- Lead Acid Battery Maintenance Made Easy EBook
- Battery Care: How to make your battery last longer
- Proper Care and Maintenance of Deep Cycle Batteries
- VRLA battery
Lead Acid Battery Maintenance Made Easy EBook
Luckily as it is just water that is being lost hydrogen and oxygen all that has to go back in is pure water. The frequency with which you'll need to add water to your batteries will vary depending on the temperature and how often the batteries are cycled charged and discharged. More frequent cycling or higher temperatures will mean more frequent watering.
It's generally a good idea to top off your batteries every month or so at first until you get an idea of how thirsty your batteries are. It is always best to use distilled or deionized water when refilling your batteries. Normal tap water can contain minerals and chemicals that can decrease battery capacity and increase the self discharge rate of the battery.
If your batteries are under heavy use or in are in a spectacularly awkward position you may find it advantageous to look into a watering system for your batteries.
These snap into place over the vent holes on the battery, connected by a hose. When you need to fill your battery you just attach a water supply and the whole process is done in a few minutes with no risk of spillage.
Battery Care: How to make your battery last longer
It's much better on time and clothing than the normal method. Specific gravity is used to check the state of charge of a battery, essentially it's the ratio of the weight of a solution to the weight of an equal volume of water. Testing the specific gravity of a cell is done using a hydrometer, the best of these automatically compensate for temperature. As the ratio of water to sulphuric acid inside the battery changes with activity the density of the electrolyte also changes, this is what the hydrometer measures.
Another test that should be performed along with the Specific Gravity tests is looking at the Open Circuit Voltage of your battery. When charging a lead acid battery the charging takes place in 3 stages. Bulk, Absorption and Float, this is why some chargers are referred to as being 3-Stage. This is the first stage of 3-stage battery charging. The charger sends the current through to the cells at the maximum safe voltage they can handle. There is no correct voltage on this, but generally, it ranges from During this second stage of the charging cycle, the voltage remains constant then gradually lowers as the internal resistance in the battery increases as it charges.
This is the stage that the charger will generally put out the maximum voltage that it can and is generally around After the battery reaches its full charge during the absorption phase of charging the charging voltage drops down to around This stage is also sometimes referred to as a "Maintenance Charge" which is left on the whole time the battery is not being used so as to ensure that the battery is fully charged and able to function a tit's full capacity when it is needed.
Not all chargers are created equal; there is a huge difference between what a good quality three stage charger will do for your battery and what a cheap charger will do to your battery if used wrongly. The best chargers are 3-stage and have various safety features on them, such as not allowing current to flow until they detect a battery is connected and connected correctly. Also, they may be fan cooled and have features like automatic temperature correction, short circuit protection and so forth.
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The other type of battery charger is generally one that will have none of the built in safety features that are mentioned above and will not automatically shut off or lower the voltage after the battery has gotten past the bulk charge stage. This makes it possible to do significant damage to your battery even to the point of a critical failure if this sort of charger is left unattended.
Always make sure you have read the manual and are following proper precautions before charging your deep cycle batteries. You can get a fairly good idea of how charged your batteries are by testing the voltage regularly:. To get a more specific reading on state of charge you'll need to take specific gravity readings.
Battery capacity is rated in amp-hours. This is a measure of how much amperage can be drawn from a fully charged battery over time until it is discharged for a 12 volt battery this is when it reaches Then the amps are multiplied by the amount of time taken to get the Ah rating. As an example of this, if you had a device that pulled 25 amps and you used it for 30 minutes then the amp-hours used up would be 25 amps x 0. The standard and most widely accepted rating period for deep cycle batteries is 20 hours.
This means that the battery was discharged down to Sometimes, however, the time period can differ, in some circumstances knowing the 6 hour amp rating may be more useful and in others the amp hour rating may be used. Due to something called the Peukert effect a battery gives higher amp hours when it is discharged over a longer time period.
The capacity and life expectancy of a lead acid battery will vary depending on the temperatures that it operates in. Battery capacity increases in hotter temperatures though battery life decreases. Also in the colder temperatures, the battery will have less capacity but it will last longer. The charging voltage for a battery will also vary from 2. Some charge controllers have this temperature correction built in. Lead Acid Batteries do not have a memory, in fact completely discharging lead acid batteries will lead to a dramatic shortening of the lifespan of the battery.
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Most batteries have a State of Charge Indicator on top of the battery that will give you an on the spot diagnosis of the battery condition. However, a more reliable way to check is with a voltmeter to determine the stabilised voltage or if the vent caps are removable a hydrometer to determine the specific gravity SG of the electrolyte.
A charged Century battery will have a stabilised voltage above Ensure the battery top is clean, dry, free of dirt and grime.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Deep Cycle Batteries
A dirty battery can discharge across the grime on top of the battery casing. Inspect the terminals, screws, clamps and cables for breakage, damage or loose connections. These should be clean, tight and free of corrosion. Inspect the battery case for obvious signs of physical damage or warpage. This usually indicates the battery has been overheated or has been overcharged.
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If you have a maintainable battery, it is important to check if the battery has sufficient electrolyte covering the battery plates. If topping up is required, do not over fill as the fluid levels will rise when the battery is fully charged and may overflow. Top up using distilled or demineralised water and never fill with sulphuric acid. This gives you a snap shot of the battery's condition and whether the battery needs to be charged or replaced. The vehicle may still start the engine although the indicator outlines to replace the battery. If the State of Charge Indicator advises 'Replace Battery' it is important that the battery is replaced as the electrolyte levels may be below the plates which can lead to an internal explosion.
For batteries used in seasonal applications and stored long term, fully recharge the battery prior to storing. Check the state of charge or voltage regularly. Should the voltage drop below It is important to check the battery completely before reconnecting to electrical devices.
Battery acid can cause burns. Suitable hand, eye and face protection and protective clothing must be worn. For advice, contact the poisons information centre phone 13 11 26 in Australia or a doctor immediately. If in eyes, hold eyelids apart and flush the eye continuously with running water.