Guide on Identifying and Replacing Emergency Lighting Batteries

By  |  0 Comments

Guide on Identifying and Replacing Emergency Lighting Batteries

An emergency light is a device that lights up an area in case of power outage or fire. It can help illuminate the path for people to exit the building, should the need arise. Due to its vital role, emergency lights are standard requirements for areas with high occupancy rates; like apartments, dormitories, and hotels. Whether you’re the building supervisor or the site handyman, you must check and replace the emergency lighting batteries as often as needed. Below follows a guide on identifying and replacing emergency lighting batteries. Here’s a guide on how you can do this efficiently.

How to Identify Emergency Lighting Batteries

To identify emergency light batteries correctly, you need to be familiar with the following information:


Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) Batteries

As the oldest type of rechargeable battery, this type is the same used in cars. As such, it looks like a miniaturized version of your vehicle’s battery.

The battery gets its name from its design, which is that of acid-immersed lead alloy plates. This helps produce the electrons that power up your emergency lights.

Often used in steel enclosure emergency lights and exit sign combo units, sealed lead-acid batteries are known to be cheap and resistant to heat or cold.

However, the unfortunate thing is that it is larger, heavier, and needs to remain upright.

Nickel-Cadmium Batteries

Also known as the NiCad battery, it makes use of cadmium and nickel oxide hydroxide as electrodes. It is similar to the appearance of your standard AAA batteries.

It is popularly used in most emergency lights because it is small, lightweight, and has a longer lifespan. As such, it’s often used in thermoplastic housing emergency lights.

While it can be oriented in any direction, it is more expensive. It should also be charged fully the first time, or else it will not charge well in the subsequent attempts.

Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries

This battery has negative contact points and uses hydrogen instead of cadmium.

While it’s similar in appearance to NiCad, metal hydride batteries are usually smaller. As such, it’s often used in exit signs.


Battery voltages range from 6 to 24 VDC. Higher voltages are needed for brighter lights, as well as remote lamp heads connected to an emergency unit. That’s because the distance diminishes the voltage delivery in longer cables.


This refers to the battery’s runtime capacity. The commonly used measurement terms are amp and mAh, where 1 amp is equal to 1000 mAh.

Simply put, the higher the amperage, the longer the battery can power up the emergency light.

Terminal Type

The battery terminal connects the charger to the battery. It comes in various types, depending on the battery at hand.

SLA batteries usually have Faston tabs, which are white, black, or red connectors that close the circuit. Another less common variant is the L-terminal, which has a bolt hole on its longer side.

As for NiCad emergency lighting batteries, they usually come with female-to-male battery leads that connect the wiring.

When Should You Replace Your Emergency Light Batteries?

Generally speaking, replacement should be done every four years. However, they may be instances wherein you need to replace it earlier.

To be sure, you need to check the current battery charge. Unless your emergency light can do this automatically, this procedure should be done manually. You must test the battery monthly and annually so that you meet the legislative requirements.

You can check the charge by pressing the battery test button. This allows the component to switch from AC to emergency power.

Two tests can help you determine the need for a battery replacement. The first is the 30-second test, wherein you push the test button for 30 seconds. The light should be active throughout this duration.

This should be followed by a 90-minute test, where the light should last for 1.5 hours. Failure in both tests necessitates the need for emergency lighting battery replacement.

How to Replace Emergency Lighting Batteries

There are three steps to replacing emergency light batteries:

Step 1: Open the Housing

With the help of Philips head or a special hex screwdriver, open the emergency light housing.

Once the plate is removed, you will see a bevy of electrical wires in the system. Make sure to part them carefully as you look for the circuit board that connects to the battery.

Next, you need to remove the lead from the (+) and (-) contact points. In some cases, you may need to remove a harness.

After doing so, you can easily slide out your car battery-like SLA or AAA-like NiCad battery.

Step 2: Check the Battery Type, Voltage, and Amperage

The next thing you need to do is check the type, voltage, and amperage of the battery.

Remember, using a higher voltage battery will blow out the lights, while a lower voltage will make the light dimmer. Add to that, the battery will not charge properly if there are differences between its voltage and circuit card.

If you’re not sure about the battery’s aspects, you can always check the housing interior. More often than not, it comes with a label that goes something like, “REPLACE WITH JIMING TYPE: JM-6M10.0AC.”

If the preferred replacement battery is not available in your area, you can try and switch to an available brand in your region.

You can get the best alternative by noting the dead battery’s voltage, dimensions (length, width, and height), and terminal type.

Step 3: Replace the Battery

Say that you already have the emergency lighting battery replacement at hand. The next thing you need to do is secure it to its proper location.

Make sure to return all the components in place before screwing the housing shut. After this, make sure to test the lights. This will help you determine if you have replaced the battery correctly.

Emergency lighting batteries need to be replaced routinely. While the process may seem complicated, it’s not that hard. As long as you know the battery variations – and follow the proper steps of replacement.

Featured photo by Brennan Burling on Unsplash

I’m Bessie . I’m a writer from California. I am a fan of entrepreneurship, photography, and travel.

[userpro template=postsbyuser user=author postsbyuser_num=4]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.