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Battery Technical Discussion

Our Facebook page, click here... Updated 05/10/2017

BATTERY DEFINITIONS:

About Stop Start Batteries Why They Are Special!
Active Material
Chemically active compounds in a cell or battery that convert from one composition to another while producing current (electrical energy) or accepting current from an external circuit.

Battery Polarity
A battery has two poles or posts. The positive battery post is usually marked POS, P, or + and is larger than the negative post which is usually marked NEG, N, or -. The polarity of the charger and the battery must always match to avoid damage to the battery and charger.

Cell
The basic electrochemical current-producing unit in a battery consisting of a set of positive plates, negative plates, electrolyte, separators and casing. There are six cells in a 12-volt lead-acid battery.

Cold Cranking Amps
Cold Cranking Amps is a rating used in the battery industry to define a battery's ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating is the number of amps a new, fully charged battery can deliver at 17.8 degrees Celsius for 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts, for a 12 volt battery. The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery.

Container
The polypropylene or hard rubber case which holds the plates, straps and electrolyte.

Cover
The lid for the case/container.

Electrolyte
A solution of sulfuric acid and water which conducts current through the movement of ions (charged particles in the electrolyte solution) between positive and negative plates. It supplies sulfate ions for reaction with the active material of both positive and negative plates.

Grids
A lead alloy framework that supports the active material of a battery plate and conducts current.

Ground
The reference potential of a circuit. In automotive use, the result of attaching one battery cable to the body or frame which is used as a path for completing a circuit in lieu of a direct wire from a component. Today, over 99% of motor vehicles use the negative terminal of the battery as the ground.

Intercell connections
Connections between the straps of two cells, positive of one cell to the negative of the next.

Open Circuit Voltage (O.C.V.)
The voltage of a battery when it is not delivering or receiving power. It is 2.11 volts for a fully charged battery cell.

Plates
Flat, typically rectangular components that contain the active material and a mechanical support structure called a grid, which also has an electrical function, carrying electrons to and from the active material. Plates are either positive or negative, depending on the active material they hold.

Reserve Capacity
Reserve Capacity, (RC) is a battery industry rating, defining a battery's ability to power a vehicle with an inoperative alternator or fan belt. The rating is the number of minutes a battery at 17.8 degrees Celsius can be discharged at 25 amps and maintain a voltage of 10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery. The higher the reserve rating, the longer your vehicle can operate should your alternator or fan belt fail.

Separators
Porous plastic, electrically insulating sheets which allow transfer of ions between plates, but prevent physical contact between plates and resulting electronic conduction.

State of Charge
Use this data to determine the State of Charge for a Deep Cycle Battery
State of Charge Specific Gravity Voltage - 12 Volt Battery:

  • 100% 1.265 - 12.7
  • 75% 1.225 - 12.4
  • 50% 1.190 - 12.2
  • 25% 1.155 - 12.1

    Straps
    Lead alloy castings that connect a number of same polarity plates together in a cell and carry current,

    Terminals
    The electrical connection from the battery to the external circuit. Each terminal is connected to either the first (positive) or last strap (negative) in the series connection of cells in a battery.

    Vents
    Components that allow gasses to exit the battery while retaining the electrolyte within the case. Can be permanently fixed to the cover or removable, depending on battery design.

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    SAFETY: Battery Safety and Handling Guidelines

    Whenever you’re handling or working with a lead-acid battery, consult your vehicle and battery owners’ manual for instructions and safety precautions. Lead-acid batteries contain hydrogen-oxygen gases than can be explosive and sulfuric acid that can cause severe burns.

    To help avoid risk of danger and injury, observe these precautions when handling or working with a lead-acid battery:
  • Wear ANSI* approved safety glasses or goggles and a face shield.
  • Wear proper clothing to protect your face, hands and body.
  • Make sure work area is well-ventilated.
  • Never lean over battery while boosting, testing or charging.
  • Cigarettes, flames or sparks could cause a battery to explode. Keep all ignition sources away from the battery.
  • Always shield eyes and face from battery.
  • Do not charge or use booster cables or adjust post connections without proper instructions and training.
  • KEEP VENT CAPS TIGHT AND LEVEL.
  • In event of accident, flush with water and call a physician immediately.
  • KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

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    BATTERY MAINTENANCE:
    Automotive Batteries

  • Test your battery on a regular basis, including when you have your car serviced, before long trips or after it's been recharged.
  • Maintain all areas/parts of your vehicle as directed in your owner's manual and/or by your mechanic. This will reduce the chance of other engine components draining power from your battery. It's not always the battery's fault when a car doesn't start, but often a symptom of other problems.

    Deep Cycle/Marine Batteries

    Storing your battery for extended periods:
  • Charge the battery until it is completely charged.
  • Store it in a cold place but not where it will consistently go below zero deg. C.
  • Check the battery every two months and recharge if necessary*.
  • Remove all electrical connections from the battery including series/parallel connectors *A fully charged specific gravity of 1.265 corrected to 26.7 C is assumed.

    Maintenance tips for extended battery life:
  • Regularly clean the battery container and terminals.
  • Make sure vent caps are tight to prevent water or baking soda from entering cells.
  • Apply baking soda to any corrosion and rinse cover with water.
  • Check your battery's electrolyte level before charging, it should be at the bottom of the vent splash band:
    - Electrolyte level low?
    - Add distilled water to bring level to the bottom of the vent walls.
    - Distilled water not available? Use a good drinking water. It's better than adding nothing;
    - otherwise the battery plate will dry out and the battery could lose its capacity.

    Recharging guidelines for maximum life:
  • 1. Recharge immediately after each use.
  • 2. Use battery charger matched to the battery's size.
  • 3. Do not overcharge; an automatic charger that turns off or on with a timer is your best bet.
  • 4. Always slow charge a deep cycle battery; never fast charge or boost charge it.
  • 5. A 10-12 hour charge with the appropriate charger at the correct amp rate will usually bring your battery to a full state of charge from a deep discharge.

    Get The Right Battery:

    Check your vehicle manual for the original equipment manufacturer's recommendations for:
  • a. Battery group size.
  • b. Cold cranking amps (CCA).
  • c. Reserve capacity (RC) for your vehicle.
    Battery group size indicates the battery size that will best fit the physical dimensions of your vehicle. Many vehicles can accommodate more than one group size. CCA is critical for good cranking ability. It's the number of amps a battery can support for 30 seconds at a temperature of 17.8 degrees Celius until the battery voltage drops to unusable levels. A 12V battery with a rating of 600 CCA means the battery will provide 600 amps for 30 seconds at 0 degrees before the voltage falls to 7.20 V (six cells). RC helps to power your vehicle's electrical system if the alternator fails. It indicates the battery's "staying power" -- how many minutes the battery can supply ample power without falling below the minimum voltage needed to run your vehicle. In general for both CCA and RC, the higher the number the better. HOWEVER, if you live in a cold climate, the CCA rating should be an important consideration in choosing a battery. Conversely, if you live in a high heat climate, you don't need as much CCA.

    If you're looking for a deep cycle battery for marine or RV use, you must consider:

  • a. The type of equipment to be powered.
  • b. The current (amps) needed to run the equipment.
  • c. The number of hours you'll be using the equipment.

    Multiply the Amps by the Hours to determine the Amp Hours, or AH, required.
    Equipment Current Draw (Amps) x Time(Hours) = AMP Hours Lights 10 x 5 = 50 Trolling Motor 1 x 5 = 5 Fish Locator 3 x 5 = 15 Radio 1 x 5 = 5 TOTAL 75 AH

    Look for a battery that will deliver the required amount of AH for the specified time and voltage. For a safety cushion, increase the number of AH by 20%. To add AH, connect batteries in parallel. To add voltage, connect batteries in a series. Be careful of products that display only ratings such as Hot Cranking Amps (HCA) or Cranking Amps (CA) Products that display HCA or CA ratings are tested at higher temperatures, in the case of HCA — 80 degrees — so the resulting numbers appear higher. (CAs are tested at 30°F.) Since these batteries are not as powerful as you might think, what looks like a "bargain" may end up costing you money. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at ratings. The CCA and RC are the best measure of a battery's true power.

    Check for freshness:
    Learn to interpret battery date codes. Or ask your retailer to make sure you purchase the "freshest" battery available. A battery that has been sitting on the shelf for extended periods can lose some of its charge and may not provide the performance you need during its first use. Long term performance probably won't be compromised however, as the battery can be returned to its original levels of performance with either in-vehicle charging or by using an external charger.
    Look for a hassle free warranty.

  • a. Is the warranty nationwide so you can obtain service wherever you are?
  • b. How long is the free replacement period?
  • c. After that time, will you be reimbursed for a portion of the battery's cost on a prorated basis?
    Consider value as well as price...

  • 1.You might want to get professional advice before you buy.
  • 2.Install a new battery before your existing one fails.
  • 3.Before you take a long trip, or when you're having your car serviced, have your battery tested. It could save you a lot of time and money down the road.

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