Electric/electronic devices, designed to run on 3 volts (traditionally 2 AA, AAA, C, D alkaline batteries), are quite prolific around the world. Some devices are troublesome to swap batteries on - the time/date must be re-set, or they may be in a difficult to access location. Some devices are designed to operate on 3 volts minimum, and don't work well at all on the 2.4v output from a pair of traditional rechargeable batteries. In this case, users are forced to continue buying and discarding/recycling single-use alkaline batteries. Alternatively, the device may be replaced, with one that works better on rechargeable cells. Either route here results in material being discarded, likely ending up in a landfill.
I propose to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, in place of traditional alkaline, NI-MH or NiCd cells. Lithium ion cells boast a very high power density, storage efficiency, and a low self discharge rate. This makes this ideal to power many electronics already existing around the world. Some circuitry must be added, as the maximum voltage of a standard Li-Ion cell is ~4.2 volts, which could cause problems or even destroy some electronics. Also, Li-Ion batteries
to not tolerate being discharged beyond a certain threshold - usually about 2.5 volts. We'll also add a cell protection circuit to prevent the charge from going below critical.
Finally - brand new Li-Ion cells are available on the market - but they are more expensive than traditional alkaline cells by far. For this project, we'll use cells recycled from an old laptop battery pack. Often, when laptop battery packs age or fail, some cells will degrade much faster than others. Even if a pack is completely nonfunctional (in a laptop), often some individual cells within the pack still have useful life. The packs can be carefully disassembled, and individual cells charged and tested. For this project, we'll use "18650" Lithium Ion cells, that were harvested from a non-functioning 2007-era laptop.