It would be ideal if there was one type of universal battery that could be used for every electrical and electronic device.
This would save you time on having to decide the right battery for the job.
Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world where this universal battery exists. The world is filled with many different types of battery that range in size, shape, voltage, current capacity, chemical composition, etc.
The CR2032 is one of the many types of battery available, which is primarily used for smaller electrical and electronic devices.
Below is a list of devices that CR2032 batteries are used for;
- Car key fobs
- Mini flashlights
- Digital vernier callipers
- Kitchen scales
- Guitar tuner
- Motherboards (backup)
- Small toys
- Remote controls
There are many more applications where CR2032 batteries are used, and this article shall take a closer look at them.
Different types of batteries
To better understand the different applications CR2032 batteries are used for, it will first help to learn about the different batteries available.
This will give you a more clear view of why CR2032 batteries are used for these particular applications.
Key characteristics of batteries
There are a set of characteristics that make each battery unique. The characteristics include;
- Chemical Composition
- Voltage Rating
- Current capacity rating
- Energy density
- Specific Energy Density
Batteries produce electrical power from chemical reactions that occur inside the battery. There are a range of chemicals that are used in different batteries which include;
- Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
- Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
This is one of the main ratings of a battery and refers to the amount of electrical potential a battery holds given in the standard unit of Volts.
All batteries have a theoretical voltage, however, the actual voltage produced will be lower.
This is due to polarisation and resistance losses, and is largely dependent on the current drawn by the load and the internal impedance of the battery.
Current capacity rating
Current capacity is the next major rating of a battery and relates to the amount of charge (current) that a battery is able to hold.
Depending on the size of the battery, the current capacity can be given in Amp-Hours (Ah), or Milli-Amp-Hours (mAh).
Just like voltage, a battery has a theoretical current capacity that will be higher than its actual measured current capacity.
Shape and Size
While there are many different characteristics, the shape and size of a battery are the characteristics that you can physically distinguish one battery from another..
Below is a list of the many different shapes and sizes;
- C & D
- Coin cell
- Button cell
Different sizes and shapes of battery will have different energy densities, which is the energy can derived per unit volume of the weight of the battery.
Specific Energy Density
This is the product of the current capacity and voltage of a battery for one full discharge cycle. It can be derived per unit weight of the battery as well.
Primary and secondary batteries
All batteries no matter size, shape, voltage, current capacity, etc, can be divided up into two categories; Primary and Secondary.
Primary batteries are batteries that can only be used once. This is why they are often referred to as disposable or single use batteries.
Once they have fully discharged (and gone flat), you will have to throw them out.
They cannot be used again.
Secondary batteries on the other hand are rechargeable. This means that when they have fully discharged, you can recharge them (with the help of a battery charger).
How many times a battery can be recharged is dependent on its chemical composition which will determine its lifespan.
Secondary batteries are a much better option than primary batteries due to the fact that they do not have to be thrown out.
The disposing of single use primary batteries causes large piles in landfills and is not very environmentally friendly.
The CR battery
CR is a family of batteries consisting of batteries that resemble a coin, and is why they are termed coin cell batteries.
The CR2032 is a single battery that comes from this family of batteries.
CR batteries might look the same, however they have one distinguishing feature being their physical dimension.
While they might share the same voltage and shape, they vary in physical size.
Closer look at CR2032 batteries
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
As we saw earlier, 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.
Different applications that CR2032 batteries are used for
So, now that we have taken a closer look at the CR2032 battery, we can have a look at all the applications that are perfect for this type of battery.
Electrical and electronic devices come in a variety of sizes from the ones that sit on a desktop, to ones that can fit in your pocket.
We now know that batteries come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the range of sizes of these devices.
The CR2032 is a smaller sized battery compared to its peers. This makes it perfect for smaller devices.
But what exact applications are CR2032 batteries used for?
Let’s take a look.
Note, CR2032 batteries can literally be found in every small electronic device, so this list will try to divide the applications into different categories.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means.
Application #1 where CR2032 batteries are used: Small toys
If you were a kid growing up in the 90’s, you would have been limited by the number of electronic toys available (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
But, fast forward to the present day, and if you are a kid now, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to toys and their complexity.
Many toys are now electronic giving them a lot more bells and whistles.
Smaller toys that aren’t too complicated, will use CR2032 batteries as a source of power.
Application #2 where CR2032 batteries are used: Computer motherboard
No, CR2032 batteries do not power your computer (if they could that would be amazing)!
Rather, CR2032 batteries are used on motherboards to help power the internal clock of the microchip when power is removed from the system.
This ensures the system is running smoothly and isn’t always reset when you turn the power off.
CR2032 batteries are used in many other systems other than a computer motherboard, to power internal clocks.
Application #3 where CR2032 batteries are used: Key-chain accessories
While keychains were invented to keep your keys secure, whether it be for your car, house, office, lockbox, etc, they now have added accessories that can be added.
Many of these additional accessories are electronic and require a source of power.
Things such as car key fobs, mini flashlights, bluetooth GPS systems, keyfinder, smart tags, and so much more.
CR2032 batteries are used for these accessories to ensure they have the power to operate efficiently.
Application #4 where CR2032 batteries are used: Remote controls
Ah, how would we live in a world without the awesome power of the remote control. This ever useful device ensures we don’t have to get up from our comfy resting place to constantly go change the TV channel.
But, the remote is not just limited to the TV. There is a remote for many other applications such as; stereo systems, air conditioning units, lighting systems, etc.
Depending on the complexity (and size) of the remote, many of them use CR2032 batteries.
Application #5 where CR2032 batteries are used: Smart doorbells
Gone are the days where you would just knock or ring a simple doorbell to make your presence known to the owner of the house.
Nowadays, doorbells have gotten a whole lot smarter.
They can now sense motion, livestream video, record audio and video, have fingerprint sensors, and much more.
Again, depending on the complexity of the doorbell, you will most likely find CR2032 batteries.
Application #6 where CR2032 batteries are used: Medical
They say prevention is the best cure and knowing what the problem is ahead of time can be the difference between life and death.
When it comes to our health, Doctors are the all knowing wizards who can shed light on many of the issues that might arise in our lives.
However, we might not always have access to them, or they themselves have a limit to their capability.
For example, a doctor cannot precisely tell you the level of your blood sugar.
Thankfully medical devices have been invented to do things that us humans are limited and aid us to solve problems.
And now, we can take these devices with us home to ensure we stay ahead of problems before they become, well, a problem.
CR2032 batteries are used for many portable devices that include Oximeters, portable blood pressure monitors, cardio checks, blood glucose metres, and much more.
There are also devices known as Medic Alert Bracelets that can be worn (on the wrist) by vulnerable patients.
This allows them to notify emergency services such as an Ambulance in the event they might be home alone and a life threatening situation arises.
Application #7 where CR2032 batteries are used: Wearable electronics
Whether you are into cosplay (costume play), or want to stay connected with the world, you are in luck thanks to the advancement of technology.
Electronics have gotten smaller which means that you can now wear them!
Smartwatches are becoming ever popular allowing you to stay in contact with loved ones, monitor your heartbeat, calculate how fast you are running, how far you have travelled and so much more.
Also, the fashion and cosplay world have benefited tremendously with these smaller electronics allowing them to design costumes otherwise unimaginable.
Application #8 where CR2032 batteries are used: Miscellaneous
This section isn’t really a category, rather a list of the many other devices that CR2032 batteries are used for which include;
- Vernier callipers
- Electronic dog collars
- Mini Flashlights
- Bicycle lights
- Guitar tuners
- Remote weather stations
- Digital kitchen scales
- Wireless mouse
- MP3 player
- Mini clocks
As you can see, the list has a wide variety of applications showing us that the CR2032 battery has many areas where it can be used.
Again, just to reiterate, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means.
Why are CR2032 batteries used for the above applications
The most obvious reason that a CR2032 is used in the applications named above is because of its physical dimension.
It is a small battery that fits the needs of the devices it is used for.
Other than that, all the devices mentioned do not really require much current to operate. They tend to draw current in the uA (micro ampere) range.
As you can imagine, the CR2032 isn’t really a battery that would be able to hold that much current. Therefore it is a perfect candidate for these smaller devices that require less current.
Are primary and secondary CR2032 batteries used for the same applications?
This depends entirely on the needs of the device, and the application it is used for.
If the device is used consistently, it is going to lose charge much faster than if it wasn’t. In this scenario, a secondary (rechargeable) CR2032 battery is ideal.
This will save you time, money, and impacts on the environment having to constantly dispose and replace the batteries.
A device like a smartwatch would benefit from having a rechargeable CR2032 battery.
However, if the device doesn’t draw too much power, and isn’t put under much stress (load wise), it will last a long time with a single CR2032 battery.
In this instance, a primary (non-rechargeable) CR2032 battery is the perfect option. A device such as a mini clock, which draws minuscule current would benefit from primary CR2032 batteries.