Our world is filled with mobile electrical and electronic devices that help us with many different tasks from making phone calls (smartphones), checking the time (smartwatches), lighting up a dark path (flashlight), and so much more.
Since these devices are portable they require a portable means of power, which come in the form of batteries.
There are many different types of battery each suited for a particular application.
The CR2032 is a type of coin cell battery predominantly used for smaller electronics like car key fobs, calculators, mini flashlights, etc.
But, can you recharge a CR2032 battery? Yes, CR2032 batteries are available in rechargeable versions which are named LIR2032. This means you can recharge them after they have lost their charge. However, beware that not all CR2032 batteries are rechargeable. There are two types; non-rechargeable, and rechargeable.
You will first have to check if the CR2032 battery you have is the rechargeable version before trying to recharge it.
Different types of batteries
There isn’t one specific type of battery that is used for all portable devices.
Batteries come in a variety of shapes, sizes, voltages, current capacity and chemical compositions, each having its own unique advantages for a particular application.
Some batteries last longer and make them perfect for devices like smartphones where you need the battery to last for long periods of time.
While some batteries can deliver high amounts of current but do not last very long, which make them ideal for devices such as power tools.
Batteries can be classed into two categories; Primary and Secondary.
Primary batteries are your one use type of battery. This means once they have fully discharged (and go flat), you need to dispose of them.
They cannot be used again.
Secondary batteries on the other hand are rechargeable. When a secondary battery has fully discharged, you can ‘recharge’ them (with the aid of a battery charger).
They can be used multiple times. The number of times they can be used is dependent on the make up of their chemical composition.
A deeper look at CR2032 batteries
So, what exactly is a CR2032 battery?
Let’s take a deeper look to fully understand whether this type of battery can be recharged or not.
As mentioned earlier, batteries have many different characteristics that make them unique. One of the biggest is their shape.
Below are the different shapes available;
- Coin cell
- Flat/ Pouch
The CR2032 is a type of coin cell battery and is aptly named that due to its resemblance of a coin.
This type of battery is commonly used in smaller electronics such as;
- Wrist watches
- Car key fobs
- Digital vernier callipers
- Keychain LED flashlights
- Handheld medical devices (digital thermometers)
- Garage door openers
- Pet collars
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many other devices but you get the jist.
CR2032 battery specifications
The letters and numbers of the CR2032 aren’t just picked randomly, but rather are specifically chosen, representing its chemical composition and physical dimension.
These letters, and numbers are crucial in selecting the right coin cell battery for the job (more so the numbers).
Let’s take a look at what they mean.
The first letter, ‘C’, represents the chemical composition of the battery. In this case it is made up of Chromium (however, while that was the earlier composition, CR batteries can be made with various different compositions, with Lithium being the most common).
Next, the letter ‘R’, tells us the shape of the battery, which is round.
The next two numbers in the sequence (in this instance ‘2’ and ‘0’), provide us information about the diameter of the coin in millimetres. So, this particular battery has a diameter of 20mm.
Finally, the last two digits ‘3’ and ‘2’, indicate the height of the batter in millimetres. But to acquire the height, first take the number and divide it by 10.
So, 32 divided by 10 will give us a height of 3.2mm.
CR2032 battery voltage and current capacity ratings
There are two other important characteristics when it comes to selecting the right battery for a particular electronic device;
- Current capacity
All electrical and electronic devices require a voltage to operate. Without voltage the device might as well be a paper weight.
The CR2032 has a voltage range of 3 – 3.7 volts.
The next characteristic is current capacity, which is defined by the total amount of charge that a battery is capable of storing (much like how much water a bottle is capable of storing, if water represents the current).
Larger batteries have their current capacities shown in Amp-Hours (Ah), while smaller batteries (like CR2032 coin cell batteries), have their capacities given in Milli-Amp-Hours (mAh).
The CR2032 has a current capacity ranging from 230mAh – 1400mAh.
Are CR2032 primary or secondary batteries?
CR2032 batteries are traditionally primary.
If you were to go to your local grocery or hardware store, the CR2032 batteries that are available there would be the primary variety.
This means that you would only be able to use the battery once and then dispose of it.
However, CR2032 batteries are available as secondary batteries which means you can use them multiple times.
They are readily available online, or at specialised electronic stores.
Can you recharge CR2032 batteries?
So now we know that CR2032 batteries are available as non-rechargeable (primary) and rechargeable (secondary).
So, can you recharge them?
When it comes to recharging a CR2032 battery, you will only be able to recharge the rechargeable version as they are designed to be charged and used multiple times.
Note, as we saw earlier the first letter ‘C’ represents the chemical composition of the battery. The rechargeable version of the CR2032 is known as LIR2032.
The ‘LI’ represents the chemical composition of Lithium-Ion, which is the most used chemical for rechargeable batteries.
At no means should you try to charge the non-rechargeable variety as doing so is hazardous which could result in an explosion.
How to check if a CR2032 can be charged or not
You might have some CR2032 batteries lying around at home, or you might be buying one (online or physically).
So, how do you check if a CR2032 can be recharged or not?
The easiest way to tell is by reading what is written on the battery. A CR2032 that can be charged, will have the words ‘rechargeable battery’ displayed on one of its faces.
It will also have LIR2032 displayed.
If you are looking for a rechargeable CR2032 battery, the best way to do so online is by searching; “Rechargeable CR2032 battery” or “LIR2032”.
Do rechargeable CR2032 batteries require special chargers?
Yes, you will need special chargers that can accept coin cell batteries, and particularly the CR2032 battery size.
As rechargeable CR2032 batteries are made of Lithium-Ion, these types of batteries require even more care when it comes to charging.
Most battery chargers offer trickle charging when a battery has reached full charge. However, Lithium-Ion batteries cannot take more charge when they have reached full capacity.
For that reason, their chargers stop the charging process when the battery has reached full capacity.
So, the battery charger will have to be able to accommodate the rechargeable battery and have the right charging circuitry for lithium-ion batteries.