electrons makes working possible. Furthermore, the charged molecules flow from the electrodialysis solution, this aid in balancing the electron.

The electrolytes and electrodes are the chemical reactions. They influence the battery’s working process. Also, they affect the energy storage capacity and voltage of the batteries. Reading through this article will give adequate enlightenment required on battery usage. More so, it will discuss how to measure internal resistance in batteries.

Components of the Battery

Batteries are the stockpiles of energy. The interconnection of various elements at the atomic level helps in producing energy. Since the invention of the first battery, researchers have exploited several other options. Each of these elements has distinctive properties for battery use. The materials used to produce the different types of batteries are nickel and lithium.

However, in recent batteries, four main components make them up. They include two electrodes (Anode and Cathode), Electrolytes, and Separators.

Anode: This acts as the negative electrode that lets out electrons to the outer circuits. It dissolves during electrochemical reactions.

Cathodes: Cathodes are the direct opposite of the anode. It is the positive electrode that gains electrons from the outer circuit. It reduces when there is an electromechanical reaction.

The Electrolyte: This aids the supply of ion mechanisms between the anode and cathode cells. They are in liquid form as required for ionic conduction. Nonetheless, there are so many batteries that have solid electrolytes. They serve as an ionic conductor.

The Separator: This is an absorbent diaphragm. It is a crucial component due to its properties, fixed between the cathode and the anode to block physical contacts between both. It affects energy, safety, performance, and the life cycle of the battery.

Properties to Examine in the Selection of Anode, Cathode, and Electrolyte

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Each component that makes up the battery requires standard properties.  Their properties include the details stated below.

Properties of the Cathode

  • Ease of fabrication
  • Functional voltage
  • Methodical dissolving agent
  • Low Cost
  • Firm when in contact with electrolyte
  • Base metals are the cathode materials used

Electrolytes should display these properties

  • Safe handling
  • Nonelectrical energy
  • Solid ionic energy
  • Low Cost
  • Firm resistance to varying temperature
  • Non-sensitive to electrode substance
  • Watery solutions serve as the electrolytes used

Expected properties of an Anode

  • Excellent conductivity
  • Zinc and Lithium metals are the anode materials put to use
  • Steady
  • Easy to manufacture
  • High electrostatic output
  • Efficient diminishing agent

What is Battery Internal Resistance?

The internal resistance of a battery is the objection to the current flow. It could also mean the device’s ability to impede the flow of electrons through an electrical conductor. Resistors are insulators such as plastics or carbon materials. They restrain the movement of electrons through them. Resistors could also mean separators that prohibit the advancement of electrons via them.

In addition, Insulators possess a transparent structure with a few electrons attached to certain gaps. However, the other free electrons throng about unhinged. Conductors like plastics have a plain design. It restrains electrons, and there are no free electrons to transfer currents.

In the same vein, batteries are from materials with non-zero electric resistance. The materials include lithium, silver, carbon, mercury, and zinc. All these elements are not ideal electrical conductors. Therefore, the internal resistance of the battery depends on its electrical properties. Age, current released, size, and temperature of the battery are also resistance factors. The elements are electrochemical due to the resistance properties they possess.

Furthermore, a high internal resistance measurement could indicate that the battery is close to failure. This is due to the increase in electrolytes resistance as the battery ages. An increase in the resistance level could depend on other variables and the chemistry of the cell. This requires consideration in the measurement process.

Note on Battery Internal Resistance

It is vital to note that most cells have electrolytes (ionic conductors) as their source of internal resistance. However, heat generated through the flow of current could have an impact on the internal resistance measurement of a battery. Therefore, evaluating the characteristics of the internal resistance could be a vital indicator of the health of the battery. There are key components that affect the internal resistance of the battery. They are ionic and electronic resistance, also known as total effective resistance.

The electronic resistance surrounds the impedance of a simple material such as internal components and metal covers. The Ionic resistance is the defiance to current flow within the battery. It is due to the different electrochemical factors.

Interpretation of the resistance reading of a battery

The internal resistance supplies vital information about the batteries. These include high readings indicating the end of battery life. This is clearly seen with a nickel-based system. Measuring the resistance of the battery does not mean it is its sole performance indicator. The collection of lead-acid batteries could differ by 5-10 percent, particularly in parked units.

Due to the battery’s resilience, resistance is best measured by comparing time. The reading comparison runs from the birth to the retirement of the battery. Therefore, service crews take an image of each cell at production and compare it as the battery ages.

Furthermore, there is a belief that equates internal resistance to capacity. This belief is untrue. The resistance level of the modern-day lead acid stays level through the service life. Superior electrolyte substances have minimized inner corrosion which impacts resistance. This is also referred to as parasitic reception on the electrolyte and electrodes.

Resistance does not disclose the actual state of health of the battery, it remains flat with use and age

Impedance Explained

To understand in detail the methods of measuring the internal resistance of a battery, examining the difference between pure resistance and impedance is crucial. Pure and impedance resistance contains responsive elements such as capacitors and coils.

Their reading is derived in Ohms (Ω). The evaluation of the electric conductivity is in siemens (s). It is parallel to the value of ohms. The resistance measured in ohms (Ω) is equal to direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC).

The ohm’s law is the formula that orders the connection between the voltage, current and resistance in a circuit. The law states V=IR. V means voltage, I implies the Current, and R refers to the Resistance. It is vital to understand that Voltage and internal resistance are self-reliant variables.

Furthermore, the majority of the electrical loads are responsive and they entail capacitors and inductors. The resistance, voltage, and base current are parts of the battery. Impedance has all the three together. It is best described as a model that entails resistors and capacitors.

General battery resistance comprises ohmic resistance. It also has capacitive and inductive reactance. Measuring the battery through resistance is as old as the battery itself. Hence, the inventions of new methods.

How to Measure Internal Resistance of a Battery

The source measure unit (SMU) is a viable means by which the internal resistance of current storage devices is adequately measured. This method changes the ion flow from the battery running current to an open circuitry. It measures the changes in the cell energy concurrently during the process.

Adopting the current break-up method, the internal resistance of the battery is equivalent to the change in energy, divided by the change in current. This expresses the way of measuring internal resistance at high separating currents.To achieve the actual internal resistance through this method, a few details need consideration.

The battery internal resistance is the evaluation of the composite impedance of the cell. To adequately measure the battery’s internal resistance, the cell’s composite impedance over its operating range of current must be measured. The internal resistance becomes known at the point when the response components add up to zero.

Instruments used to measure internal resistance in a battery

Ohm’s law is a practical means of analyzing electrical circuits and the design of a battery. It helps to determine the voltage, current, and resistance level of the battery. To measure these variables, there are instruments required. They include the following


The voltmeter measures the electromotive force in the circuit. This is through the placement of the voltmeter side by side to the resistors. A parallel connection is the most suitable because it allows for the same potential difference between objects placed side by side.

In addition, the measurement of the battery is between the positive terminal and the negative terminal. The connection of a voltmeter to an electromotive force is not possible without the inclusion of the internal resistance of the battery.

Voltmeters can either be analog or digital. An analog voltmeter measures voltage through the transducer, while the digital meter uses an analog to digital converter. The digital voltmeter converts the analog energy to a number value. The resistance on the voltmeters varies depending on the scale used on the meter. It could be as low as Rͫͫͫӎ = 10M for cheap voltmeters, while R = 10G for high accurate voltmeters.

The following are the steps to measure the internal resistance of a battery through the Voltmeter

  • Fix the voltmeter to the terminals on the battery
  • Write the measurement displayed by the voltmeter as per battery specification
  • Connect the voltmeter, battery, and the resistors
  • Write the measurement on the voltmeter. It should display a lower value due to the internal resistance of the battery.
  • Apply Ohm’s law formula and Kirchhoff voltage formula to compute the internal resistance of the battery.


The Ohmmeter is a measuring device that sends current through a hidden resistance. It measures the current and displays a resistance value. Also, the ohmmeter evaluates resistance by sending a little current to the sample, measuring the current, and finding the required resistance using the ohm’s law (V=IR).

An internal battery and multiplier resistors were added to the DC meter from the creation of Ohmmeter. The battery is the source of current flow measured by the ohmmeter. It displays its reading on 0 Ω.

Steps to measuring the battery’s resistance through the Ohmmeter

  • Before testing, the expected reading must be clearly identified through the producer’s specification
  • Power off the circuit and confirm it does not have any current left in it
  • Isolate the element
  • Fix the test probes appropriately
  • Select the ohms function
  • Nudge the probes to examine the connections, battery life, and leads. The meter will display zero or a little resistance
  • Fix the edges of the probes around the circuit where resistance is to be precisely measured.
  • Check the reading on the display


By now, you should have known how to measure internal resistance of a battery. Internal resistance measurement of a battery is important, because it helps you access, and ascertain if the battery could deliver on its saved energy successfully. Generally, a low resistance battery has a high capacity to deliver high energy if demanded. In contrast, a high resistance battery could heat up unreasonably. This will cause a drop in the current output under high demand.

Thus, the internal resistance of the energy source is an important factor for consideration to deliver high power to the appliance connected to it.

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