What is C-rate?The charge and discharge current of a battery is measured in C-rate. Most portable batteries are rated at 1C. This means that a 1000mAh battery would provide 1000mA for one hour if discharged at 1C rate. The same battery discharged at 0.5C would provide 500mA for two hours. At 2C, the 1000mAh battery would deliver 2000mA for 30 minutes. 1C is often referred to as a one-hour discharge; a 0.5C would be a two-hour, and a 0.1C a 10-hour discharge.The capacity of a battery is commonly measured with a battery analyzer. If the analyzer’s capacity readout is displayed in percentage of the nominal rating, 100% is shown if a 1000mAh battery can provide this current for one hour. If the battery only lasts for 30 minutes before cut-off, 50% is indicated. A new battery sometimes provides more than 100% capacity. When discharging a battery with a battery analyzer that allows the setting of different discharge C-rates, a higher capacity reading is observed if the battery is discharged at a lower C-rate and vice versa. By discharging the 1000mAh battery at 2C, or 2000mA, the analyzer is scaled to derive the full capacity in 30 minutes. Theoretically, the capacity reading should be the same as with a slower discharge, since the identical amount of energy is dispensed, only over a shorter time. Due to internal energy losses and a voltage drop that causes the battery to reach the low-end voltage cut-off sooner, the capacity reading may be lowered to 95%. Discharging the same battery at 0.5C, or 500mA over two hours may increase the capacity reading to about 105%. The discrepancy in capacity readings with different C-rates is related to the internal resistance of the battery.One battery that does not perform well at a 1C discharge rate is the portable sealed lead-acid. To obtain a reasonably good capacity reading, manufacturers commonly rate these batteries at 0.05C or 20 hour discharge. Even at this slow discharge rate, a 100% capacity is hard to attain. To compensate for different readings at various discharge currents, manufacturers offer a capacity offset. Applying the offset to correct the capacity readout does not improve battery performance; it merel adjusts the capacity calculation if discharged at a higher or lower C-rate than specified. Lithium-ion/polymer batteries are electronically protected against high load currents. Depending on battery type, the discharge is limited to between 1C and 2C. This protection makes the lithium ion unsuitable for biomedical equipment and power tools demanding high inrush currents.