Help Your Holder: General Design Ideas
Help Your Holder
Like most products, battery holders are designed to often contradictory requirements:
It should be easy to install and remove a battery, but it should be held securely.
Battery holders should be small, lightweight, have a minimal footprint, but should survive drop and
vibration tests while holding massive batteries.
Battery holder designers do their best to meet all of these criteria, but compromises have to be made that
place each holder on a performance continuum. One holder may be designed to hold a battery very
securely and rely on a tool to remove it, another may have a looser fit with finger notches underneath to
make it easy to pry it out, while a third may have a latching mechanism that adds to the size, weight, or
cost.
Our product specialists at MPD will be happy to review your requirements and recommend a holder that
best fits your needs. But ultimately you, as the product designer, are ultimately responsible for good
product design.
One simple way to make your design more robust is to make the enclosure and the battery holder work
together. If you have a battery access door, grow ribs or other features to help hold the batteries securely
while it is in place. This allows for the selection of an easy insertion-removal holder, without
compromising on battery retention. This can be extremely effective for multiple-battery holders (like
4xAAA or AA holders), where the batteries can have a tendency to buckle if not secure, but if possible
support should be added around coin cell holders as well. Adding additional plastic features to existing
parts costs next to nothing, but dramatically adds to the robustness of the design.
Depending on the configuration it may be possible to dispense with the holder completely and use MPD's
extensive line of loose contacts and springs. When using these components it is important to make sure
that the spacing between contacts is appropriate. Keep in mind that most batteries tend to be on the high
side of the ANSI tolerance - by designing your contact spacing between nominal and the upper tolerance
limit it will be easier for your customers to insert and remove batteries. See our contact documentation for
specific dimensional recommendations.
If it is difficult or impossible for your enclosure to provide additional support to the battery holder, make
sure that you select one that is designed for high retention and shock resistance. This is often the case
with PCs or similar consumer electronics that have a main circuit board in a metal enclosure. The extra
pennies that will be spent on a more robust holder will prevent the much higher expense of customer
dissatisfaction, support calls, and product returns.
So, when designing your product, ask not what your battery holder can do for you. Ask what you can do
for your battery holder.
Geoffrey Engelstein,
Contact: [email protected]
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