How to maintain a battery?

Maintain a battery rightA battery can be compared to a piggy-bank, if you keep taking out without replacing its contents, soon you will have nothing left. As the energy requirements of consumer products has increased, battery life expectancy has decreased, even the most sophisticated modern batteries often fail to last as long as 48 months – only 30% of batteries survive to the 48-month mark.

The Basics about lead acid batteries

A lead acid battery is primarily made up of plates, Lead, Lead oxide and 35% Sulphuric acid electrolyte. The electrolyte is the powerhouse that produces the electrons, when you test a battery with a Hydrometer you are effectively measuring the concentration of this electrolyte. A low Hydrometer reading indicates that the sulphur has come out of solution, and that the concentration of electrolyte is low enough to have detrimental effect on the battery. Upon recharge the crystallised sulphur once again returns to its solution within the electrolyte.

The types of batteries

Basically there are two types of batteries:

  • The starting battery: Used e.g. for cranking. The starting battery is designed to deliver quick bursts of energy (such as starting engines) and have a greater plate count. The plates will also be thinner (more surface area) and have somewhat different material composition. Starting batteries should not be used for deep cycle applications.
  • The deep cycle battery: Used e.g. in marine, golf cart or forklift. The deep cycle battery provides less instant energy but greater long-term energy delivery. Deep cycle batteries have thicker plate’s design and can survive a greater number of deeper discharge cycles.

Note: The so-called Dual Purpose Battery is only a compromise between the 2 types of batteries.

The maintenance of a battery

Keep the battery cleanBatteries should be kept clean, with all cables and connections kept well fitted and secure. Serviceable batteries should have their fluid levels checked regularly and only when the battery is at full capacity.Do not overfill battery cells, particularly in warm weather – thermal expansion of the fluid will result in lost electrolyte. Take steps to prevent corrosion of cables on top-post batteries, it is a little known fact that a large portion of corrosion is due to gasses released by the battery. To counteract gas-corrosion, use a small bead of silicone-sealer at the base of the battery post, coat a felt battery-washer with high temperature resistant grease and attach to the post, cover the exposed cable with grease, place the cable and tighten.

Another option to improve the life of your battery is using Battery Equaliser™. By simply adding it to the cells of your batteries it is proven to increase their lifetime as well as running time and much more. Get here more information about Battery Equaliser™.

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