Battery Facts - The Battery Base Melbourne
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Battery Facts

A few facts about batteries.

What are the differences between gel batteries and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries?

Both are recombinant batteries. Both are sealed valve-regulated (SVR) – also called valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA). AGM batteries and gel batteries are both considered “acid-starved”. In a gel Battery, the electrolyte does not flow like a normal liquid. The electrolyte has the consistency and appearance of petroleum jelly. Like gelled electrolyte batteries, absorbed electrolyte batteries are also considered non-spillable – the entire liquid electrolyte is trapped in the sponge-like matted glass fibre separator material. The “acid-starved” condition of gel and AGM batteries protects the plates during heavy deep-discharges. The gel battery is more starved, giving more protection to the plate; therefore, it is better suited for super-deep discharge applications. Due to the physical properties of the gelled electrolyte, gel battery power declines faster than an AGM battery’s as the temperature drops below 32ºF. AGM batteries excel for high current, high power applications and in extremely cold environments.

Applications for sealed valve regulated batteries

VRLA or SVR batteries can be substituted in virtually any flooded lead-acid battery application (in conjunction with well-regulated charging), as well as applications where traditional flooded batteries cannot be used. Because of their unique features and benefits, VRLA batteries are particularly well suited for:

Deep Cycle, Deep Discharge Applications

Marine Trolling Golf Cars
Electronics Portable Power
Sailboats Floor Scrubbers
Electric Vehicles Personnel Carriers
Wheelchairs Marine & RV House Power
Commercial Deep Cycle Applications

Standby and Emergency Backup Battery Applications

UPS (Uninterrupted Power Systems) Solar Power
Cable TV Telephone Switching
Emergency Lighting Village Power
Computer Backup

Unusual and Demanding Battery Applications

Race Cars Wet Environments
Air-transported Equipment Marine & RV Starting
Off-road Vehicles Diesel & I.C.E. Starting

What are Flooded Batteries?

Flooded lead-acid batteries are the most widely used batteries both in automotive and marine applications. Lead-acid batteries are usually less expensive than either the Gel or AGM batteries, but do not provide the same life cycle and convenience. Most flooded batteries require maintenance. Electrolyte levels must be maintained above the cell’s plates.The automotive battery must deliver high cranking currents at a satisfactory voltage for a few seconds and a portion of the accessory load (10-25 amperes) for a minute or two at a time in city or heavy traffic. Therefore, the automotive battery is designed with maximum plate area and low internal resistance to provide high cranking performance.Power taken from this battery is immediately replaced by the alternator or generator. Therefore the battery is subjected to shallow discharge cycles (2-3% of the battery capacity). These batteries operate in the 90-100% state of charge.

What are Deep Cycle Batteries?

Unlike standard car batteries, deep cycle batteries are constructed with thicker grids of antimony lead alloy and a denser paste to active material to withstand discharge and recharge cycles.Cycling or deep cycle batteries are designed to supply all accessory power without having immediate replacement charge from the alternator or generator. This construction allows the deep cycle battery to deliver sustained power with low current drain for extended periods of time.

Repeated cycling (Discharge and recharge) does not cause the same level of damage that a car battery would sustain from the same process. The ability to deliver steady power with long cycle life makes the deep cycle battery and ideal solution for a range of both recreational and industrial applications.

In recreational applications, deep cycle batteries may be found in gold buggies, caravans, electric scooters, four wheel drive vehicles, boats and electric wheelchairs Deep cycle batteries are also ideal for solar and industrial applications such as auxiliary power supplies, pallet movers and scissor lifts.

Why is my battery not working?

The major cause of premature battery failure is lead sulphation. Using tap water to refill batteries can produce calcium sulphate that also will coat the plates and fill the pores. Recharging a sulphated battery is like trying to wash your hands with gloves on. When the active material in the plates can no longer sustain a discharge current, the battery “dies”. Other causes of battery failure are :

> Deep Discharges

> Vibration

> Heat

> Under-Charging

> Non-Use Over-Charging

In cold climates, normally a battery “ages” as the active positive plate material sheds (or flakes off) due to the expansion and contraction that occurs during the discharge and recharge cycle. Brown sediment, called sludge or “mud”, builds up in the bottom of the case and can short the cell out.

In hot climates, additional causes of failure are positive grid growth, negative grid shrinkage, buckling of plates, or loss of water.

Can I use any battery charger?

Battery chargers vary greatly and they don’t all operate in the same manner. The best way to maintain the health of your battery is to use the right charger. Use a smart charger that has the intelligence to charge efficiently & effectively and achieve the optimum life for your batteries. Use an automatic charger to take the guess work out of knowing if your battery is charged properly or not. Use Gel battery chargers or Calcium set chargers to make sure you are charging at the correct voltage.