Choosing the Right Battery for Your Application.
Up to 85% of the 70 million new batteries sold each year will die before their 5+-year design life is up. *The main reasons for this are...
Choosing the right type / size battery:
Whether you have good or bad service from your battery will first and most importantly depend on choosing the right battery for the right job. Unfortunately most mass retail stores don't have the trained personnel to help you with this most important decision. A store specializing in batteries is your best bet. Remember that it's not what you pay for the battery, but how long it will give you good performance that determines the real cost of the battery. Think long term when buying a battery. Each battery has its strengths and weaknesses. No battery is the perfect solution to any application. Reducing the "negatives" of each battery type for your particular need is the process we will help you with.
Starter Battery-Maintenance Type (filler caps)
TIP 1: Never use a battery rated only in Cranking Amps (CCA) for anything but starting.
TIP 2: Always charge a starter battery as soon after using it as possible.
TIP 3: Always purchase a maintenance type battery (w/ filler caps), if you plan to properly maintain your battery and are not concerned about locating/operating the battery in a confined area.
TIP 4: Always buy the largest/highest rated battery possible to reduce the depth of discharge in order to maximize its life and reduce total cost.
TIP 5: Always think of the cost of the battery you are going to buy in terms of performance, safety, and convenience. Total cost/cycle is what you should be concerned with, not just initial price.
TIP 6: If you are NOT planning on using your battery on a every day basis, such as in seasonal type equipment, be sure you have a means of keeping it fully charged for long periods with-out ever risking it being over-charged. Batteries kept at full charge at all times without being over-charged will last 3-5 times longer than those that are allowed to self-discharge.
Starter Battery - Maintenance Free Type (no filler caps w/ liquid electrolyte)
TIP 7: Don't rely on the "Charge Level Indicator", aka: "Magic Eye" for accurate state-of-charge. They are notoriously inaccurate, especially in stationary applications like emergency generators.
Starter Battery - Sealed Gelled, AGM, or Dry (no filler caps -electrolyte is "non liquid")
TIP 8: Consider the potential benefits vs. cost of these types before making a buying decision.
TIP 9: Check the output of your alternator/generator-voltage regulator settings before replacing your standard liquid type battery with any non-liquid sealed type to be sure your charging system does not overcharge it.
TIP 10: Never allow a sealed "non-liquid" battery to self-discharge below 11.5 volts or permanent damage can occur. Special charging equipment and/or procedures may be needed to recover sealed batteries that have been allowed to self-discharge below 11.5 volts.
TIP 11: To prevent self-discharge during periods of non-use/storage, maintain your battery using a constant voltage type charger with end of charge to prevent over / under charge.
TIP 12: Always use an accurate digital voltmeter or similar device to determine your sealed batteries true state-of-charge. Remember to let your battery "Rest" for 12 hours or longer before testing its voltage.
TIP 13: Knowing the exact voltage of your battery can help you to accurately determine it's state-of-health.
Voltages and Specific Gravity (s.g.) of battery at various levels of charge:
|12.6 - 12.8||1.265 s.g.||=||100% Charged|
|12.4 - 12.6||1.225 s.g.||=||75% - 100%|
|12.2 - 12.4||1.190 s.g.||=||50% - 75%|
|12.0 - 12.2||1.155 s.g.||=||25% - 50%|
|11.7 - 12.0||1.120 s.g.||=||0% - 25%|
Deep Cycle Battery - liquid - maintenance type with filler caps
TIP 14: Never mix old and new deep cycle batteries in a series or parallel set-up.
TIP 15: Never combine different type batteries (Gel, AGM, Sealed, vented) in one set-up.
TIP 16: Try never to discharge any deep cycle battery below 50% of capacity, in order to maximize cycle life.
TIP 17: Try to recharge deep cycle batteries as soon after discharging them as possible.
TIP 18: Because most deep cycle batteries are used on an infrequent basis i.e. not ever day or week, self-discharge and plate sulphation can become a serious problem. Maintain at full charge without ever over charging them.
Deep Cycle (non-liquid) Sealed, Gelled and Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) w/o filler caps
TIPS 14-18 apply to these as well.
Choosing the right battery for the job is only half the story. Now you need to choose the right device to properly charge, maintain and recondition them, once they start showing signs of aging.
TIP 19: Never leave an unregulated or so called "automatic" charger connected to your battery overnight, unless it shuts off completely.
TIP 20: Avoid the use of "trickle rate" chargers that do not have an automatic float mode or current control circuitry that is guaranteed not to overcharge your battery.
TIP 21: Keep your battery at full charge at all times without ever overcharging it. By doing so you will always have maximum power, eliminate additional sulphation build-up, prevent freeze-up (to - 40°F) and extend your battery's useful life.
*Battery Council International, January '98, 12 months - Nov. '95 - Oct. '96