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ESL 101: What Powers an Electronic Shelf Label?

SOLUM’s Newton Electronic Shelf Labels are powered by non-rechargeable lithium batteries that can last up to 10 years.

What powers an electronic shelf label may differ from brand to brand.


Across the globe, there are different types and models of Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL), each having a different manufacturer and design. In fact, according to Fact.MR, there are 12 top companies that provide and manufacture ESL—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as there are upcoming ESL providers that are yet to be known.

What powers a Newton ESL?

Every ESL is different. But when it comes to powering Newton digital labels, SOLUM uses lithium batteries. These lithium batteries are non-rechargeable coin cell batteries commonly used in watches, car remote keys, security systems, computer motherboards, and other electronic devices.


Each Newton ESL is powered by two lithium batteries, while each Newton LITE is powered by only one lithium battery. Two lithium batteries can power one Newton ESL for as long as 10 years, depending on the usage. Meanwhile, one lithium battery can power one Newton LITE for at least five years.

How can an ESL power last?

Because lithium batteries are non-rechargeable, business owners and retailers using Newton ESL cannot reuse the batteries. This means that once the batteries are drained, retailers need to obtain replacements.


To avoid draining the batteries before they reach the end of their lifespan—and avoid the cost that comes with prematurely replacing the batteries—here are some things ESL users can do to make their labels' battery life last.


  • Make sure that the labels are powered off when the store is closed.
  • Use the LED features only when necessary for store operations.
  • Keep the labels at their recommended operating temperature (0° to 10°C / 32° to 50°F).
  • Avoid playing with the labels’ programmable buttons; press them only when necessary.
  • Schedule your price updates to avoid wasting battery life with random unsanctioned updates.

What happens when a Newton ESL runs out of power?

When a Newton ESL’s battery runs out of battery power, users can send their labels back to SOLUM through a process that is called RMA. 


RMA refers to Return Merchandise Authorization, a coded authorization issued by a mail-order merchant to allow a product to be returned. For a better client experience, SOLUM has developed an efficient RMA process that allows our clients to send their ESL batteries for repair and refurbishment. SOLUM’s Repair Center inspects the labels first, then depending on the situation, they will:


  • Fix, replace, or recycle
  • Clean and replace the parts
  • Replace the battery with new ones


Among all the ESL providers worldwide, SOLUM is the only ESL provider that offers an RMA process for battery repair and replacement, further extending our capabilities to meet client needs.


If you have more questions about how lithium batteries can power our electronic shelf labels, how we were able to ensure a 10-year battery lifespan for our Newton digital labels, or our process of replacing the batteries of labels sent to our SOLUM Repair center, feel free to contact SOLUM! Our ESL experts will be glad to answer your queries and provide an explanation.

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