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CAR AND DEEP CYCLE BATTERY (DOC)

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					   CAR AND DEEP
  CYCLE BATTERY
       FAQ
The Car Battery FAQ was first published on the Internet on June 24, 1995.
 Currently, www.batteryfaq.org is redirected and hosted in Germany on
                http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/.




                                    1
            CAR AND DEEP CYCLE BATTERY FAQ


Car and deep cycle battery answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), tips,
manufacturer's information, references and hyperlinks are contained on this consumer
oriented Web site about car, motorcycle, power sports, truck, boat, marine, recreational
vehicle, solar, and other starting and deep cycle applications.




                          Car Battery Construction (Source: Eurobat)


         Car and Deep Cycle Battery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 5.4

            This consumer oriented FAQ contains answers and information
            about lead-acid batteries used to start car, motorcycle, truck, boat,
            recreational vehicle (RV), power sports, motor home, tractor and
            other engines. It also answers questions about golf cart, EV, traction,
            motive, solar, standby, stationary, UPS, network, industrial and other
            lead-acid batteries used in deep cycle applications. It covers
            charging (and chargers), testing, buying replacement batteries,
            installing, myths, overnight draining, removing sulfation, storing, jump
            starting, and other topics about car (starting) and deep cycle
            batteries. This FAQ was last updated on February 26, 2006 and
            broken link checked on December 26, 2005.


                                               2
         Battery Manufacturers and Brand Names List

            This popular and frequently updated list contains hyperlinks to lead-
            acid battery manufacturers' and large distributors' Web sites,
            telephone numbers, battery brand names, replacement selector and
            fitment guides, and private labeling information. The file size is
            approximately 133 KBytes. This list was last updated on February
            20, 2006 and broken link checked on December 26, 2005.

         Battery Information Links List

            This frequently updated list contains hyperlinks to product
            information associated with lead-acid batteries, for example,
            alternators, cables and wiring products, chargers, converters,
            desulfators, generators, inverters, isolators, low voltage disconnects,
            jump starters, regulators, solar and PV, switches, test and monitoring
            systems, etc. The file size is approximately 133 KBytes. This list was
            last updated on February 20, 2006 and broken link checked on
            December 26, 2005.

         Battery References Link List

            This frequently updated list contains hyperlinks to reference
            resources about lead-acid batteries, for example, 42-volt,
            associations, books, business directories, dealers and distributors,
            FAQs, glossaries, history, hyperlink lists, magazines, magazine
            articles, manuals, primers, newsgroups, safety, standards, etc. The
            file size is approximately 67 KBytes. This list was last updated on
            February 4, 2006 and broken link checked on December 26, 2005.

         Battery.Zip

            A zipped version of all the current battery related HTML documents
            and graphics on this Web site can be easily down loaded to your
            computer. Just create a directory for the FAQ and unzip into it. The
            file size is approximately 958 KBytes. This zip file was last updated
            on February 26, 2006.

I will be happy to try and answer your lead-acid battery and charging questions.
Historically, over 80% of the questions I receive have already been answered in the FAQ
posted on this Web site, so please check it first. Some of the e-mails I receive do not
have a valid return address, so please inclose a valid "Reply To:" e-mail address in your
message and include a "Subject:" that will not be blocked by your spam filter or firewall.
All e-mail received with a virus, spam or worm will be automatically deleted. For
comments, suggestions, broken link notifications or questions, please e-mail Bill Darden
at info@batteryfaq.org or william.darden@uumail.de.


                                               3
I highly recommend that you hyperlink to http://www.batteryfaq.org/ rather than republishing this
document because this information will be frequently revised to keep up with the advancements
in batteries and the changing resources and hyperlinks. Revisions will be indicated with a more
recent date or higher version number. These documents are in the public domain and can be
freely reproduced or distributed without permission. Attribution is always appreciated, but not
required.

The Car Battery FAQ was first published on the Internet on June 24, 1995. Currently,
www.batteryfaq.org is redirected and hosted in Germany on
http://www.uuhome.de/william.darden/. This Web site is currently logging over 394,000 "hits" in
January, 2006.




                                                4
                  CAR AND DEEP CYCLE BATTERY
              FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 5.4
                                            Bill Darden

                              Last Updated on February 26, 2006


Words of caution: Lead-acid batteries contain a diluted sulfuric acid electrolyte, which is
a highly corrosive poison and will produce flammable and toxic gasses when recharged
and explode if ignited. According to PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA, in 2003 nearly
6,000 motorists suffered serious eye injuries from working around car batteries. When
working with batteries, you need to wear glasses (or preferably safety goggles), have
plenty of ventilation, remove your jewelry, and exercise caution. Do NOT allow battery
electrolyte to mix with salt water. Even small quantities of this combination will produce
chlorine gas that can KILL you! Please follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing,
jumping, installing, discharging, charging, equalizing and maintaining batteries.




                           [Source: BCI (Battery Council International)]



Car batteries are used to start a gasoline or diesel engines found in approximately 370 million
cars, light trucks and vans worldwide. This FAQ also applies to an estimated 130 million
additional starting batteries found in trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, recreation vehicles (RVs), motor
homes, caravans, boats, power sports (snowmobiles and jet skis), tractors, etc. This FAQ
assumes 12-volt, six cell, negative grounded, lead-acid car and deep cycle batteries at
80° F (26.7° C) with capacities from 5 Amp Hours (AH) to 250 AH. The terms "starting", "SLI"
and "cranking" are used for Car batteries but would apply to any lead-acid battery used to start
an engine. When used alone, the generic term "battery", applies to both lead-acid car, other
starting, motive and stationary deep cycle batteries. For 6-volt batteries, divide the 12-volt
battery voltages in this FAQ by two; for 8-volt batteries, divide by 1.5; for 24-volt batteries,
double the voltage; for 36-volt batteries, triple the voltage; and for 48-volt batteries, multiply by
four. Hyperlinks to battery glossaries and dictionaries can be found in the Battery References
Link List on http://www.batteryfaq.org/.

Warnings and other important information are in BOLD text, and the technical stuff,
recommendations and tips are in italics.



                                                 5
CONTENTS
1. WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE AND TIPS?

2. WHY BOTHER?

3. HOW DO I PERFORM PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE?

4. HOW DO I TEST A BATTERY?

5. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY VEHICLE'S CHARGING SYSTEM IS OK OR LARGE ENOUGH?

6. HOW DO I JUMP START MY VEHICLE?

7. WHAT DO I LOOK FOR IN BUYING A NEW BATTERY?

8. HOW DO I INSTALL NEW BATTERIES?

9. HOW DO I CHARGE (OR EQUALIZE) MY BATTERY?

10. WHAT CAUSES MY BATTERY TO DRAIN OVERNIGHT?

11. HOW CAN I INCREASE THE LIFE OF MY BATTERY?

12. WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF PREMATURE BATTERY FAILURES?

13. HOW CAN I STORE BATTERIES?

14. WHAT ARE THE MYTHS ABOUT BATTERIES?

15. HOW LONG CAN I PARK MY VEHICLE?

16. HOW CAN I REVIVE A SULFATED BATTERY?

17. WHY WON'T MY ENGINE START?

18. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ON BATTERIES?

19. HOW CAN I PRINT THIS FAQ?

The best source of information about your battery is the manufacturer who made it. Some
manufacturers do any excellent job of informing and educating their customers about their
batteries, by enclosing the information with each battery and on their Web sites. Ideally, the
battery manufacturer should print the most important consumer information on the battery label
such as capacities, 100% State-of-Charge definitions, charging voltages, etc. If the information
                                               6
is not readily available, ask the manufacturer to provide it. If they are unwilling, use another
manufacturer's product. This information is absolutely essential to properly charging and
maintaining the battery and obtaining the optimal performance and service life from your
investment.




1. WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE AND TIPS?

                             Last Updated on December 25, 2005


   BOTTOM LINE:

   The three major keys to longer battery service life are:

              Using the battery manufacturer's recommended charging
               voltages and procedures

              Reducing the average Depth-of-Discharge

              Practicing good preventive maintenance

   TIPS:

   1.1. Please wear glasses when working with a lead-acid battery in the unlikely event it
      might explode from the gasses produced during charging. Safety First!

   1.2. For a starting battery, at the first signs of slow starting, dim headlights at low RPM,
      ammeter indicating discharge at higher RPM, or if the battery seems to be losing
      performance, fully recharge the battery, remove the surface charge, and load test it and
      the charging system. Some auto parts or battery stores will test your battery, charging
      system or starter for free. Weak or bad batteries can also cause stress or premature
      failures of charging systems and starters and vice versa. (Please see Section 4.)

   1.3. Perform regular preventive maintenance on starting and deep cycle batteries, especially
      during hot weather and before cold weather. Keep the battery top clean, cable mating
      surfaces, posts and terminals free from corrosion, and routinely tighten cable connections
      and retention alternator belts. Keep non-sealed wet batteries (with filler caps) filled to the
      proper level with distilled, deionized or demineralized water, but do not overfill or use tap
      water. The plates must be covered at all times to prevent internal battery explosions or
      sulfation. (Please see Section 3.)

   1.4. In hot climates and keep the starting battery as cool as possible. For under the hood,
      use a non-sealed wet starting battery (with filler caps so you add water) or a sealed spiral
      wound AGM VRLA battery. (Please see Section 7.)

   1.5. For batteries not in weekly use, people kill more deep cycle and starting batteries
      with bad charging practices than die of old age. To prevent permanent sulfation and
                                             7
   especially in hot weather, in a well ventilated area, keep the battery continuously
   connected to a "smart", float charger matched to the battery type or recharge the battery
   whenever it drops below 80% State-of-Charge (SoC), or use VRLA (AGM or Gel Cell)
   batteries. A cheap, unattended, unregulated "trickle" charger can destroy a battery
   by overcharging it. (Please see Section 9.)

1.6. When buying a replacement starting battery, buy the heaviest and freshest battery
   compatible with the vehicle's charging system, with the largest Reserve Capacity (RC)
   and longest free replacement warranty that will physically fit in your vehicle, and sized
   with the cranking amp rating for the coldest climate the engine is started in. For deep
   cycle batteries, buy the freshest and heaviest battery with thickest plates and Amp Hour
   (AH) capacity that best suits the application, matches the charger, and has the lowest
   Total Cost of Ownership. (Please see Section 7.)

1.7. Avoid a deep discharge (below 20% State-of-Charge or 12.0 VDC) of the battery
   because this could prematurely kill it (due to cell reversal). After deep discharges or
   jump-starts, fully recharge a starting battery with an external charger, remove the surface
   charge, and load test the battery and charging system for latent damage. (Please see
   Section 4.)

1.8. Temperature and temperature compensation matter! Heat kills batteries and cold
   reduces their available capacity.

1.9. For longer battery life, do not add battery acid (except to replace electrolyte spills) or
   additives, keep your battery securely fastened, recharge batteries within 24 hours of
   each use, use thicker plates, and if recommended by the battery manufacturer, equalize
   it. Lowering the average Depth-of-Discharge (DoD) percentage will significantly increase
   the service life of any lead-acid battery. (Please see Section 11.)

1.10. For starting and motive deep cycle batteries, match the charging system (or charger's
   settings) to the battery type and insure that the charging system produces enough power
   to keep the battery fully charged based of your electrical use and driving habits. Use
   battery charger (or charger settings) sized not to exceed 25% of the total Amp Hour
   battery capacity and adjusted to the battery manufacturer's recommended charging
   voltages with good ventilation, especially when recharging wet non-sealed batteries
   (with filler caps). A better approach is to slowly recharge your starting and deep cycle
   batteries over eight to ten hours.

1.11. For negative grounded systems, always jump start 12-volt batteries POSITIVE (+)
   terminal to POSITIVE (+) terminal and NEGATIVE (-) terminal to the frame or engine
   block away from the battery to greatly reduce the risk of a battery explosion. (Please see
   Section 6.)

1.12. For deep cycle batteries, avoid a shallow discharges (less than 10%) or deep
   discharges (below 20% State-of-Charge or 12.0 VDC). This could prematurely kill
   them. Using an adjustable low voltage disconnect set at 20% State-of-Charge or
   approximately 12.0 VDC or more will increase the batteries' service life and help protect
   the batteries and valuable electronic and electrical appliances. (Please see Section 11.)


                                             8
1.13. Do NOT use wet lead-acid batteries around salt water. If salt water is mixed with
   the battery's electrolyte, deadly chlorine gas is produced. Only use sealed AGM or
   Gel Cell VRLA batteries around salt water.

1.14. Remove the surface charge before testing. For non-sealed batteries (with filler caps),
   and use a temperature compensating hydrometer to check Specific Gravity in each cell
   because it is more accurate than a DC voltmeter. For sealed batteries, use a accurate
   (.5% or better) digital DC voltmeter and manually compensate for the electrolyte
   temperature. (Please see Section 4.)

1.15. If the temperature is below 0 degrees F (-17.8 degrees C) and you are not using an AC
   powered engine block and battery warmer or if the vehicle can not be parked in a warmer
   location, then disconnect the battery, take it indoors, keep it fully charged, and reconnect
   it just before starting the engine. (Please see the CCA vs. Temperature Diagram in
   Section 7.2) Alternatively use two 12-volt AGM batteries in parallel and a low viscosity
   synthetic oil in the engine. Batteries that have less than a 40% State-of-Charge will
   freeze at 0 degrees F (-17.8 degrees C) and fully discharged batteries will freeze at
   approximately 20 degrees F (-6.7 degrees C).




                                             9
2. WHY BOTHER?

                             Last Updated on December 26, 2005


   INDEX:

      2.1. How Is a Battery Made?

      2.2. How Does a Battery Work?

      2.3. How Do Batteries Die?

      2.4. Why Are Vehicles Negatively Grounded?

Because only the rich can afford cheap batteries.....

A lead-acid battery (also know as an "accumulator") is a secondary (rechargeable)
electrochemical device that stores chemical energy and releases it as electrical energy upon
demand. When a battery is connected to an external device, such as a motor, chemical energy
is converted to electrical energy and direct current flows through the circuit. The terms of the
quantity of lead-acid batteries that are produced, starting batteries represent approximately 88%
of the total. The total breaks down to 65% Car, 23% Other Starting Batteries (motorcycle, etc.),
8% Deep Cycle Motive (wheelchairs, golf carts, fork lift trucks, etc.), and 4% Deep Cycle
stationary (backup, UPS, standby, etc.).

                                     BATTERY PRODUCTION




In the order of importance, the four major purposes of a car or "SLI" (Starting, Lighting and
Ignition) battery, as it is known in the battery industry, are:

             To start the engine.


                                                10
             To filter or stabilize the pulsating DC power from the vehicle's
              charging system.

             To provide extra power for the lighting, two-way radios, audio system
              and other accessories when their combined load exceeds the
              capability of the vehicle's charging system. This commonly occurs
              while the vehicle's engine is idling or during short trips with a heavy
              power load like at night in bad weather.

             To supply a source of power to the vehicle's electrical system when
              the charging system is not operating.



A good quality car battery will cost between $50 and $100 and, if properly maintained, it should
last five years or more. With a 5% compounded annual growth rate, worldwide retail sales of car
lead-acid batteries represent roughly 63% of the estimated $30 billion annually spent on
batteries. In North America, BCI reports that of the 106.6 million car batteries that were sold in
2001, of which approximately 80% were for replacement and 20% were for original equipment.
For 2003, Eurobat estimates that in Western Europe 58.5 million car batteries will be sold and
71% will be replacement (after market) and 29% will be OEM (Original Equipment
Manufacturer). At the Robert W. Baird Industrial Technology Conference, Johnson Controls
reported that approximately 350 million starting batteries will be made in the world in 2004. Of
that, Johnson Controls is the largest manufacturer with 31% of the total followed by Exide with
14%, GS Yuasa (pending merger of Yuasa and Japan Storage Battery) with 10%, Matsushita
with 4%, East Penn with 3%, FIAMM with 3%, and all others with 35%. In another marketing
study by Recharge, in 2003 the worldwide battery market was roughly $30 billion, with 30% of
that being SLI (car) and 15.3% industrial (deep cycle) lead-acid batteries.

The purpose of a deep cycle battery is to provide power for wheelchairs, trolling motors, golf
carts, boats, fork lift trucks, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and other accessories for
marine and recreational vehicle (RV), commercial and stationary applications. A good quality
wet deep cycle (or "leisure") battery will cost between $50 and $300 and, if properly maintained
and used, will give you at least 200 deep discharge-charge cycles. For differences between a
car and deep Cycle battery, please see Section 7.1.8. Purportedly, Exide and EnerSys are the
two largest deep cycle battery manufacturers in the world.

   2.1. How is a Battery Made?

      A 12-volt lead-acid battery is made up of six cells, each cell producing
      approximately 2.1 volts that are connected in series from POSITIVE (+) terminal of
      the first cell to the NEGATIVE (-) terminal of the second cell and so on. Each cell
      is made up of an element containing positive plates that are all connected together
      and negative plates, which are also all connected together. They are individually
      separated with thin sheets of electrically insulating, porous material "envelopes" or
      "separators" (in the diagram below) that are used as spacers between the positive
      (usually light orange) and negative (usually slate gray) plates to keep them from
      electrically shorting to each other. The plates (in the diagram below), within a cell,
      alternate with a positive plate, a negative plate and so on.

                                                11
                         CAR BATTERY CONSTRUCTION




                                   [Source: Eurobat]

                    DEEP CYCLE BATTERY CONSTRUCTION




                         [Source: US Department of Energy]



The most common plate in use today is made up of a metal grid that serves as the
supporting framework for the active porous material that is "pasted" on it. After the
"curing" of the plates, they are made up into cells, and the cells are inserted into a
high-density tough polypropylene or hard rubber case. The positive plates in cells
are connected in parallel to the external POSITIVE (+) terminal and the negative
plates in each cell are connected to the NEGATIVE (-) external terminal. Instead
of pasted Lead Oxide, some batteries are constructed with more expensive solid
lead cylindrical (spiral wound); Manchester or "Manchex" (buttons inserted into the
grid); tubular; or prismatic (flat) solid lead (Planté) positive plates. The case is
covered and then filled with a dilute sulfuric acid electrolyte. The battery is initially
charged or "formed" to convert the active yellow Lead Oxide (PbO or Litharge) in
the positive plates (cathode) into Lead Peroxide (PbO2), which is usually dark
brown or black. The active material in the negative pasted plates (anode)
becomes sponge Lead (Pb), but with a very porous structure which is slate gray.
If sponge Lead is rubbed with a hard object, it will be silvery in color. The
electrolyte is replaced and the battery is given a finishing charge. A "Wet charged"
battery is a wet lead-acid battery shipped with electrolyte in the battery and a "dry
charged" battery is shipped without electrolyte. When dry charged batteries are
sold, electrolyte (battery acid) is added, allowed to soak into the plates, charged
                                           12
(or "formed"), and put into service. This avoids having to maintain the batteries
until they are sold.




                                 PASTED PLATE




                                   [Source: BCI]

                          FLAT AND TUBULAR PLATE




                                 PLANTE PLATÉ




                                         13
                        [Source: US Department of Energy]




                              SPIRAL WOUND PLATE




                        [Source: US Department of Energy]

Two important considerations in battery construction are porosity and diffusion.
Porosity is the pits and tunnels in the plate that allows the sulphuric acid to get to
the interior of the plate. Diffusion is the spreading, intermingling and mixing of one
fluid with another. When you are using your battery, the fresh acid needs to be in
contact with the plate material and the water generated needs to be carried away
from the plate. The larger the pores or warmer the electrolyte, the better the
diffusion.




                                   [Source: Varta]


                                          14
   There is an excellent detailed description of how battery is made, equipment used
   and quality assurance on the Best Manufacturing Practices Web site at
   http://www.bmpcoe.org/library/books/navso%20p-3676/index.html.



2.2. How Does a Battery Work?



                               DISCHARGING PROCESS

                         PbO2 + Pb + 2H2SO4 → 2PbSO4 + H2O




              CHARGING PROCESS (Reverse of Discharging Process)

                         2PbSO4 + H2O → PbO2 + Pb + 2H2SO4

   A battery is created by alternating two different metals such as Lead Dioxide
   (PbO2), the positive plates, and Sponge lead (Pb), the negative plates. Then the
   plates are immersed in diluted Sulfuric Acid (H2SO4), the electrolyte. The types of
   metals and the electrolyte used will determine the output of a cell. A typical fully
   charged lead-acid battery produces approximately 2.11 volts per cell. The
   chemical action between the metals and the electrolyte (battery acid) creates the
   electrical energy. Energy flows from the battery as soon as there is an electrical
   load, for example, a starter motor, that completes a circuit between the positive
   terminal connected to the positive plates and the negative terminal connected to
   the negative plates. Electrical current flows as charged portions of acid (ions)
   between the battery plates and as electrons through the external circuit. The
   action of the lead-acid storage battery is determined by chemicals used, State-of-
   Charge, temperature, porosity, diffusion, and load. A cycle is defined as one
   discharge and one recharge of the battery.

   A more detailed description of how a battery works can be found on the BCI web
   site at http://www.batterycouncil.org/works.html.



2.3. How do Batteries Die?

   When the active material in the plates can no longer sustain a discharge current,
   the car battery "dies". Normally a battery "ages" as the active positive plate
   material sheds (or flakes off) due to the normal expansion and contraction that
   occurs during the discharge and charge cycles. This causes a loss of plate
   capacity and a brown sediment, called sludge or "mud," that builds up in the
   bottom of the case and can short the plates of a cell out. In hot climates, additional
                                            15
   causes of failure are positive grid growth, positive grid metal corrosion, negative
   grid shrinkage, buckling of plates, or loss of water. Deep discharges, heat,
   vibration, fast charging, and overcharging all accelerate the "aging" process. At
   approximately 50%, the number one cause of premature car battery failure is
   loss of water caused from high under hood heat or overcharging. Positive
   grid growth and undercharging causing sulfation also cause a lot of failures.
   For deep cycle and starting batteries that are not used weekly it is sulfation,
   at an estimated 85%. Sulfation is caused when a battery's State-of-Charge drops
   below 100% for long periods or under charging. Hard lead sulfate crystals fills the
   pours and coats the plates. Please see Section 16 for more information on
   sulfation. Recharging a sulfated battery is like trying to wash your hands with
   gloves on.

   In a hot climate, the harshest environment for a battery, a Johnson Controls
   survey of junk batteries revealed that the average life of a car battery was 37
   months. In a separate North American study by BCI, the average life was 48
   months. In a study by Interstate Batteries, the life expectancy in extreme heat was
   30 months. If your car battery is more than three years old and you live in a hot
   climate, then your battery is probably living on borrowed time. Abnormally slow
   cranking, especially on a cold day, is another good indication that your battery is
   going bad. It should be externally recharged, surface charge removed, and load
   tested. Dead batteries almost always occur at the most inopportune times. You
   can easily spend the cost of a new battery or more for an emergency jump start,
   tow or taxi ride.

   Most of the "defective" batteries returned to manufacturers during free
   replacement warranty periods are good. This strongly suggests that some sellers
   of new batteries do not know how to or fail to take the time to properly recharge
   and test batteries. This situation is improving with the widespread use of easy to
   use conductance type battery testers like those made by Midtronics and Cadex.
   They are used to predict the capacity of the batteries without having to fully
   recharge them first.



2.4. Why Are Vehicles Negatively Grounded?

   The best explanation to this question comes from a 1978 Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts'
   Club service manual.

         "...it has been found that cars wired positive earth [ground] tend to
         suffer from chassis and body corrosion more readily than those wired
         negative earth. The reason is perfectly simple, since metallic
         corrosion is an electrolytic process where the anode or positive
         electrode corrodes sacrificially to the cathode. The phenomenon is
         made use of in the "Cathodic Protection" of steel-hulled ships and
         underground pipelines where a less 'noble' or more electro-negative
         metal such as magnesium or aluminum is allowed to corrode
         sacrificially to the steel thus inhibiting its corrosion."...

                                           16
    For more information on cathodic protection, please read Roger Alexander's
    article, An idiots guide to cathodic protection. By 1956, all the North American
    manufactured cars and trucks, except the Metropolitan, were using negative (or
    earth) grounding. For more specific information on grounding systems used in
    North American vehicles, please go to Antique Automobile Radio's chart on
    http://www.antiqueautomobileradio.com/battery.htm.

.




                                            17
3. HOW DO I PERFORM PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE?

                             Last Updated on December 28, 2005


Performing preventive maintenance on batteries is easy and should occur at least once a month
during hot weather and every three months in cold weather. While working with car and deep
cycle lead-acid batteries (and corrosion), please wear glasses to protect your eyes in the
unlike even of an explosion. Here are some simple steps to maintain your battery:

   3.1. Before you start the engine for the first time during the day, check the electrolyte level
      for non-sealed wet batteries (with filler caps). If above the plates and for all other battery
      types, check the State-of-Charge (SoC) of the battery. Please see Section 4.4 for more
      information on determining the SoC. If the battery is not fully charged (100% State-of-
      Charge), recharge it with an external battery charger in a well ventilated area. Please see
      Section 9 for more information on charging. This is because State-of-Charge is based on
      your driving habits. Some vehicle charging systems have been known to consistently
      undercharge the battery causing an accumulation of lead sulfate, know as sulfation. A
      gradual build up of sulfation will reduce the capacity of the battery.

   3.2. The plates need to be covered at all times to prevent sulfation and reduce the
      possibility of an internal battery explosion. For non-sealed wet batteries (with filler
      caps), if the electrolyte levels are low, allow the battery to cool to room temperature first
      and then add only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to the level indicated by the
      battery manufacturer or to within 1/4 to 3/8 inch (6 to 10 mm) below the bottom of the
      filler tubes (vent wells or splash barrels) on large deep cycle batteries (greater than 200
      amp hours) and less on smaller batteries. Avoid overfilling, especially in hot weather,
      because the heat will cause the electrolyte to expand and overflow. In an emergency, use
      rain water rather than residential Reverse Osmosis (RO) from residential systems or tap
      water because rain water does not contain chlorine, calcium or magnesium. Using RO or
      tap water to refill batteries can produce chlorine gas or calcium sulfate crystals that can
      fill the pores and coat the plates. State-of-Charge (SoC) readings will be inaccurate
      immediately after the addition of water, recharges or discharges. Please see Section 4.3.




                                                18
         ELECTROLYTE FILL LEVELS FOR LARGER BATTERIES >200 AH




                            [Source: Mountain Top Golf Cars]

3.3. Tighten loose hold-down clamps, battery terminals and connectors.

3.4. Remove any corrosion, lead oxidation, paint or rust with a brass wire battery brush
   (brushing the corrosion away from you) or "ScotchBrite" pad from the terminal's mating
   surfaces on both ends of each battery cables, battery posts or terminals, and engine
   grounding strap connections. (A stiff steel wire brush may damage protective lead plating
   on copper connectors or terminals.) Heavy corrosion can be neutralized with a mixture of
   one pound of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to one gallon of warm water. Some folks
   have been known to use Diet Coca or Diet Pepsi to dissolve corrosion. Bare metal to
   metal mating surfaces are required for good current conductivity. To prevent corrosion on
   terminals, thinly coat the terminals, terminal clamps and exposed metal around the car
   battery with high temperature wheel bearing grease or silicone. Gluing a sacrificial anode,
   such as a penny or a piece of copper to the top of the battery will prevent or reduce
   terminal corrosion. Do not use the felt or metal washers between the mating conductive
   surfaces with General Motors-type side terminals.

   For deep cycle batteries, use "No Oxide A" (or the battery manufacturer's
   recommended grease) on the terminals and connectors. Do not use the felt or
   metal washers between the mating conductive surfaces with side, stud or "L"
   terminal batteries. Use of some stainless steel alloys and other metal washers,
   nuts and bolts have also been known to cause problems with electrolysis and high
   resistance.

   Corrosion is caused by one or more the following:

                                            19
         Dirty or wet battery tops normally caused from expansion of
          electrolyte from overfilled cells or weeping form faulty battery
          terminal seals

         Acid fumes leaking through the vent caps, which could be a sign of
          overcharging

         Electrolysis due to the mismatch of metal alloys used in the battery
          posts and terminals



3.5. Clean the battery top to eliminate conductive paths created by dried or wet electrolyte
   and to prevent corrosion.

3.6. Clean the alternator or charging system to allow better heat transfer and check the
   alternator belts for cracks and correct tension.

3.7. Replace any battery cables (or cable terminals) that are corroding, swelling or damaged
   with equal or larger diameter cable. If electrical problems are experienced in vehicles with
   GM's side terminal connectors, check for corrosion inside the positive terminal with the
   multiple cables. Larger cable and cable connectors are better because there is more
   surface area and less voltage drop. Please see Exide's Voltage Drop in Cables for
   additional information.

3.8. Replace the battery if the battery case is cracked or leaking, especially around "GM"
   style side terminals.




                                             20
4. HOW DO I TEST A BATTERY?

                             Last Updated on December 26, 2005


   INDEX:

      4.1. Inspect

      4.2. Charge

      4.3. Remove Surface Charge

      4.4. Measure State-of-Charge (SoC)

          How Do I Use a Hydrometer?

          Low Maintenance and Standard Battery State-of-Charge (SoC) Table

          Maintenance Free and VRLA Battery State-of-Charge (SoC) Table

          State-of-Charge (SoC) Temperature Compensation Table

      4.5. Capacity Load Test

          Capacity Load Test Table

      4.6. Bounce Back Test

      4.7. Recharge

      4.8. Refill

While working with car and deep cycle lead-acid batteries, please help to prevent
blindness and wear glasses in the unlikely event of an explosion. Below are eight simple
steps in testing a car or deep cycle battery. Alternatively, some auto parts or battery stores in
the United States and Canada, like Auto Zone, Sears, Wal-Mart, Pep Boys, etc., will test your
battery, charging system and starter for free. If you have a non-sealed wet battery (with filler
caps), it is highly recommended that you use a good quality temperature compensating
hydrometer, like an E-Z Red SP101, which can be purchased online at BatteryStuff.com or at an
auto parts or battery store for less than $10.

If you have a sealed battery or need to troubleshoot a charging or electrical system, you will
need a digital voltmeter with 0.5% (or better) DC accuracy, such as a Fluke 73-3 or 175. A
digital voltmeter (or multimeter) can be purchased at an electronics store for between $20 and
$200. A good, free digital multimeter applications manual for testing electrical systems is
available on-line from Fluke at
http://us.fluke.com/usen/support/appnotes/default?category=AP_AUTO(FlukeProducts). Analog
                                               21
voltmeters are not accurate enough to measure the millivolt differences of a battery's State-of-
Charge or output of the charging system. Do not use a 12-volt test light to troubleshoot
vehicle electrical circuits, except for testing the parasitic load at the battery, because you
might damage the emissions computer or other sensitive electronic devices. A good
source of information on measuring voltage and for maximum voltage drops can be found at
Exide's Caring For Your Battery. A battery load tester is optional. Another way of testing the
CCA (Cold Cranking Amp), amp hour (AH) or Reserve Capacity (RC) of lead-acid car or deep
cycle batteries is using an electro-chemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) tester, such as a
Cadex Spectro CA-12 or a conductance terter, for example a Midtronics. A sulfated sealed
battery's voltage often will read higher than the SoC actually is, so capacity testing maybe
required to determine the battery's condition.



   4.1. Inspect

      Visually inspect for obvious problems such as a low electrolyte levels; loose,
      corroded or swollen cables, corroded battery terminals or posts; loose or broken
      alternator belt; frozen battery; loose hold-down clamps; dirty or wet battery top; or
      a leaking, cracked or damaged battery case. If the electrolyte levels are below the
      tops of the plates, add enough distilled, deionized or demineralized water to cover
      the plates and recharge the battery, allow to cool to room temperature and then
      top off the levels. The plates need to be covered at all times to prevent
      sulfation and reduce the possibility of an internal battery explosion. Please
      see Section 3.2 for electrolyte fill level diagram.

   4.2. Charge

      Charge the battery to 100% State-of-Charge in a well ventilated area. If non-
      sealed battery has a .030 (sometimes expressed as 30 "points") or more
      difference in specific gravity reading between the lowest and highest cell or if a cell
      is .010 or 10 "points" below the reading for a fully charged cell, then you should
      equalize the battery using the battery manufacturer's procedures. (Please see
      Section 9.)



   4.3. Remove Surface Charge

      Surface charge (or counter voltage) is the uneven mixture of sulfuric acid and
      water along the surface of the plates as a result of charging or discharging as the
      electrolyte has an opportunity to diffuse in the pores of the plates. It will make a
      weak battery appear good or a good battery appear bad. Larger wet lead-acid
      batteries (especially over 100 amp hours) could also have electrolyte stratification
      where the concentration of acid is greater at the bottom of the cell than near the
      surface. Open Terminal Voltages will read higher than they actually are.
      Stratification can be eliminated by an equalizing charge, stirring or shaking the
      battery to mix the electrolyte.


                                                22
   The surface charge can be eliminated by one of the following methods after
   recharging a lead-acid car battery:

          Allow the battery to sit (or rest) without discharge or charge for
           between six to twelve hours at room temperature, if possible, to allow
           for the surface charge to dissipate. (Recommended method.)

          Turn the headlights on high beam for five minutes, turn them off, and
           wait ten minutes.

          With a battery load tester, apply a load at one-half the battery's CCA
           rating for 15 seconds and then wait ten minutes.

          Disable the ignition, turn the engine over for 15 seconds with the
           starter motor, and wait ten minutes.

          Apply a load that is 33% of the ampere-hour capacity for five minutes
           and wait ten minutes.

   4.3.6. With a battery load tester, apply a load is one third the battery's amp-hour rating for
      five minutes and wait minutes.



4.4. Measure the State-of-Charge (SoC)

   The State-of-Charge only measures the state of the battery's charge and not
   capacity. For capacity measurements, please see Section 4.5, below. For
   example, a 50% SoC reading does not necessarily mean that a 100 amp hour
   (C/20) battery will produce 50 amp hours at five amp hour over 20 hour discharge
   rate. Use a hydrometer to measure the Specific Gravity. It is a more accurate way
   of determining a wet lead-acid battery's SoC than using a digital voltmeter. When
   the SoC measured by a hydrometer does not materially agree with the SoC
   measured by a voltmeter, it is probably caused by sulfation. If you suspect that a
   battery is sulfated, it probably is, especially if it has not been charged in a while or
   has been continuously undercharged. For more on sulfation, please see
   Section 16




               HOW DO I USE A HYDROMETER?
A hydrometer is an inexpensive a float-type device used to measure the concentration of
sulfuric acid (Specific Gravity) of battery electrolyte ("battery acid"). From this reading you
can easily and accurately determine a non-sealed battery's State-of-Charge. A
hydrometer is a glass barrel or plastic container with a rubber nozzle or hose on one end
and a soft rubber bulb on the other. Inside the barrel or container, there is a float and
calibrated graduations used for the Specific Gravity measurement. The following is a list

                                              23
of instructions on how to correctly use a battery hydrometer:

                              BATTERY HYDROMETERS




                              [Source: Popular Mechanics]




                                            24
                                       [E-Z Red SP101]

1. If the battery has been charged within the last four hours, remove the Surface Charge. If
   the battery has been discharged within the last 15 minutes, wait for at least 15 minutes
   before testing it.

2. Find some glasses, preferably safety glasses, and put them on in the unlikely event that a
   battery explosion or electrolyte spill might occur.

3. While holding a clean hydrometer vertically, squeeze the rubber bulb, insert the nozzle
   into the electrolyte in the cell, and release the bulb. The electrolyte will be sucked up into
   the barrel or container allowing the float to ride freely. Start with the cell that is closest to
   the POSITIVE (+) terminal.



                                               25
4. Tap the hydrometer to dislodge any air bubbles on the float.

5. Squeeze the rubber bulb to release the electrolyte back into the battery's cell.

6. To increase the accuracy of the measurement, in the same cell, repeat this process
   several times so the float will reach the same temperature as the electrolyte. If you are
   measuring a large battery, stratification can occur when the more concentrated
   electrolyte settles to the bottom. If you notice a difference in the readings between the top
   and bottom of the cell, average the two readings.

7. At eye level and with the float steady, read the Specific Gravity at the point the surface of
   the electrolyte crosses the float markings. The Specific Gravity reading should be
   between 1.100 and 1.300.

8. Release the electrolyte back into the cell from which it was taken and record the reading.
   Be sure to avoid spillage.

9. If the hydrometer is not temperature compensating, measure the electrolyte temperature.
   If the electrolyte temperature is not 80° F (26.7° C), then adjust the reading using the
   Temperature Compensation Table and examples in Section 4.4 and determine the State-
   of-Charge from the SoC Table. If the hydrometer is temperature compensating,
   determine the State-of-Charge directly from the SoC Table.

10. Repeat the process for each individual cell. The Specific Gravity reading should not have
    a difference of more that 30 "points" (.030) between the lowest and highest reading or 10
    "points" (.010) below the battery manufacturer's recommended temperature value with
    the battery fully charged. If so, try and equalize the the battery by following the battery
    manufacturer's procedures or the procedure in Section 9. If equalizing does not help,
    replace the battery. You can determine the battery's State-of-Charge by taking the
    average of the temperature compensated cell readings, but the battery's performance will
    be based on the weakest cell.

11. Throughly rinse the hydrometer with water after using it.




   If the battery's electrolyte is above 125° F (51.5° C), allow it to cool. To determine
   the battery's SoC with the battery's electrolyte temperature at 80° F (26.7° C),
   please use the one of the following tables depending on battery type. The Low
   Maintenance and Standard Battery SoC table has a baseline that assumes
   that a 1.265 Specific Gravity (SG) and 12.65 Open Circuit Voltage (OCV)
   reading is a fully charged (100%), wet, Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) or Standard
   (Sb/Sb) lead-acid battery at rest and with an open circuit (no external current
   running through it and the negative battery cable disconnected). The
   Maintenance Free and VRLA Battery SoC table has a baseline that assumes
   that a 12.8 Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) reading is a fully charged (100%),
   Valve Regulated (AGM or Gel Cell) Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery at rest and with
   an open circuit (no external current running through it and the negative
   battery cable disconnected). For electrolyte temperatures other than 80° F
                                              26
   (26.7° C), please use the Temperature Compensation table below to adjust the
   Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) or Specific Gravity readings. The Specific Gravity or
   OCV readings for a battery at 100% SoC will vary by plate chemistry, so
   check the battery manufacturer's specifications for their State-of-Charge
   definitions for your battery. If you do not know the baseline for your battery
   at 100% SoC, please see Section 9.5. How Do I Know When My Battery Is
   Fully Charged? A fully charged wet battery at 80° F (26.7° C), can range from
   1.215 to 1.300 Specific Gravity (12.22 to 13.00 VDC) and a sealed VRLA Gel Cell
   or AGM battery from 1.285 to 1.310 (12.85 to 13.1 VDC).



   LOW MAINTENANCE (Sb/Ca) AND STANDARD
                 (Sb/Sb)
      BATTERY STATE-OF-CHARGE (SoC)
  Digital         Approximate       Approximate       Hydrometer        Approximate
 Voltmeter          State-of-         Depth-of-       Average Cell       Electrolyte
Open Circuit       Charge at        Discharge at        Specific        Freeze Point
 Voltage at       80°F (26.7°C)     80°F (26.7°C)       Gravity
   Rest
   12.65              100%                0%              1.265              -77°F
                                                                            (-67°C)
   12.45               75%               25%              1.225              -35°F
                                                                            (-37°C)
   12.24               50%               50%              1.190              -10°F
                                                                            (-23°C)
   12.06               25%               75%              1.155              15°F
                                                                            (-9°C)
11.89 or less    DISCHARGED             100%          1.120 or less          20°F
                                                                            (-7°C)


                                    [Source: BCI]



       MAINTENANCE FREE (Ca/Ca) AND VRLA
        BATTERY STATE-OF-CHARGE (SoC)
                   Digital          Approximate       Approximate
                  Voltmeter           State-of-        Depth-of-

                                          27
               Open Circuit        Charge at        Discharge at
                Voltage at        80°F (26.7°C)     80°F (26.7°C)
                  Rest
                   12.8              100%               0%
                   12.6               75%               25%
                   12.4               50%               50%
                   12.0               25%               75%
               11.8 or less       DISCHARGED           100%




             STATE-OF-CHARGE (SoC)
          TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION
    Electrolyte       Electrolyte         Add to          Add to Digital
   Temperature       Temperature       Hydrometer's        Voltmeter's
     Degrees           Degrees          SG Reading          Reading
    Fahrenheit          Celsius
        120°              48.9°             +.016               -.013
        110°              43.3°             +.012               -.011
        100°              37.8°             +.008               -.008
         90°              32.2°             +.004               -.005
         80°              26.7°               0                   0
         70°              21.1°             -.004              +.007
         60°              15.6°             -.008              +.016
         50°               10°              -.012              +.028
         40°               4.4°             -.016              +.044
         30°              -1.1°             -.020              +.062
         20°              -6.7°             -.024              +.084
         10°              -12.2°            -.028              +.108
          0°              -17.8°            -.032              +.134



Electrolyte temperature compensation, depending on the battery
manufacturer's definition of 100% State-of-Charge, will vary. If you are using a
digital DC voltmeter or a non-temperature compensated HYDROMETER, make
                                       28
the adjustments indicated in the table above. Please note that some battery
manufacturers express their SoC definitions at 77° F (25° C), and some slight
temperature compensation should occur to normalize the definitions at 80° F
(26.7° C) to use the tables above. For example, if the electrolyte is at 80° F
(26.7° C), and the specific gravity reading is 1.265 for a 100% SoC, when the
electrolyte is at 20° F (-6.7° C), the actual specific gravity reading would be 1.289
for a 100% State-of-Charge because the liquid is more dense. However, when you
subtract .024 from 1.289, the corrected reading would be 1.265 or 100% State-of-
Charge. At 100° F (37.8° C), the actual specific gravity reading would be 1.257 for
100% SoC, but the compensated reading, after .008 is added, would be 1.265 for
100% State-of-Charge. This is why using a temperature compensated hydrometer
is highly recommended and more accurate.

If you are using an accurate (.5% or better) DIGITAL DC VOLTMETER, make the
adjustments indicated in the table above. For example, if the electrolyte is at 80° F
(26.7° C), and the voltage reading is 12.65 for a 100% State-of-Charge, when the
electrolyte is at 20° F (-6.7° C), the actual voltage reading would be 12.566 for a
100% State-of-Charge. Before you correct the reading by adding .0843 volts (84.3
millivolts). At 100° F (37.8° C), the actual voltage reading would be 12.658 for
100% SoC.

For wet non-sealed batteries, please check the specific gravity in each cell with a
hydrometer and average cells readings. For sealed batteries, measure the Open
Circuit Voltage (OCV) across the battery terminals with an accurate (.5% or better)
digital DC voltmeter. This is the only way you can determine the battery's SoC.
Some sealed wet batteries have a built-in hydrometer, "Magic Eye", which only
measures the State-of-Charge in ONE of its six cells.

                         "Magic Eye" Built-in Hydrometer




                            [Source: Popular Mechanics]

If the State-of-Charge is BELOW 75% using either the Specific Gravity, voltage
test or the built-in hydrometer does not indicate "good" (green or blue), then the
battery has a low charge and needs to be recharged before proceeding. If the
battery is sealed, the battery could have low electrolyte, especially in a hot climate.
You should replace the battery, if one of the following conditions occur:

                                          29
         If there is a .050 (sometimes expressed as 50 "points") or more
          difference in the specific gravity reading between the highest and
          lowest cell, you have a weak or dead cell(s). Applying an
          EQUALIZING charge per the battery manufacturer's procedures may
          correct this condition. (Please see Section 9.)

         If the battery will not recharge to a 75% or more State-of-Charge
          level or if the built-in hydrometer still does not indicate "good" (green
          or blue), which indicates a 65% SoC or better).

         If a moderate load is applied and if there is no or very little current
          flowing there is an probably an open cell or a completely sulfated
          battery. Without a load, a voltmeter reading may or may not indicate
          an open.

         If the digital voltmeter indicates 10.45 to 10.65 volts, there probably
          is a shorted cell. A shorted cell is caused by plates touching,
          sediment ("mud") build-up or "treeing" between the plates.



4.5. Capacity Load Test

   Capacity load testing is to determine how good or bad a car or deep cycle battery
   is. The primarily purpose of a car battery is to start an engine, so the battery ability
   to produce current is the most important capacity test. In addition, some car
   batteries are only rated in their amp hour or Reserve Capacity. If this is the case,
   the capacity testing for deep cycle batteries below should be used.

   4.5.1. Car Batteries (High Current Method)

      If the battery's State-of-Charge is at 75% or higher or has a "good" built-in
      hydrometer indication, then you can load test the car battery by one of the
      following methods:

         With a battery conductance tester, test the battery. Most auto parts
          and battery stores have battery conductance testers and some
          stores will test battery capacity for free. (Recommended method).

         With a battery load tester, apply a load equal to one half of the CCA
          rating of the battery for 15 seconds.

         With a battery load tester, apply a load equal to one half the OEM
          cold cranking amp specification for 15 seconds.

         Disable the ignition and turn the engine over for 15 seconds with the
          starter motor.




                                              30
      DURING the load test, the voltage on a good car battery will NOT
      drop below the following table's indicated voltage for the electrolyte
      at the temperatures shown:



                          Capacity Load Test
               Electrolyte Electrolyte                Minimum
              Temperature Temperature               Voltage Under
               Fahrenheit    Celsius                    LOAD
                    100°              37.8°                9.9
                     90°              32.2°                9.8
                     80°              26.7°                9.7
                     70°              21.1°                9.6
                     60°              15.6°                9.5
                     50°              10.0°                9.4
                     40°               4.4°                9.3
                     30°              -1.1°                9.1
                     20°              -6.7°                8.9
                     10°              -12.2°               8.7
                     0°               -17.8°               8.5


                                    [Source: BCI]



4.5.2. Deep Cycle Batteries (Low Current Method)

   Motive and stationary deep cycle batteries and car batteries with amp hour
   or Reserve Capacity ratings can be capacity tested using a slow discharge
   load test. A DC ammeter and a resistive load, for example, 12-volt head
   lamps, are required for this test. Please note that this test will not test the
   battery's ability to produce enough high current to start an engine, but
   normally, if a battery fails this test, it will also fail the high current load
   capacity test in Section 4.5.1 above.

   If the battery is fully charged after the surface charge has been removed
   and you know the Amp Hour rating of the battery, then you can test the
   capacity of a battery by applying a specific load and discharging the battery
   for 50% of it's rated amp hour capacity as defined by the battery
   manufacturer. Normally a discharge rate that will discharge a battery in 20
   hours (C/20)is used. For example, if you have an 80 ampere-hour (C/20)
   rated battery, then an average load of four amps would discharge the
                                            31
       battery to 50% of it's rated amp hour capacity in approximately 10 hours (80
       AH/20 Hours = 4 Amps and 50% of 80 AH/4 Amps = 10 Hours). An
       example for a C/10 rated battery, would be 80 AH/10 = 8 Amps and 50% of
       80 AH/8 = 5 Hours. For an estimate of the battery's capacity, measure the
       SoC after removing the surface charge and double the SoC.

       If the battery is fully charged after the surface charge has been removed
       and you know the Reserve Capacity (RC) rating of the battery, then you
       can test the capacity of a battery by applying a 25 amp load and
       discharging the battery for 50% of it's rated Reserve Capacity in minutes as
       defined by the battery manufacturer. For example, if you have an 120
       minute RC rated battery, then discharge the battery with an average load of
       25 amps for 60 minutes (50% of 120 minutes = 60 minutes). For an
       estimate of the battery's capacity, measure the SoC after removing the
       surface charge and double the SoC.

       A battery with 80% or more of it's manufacturer's original rated capacity is
       considered to be good for most applications. Some new batteries can take
       up to 30 charge/discharge "preconditioning" cycles before they reach their
       rated capacity. If the deep cycle battery passed the Capacity Load Test,
       then skip the next test, Section 4.6 Bounce Back Test and go to
       Section 4.7. Recharge below.




4.6. Bounce Back Test

   If the car battery has passed the load test, please go to Section 4.7. Recharge
   below. If not, remove the load, wait ten minutes, and measure the State-of-
   Charge. If the battery bounces back to less than 75% SoC then recharge the
   battery (please see Section 9.) and load test again. If the car battery fails the load
   test a second time or bounces back to less than 75% SoC, then replace the
   battery because it lacks the necessary CCA capacity.




4.7. Recharge

   In a well ventilated area, you should recharge your battery to 100% SoC as soon
   as possible to prevent lead sulfation and to restore it to peak performance.




4.8. Refill


                                             32
When the non-sealed wet battery (with filler caps) has cooled to room
temperature, recheck the electrolyte levels and, if necessary, fill to the correct
level. Please see Section 3.2 for electrolyte fill level diagram.




                                          33
5. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY VEHICLE'S CHARGING SYSTEM IS OK OR LARGE
ENOUGH?

                             Last Updated on February 26, 2006


   INDEX:

      5.1. How Does A Vehicle Charging System Work?

         Charging System Functional Diagram

         Alternator Output Graph

         Vehicle Charging Voltage Graph

      5.2. What If My "Battery" or "Alternator" Light Is On? (Or the Gauge Is Not
      Showing a "Charging" Condition?)

      5.3. What If I Cannot Keep My Battery Charged and the Battery Tests OK?

      5.4. How Can I Test To Determine If Charging System Is Large Enough?



5.1. How Does A Vehicle Charging System Work?

   Referring to Dan Masters' diagram below, a vehicle's charging system is composed of an
   alternator (or DC generator), voltage regulator, battery, and indicator light or gauge.
   Another good source of information on the basics of vehicle charging systems can be
   found on Perry Babin's Basic Car Audio Electronics Web site at
   http://www.bcae1.com/charging.htm. While the engine is running, the charging system's
   primary purpose is to provide power for the car's electrical load, for example, ignition,
   lighting, audio system, accessories, etc., and to recharge your vehicle's battery. The
   alternator's output capacity is directly proportional to the RPM of the engine and
   alternator temperature. Charging systems are normally sized by the car manufacturers to
   provide at least 125% (when operating at high RPM) of the worst-case OEM (Original
   Equipment Manufacturer) electrical load, so that the car battery can be recharged. That is
   the reason that short, stop and go driving at night or in bad weather might not keep the
   battery fully recharged, especially if the electrical load has been increased with after
   market accessories, such as high power audio equipment, lighting or an electric winch.
   Vehicle charging systems are not designed to recharge fully discharged batteries
   and doing so may damage the stator or diodes from overheating.




                                              34
    CHARGING SYSTEM FUNCTIONAL DIAGRAM




                           [Source: Vintage Triumph Register]

In the Balmar Alternator Output diagram below, the power output curves are shown 65
amp and 85 amp alternator. Note that the 65 amp alternator in this example, produces
more current output (power) at a lower RPM that does the larger alternator until
approximately 3300 RPM. Also note the difference that the crankshaft pulley size makes.
A larger crankshaft pulley will create a higher alternator RPM; thus, causing the alternator
to produce more power at a lower engine RPM.



                ALTERNATOR OUTPUT GRAPH




                                     [Source: Balmar]



                                            35
When the charging system fails, usually a "battery" or "alternator" warning indicator or
light will come on or the voltage (or amp) gauge will not register "good". If you increase
the engine speed and the alternator light becomes brighter, then the battery needs to be
fully recharged and tested. If the light becomes dimmer then the problem is most likely in
the charging system. Another simple charging system test is with the engine running
shine the headlights against a wall at night. If you turn the engine off and the lights get
dimmer, then the charging system is producing a higher voltage. If the light becomes
brighter, then you probably have a charging system problem. The indicator (also known
as an "idiot") light is a direct comparison between the voltage output of charging system
and the voltage output of the battery. The next test requires use of a known-to-be-good,
fully charged battery. Temporarily replace the old battery with this battery and run the
engine at 2500 RPM or more for two minutes. Depending on the load and ambient
temperature, the voltage should increase to between 13.0 and 15.1 volts during this
period. Most vehicles with good charging systems will measure between 13.8 and 14.8
volts on a warm day, depending on the battery type that the charging system was
designed for.

Some automotive charging system designers prefer lower absorption voltages, for
example 13.8 VDC, and using wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) starting batteries to reduce
water consumption. This combination tends to undercharging the battery which causes
the battery to gradually loose capacity due to an accumulation of lead-sulfate. One
solution is increasing the absorption voltage output to the battery and is described by
Chris Gibson on http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/alt_mod.html. Other solutions are to use
an adjustable or "smart" voltage regulator, add resistance to the "sense" lead to the
regulator, if equipped, equalize a wet battery, or periodically fully recharge the starting
battery with an external charger to remove the sulfation. Increasing the absorption
voltage will increase water consumption in wet batteries, so the electrolyte levels will
need to be checked more often.

As in the Bosch Voltage Regulator example below, most voltage regulators are
temperature compensated to properly charge the battery under different environmental
conditions. As the ambient temperature decreases below 77° F (25° C), the charging
voltage is increased to overcome the higher battery resistance. Conversely, as the
ambient temperature increases above 77° F (25° C), the charging voltage is decreased.
Other factors affecting the charging voltage are the alternator temperature, battery's
condition, State-of-Charge (SoC), sulfation, electrical load and electrolyte purity.



         VEHICLE CHARGING VOLTAGE GRAPH




                                            36
                                          [Source: Bosch]



   If a battery terminal's voltage is below 13.0 volts with the engine running and the battery
   tests good after being recharged or if you are still having problems keeping the car
   battery charged, then have the charging system's output voltage and load tested. Also,
   have the car's parasitic load, the electrical load with the ignition key turned off, tested.
   (Please see Section 10.) A slipping alternator belt or open diode will significantly reduce
   the alternator's output capacity. If the output voltage is above 15.1 volts with the ambient
   temperature above freezing, if the battery's electrolyte level is frequently low, "boiling", or
   if there is a "rotten egg" odor present around the battery, then the battery is being
   overcharged and the vehicle's charging system should be tested.




5.2. What If My "Battery" or "Alternator" Light Is On? (Or the Gauge Is Not Showing a "Charging"
   Condition?)

   The "Battery" or "Alternator" light is an indication that there is a significant mismatch
   between the voltage that the charging system is producing and the battery voltage. Some
   vehicles use a voltmeter or current meter to indicate if the charging system is working.
   The battery and charging system must work together to provide the electrical power for
   the vehicle and to keep the battery recharged so it can restart the engine. The most
   common causes, in the order of priority, are:

             Low electrolyte levels

             Slipping or broken alternator belt

             Corrosion between the battery posts and the battery cable terminals


                                                   37
             Faulty charging system

             Defective battery

   If the electrolyte levels, alternator belt is OK and the battery terminal connections are free
   from corrosion, then take your vehicle to an auto parts or battery store, and have the
   battery and charging system tested (highly recommended) or use the troubleshooting
   guide above. In the United States and Canada, some stores like Auto Zone, Sears, Wal-
   Mart, Pep Boys, etc., will test them for free. One of the first three simple faults in the list
   above has caused many a good battery to be replaced. A new battery can cause a weak
   alternator or starter to fail.




5.3. What If I Cannot Keep My Battery Fully Charged and the Battery Tests OK?

   The vehicle's electrical load is normally satisfied first by the charging system and then
   any remaining power is used to recharge the battery. For example, if the total electrical
   load is 14 amps and the charging system is producing 35 amps at 2500 RPM, then up to
   11 amps will be available for recharging the battery, which will take approximately six
   minutes. If the charging system is operating at say a maximum capacity of 90 amps at
   5000 RPM, then the battery usually will be recharged within two minutes. Now let us
   assume that the engine is idling and the charging system is only capable of producing 10
   amps. Four amps from the car battery are required to make up the difference to satisfy
   the 14 amp electrical load and the battery is being discharged further. This is why making
   short trips, driving in stop-and-go traffic, or during bad weather when there is a heavier
   electrical load, the starting battery may never get recharged and may even become
   "completely" discharged.

   Using the example above, let's assume that an after-market, 400 watt @ 69% efficiency
   high-power audio system, 20 amp electric winch, or 276 watts of lights is installed that
   adds an additional 20 amps of load. To covert power amplifier wattage into amps,
   multiply the amplifier's watts by .5 to .85 (depending of the efficiency of the amplifier) and
   then divide by the operating voltage. To convert winch motor or lighting power (in watts)
   to amps, divide the watts by the operating voltage. With a total electrical load of 34 amps,
   at RPM below 2500, the battery will never be recharged with an 90 amp system. While
   the engine is running in this case, the battery must make up the deficit. The solution is to
   upgrade the charging system to 125% or more of the new worst-case load. In this
   example and based on stop-and-go driving habits, a high output charging system capable
   of 105 amps or more would be required to keep the battery fully charged. High alternator
   temperatures can further reduce the maximum output of a charging system, so cooling
   and sizing based on the continuous load matters. Heat kills alternators, so Bosch, for
   example, has water cooled models available.

   For boat owners, Balmer recommends that alternator(s) be sized to 25% of the batteries'
   total capacity for wet batteries and 35% to 40% for AGM and Gel Cell VRLA batteries.
   Alternator belt sizing is also important. A single 3/8" belt will drive an alternator up to 80


                                                 38
   amps, 1/2" up to 110 amps, and multiple belts for over 110 amps. Ample Power provides
   an excellent Troubleshooting the Alternator System guide.




5.4. How Can I Test To Determine If Charging System Is Large Enough?

   A simple test to determine if the charging system is large enough is to check the battery's
   State-of-Charge after the surface charge has been removed. If the State-of-Charge is
   consistently above 95%, then the charging system is fully recharging the car battery
   based on your driving habits and electrical load. If is is consistently below 80%, then you
   will want to consider upgrading your charging system to produce more current. There are
   several possibilities to increase the capacity of your charging system to include changing
   the pulley diameters, upgrading the alternator, adding a second charging system (for a
   dual battery set up), replacing the voltage regulator, etc. An auto electric or alternator
   rebuilding shop can assist you. If the State-of-Charge is inconsistent, the you might
   consider using a temperature compensated, "smart" charger with a quick disconnector to
   "top off" your battery. If consistently undercharged or overcharged, a lead-acid
   battery will lose capacity and prematurely fail.




                                               39
6. HOW DO I JUMP START MY VEHICLE?

                             Last Updated on December 26, 2005


Please wear glasses in the unlikely event of a car or deep cycle battery explosion and
save your eyes.

If done incorrectly, jumping a dead battery can be dangerous and financially risky. These
procedures are ONLY for vehicles are that are both negatively grounded and the electrical
system voltages are the SAME. These procedures would also apply to using emergency jump
starters. DO NOT jump a frozen battery and ALWAYS connect POSITIVE to POSITIVE and
NEGATIVE (-) to the ENGINE BLOCK or FRAME away from the dead starting battery. Reverse
this rule to disconnect. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that of the 275
million vehicles that will traveling in the U.S. during the Summer of 2003, 7.4 million (or 2.7%)
will break down. Of that number, 1.3 million (or 17.7%) will require a battery jump to start their
engine. The German automobile association (ADAC) estimates that their battery related service
calls has increased from 21.7% per year in 1999 to 29.9% in 2004.

In cold weather, a good quality jumper cables (or booster cables) with eight-gauge wire is
necessary to provide enough current to the disabled vehicle to start the engine. Larger diameter
wire is better because there is less voltage loss. Please check the owner's manual for BOTH
vehicles or jump starter BEFORE attempting to jump-start. Follow the manufacturers'
procedures, for example, some vehicles should not be running during a jump-start of a disabled
one. However, starting the disabled vehicle with the good vehicle running can prevent having
both vehicles disabled. Avoid the booster cable clamps touching each other or the POSITIVE
clamp touching anything but the POSITIVE (+) post of the battery, because momentarily
touching the block or frame can short the battery and cause extensive and costly damage.

   6.1. If below freezing, insure that the electrolyte is NOT frozen in the dead battery. If
      frozen, do NOT jump or boost the battery if the case is cracked or until the battery has
      been full thawed out, recharged, tested. When the electrolyte freezes, it expands which
      can damage the plates or plate separators, which can cause the plates to warp and short
      out. When the battery is frozen, the best solution is to substitute a fully charged battery
      for frozen one or tow the vehicle to a heated garage. With any completely dead battery,
      cell reversal can occur. Please Section 14.14. The electrolyte in a dead battery will
      freeze at approximately 20°F (-6.7°C). If the battery has been sitting for several weeks
      and frozen, then the battery has probably sulfated as well. Please see Sections 16 and
      13 for more information. If the battery has been sitting for hours or a few days then the
      problem is either an excessive parasitic load like leaving the headlights on or a faulty
      charging system. Please see Sections 10 or 9, respectively.

   6.2. Without the vehicles touching, turn off all accessories, heaters and lights on both
      vehicles, especially an electronic appliances, such as a radio or audio system and insure
      there is plenty of battery ventilation.




                                                40
6.3. Start the vehicle with the good battery and let it run for at least two or three minutes at
   medium RPM to recharge it. Check the POSITIVE (+) and NEGATIVE (-) terminal
   markings on both batteries before proceeding.



                               JUMP STARTING




                                          [Source: BCI]



6.4. Connect the POSITIVE booster cable (or jump starter) clamp (usually RED) to the
   POSITIVE (+) terminal post on the dead battery [Step 1 in the diagram above]. Connect
   the POSITIVE clamp on the other end of the booster cable to the POSITIVE (+) terminal
   post on the good starting battery [Step 2]. If the POSITIVE (+) battery terminal post is not
   accessible, the POSITIVE connection on the starter motor solenoid from the POSITIVE
   (+) terminal post of the battery could be used.

6.5. Connect the NEGATIVE booster cable clamp (usually BLACK) to the NEGATIVE (-)
   terminal on the good battery [Step 3]. Connect the NEGATIVE booster cable (or jump
   starter) clamp on the other end of the jumper cable to a clean, unpainted area on the
   engine block or frame on the disabled vehicle [Step 4] and at least 10 to 12 inches (25
   to 30 cm) away from the battery. This arrangement is used because some sparking will
   occur and you want to keep sparks as far away from the battery as practical in order to
   prevent a battery explosion.



                                              41
   6.6. If using jumper cables, let the good vehicle continue to run at medium RPM for five
      minutes or more to allow the dead battery to receive some recharge and to warm its
      electrolyte. If there is a bad cable connection, do not wiggle the cable clamps connected
      to the battery terminals because sparks will occur and a battery explosion might occur.
      To check connections, first disconnect the NEGATIVE clamp from the engine block or
      frame, check the other connections, and then reconnect the engine block or frame
      connection last.

   6.7. If using jumper cables, some vehicle manufacturers recommend that you turn off the
      engine of the good vehicle to protect it's charging system prior to starting the disabled
      vehicle. Check the owner's manual; otherwise, leave the engine running so you can avoid
      being stranded should you not be able to restart the good vehicle.

   6.8. If using jumper cables, start the disabled vehicle and allow it to run at high idle. If the
      vehicle does not start the first time, recheck the connections, wait a few minutes, and try
      again.

   6.9. Disconnect the jumper or jump starter cables in the REVERSE order, starting with the
      NEGATIVE clamp on the engine block or frame of the disabled vehicle to minimize the
      possibility of an explosion. Allow the engine on the disable car to run until the engine
      come to full operating temperature before driving and continue to run until you reach your
      final destination, because stopping the engine might require another jump start.

   6.10. As soon as possible and at room temperature, fully recharge the dead battery with an
      external "smart" or "automatic" battery charger matched to the battery type, remove the
      surface charge and load test the battery and charging system to determine if any latent or
      permanent damage has occurred as a result of the deep discharge. This is especially
      important if you had a frozen battery or jump started a sealed wet Maintenance Free
      (Ca/Ca) battery. A vehicle's charging system is not designed to recharge a dead battery
      and could overheat and be damaged (bad diodes or burned stator) doing so or the
      battery could be under charged and loose capacity.

In the event that the jumper or jump starter cables were REVERSED and there is no power to all
or part of the vehicle, test the fusible links, fuses, circuit breakers, battery, charging system and
emissions computer and, if bad, reset or replace. Their locations and values should be shown in
the vehicle's Owner's Manual. If replacing the faulty parts do not repair the electrical system,
having it repaired by a good auto electric repair shop is highly recommended.




                                                 42
7. WHAT DO I LOOK FOR IN BUYING A NEW BATTERY?

                          Last Updated on February 26, 2005


  INDEX:

    7.1. Battery Types

       7.1.1. Wet Standard (Sb/Sb)

       7.1.2. Wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca)

       7.1.3. Wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)

       7.1.4. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) VRLA

       7.1.5. Spiral Wound AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) VRLA

       7.1.6. Wet Marine Starting

       7.1.7. Gel Cell VRLA

       7.1.8. What Are the Differences Between Car, Marine Starting and Deep
       Cycle Batteries?

       7.1.9. What Are Dual or Multi-battery Systems?

    7.2. CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)

       CCA vs. Temperature Diagram

    7.3. Reserve Capacity (RC) or Amp Hour (AH) Capacity

       Peukert Effect

       7.3.1. Is Capacity Effected By Temperature?

           AH Capacity vs. Temperature Graph

       7.3.2. How Do I Increase Battery Capacity?

           Battery Wiring Diagrams

       7.3.3. Which is Better, Two 6-volt Batteries in Series or Two 12-volt
       Batteries in Parallel?

       7.3.4. How Do I Increase the Voltage?
                                            43
          7.3.5. How Can I Reduce the Voltage?

          7.3.6. Which Weighs More--One 12-volt or Two 6-volt Batteries?

          7.3.7. Can I Mix Non-Identical Batteries?

      7.4. Size

      7.5. Terminals

      7.6. Freshness

      7.7. Warranty

      7.8. Buying Tips

      7.9. How Do I Size The Components For Backup AC Power?

Car battery buying strategy for use in Alaska, for example, is different than in the hotter
climates found in South Texas. In extremely cold climates, higher CCA (Cold Cranking Amp)
ratings are more important. In a hot climate, higher RC (Reserve Capacity) or AH (Ampere
Hour) ratings are more important than CCA; however, the cranking amp sizing should be based
on the coldest climate the engine is started in. Do NOT buy a new battery until it is needed
because it will sulfate sitting in storage and you will lose capacity. Below is an example of car
battery life expectancy in the United States from Interstate Batteries:




                                               44
                               [Source: Interstate Batteries]

7.1. Battery Types

   The two most common categories of car and deep cycle batteries are wet (also
   known as "flooded", "liquid electrolyte", "vented", or "VLA" cell) and Valve
   Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA). Within the wet category, the three most common
   battery types are Standard (Sb/Sb), Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) and Maintenance
   Free (Ca/Ca), which are defined in more detail below. In the VRLA category, there
   are AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat), spiral wound AGM, and Gel Cell lead-acid
   batteries. The one additional category for smaller (typically below 50 AH) deep
   cycle batteries is SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) using AGM or Gel Cell VRLA
   construction. In 2004, approximately 30% of the SLA batteries are produced in
   China. All VRLA batteries are sealed with a safety pressure relief valve or plug in
   case of excessive gas pressure build up due to overcharging or overheating.

   When selecting a battery type, it is extremely important that you select a battery
   that will MATCH the voltage output of your charging system and application. The
   easiest way to accomplish this is to replace your battery with the same or
   compatible type of battery that originally was installed in your vehicle or appliance.
   If you change your replacement battery to another battery type, you might have to
   adjust the charging voltage to prevent undercharging or overcharging that could
   damage or reduce the service life of your new battery. For example, replacing an
   Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) wet sealed "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)
   with a wet non-sealed Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery (with filler caps) might
   cause the Low-Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery to be slightly overcharged and
   consume more water. If you charge a "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) battery with a
   charging system or charger designed for a Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery (with
                                              45
filler caps), you could undercharge the "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) battery.
Replacing any other non-Gel Cell type of battery with a Gel Cell VRLA battery
could overcharge it. When in doubt, replace with an AGM VRLA or spiral wound
AGM VRLA battery. Ventilation is required for all lead-acid batteries and good
ventilation is mandatory for wet batteries to dissipate the explosive gasses
produced during the absorption charge stage.

Deep cycle batteries are broadly divided into motive and stationary applications.
Motive applications are where the battery is discharged in operations that will
consume between 20% and 80% of the battery's capacity and then recharged
(which is considered to be one cycle). Some examples of motive (also known as
"cycling" or "traction") applications are for batteries used in recreational vehicles
(RV), motor homes, caravans, trailers, boats, wheelchairs, golf carts, solar, floor
sweepers, folk lift trucks and other electric vehicles (EV) and typically have
between 200-500 cycles per year. Stationary (also known as "float", "reserve",
"backup" or "standby") applications are where stationary batteries is used to
provide backup or standby power during loss of the primary source of power such
as uninterruptible power systems (UPS), emergency lighting systems, security
systems, telecommunications systems, etc., and typically have 2-12 cycles per
year. Generally, stationary batteries have longer service lives, more life cycles and
cost more than motive batteries. The chargers for motive and stationary deep
cycle batteries are different as well.

Non-sealed wet Standard (Sb/Sb), wet Low-Maintenance (Sb/Ca), AGM or Gel
Cell VRLA batteries with pasted, tubular or Manchester ("Manchex") positive
plates or VRLA Spiral Wound AGM batteries are recommended for motive deep
cycle applications. Non-sealed wet Standard (Sb/Sb), wet Low-Maintenance
(Sb/Ca), wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) batteries with pasted or solid (Planté)
positive plates are recommended for stationary applications. For more information
about larger deep cycle batteries (greater than 250 AH), please see Wind & Sun's
Ultimate Deep Cycle Battery FAQ and Zen and the Art of Choosing a Deep Cycle
Battery.

Wet deep cycle batteries, such as Marine/RV, leisure and some golf cart, that use
pasted positive plates are less expensive to manufacturer and have few life cycles
and shorter service lives at 50% average Depth-of-Discharge (DoD) level than the
deep cycle batteries with solid (Planté), tubular or Manchester (or "Manchex")
positive plates. They also have significantly fewer life cycles at the 80% average
DoD level. Be aware that some starting battery manufacturers have added
handles and stud type terminals to their cheaper starting batteries and sell them as
Marine/RV deep cycle. The major disadvantage of VRLA (AGM or Gel Cell) deep
cycle batteries are their high initial cost (up to three times over the cost of a wet
Standard (Sb/Sb) batteries), but arguably can have an overall lower total cost of
ownership due to a longer service life, no "watering" and other labor costs, and
faster recharging. The total cost of ownership should be considered when buying
deep cycle batteries. There is a cost comparison for some popular wet solar deep
cycle batteries on THE SOLAR BiZ Web site at
http://www.thesolar.biz/Cost_Table_batteries.htm.


                                         46
7.1.1. Wet Standard (Sb/Sb)

   Standard or "Conventional" (Sb/Sb) non-sealed lead-acid batteries (with
   filler caps) have Lead-Antimony (Sb) positive/Antimony (Sb) negative plates
   and have been commercially available for almost 100 years. They have a:

      Lower initial cost

      Tolerance for a wide range of charging current (to 25% of the
       battery's capacity) and voltage

      Long service live (if properly maintained)

      Increased water consumption and production of gas requiring more
       ventilation

      High self-discharge rate (depending on the temperature, up to 50%-
       60% per month)

      Charging losses of 15%-20% and maximum continuous discharge
       rate 25% of their capacity

   For these reasons, they have almost been completely replaced by wet Low
   Maintenance (Ca/Sb) batteries for high temperature underhood starting
   applications, but are still used for many deep cycle applications. Wet
   Standard (Sb/Sb) batteries are generally the least expensive lead-acid
   batteries.




7.1.2. Wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca)

   The wet (or "flooded" cell) Low Maintenance batteries (with filler caps) have
   a Lead-Antimony (Sb) positive/Calcium (Ca) negative dual alloy or hybrid
   plate formulations. They have most of the same characteristics as a wet
   Standard (Sb/Sb) batteries, except they can handle the high underhood
   heat better when used in starting applications. Some battery manufacturers,
   such as Johnson Controls, build "North" and "South" car battery versions
   to make up for the differences in cold and hot climates. Some also
   construct special car batteries that have a higher tolerance to heat by
   changing plate or connecting strap formulations or providing for more
   electrolyte. For off highway applications in trucks, recreational vehicles
   (RVs), motor caravans or homes, 4x4s, vans or SUVs (Sport Utility
   Vehicles), some battery manufacturers build "high vibration", "heavy duty",
   "commercial", or "RV" battery versions designed to reduce the effects of
                                         47
   moderate vibration. A wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) car or deep cycle
   battery will typically cost a little more than a similar sized wet Standard
   (Sb/Sb) battery.




7.1.3. Wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)

   Wet "Maintenance Free" batteries have a Lead-Calcium (Ca)
   positive/Calcium (Ca) negative plate chemistry or formulation, for example,
   Johnson Controls, General Motor's ACDelco, or East Penn. The
   advantages of wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) car and deep cycle
   batteries over wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) are:

      Less preventive maintenance due to less water loss

      Greater overcharge resistance

      Reduced terminal corrosion and ventilation

      Up to 400% less self discharge

      Less risk to consumers because there is less to service

   However, they are more prone to terminal leakage due to over-tightening,
   incorrect terminal length, or vibration from to short battery cables. They are
   also more susceptible to deep discharge ("dead" or "flat" battery) failures
   due to increased shedding of active plate material and development of a
   barrier layer between the active plate material and the grid metal. If a wet
   "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) battery is sealed, distilled water can not be
   added when required. For that reason, in hot climates, using non-sealed
   wet batteries (with filler caps), so you can add distilled water, is highly
   encouraged. For passenger compartment or trunk battery locations, using a
   sealed AGM VRLA battery is recommended. Wet "Maintenance Free"
   (Ca/Ca) batteries are generally little more expensive than wet Low
   Maintenance (Sb/Ca) batteries.




7.1.4. AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)VRLA

   Sealed Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) VRLA car and deep cycle batteries
   (also know as "starved electrolyte" or "dry") have a very fine fiber Boron-
   Silicate glass mat between their plates. They have all of the advantages of
   the "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) batteries plus:

      Safer (due the hydrogen gas recombination during charging)

                                          48
   Do not require water

   Lower self-discharge rate (typically 1%-2% per month)

   Longer service life

   Higher resistance to vibration

   Lower deep discharge failure

   Higher bulk charge acceptance rate (which means up to a 15%
    shorter recharge time and reduced cost)

   Lower tolerance for heat (they will lose half of their service life for
    every increase of 15° F (8.3° C) over 80° F (26.7° C)

   Do not require special hazardous shipping and can be used in
    saltwater applications

   Spill proof and can be mounted in virtually any position (because
    they are sealed)

   Charging losses of 4% and maximum continuous discharge rate 33%
    of their capacity

   Can be used inside a semi-enclosed area, like the passenger
    compartment or trunk

   Greater terminal corrosion resistance

   Less charging voltage tolerance

   Not subject to sulfation from electrolyte stratification or water loss

Relocating the vehicle's starting battery to the passenger compartment or
trunk is becoming more popular because vehicle manufacturers want to
extend their "bumper-to-bumper" warranty periods, to avoid underhood
temperature extremes, to provide more weight in the rear, or to save
underhood space. Use a vented wet battery or GRT (Recombinant Gas
Technology) AGM or Gel Cell VRLA battery. GRT simply means that 90%
or more of the gasses are recombined back into water during recharging
and contained within each cell and special venting is not required. AGM
VRLA batteries are more expensive than wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)
batteries. Some AGM batteries, for example Concorde, can be equalized.
They will accept all the power that a charging system will produce. This
means if you are using an alternator sized at 25% (or less) of the capacity
of a deep cycle battery bank, it possible to overheat an air cooled
alternator and burn it up during a long bulk charging phase. For large
capacity deep cycle battery banks, using a high output alternator, voltage
regulator with an alternator temperature sensor or water cooled alternator is


                                        49
   highly recommended. A thermally protected alternator should not exceed
   33% of the capacity of the battery bank being charged.

   You can expect AGM VRLA starting batteries to the $80 to $100 range as
   more competition occurs. Examples of sealed AGM VRLA batteries are
   Concorde's Lifeline, EnerSys' Odyssey, East Penn, or New Castle. An AGM
   battery can normally replace a wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) or wet
   "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) battery, but a wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca)
   battery normally cannot replace an AGM VRLA battery without adjusting the
   charging voltages. Expect to see 36-volt AGM starting batteries with 14/42-
   volt dual or 42-volt electrical systems offered by some of the premium car
   manufacturers starting in the 2003 model year. In the near term, expect to
   see more sealed AGM batteries replacing wet Low Maintenance and wet
   "Maintenance Free" lead-acid batteries. In the longer term, NiHM and
   Lithium Ion (LiIon) batteries will used in hybrid automotive applications,
   which might eventually be replaced by fuel cells in the next 10-20 years.




7.1.5. Spiral Wound AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)VRLA

   For excessive vibration applications, in off-road operation, or extreme
   conditions, it is best to use a spiral wound AGM VRLA (Valve Regulated
   Lead-Acid) car or deep cycle battery because there is no shedding of active
   plate material since the plates are immobilized. In addition, they use GRT
   (Recombinant Gas Technology) and have all of the characteristics of the
   AGM VRLA batteries plus:

      Smaller

      Recharges faster reducing charging cost

      Wider absorption and float charging voltage windows

      Withstand heat better

      Charging losses of 4% and maximum continuous discharge rate 33%
       of their capacity

   Examples of spiral wound VRLA AGM batteries are Johnson Controls'
   Optima, Exide's Select Orbital or Maxxima, or EnerSys' Cyclon. Typically
   spiral wound AGM car batteries cost between $90 and $150 and deep cycle
   versions cost more.

                       SPIRAL WOUND AGM BATTERY




                                       50
                                  [Source: Optima]




7.1.6. Wet Marine Starting

   A wet "Dual" or Marine Starting battery is a compromise between a car and
   deep cycle battery that is specially designed for high vibration in marine
   applications and generally are more expensive thatn their car battery
   counterpart. A Marine Starting battery can have wet Standard (Sb/Sb), wet
   Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca), wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) or AGM VRLA
   plate formulations. But, please beware of Marine Starting and deep cycle
   batteries that are cheap, because they are often car batteries with handles
   and stud or combination terminals. A deep cycle or "Dual Marine Starting"
   battery will work as a starting battery if it can produce enough current to
   start the engine. Good ventilation is required for all wet (or "flooded")
   deep cycle batteries to dissipate the gasses produced during
   charging. For saltwater applications, sealed AGM (or Gel Cell) should
   be only used to prevent the formation of DEADLY chlorine gas when
   battery electrolyte is mixed with saltwater.




7.1.7. Gel Cell VRLA

   Sealed Gel Cell VRLA (Valve Regulated Lead-Acid) deep cycle batteries
   use GRT (Recombinant Gas Technology) and use a thickening agent like
   fumed silica gel to immobile the electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte like
   the wet batteries. They have a lot of the same advantages of AGM
   batteries. When comparing Gel Cell to AGM and Spiral Wound AGM
   batteries, Gel Cells will typically:

      Greater ability to withstand a deep discharge, but not temperatures
       over 100°F (37.8° C) because of the possibility of "thermal runaway"

      10 to 15 cycle preconditioning or "break-in" period

      Less Cold Cranking Amps

      80% of the capacity of a similar sized AGM battery and physically
       larger

      Slower recharging times


                                          51
      Intolerant of incorrect charging voltages which require special gel cell
       chargers

      Lower capacity in cold temperatures

      Up to 20% more life cycles

      Most expensive because it costs more to manufacture

      Subject to loss of capacity due to voids between the plates when
       overcharged

      Charging losses of 4% and maximum continuous discharge rate 25%
       of their capacity

   The ideal ambient temperature for a Gel Cell battery is 72° F (22.2° C).
   Examples of Gel Cell batteries are Sonnenschein, East Penn, MK, Exide,
   etc.

   For some considerations of replacing flooded batteries with Gel Cell or
   AGM VRLA batteries, please read David Eidell's IMPORTANT NOTE
   ABOUT THE SUITABILITY OF ABSORPTIVE GLASS MAT (AGM) AND
   GELLED ELECTROLYTE BATTERIES IN RV'S or Collyn Rivers'
   ABSORBED GLASS MAT BATTERIES. For a more detailed comparison,
   read an article written by Constian von Wentzel, Comparing Marine Battery
   Technologies.




7.1.8. What Are the Differences Between Car, Marine Starting and Deep Cycle Batteries?

   Car batteries are specially designed with thinner (.04 inch or 1.02 mm) and
   more porous plates for a greater surface area to order produce the high
   amps required to start an engine. They are engineered for up to 5,000
   shallow (to 3%) discharges, which is over four engine starts per day.
   Starting batteries should NOT be discharged below 90% State-of-Charge.
   They use sponge lead and expanded metal grids rather than solid lead.
   Marine starting batteries are a comprise between a car and deep cycle
   battery and are designed for starting and prolonged discharges at lower
   amperage that typically consumes between 20% and 50% of the battery's
   capacity. Motive and stationary deep cycle batteries have much thicker (up
   to .25 inch or 6.35 mm) plates, thicker grids, more lead, and weight more
   than car batteries the same size. They are normally discharged between
   20% and 80% at lower amperage. Deep cycle batteries will typically
   outlast two to ten car batteries in a deep cycle application.

   Can a deep cycle battery be used as a starting battery?

   Five things to consider in using a deep cycle battery as a starting battery.
                                         52
      Is it the same battery type as your OEM starting battery? This is so
       that your vehicle's charging system will keep it fully charged. Please
       see Section 7.1 for more on battery types and Section 4 for testing
       the State-of-Charge (SoC) of the battery.

      Will the battery produce enough current to start the engine in the
       coldest temperatures that you start your engine in?

      Will it fit and the battery cables connect to the correct battery posts?

      Can you afford to get stuck some cold morning until you can jump
       start your vehicle if it does not have the capacity to start you engine?

      Is the battery fresh and in good condition? If the battery has been
       sitting around for weeks or months without a charge is has probably
       has sulfated? If the battery has sulfated, then please see Section 16.

   If the answer to these questions is yes, then it will work. However, it might
   crank the engine slower or not last as long as a starting battery for this
   application, due of the high under hood temperatures and shallower
   discharges. There have been other examples where a wet motive deep
   cycle battery has lasted over ten years. Fully recharge the deep cycle
   battery with an external charger first and have it tested at an auto parts or
   battery store. If good, then try it and monitor the SoC and electrolyte levels
   for the the first few months for proper charging. If the State-of-Charge is
   continuously low, the battery is being uncharged and sulfate will gradually
   build up; thus, reducing the capacity of the battery and it will prematurely
   fail. If it is using a lot of water, then it is being overcharging and it can
   prematurely fail.




7.1.9. What Are Dual or Multi-battery Systems?

   For RVs, motor homes, caravans, boats, and other large vehicles, both car
   and deep cycle batteries are often used. A car battery is normally used to
   start the engine and motive deep cycle (or leisure) batteries that are the
   same battery type (plate chemistry) as the car battery are used to power the
   electrical accessories. The batteries are connected to a Schottky diode
   isolator (or combiner), dual output alternator, isolation relay or A/B switch to
   keep the starting battery from becoming discharged when using the deep
   cycle batteries. When the charging system is running, the batteries are
   automatically recharged (except with the manual relay or A/B switch) with
   most of the current flowing to the battery with the lowest State-of-Charge.
   Isolator sizing is important and should be larger than the combined current
   sources on each side of the isolator. For example, if a diode isolator is used
   with a 40 amp shore power battery charger and a 100 amp alternator, then
   the diode rating should be at least 140 amps. If a relay or A/B switch is
   used and the charger is 100 amps, but there is a load of 300 amps, then the
                                          53
isolator need to be rated at the larger of the two or 300 amps or more. The
wiring with fuses also needs to be rated to carry this much current with a
5% or less voltage drop.




Ralph Scheidler at Sure Power has written an excellent, easy to
understand, free e-booklet, Introduction to Batteries and Charging Systems,
about multi-battery applications. It is available online at
http://www.surepower.com/pdf/ebr_int.pdf. A common deep cycle
application in recreational vehicles is using a DC to AC inverter, which is
used to convert 12 VDC to 120 (or 240) VAC power. It takes between 12
and 14 amps of 12-volt DC power to make one amp (or 120 watts) of 120
VAC power (or one-half amp or 120 watts of 240 VAC power), so deep
cycle batteries or vehicle charging systems should be used to power
inverters and NOT starting batteries. Some multi-battery systems can get
extremely complex.

Some of the following risks are undertaken when a discharged deep cycle
battery (or bank) is connected in parallel to the starting battery without using
a diode isolator:

   If a discharged deep cycle battery (or bank) is connected to a
    charged starting battery in parallel, a large current could flow from
    the starting battery to the deep cycle battery in an attempt to
    equalize the voltage. Overtime, deeply discharging the starting
    battery could prematurely kill it. This can discharge the starting
    battery to the point that the engine can not be started.

   If the wiring or contacts of the isolation relay or switch are not heavy
    enough to carry the current, damage could occur.

   If 4% or more concentration of hydrogen is present, an
    explosion could occur due to the arc created by the relay or
    switch closure.

                                       54
         If the charging system has insufficient capacity, a large deep cycle
          battery (or bank), especially a AGM VRLA, could accept all the
          output of the charging system and overheat the alternator causing it
          to fail or not fully recharge the starting battery.

         Either the deep cycle battery (or bank) is undercharged or the
          starting battery will be overcharged.

      Diode isolation systems, unless voltage compensated, lose between .6 and
      1.6 volts across each diode. There is also loss in wring that will reduce the
      charging voltage to the battery. Regardless of what isolation method is
      used, if at all possible the correct battery manufacturer's temperature
      compensated charging voltages need to be applied directly across the
      respective battery terminals to optimize the battery's capacity and overall
      service life. This can be accomplished in several different ways depending
      on the charging system. For example, if the voltage regulator has a sense
      wire (if equipped), it can be connected to the output of the diode isolator or
      positive battery terminal or the internal voltage regulator can be replaced
      with an adjustable or a "smart" voltage regulator. If the voltages are not
      correct, then battery under or overcharging can occur, so it is important to
      apply the correct charging voltages for longer battery service life. If the
      deep cycle battery bank is located with a living or passenger area, using
      AGM or Gel Cell VRLA batteries are highly recommended for safety
      reasons.




7.2. CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)

   If the battery is to used in a starting application, Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is the
   second most important consideration; otherwise, for non-starting deep cycle
   applications, please skip this section and go to Section 7.3. Reserve Capacity
   (RC) or Amp Hour (AH) Capacity. The battery's CCA rating should meet or
   exceed, your vehicle's OEM cold cranking requirement, for your climate. BCI's
   definition of CCA is the discharge load measured in amps that a new, fully charged
   battery, operating at 0° F (-17.8° C), can deliver for 30 seconds and while
   maintaining the voltage above 7.2 volts. car and Marine Starting batteries are
   sometimes advertised by their CA (Cranking Performance Amps) measured at 32°
   F (0° C), MCA (Marine Cranking Amps) measured at 32° F (0° C), or HCA (Hot
   Cranking Amps) measured at 80° F (26.7° C). These measurements are not the
   same as CCA. Do not be misled by the higher CA, MCA or HCA ratings. To
   convert CA or MCA to CCA, multiply the CA or MCA by 0.8. To convert HCA to
   CCA, multiply HCA by 0.69. The British and International Electrotechnical
   Commision's definition of CCA are cranking for 180 seconds and down to 8.4 volts
   at 0° F (-17.8° C) and for 60 seconds and down to 8.4 volts at 0° F, (-17.8° C),
   respectively.



                                            55
To start a four cylinder gasoline engine, you will need approximately 600-700
CCA; six cylinder gasoline engine, 700-800 CCA; eight cylinder gasoline engine,
750-850 CCA; three cylinder diesel engine, 600-700 CCA; four cylinder diesel
engine, 700-800 CCA; and eight cylinder diesel engine, 800-1200 CCA. Bruce
Bowling and Al Grippo have written a very handy Battery Cold-Cranking Amp
Estimation calculator which can be found at http://www.bgsoflex.com/cca.html. To
convert CCA, a SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standard, to an EN (now
known as ETN), IEC, DIN or JIS standard, please refer to the Conversion Table at
http://www.midtronics.com/manuals/power_sensor105_manual.pdf from
Midtronics.

In hot climates, buying car or marine starting batteries with double or triple the
cold cranking amps that exceeds your starting requirement is a waste of money
because the extra amps will not be used. A starter motor will only demand what it
needs to operate. However, in extremely cold climates a higher CCA rating is
better, due to increased power required to crank a sluggish engine and the
inefficiency of a cold car battery and the demand is greater. As car batteries age,
they are also less capable of producing as much CCA as when they were new.
According to the BCI (Battery Council International), diesel engines require 220%
to 300% more current than their gasoline counterparts and winter starting requires
140% to 170% more current than the summer. These increased requirements are
accounted for in the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) CCA
recommendation.



                   CCA vs. TEMPERATURE




                                  [Source: Exide]

                                        56
   If more CCA capacity is required, two identical 12-volt starting batteries can be
   connected in parallel or two identical larger CCA 6-volt starting batteries can be
   connected in series. Please refer to the diagrams in Section 7.3 below for more
   information about connecting batteries in parallel or series. If you connect two 12-
   volt batteries in parallel and they are identical in type, age and capacity, you can
   potentially double your original CCA capacity. If you connect two that are not the
   same type or capacity, you will either overcharge the smaller (or older) of the two
   or you will undercharge the larger (or newer) of the two.




7.3. Reserve Capacity (RC) or Amp Hour (AH) Capacity

   For car batteries, an equally important consideration to CCA is the Reserve
   Capacity (RC) or Amp Hour (AH) Capacity ratings because of the effects of
   increased parasitic (ignition key off) loads while long term parking, power demands
   during short trips and emergencies. RC is the number of minutes a fully charged
   battery at 80° F (26.7° C) can be discharged at a constant 25 amps until the
   voltage falls below 10.5 volts. European and Asian starting and deep cycle
   batteries are usually rated in Amp Hours (AH). To convert RC to AH (or AH to RC),
   check the battery manufacturer's specifications. More RC is better in every case.
   In a hot climate, if your car has a 360 OEM cold cranking amps requirement, then
   a 400 CCA rated battery with 120 minutes of RC and more electrolyte for cooling
   would be more desirable than one with 600 CCA with 90 minutes of RC. There is
   also a relationship between the weight of the battery and the amount of RC (or
   AH). The heavier the battery, the more lead is has and potentially a longer service
   life.

   For deep cycle batteries, an important consideration is that the Ampere-Hour (AH)
   rating will meet or exceed the requirements based on your application, Peukert
   Effect and how much weight you can carry. Most deep cycle batteries are
   normally rated in number of hours it take to discharge a fully charged battery to
   10.5 volts in 20 hours at 80° F (26.7° C), denoted as "C/20". Discharge rates of
   100 hours (C/100), 10 hours (C/10), 8 hours (C/8) or 6 hours (C/6) are also
   common ratings. (Please see Section 9) for more information on charging and
   chargers. Within a BCI Group Size, the battery with higher AH (or RC) will tend to
   larger in physical size, have longer lives and weigh more because of thicker plates
   and more lead.




                                            57
                            PEUKERT EFFECT
The higher the discharge rate (or fewer hours the battery is fully discharged in), the lower
the capacity due to the Peukert Effect or "the shrinking battery effect" and to the internal
resistance of the battery. Good examples of the Peukert Effect on deep cycle battery
capacities at various discharge rates can be found at http://www.usbattery.com/ on their
capacity specifications page. The actual formula is T=C/IN where N is the Peukert
Number used for the specific battery to more accurately calculate the discharge time. The
Peukert Number generally is in a range of 1.05 to 1.4, with 1.05 the best performing
battery due to less internal resistance. A Peukert Number calculator and some specific
examples of batteries can be found on Eve's Battery Page at
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/8679/battery.html.The effects are shown in
Constantin von Wentzel's graph below. A good analogy on the Peukert Effect and be
found at Ample Power on http://www.amplepower.com/pwrnews/beer/. Another Peukert
calculator is included on http://home.hetnet.nl/~marcellebarion/epeukert.html.




                         [Source: How Lead Acid Batteries Work]




   Normally the best buy will be the heaviest battery that best suites your
   application, physical size requirements and that has the lowest cost (including
   maintenance) for the total amount of power it will produce over it's service life.
   Larger is better!
                                             58
7.3.1. Is Capacity Effected By Temperature?

   Temperature matters! The following graph from Concorde shows the
   effects of temperature on the amp hour capacity on their AGM battery:




    PERCENT CAPACITY vs. TEMPERATURE




                              [Source: Concorde]




                                       59
7.3.2. How Do I Increase Battery Capacity?

   If more amp hours (AH) or Reserve Capacity (RC) are required, there are
   normally three ways to accomplish this:

      7.3.2.1. Two (or more) identical 12-volt batteries can be connected
      in parallel. If you connect two 12-volt batteries in parallel and they
      are identical in type, age and capacity, you can more than double
      you original capacity due to the Peukert Effect. If you connect two
      that are not the same type or capacity, you will either overcharge the
      smaller of the two, or you will under charge the larger of the two.
      Please take special note of the POSITIVE (+) connection and
      NEGATIVE (-) connection to the discharging destination (load) or
      charging source(s) and limit the number of batteries (or strings of
      batteries) in parallel to four.




                                12 Volts Parallel

                            [Source: Yacht Outfitting]



      7.3.2.2. Two identical larger capacity six-volt batteries can be
      connected in series (POSITIVE (+) terminal of Battery One to the
      NEGATIVE (-) terminal of Battery Two).




                                 12 Volts Series

                            [Source: Yacht Outfitting]



                                        60
   7.3.2.3. Two identical larger capacity six-volt batteries can be
   connected in series (POSITIVE (+) terminal of Battery One to the
   NEGATIVE (-) terminal of Battery Two) to make a "12-volt battery".
   Two (or more) identical "12-volt batteries" can be connected in
   parallel. The combination is referred to as a series-parallel
   connection. Please take special note of the POSITIVE (+) connection
   and NEGATIVE (-) connection to the load or charger and limit the
   number of batteries (or strings of batteries) in parallel to four.




                          12 Volts Series-Parallel

                          [Source: Yacht Outfitting]



Additional information on deep cycle battery bank sizing can be found at
http://www.glacierbay.com/ in an article written by the folks at Glacier Bay
Refrigeration or by Constian von Wentzel at
http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/02.Size/index.html. Information of
splitting battery banks can be found in Chris Gibson's article on
http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/splitting.html.

When connected as exactly shown in the diagrams, the batteries will
discharge and charge equally. Between the batteries, cable lengths should
be an equal length, short as possible and sized large enough to prevent
significant voltage drop of 0.075 volts (75 millivolts) per 100 amps or less in
the cables and connectors. Battery cables to the charger or inverter should
be an equal length so the batteries will charge or discharge evenly. What is
important is that the battery manufacturer's recommended charging
voltages are being applied directly across the battery's terminals from
the charging source. Using an adjustable Low Voltage Disconnect set to a
minimum of 10.5 VDC (12.0 VDC is better) will insure a higher average
Depth-of-Discharge and will protect electrical and electronic appliances and
the batteries from damage from a real deep discharge and cell reversal.




                                      61
7.3.3. Which is Better, Two 6-volt Batteries in Series or Two 12-volt Batteries in Parallel?

   Some battery experts believe that batteries in series are easier to discharge
   or charge because the same amount of current is applied to each cell and
   are a little more reliable. Other battery experts believe that batteries in
   parallel are better because they require less space, will have more capacity
   due to the Peukert Effect and if a cell should fail, the bad battery can be
   disconnected and the other one can continued to be used. For additional
   information on this discussion, please read Battery Configuration: Parallel
   or Series? published by Sierra Nevada Airstreams.




7.3.4. How Do I Increase the Voltage?

   If more voltage is need, connect identical batteries in series in the following
   manner:




                                  12 Volts Series




                                  24 Volts Series

                             [Source: Yacht Outfitting]



   Two identical 6-volt batteries can be connected in series to produce 12-
   volts. Two identical 12-volt batteries or three identical 8-volt batteries can
   be connected in series to produce 24-volts. Three identical 12-volt
   batteries connected in series or six identical six-volt batteries will produce
                                          62
   36-volts and so on. Please note that the total amp hour capacity remains
   the same. Other voltage combinations are possible, but the battery type and
   amp hour capacity of each batteries should be the same because uneven
   discharging can cause charging problems.

   You could also use a DC-to-DC Converter to produce different or constant
   DC voltage. A common problem is powering a laptop computer or other
   appliance requiring more than 14 VDC from a 12-volt battery. Using an
   efficient DC-to-DC Converter is automatic and eliminates the problems
   associated with uneven multi-battery discharges and recharges.




7.3.5. How Can I Reduce the Voltage?

   "Half-tapping" two batteries in series can be used to produce a source with
   half of the voltage and three batteries for one third and two thirds the
   voltage. For example and using the diagram below, let's assume that two
   identical 12-volt batteries are used in series to power a 24-volt trolling
   motor and there is a requirement to power 12-volt lights or electronic
   equipment. The 12-volt electrical appliances can be connected to the 12-
   volt batteries as long the 12-volt electrical loads are equally divided
   between the two 12-volt batteries, so the loads are balanced and fused.
   [The negative connection for Load 1 must be isolated from "ground"
   because it will place a dead short in the Battery for Load 2.] If the batteries
   are discharged unequally, recharging the batteries with a single bank
   charger (a 24-volt charger in this example) will cause one of the batteries to
   be either undercharged or the other to be overcharged. This significantly
   reduces the battery's service life. A better solution is to use a 24-volt to 12-
   volt DC-to-DC Converter or a separate 12-volt charging system and battery
   to produce 12-volts because an unbalanced load will not occur on the
   batteries. If discharging the batteries unevenly or use of non-identical
   batteries has to occur, then use an isolated multi-bank charger, single bank
   charge with an external diode isolator (adjusted for the voltage loss), or
   combiner to recharge the batteries at the same time.

   Below are examples of wiring diagrams of "half tapped" 12-volt, 24-volt, and
   36-volt battery banks.




                                          63
64
65
7.3.6. Which Weighs More--One 12-volt or Two 6-volt Batteries?

   Of equal amp hour capacity, a single 12-volt battery will weigh
   approximately 10% less than two six-volt batteries connected in series due
   to the additional case material and the battery connecting cable. But, the
   two six-volt batteries can be split a part and each battery weighs
   approximately half of the weight of the 12-volt battery.




7.3.7. Can I Mix Non-Identical Batteries?

   To prevent charging problems when connecting batteries in series, parallel,
   or series-parallel, do not mix old and new batteries or ones of different
   capacities or types. Mixing old batteries with new batteries is like
   mixing old milk with new milk--soon you have nothing but old milk.
   The reason is because you will either undercharge the larger (or newest) of
   the batteries or overcharge the smaller (or oldest) of the batteries. If
                                         66
      discharging the batteries unevenly or use of non-identical batteries has to
      occur, then use an isolated multi-bank charger, single bank charge with an
      external diode isolator (adjusted for the voltage loss), or combiner to
      recharge the batteries at the same time.




7.4. Size

   In North America, manufacturers build their batteries to an adopted Battery
   Council International (BCI) Group Size Number (U1, 24, 27, 31, 34, 35, 65, 75, 78,
   8D, GC, L-16, etc.) standard. These specifications, which are based on the
   physical case size, terminal placement, type and polarity. In Europe, the ETN
   (European Type Numbering) standard has replaced the older EN, IKC, Italian CEI,
   and German DIN standards. In Asia, the Japanese JIS standard is commonly
   used. The OEM battery number is a good starting place to determine the
   replacement battery. Within a size, the CCA and RC ratings, warranty and battery
   type will vary within models of the same brand or from brand to brand. Batteries
   are generally sold by model or series, so the size numbers will vary for the same
   price. For the same price, potentially a physically larger battery with more CCA or
   RC (or AH) can be purchased than the battery being replaced. For example, a
   34/78 group might replace a smaller 26/70 group and give an additional 30
   minutes of RC. If you buy a physically larger battery, be sure that the replacement
   battery will fit, the cables will connect to the correct terminals, and that the
   terminals will NOT touch metal surfaces such as the hood when it is closed.

   The battery manufacturers publish application Selection Guides that contain OEM
   cold cranking amperage requirements and group number replacement
   recommendations by make, model and year of car, battery size, and CCA and RC
   (or Amp Hour) specifications. You can also find the BCI size information online at
   http://www.rtpnet.org/~teaa/bcigroup.html or in some of the Selection Guides in
   the Battery Manufacturers and Private Labels List found at
   http://www.batteryfaq.org. Manufacturers might not build or the store might not
   carry all the battery sizes. To reduce inventory costs, dual terminal "universal"
   batteries that will replace several group sizes are becoming more popular and fit
   75% or more of cars on the road today.




7.5. Terminals

   There are six types of common battery terminals: SAE Post, GM Side, "L", Stud,
   combination SAE and Stud, and combination SAE Post and GM Side. For
   automotive applications, the SAE Post is the most popular, followed by GM Side,
   then the combination "dual" SAE Post and GM Side. "L" terminal is used on some
                                           67
   European cars, motorcycles, lawn and garden equipment, snowmobiles, and other
   light duty vehicles. Stud terminals are used on heavy duty and deep cycle
   batteries. The POSITIVE (+) SAE terminal post is slightly larger, 1/16 inch (1.6
   mm), than the NEGATIVE (-) post. Terminal types, locations and polarity will vary.
   There are adapters available that will you allow to connect cables with "GM" style
   side terminals to batteries with top post terminals or visa versa.




                                        [Source: BCI]



   Battery manufacturers or distributors will often "private label" their batteries for car
   manufacturers, large chain stores or export. An alphabetical list of most of the
   largest battery manufacturers/distributors, their Web addresses, telephone
   numbers and some of their brand names, trademarks and private labels can found
   in the Battery Manufacturers & Private Labels List at http://www.batteryfaq.org/.
   Ownership, branding, Web addresses and telephone numbers will sometimes
   change.




7.6. Freshness
                                              68
Lead-acid batteries are perishable and sulfate in storage due to their natural self
discharge. Please see Section 16 for more information on sulfation.

Determining the "freshness" of a battery is sometimes difficult. Unless it has been
periodically recharged or "dry charged", NEVER buy a wet Standard (Sb/Sb) or
Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery that is MORE than three months old or a wet
Maintenance Free (Ca/Ca) battery that is MORE than six months old. Dry charged
batteries are shipped without electrolyte, but usually have "sell by" dates of one to
three years. Depending on the temperature, AGM and Gel Cell batteries that can
be stored six to 18 months before the State-of-Charge drops below 80%. Please
see Section 16. for more information on sulfation. Dealers will place their older
batteries in storage racks so they will sell first and they do not have to maintain
them. The fresher batteries can be found in the rear of the battery rack or in a
storage room. For a wet battery, the date of formation is often stamped on the
case or printed on a sticker. If at all possible, have a new battery tested, and
recharged if necessary, before the battery leaves the store. This can save a lot of
time and frustration if the new battery is sulfated or has a manufacturing defect.

Some of the manufacturer's formation date coding techniques are as follows:

7.6.1. Delphi (ACDelco) and some Sears DieHard

   Dates are stamped on the cover near one post. The first number is the
   year. The second character is the month A-M, skipping I. The last two
   characters indicate geographic areas. For example, 0BN3=2000 February.




                           [Source: Interstate Batteries]



7.6.2. Douglas

   Douglas uses the letters of their name to indicate the year of manufacture
   and the digits 1-12 for the month, D=1994 O=1995 U=1996 G=1997
   L=1998 A=1999 S=2000. For example, S02=2000 Feb.

7.6.3. East Penn, Exide (Champion), Johnson Controls Inc., Interstate, Mopar (Chrysler)
   and some Sears DieHard)



                                         69
   Usually on a sticker or hot-stamped on the side of the case. A=January,
   B=February, and the letter I is skipped. The number next to the letter is the
   year of shipment. For example, B0=Feb 2000.




                           [Source: Interstate Batteries]



7.6.4. Exide (some Sears non-Gold DieHards)

   The fourth or fifth character is the month. The following numeric character is
   the year. A-M skipping I. For example, RO8B0B=February 2000.




                           [Source: Interstate Batteries]



7.6.5. Optima

   The first character is the year. The following three numeric characters are
   the days of the year. For example, 3123=3 May 2003.

7.6.6. Trojan

   The date code on the negative post is stamped as the battery comes off of
   the finishing line, ready to ship out or go into stock. The code that is
   stamped is usually one month ahead. Therefore, a battery that comes out in
   March will carry an April date code. The code on the positive post is the
   manufacturing date that indicates when the battery was physically built but
   before the addition of any electrolyte. The letter is the month (A=Jan,
   B=Feb, C=March, etc.) and the number is the actual date. So "K26" means
   that the battery was ready for electrolyte filling and the first forming charge

                                         70
      was on November 26th. Since the negative post shows A2 (January 2002),
      the manufacturing year has to be 2001.

   7.6.7. Concorde

      The activation date is on an orange sticker the shipping carton or email
      Concorde Customer Service with the serial number of the battery.

   7.6.8. Rolls and Surrette

      The four digit date code represents the day of the week (first digit), week of
      the year (middle two digits) and the year (last digit). For example, April 4,
      2003 would have 4143 as a date code. The date code is stamped into the
      front edge of the cover of the battery.

   If you cannot determine the date code, ask the dealer or contact the manufacturer.
   Because of permanent sulfation due to self discharge, fresher is definitely better
   and does matter.




7.7. Warranty

   Battery warranties are not necessarily indicative of the quality or service life.
   Some dealers will prorate warranties based on the list price of the bad battery, so
   if a battery failed half way or more through its warranty period, buying a new
   battery outright might cost you less than paying the difference under a pro rated
   warranty. The exception to this are the free replacement warranties. They
   represent the risk that the manufacturer is willing to assume. A longer free
   replacement warranty period is generally better depending on the cost of the
   battery.




7.8. Buying Tips

   The following are some tips for consumers for buying car, motorcycle, truck,
   marine and recreational vehicle starting and deep cycle batteries. Before you buy
   a replacement battery, you should fully charge your old battery, remove the
   surface charge and test it. You could have a faulty charging system, loose
   alternator belt or corroded terminals.

   7.8.1. Size matters!

      Purchasing a battery has become much easier because most of the battery
      and vehicle manufacturers have adopted the BCI Group Number, European
      Type Number (ETN) or JIS as a standard for the battery's voltage, physical
                                            71
   size, and terminal type and location. Web based Battery Selectors
   published by battery manufacturers or distributors can make the task even
   easier. They contain the vehicle's minimum cold cranking amps (CCA)
   requirement and battery size replacement recommendations by make,
   model and year of manufacturer.

7.8.2. Pick the battery type that matches your charging system.

   For starting an engine, using a car or starting battery is normally a better
   choice than a deep cycle battery because it is specifically designed for
   shallow (1%-3%) discharges. The battery type MUST match the vehicle's
   charging system or the new battery or charging system could be damaged.
   The easiest way to accomplish this is to replace your battery with the same
   or compatible type of battery that was originally installed by the vehicle's
   manufacturer. The exception to this is in hot climates, using a non-sealed
   wet car battery (with filler caps) is highly encouraged because lost water
   can be easily replaced. For batteries with side terminals commonly found in
   General Motors vehicles, check the terminal bolt length and do not over-
   tighten because you might crack the battery case and cause a leak.

   For a deep cycle application, using a deep cycle battery is much better
   alternative than using a starting battery because the deep cycle battery will
   have a much longer service life when deeply discharged and the plates are
   thicker.

7.8.3. For car batteries, select the battery with CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) that will meet
   or exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.

   Do not substitute CA (Cranking Performance Amps), MCA (Marine
   Cranking Amps), or HCA (Hot Cranking Amps) for CCA. In hot climates,
   buying batteries with double or triple the cranking amps that exceeds the
   starting requirement is a waste of money, unless starting batteries used in
   extremely cold climates due to increased power required to crank a
   sluggish engine and the inefficiency of a cold battery. James W. Douglas'
   recommendation in his February 2000 article, Battery Selection--A
   Consumers Guide, in The Battery Man magazine, is:

      "The sleek, aerodynamic designs have low cooling airflow through
      the engine compartment and that small in stature battery with high
      cold crank [amps] will have many very thin lead plates just to get the
      necessary surface area to make that big cold crank number. It will
      have the lower volume of electrolyte to provide the cooling necessary
      for long life and the greater capacity to run the [electrical] systems on
      the car. All of those thin plates will corrode away and fail long before
      expected putting the high performance battery's life below that of the
      lower CCA rated battery with the lower cost. Your best rule-of-thumb
      is, if it meets the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers)
      recommendation, buy it. Look for the highest reserve capacity [RC]
      battery at the correct CCA (Cold Cranking Amps)."

                                         72
   7.8.4. More Reserve Capacity (RC) or Amp Hours (AH) is a good thing.

      Greater RC or AH is better because of the effects of increased parasitic
      (ignition key off) loads and normal battery self discharge while the vehicle is
      not being used or in storage and the demands of stop-and-go driving. Amp
      Hour (AH) ratings are normally used to describe the capacity of deep cycle
      and European car (starting) batteries. When comparing AH specifications,
      use the same discharge rates, expressed in hours. The most common is
      the 20 hour rate which is expressed as "C/20". A heavier battery has more
      lead and is normally better choice.

      Batteries are generally sold by model or series, so the battery sizes can
      vary for the same price. This means that for the same price, potentially a
      larger battery with more RC or AH than be purchased than the battery being
      replaced. If a physically larger battery is bought, be sure that the
      replacement battery will fit, the cables will connect to the correct terminals,
      and that the terminals will NOT touch metal surfaces such as a closed hood
      (or bonnet).

   7.8.5. Batteries are perishable, so buy the FRESHEST available.

      Unless a battery has been periodically recharged, never buy a non-sealed
      wet Standard (Sb/Sb) or Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery that is more
      than three months old, a sealed wet Maintenance Free (Ca/Ca) battery that
      is more than six months old, or sealed AGM or Gel Cell battery that is over
      12 months old, because it has started to sulfate. "Dry charged" batteries are
      shipped without electrolyte and usually have "sell by" dates of one to three
      years. Battery dealers will often place their fresher batteries in the rear of
      the battery rack or in a storage room. The date of manufacture is often
      stamped on the case or printed on a sticker. If possible, have a new battery
      tested to insure it meets or exceeds it's advertised specifications, and
      recharged if necessary, before it leaves the store.

   7.8.6. Look for longer free replacement warranties.

      Pro rated battery replacement warranties are not necessarily indicative of
      the quality or cost over the life of the battery. The exception is the free
      replacement warranty, which represents the risk that the dealer, distributor,
      or manufacturer is willing to assume.




7.9. How Do I Size The Components For Backup AC Power?

   For AC backup power, here are the basic steps for sizing the deep cycle battery
   bank, inverter, AC battery bank charger and generator based on your AC power
   requirements. Deep Cycle battery bank capacity sizing is based on power
   requirements, inverter efficiency, wiring power loss, discharge rate (or Peukert
                                            73
Effect), electrolyte temperature, and desired average Depth-of-Discharge. DC to
AC Power Inverters has a simple and easy to use battery capacity calculator at
http://www.dcacpowerinverters.com/faq.htm#22.

7.9.1. Calculate the cumulative daily AC load in amps hours (AH) at 120 VAC. This will
   require determining how much current an appliance uses and for how long times the
   "duty cycle" (the amount of time the appliance is on during that time period). The label
   of the electrical appliance will have the amount of power and the voltage that the
   appliance uses. Power is expressed either in watts or in amps. If wattage is given,
   divide it by the voltage to convert to the number of amps.



   For example:

   a. Two 60 watt lights that you use continuously for four hours, the calculation would
       be 60 watts/120 volts = .5 amps x 4 hours x 2 lights = 4 Amp Hours @ 120 VAC.

   b. A 200 watt refrigerator that is on for 24 hours with a 25% duty cycle, the calculation
       would be 200 watts/120 volts = 1.67 amps x 24 hours x 25% duty cycle = 10 Amp
       Hours @ 120 VAC.

   c. A five amp power drill that you use 15 seconds at a time for 25 times, the
       calculation would be 5 amps x 15 seconds/60 seconds/60 minutes x 25 times =
       .52 Amp Hours @ 120 VAC.

   c. A 10 amp sump pump that is on 24 hours and has a 50% duty cycle, the calculation
       would be 10 amps x 24 hours x 50% duty cycle = 120 Amp Hours @ 120 VAC.

   The total daily usage of these four appliances would be 4 AH + 10 AH + .5
   AH + 120 AH = 134.5 Amp Hours @ 120 VAC per day.

7.9.2. Depending on the efficiency of the inverter and the power loss in the wiring, it takes
   between 12 and 14 amps of 12 VDC power to produce one amp of 120 VAC
   power or 24 to 28 amps to produce one amp of 240 VAC. Using the above example
   in the worst case, the usage would be 14 x 134.5 AH = 1883.3 Amp Hours per day @
   12 VDC.

7.9.3. Depending on the average load on the battery bank, the total daily usage may
   have to be adjusted due to the Peukert Effect. Deep cycle batteries are normally rated
   by the fully charged capacity divided by the number of hours of discharge it take to
   drop to 10.5 VDC. A very common rate is over a 20 hour period and is is expressed
   as "C/20". In the example above, 1883.3 AH are being consumed in a 24 hour period
   which has a slightly lower rate that over a twenty hour period, so we could probably
   decrease the daily usage by 10% or 1883.3 AH x .9 = 1695 AH per day. If all of this
   power were consumed over six hour period, you would probably need to increase the
   daily usage by approximately 25%.



                                         74
7.9.4. Depending on the temperature of the battery electrolyte, the usage might also have
   to adjusted. The example above assumes 80 degrees F. If your battery bank was
   operating at 60 degrees F then you would have to increase the usage by 10% and at
   32 degrees F, by 20%. Let's assume the batteries are in a heated area at 70 degrees,
   so you would increase the daily usage by 5% or 1695 AH x 105% = 1780 AH per day.

7.9.5. Depending how many discharge/charge cycles you want your battery bank to last,
   you will need to increase the usage. Let's assume that you are fully recharging the
   battery bank daily and using "low end" inexpensive deep cycle batteries that are fully
   discharged or 100% average Depth-of-Discharge (DoD) will last 50 cycles, at 80%
   average DoD (or 20% State-of-Charge) will last 200 cycles and at 50% average DoD
   will last 500 cycles. In this example, for 100% average DoD, you would require a
   battery bank with a capacity of 1780 AH to provide for 1780 AH of daily usage, at 80%
   DoD (1780 AH/80% = 2225 AH), and at 50% DoD (1780 AH/50% = 3560 AH).
   However, you would have to replace the smaller, less expensive battery bank every
   50 cycles.

   You can determine the optimum battery bank size by multiplying the
   number of cycles time the total amp hour capacity divided into the cost. For
   a simple example, let's assume that a 225 Amp Hour (C/20) 12-volt deep
   cycle battery costs $85. At 100% DoD, 1750 AH/225 AH per battery = 8
   batteries x $85 per battery = $680 total cost and 50 cycles x 1780 AH =
   89,000 total AH. So $680/89,000 = .764 cents per amp hour. At 80% DoD,
   the calculation would be 2225 AH/225 AH per battery = 10 batteries x $85
   per battery = $850 total cost and 200 cycles x 2225 AH = 445,000 total AH.
   So $850/445,000 = .191 cents per amp hour. At 50% DoD, the computation
   would be 3560 AH/225 AH per battery = 16 batteries x $85 per battery =
   $1360 total cost and 500 cycles x 3560 AH = 1,780,000 total AH. So
   $1360/1,780,000 = .076 cents per amp hour. In this example, a larger, more
   expensive battery bank with a lower average 50% DoD will cost
   approximately one tenth the cost of fully discharging the battery bank
   (100% DoD) every cycle. This example does not take into consideration the
   additional maintenance, cabling cost, cost of money, etc. that would be
   used in a Total Cost of Ownership determination.

7.9.6. Once you have determined your daily capacity, then you need to determine how
   many hours or days you want to run using your battery bank before you recharge your
   batteries and decrease or increase the size of the battery bank accordingly. Please
   see Section 9 for more information on charging.

7.9.7. To size the inverter (or inverter portion of an inverter charger using the example
   above, calculate the worst case load (with all the appliance on at once) which is (60
   watts x 2 lights) +200 watts + (5 amps x 120 volts) + (10 amps x 120 volts) = 2120
   watts @ 120 VAC. Be sure to consider the start surge power requirement of up to five
   time the run current with large inductive starting loads, such as motors and
   transformers. Some "square wave" or "modified" sine wave inverters are not capable
   of providing the power to run some motors, compressors or other electronic or
   electrical appliances. In these cases, a "true" sine wave inverter must be used. For
   more information on power inverters, please see Don Rows' Frequently Asked
   Questions about Power Inverters.
                                           75
7.9.8. To size the battery charger (or charger portion of an inverter charger), you will
   need the output to be at least 12% of the battery capacity used to fully recharge the
   batteries within 24 hours. Using the example above, you would need at least a 214
   amp charger to replace 1780 AH in 24 hours.

7.9.9. To size an AC generator, using the example above without recharging the battery
   bank, the worst case load (with all the appliance on at the same time) is (60 watts x 2
   lights) + 200 watts + (5 amps x 120 volts) + (10 amps x 120 volts) = 2120 watts @
   120 VAC. You would also need to consider the surge power requirement up to five
   times the run load. If you are using motors, take into consideration their peak starting
   current. If the batteries need to recharged the batteries in addition to using the
   appliances, add 214 amps/12 DC amps per AC amp = 17.8 amps @ 120 VAC x 120
   volts = 2140 watts @ 120 VAC to power the battery charger. So, to power both the
   load and recharge the batteries, a generator with a capacity of 8000 to 12000 watts @
   120 VAC in required depending on the surge of the pump motor and battery charger.

As can be seen from this example, using just battery backup for one day for AC
power with a heavy load can become very expensive, so that is why most "grid" or
commercial AC power backup systems is an AC generator, combination of
batteries and AC generator, or combination of battery and solar power with AC
generator backup.




                                         76
8. HOW DO I INSTALL NEW BATTERIES?

                             Last Updated on December 25, 2005


   INDEX:

      8.1. Installing Car and Marine Batteries

      8.2. Installing Deep Cycle Batteries

While working with car or deep cycle lead-acid batteries, please wear glasses to protect
your eyes in the unlike event of an explosion. Do NOT install wet lead-acid batteries in
confined area where there is ANY possibility that salt water can mix with the battery's
electrolyte, like the bilge of a boat, because DEADLY chlorine gas is produced.

8.1. Installing Car and Marine Batteries

In a 2003 marketing study in the U.S., consumers (or non-professional battery installers)
installed almost 60% of the approximately 82 million replacement car batteries that were made
in 1999. Car batteries were the fourth most popular item purchased among auto parts. The
same study indicated that Wal-Mart (EverStart) has surpassed Sears (DieHard) as the number
one car battery seller in the United States with Auto Zone (DuraLast) as the most popular of the
U.S. auto parts stores for car batteries.

Below are some questions you need to ask yourself because the installation of a replacement
battery and disposal of the old one is usually included in the purchase price at some auto parts
and battery stores:

             How much money or time do I save if I install it myself?

             Where is the battery located? Some car manufacturers locate the
              OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) battery under the rear seat,
              trunk or in the fender behind an access door in the wheel well.

             A car battery weights between 30 and 60 pounds (13.6 and 27.3 Kg)
              and deep cycle battery can weigh several hundred pounds (or kilos),
              so am I physically capable of install it?

             What do I do with the old battery if not exchanged for the new one?
              This is especially important if the batteries are not lead-acid, for
              example, Ni-Cad. The proper disposal of a non lead-acid battery
              could cost more that a new battery.

             How do I save the radio station presets, emissions computer
              settings, or security codes before disconnecting the old starting
              battery?

             Do I want to risk an injury or holes in my clothes?
                                                 77
If you decide to proceed, following is a list of easy steps to replace your battery and assumes
that there the electrical and charging systems are in good condition:

   8.1.1. In a well ventilated area, fully charge and test the new battery. Please see Section 9
      for charging and Section 4 for testing the battery. If the battery is dry charged (shipped
      with out electrolyte), add the electrolyte but do not overfill, let stand for approximately one
      hour, and then slowly charge the battery at no more than 1% of the CCA or 10% of the
      amp hour capacity.

   8.1.2. If a non-sealed wet battery, check the electrolyte levels after the battery has reached
      room temperature and "top off" to the proper level with distilled, deionized or
      demineralized water as required, but do not over fill. The plates need to be covered
      with electrolyte at all times to prevent an internal battery explosion or sulfation.
      Please see Section 3.2 for electrolyte fill level diagram.

   8.1.3. Thoroughly wash and clean the old battery, battery terminals and tray (case or box)
      with warm water to minimize problems from acid or corrosion. Please see Section 3.4 for
      more information on corrosion.

   8.1.4. Mark all of the battery cables so you will know how to reconnect to proper battery
      post or terminal and check the cables and cable terminals closely for damage. A loose
      terminal connection, corrosion, bad crimp (in especially a battery cable terminals with
      multiple wires into it), or cut cable will cause high resistance and a large voltage drop
      when high current is running though it. If the cables are reversed, you can do
      extensive damage to your electrical system.

   8.1.5. To prevent voltage spikes from damaging electronic equipment such as the emissions
      computer and to save the radio station presets, emissions computer and security code
      settings, temporarily connect a second 12-volt battery in parallel to the electrical system
      before disconnecting the first battery. If active when the key is off, a cigarette lighter plug
      can be used to easily connect a 12-volt parallel battery. Cigarette lighter adapters are
      available at electronics stores and "Computer Memory Saver" with a 9-volt battery are
      available at some auto parts stores, like JC Whitney for about $10.

   8.1.6. Turn off all the ignition switch, electrical switches and breakers and electronic and
      electrical accessories and appliances. Without using a hammer on the battery cable
      terminals or posts, remove the NEGATIVE (-) cable first because this will minimize the
      possibility of shorting the battery when you remove the other cables. Secure the negative
      cable so that it cannot "spring" loose and make electrical contact. Next remove the
      POSITIVE (+) cable. Please remember that the battery terminal connector on the end of
      the POSITIVE (+) battery cable maybe "hot" (or have voltage on it from a parallel
      battery), so put it in a small plastic bag or cloth around it so that it will not touch the metal
      frame or engine components.

   8.1.7. Carefully lift the old battery out and dispose of it by exchanging it when you buy your
      new replacement battery or by taking it to a recycling center. For additional information
      on recycling batteries, go to http://www.batterycouncil.org/recycling.html. Please
      remember that batteries contain large amounts of harmful lead, acid and other chemicals,
      so take great care with safety and please dispose of your old battery properly to protect
      our fragile environment.
                                                   78
   8.1.8. After removing the old battery, insure that the battery tray or box, cable terminals, and
      connectors are clean. Auto parts or battery stores sell an inexpensive brass wire brush
      that will clean the inside of post terminal clamps and the post terminals. If the terminals,
      cables or hold-down brackets are corroded, replace them. A broken hold down bracket
      will cause excessive battery vibration and that will cause a premature battery failure.
      Replace any battery cables that are corroding, swelling or other damage with equal or
      larger diameter cable. Larger cable is better because there is less voltage drop. Please
      see Exide's Voltage Drop in Cables for additional information.

   8.1.9. Check the positive and negative terminal markings on the replacement battery and
      position it so that the NEGATIVE (-) cable will connect to the NEGATIVE (-) terminal.
      Reversing the polarity of the electrical system can severely damage or DESTROY
      it. It can even cause the battery to explode.

   8.1.10. After replacing and tightening the hold-down bracket, remove any plastic caps or
      covers on the terminals of the replacement battery, and reconnect the cables in reverse
      order, that is, attach the POSITIVE (+) cable first and the NEGATIVE (-) cable last. For
      General Motors-type side terminals, check the length of the bolt and do not tighten more
      than 5 to 10 foot pounds, or you could crack the battery case. For top terminals, do not
      tighten more than 10 to 15 foot pounds. Connections need to be periodically checked for
      corrosion (or oxidation) and retightened, including the grounding cables between the
      vehicle's frame and engine block.

   8.1.11. To prevent corrosion, coat the terminals and exposed metal parts. Please see
      Section 3.4 for more information on corrosion.

   8.1.12. Remove the parallel battery and rest all the switches and breakers, if required.

   8.1.13. Test the new battery by starting your engine or with an electrical load.

Some vehicles are have battery electrolyte level sensors. For Toyota and Nissan, use the
sensor bypass information at
http://www.exide.com/products/trans/na/battery_care/toyota_nissan.pdf and for Mazda use
http://www.exide.com/products/trans/na/battery_care/toyota_nissan.pdf.




8.2. Installing Deep Cycle Batteries

Most of the steps above for installing car batteries apply to installing deep cycle batteries with
these notable exceptions. Wire sizing and cable lengths are very important because wiring that
is not large enough or different lengths will cause excessive voltage loss and under charged
batteries or, in some cases, a fire. Wiring size (and fusing) should be based on the maximum
possible current carried through the wire. A good source of information for measuring maximum
cable and connector voltage drops can be found at Exide's Caring For Your Battery. Batteries
connected in parallel should have the same cable lengths and size from the charging or
discharging source. Use of buss bars are highly recommended for larger deep cycle battery
bank installations. A good source of information of wire sizing can be found at

                                                79
http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm or http://www.solarexpert.com/Photowiring.html.
Using properly sized fuses or circuit breakers is also very important because they can provide
protection for the wiring from over heating and for the electrical appliances. A good source of
basic information on connectors, fuses and wire can be found on howstuffworks or Perry
Babin's Basic Car Audio Electronics Web site at http://www.bcae1.com/fuses.htm and
http://www.bcae1.com/wire.htm. Using rotary A/B battery selector switches are not
recommended because the heavy inrush of current during the first few milliseconds that a switch
is closed can burn the contacts or arc. Series, parallel, and series-parallel battery connection
wiring diagrams can be found in Section 7.3.2. Connections will need to be periodically
retightened. A good source of information on measuring for maximum voltage drops can be
found at Exide's Caring For Your Battery.

Insure there is adequate ventilation for the batteries so the gas can dissipate while recharging
and the batteries can stay cooler. In other words, do NOT use sealed battery boxes, even with
sealed Gel Cell or AGM VRLA batteries. Some batteries will require up to 30 "preconditioning"
cycles before they will produce their rated capacity. This is because the acid needs to fully
penetrate the pores of the newly formed plates. When mixing sulfuric acid and water to make
electrolyte for dry charged batteries, always add the acid to the water.




                                                80
9. HOW DO I CHARGE (OR EQUALIZE) MY BATTERY?

                          Last Updated on February 26, 2005


  INDEX:

    9.1. What Are the Four Stages of Battery Charging?

       Charging Algorithms

    9.2. Additional Words of Caution

    9.3. Battery Charger Types

       9.3.1. Vehicle Charging System

       9.3.2. Manual Constant Current Charger

           Current Charging Table

       9.3.3. Manual Constant Voltage Charging

           Constant Voltage Charging Table

           Constant Voltage Charging Temperature Compensation Table

       9.3.4. Manual Tamper Current Charger

       9.3.5. Automatic Constant Voltage or Taper Charger

       9.3.6. "Smart" Microprocessor-Controlled Charger

       9.3.7. Float Charger and Battery Maintainer

       9.3.8. Trickle Charger

       9.3.9. High Rate Fast, Boost or Starting Assist Charger

       9.3.10. DC Generators

       9.3.11. Inverter/Charger

    9.4. How Long Does It Take to Recharge a Good Battery?

    9.5. How Do I Know When My Battery Is Fully Charged?

    9.6. How Do I Know If My Battery Is Overcharged?
                                             81
   9.7. Battery Charger Buying Tips

   9.8. Is Opportunity Charging Worthwhile?

   9.9. Is Gassing Good For a Wet Battery?

   9.10. What is the Difference Between a Converter and a Charger?

   9.11. What Are Charge Controllers or Voltage Regulators?

   9.12. How Long Will a Deep Cycle Battery Last On a Single Charge?

   9.13. How Can I Reduce Recharging Time?

   9.14. How Can I Adjust the Specific Gravity?

   9.15. How Do I Recharge Small SLA Batteries?

   9.16. How Do I Recharge Unevenly Discharged or Non-Identical Batteries at the
   Same Time?

9.1. What Are the Four Stages of Battery Charging?

   Three stages--bulk, absorption and float are normally used for wet car and motive
   deep cycle batteries with an optional equalizing stage. Three stages--bulk,
   absorption and float are normally used for VRLA (gel cell and AGM) car and
   motive deep cycle batteries. Three stages--bulk, float and equalization are
   normally used for wet stationary deep cycle batteries and two stage--bulk and float
   are normally used for VRLA stationary deep cycle batteries with an optional
   equalization stage is some cases.

   9.1.1. The BULK stage is where the charger current is constant and the battery voltage
      increases, which is normally during the first 80% of the recharge. Give the battery
      whatever current it will accept as long as it does not exceed 25% of the 20 hour
      (expressed "C/20") ampere hour (AH), 10% of the RC rating, and wet batteries do
      exceed 125° F (51.5° C) and VRLA batteries do not exceed 100° F (37.8° C).

   9.1.2. The ABSORPTION stage is where the charger voltage, depending on the battery
      type, is constant between 14.1 VDC and 14.8 VDC at 80° F (26.7° C) and the current
      decreases until the battery is fully charged, which is typically the last 20% of the
      recharge. For wet batteries, gassing (making a bubbling sound) usually starts at 80%
      to 90% of a full charge. A full charge normally occurs when the charging current drops
      off to 2% (C/50) or less of the AH capacity of the battery and each cell of a wet battery
      is moderately gassing equally. For example, end current for a 50 AH (C/20) battery is
      approximately 1.0 amp (1000 milliamps) or less. If the battery will not "hold" a charge,
      the current does not drop after the estimated recharge time, and a wet battery is hot
      (above 125° F (51.5° C)), then the battery may have some permanent sulfation.
      Please refer to Section 16 for more information about sulfation and how to remove it.


                                            82
   Two stage chargers normally have the bulk and absorption stages and must be turn
   off when the battery is fully charged to prevent overcharging.

9.1.3. The optional FLOAT stage is where the charge voltage, depending on the battery
   type, is reduced to between 13.0 VDC and 13.8 VDC at 80° F (26.7° C), held
   constant. It can be used indefinitely to maintain a fully charged battery to overcome
   the natural self-discharge of the battery. The current is reduced to approximately 1%
   (C/100) or less. Three stage chargers usually have the bulk, absorption and float
   stages. Please refer to Section 13 for more information about storing batteries and
   float charging. Three stage chargers usually have the bulk, absorption and float
   stages.

9.1.4. The optional EQUALIZING stage is a controlled 5% to 10% absorption overcharge
   to equalize and balance the voltage and specific gravity in each cell. Equalizing
   reverses the build-up of the chemical effects like electrolyte stratification where acid
   concentration is greater in the bottom of the battery. It also helps remove sulfate
   crystals that might have built up on the surface or in the pours of the plates. The
   recommended frequency varies by motive deep cycle battery manufacturers from
   once a month to once a year. For stationary deep cycle batteries, some short daily (30
   minutes or less) equalizations have proven to be beneficial and not require the longer
   equalization cycles. They are not as hard on a wet battery because they do not
   produce as much gas or heat the battery. You should equalize wet batteries when one
   or more of the following occur:

      Where the temperature compensated Specific Gravity reading
       difference between cells is .030 (or 30 "points") or greater

      Where the temperature compensated Specific Gravity reading
       difference of a cell is .010 (or 10 "points") or more below the reading
       for a fully charged cell when the battery is fully charged

      When one cell requires more water than all the other cells

      When one cell does not require as much water as all of the other
       cells

      When the SoC measured by a hydrometer does not materially agree
       with the SoC measured by an accurate (.5% or better) digital
       voltmeter

   Some AGM VRLA batteries, like Concorde, can be equalized under certain
   conditions, but carefully follow the battery manufacturer's recommended
   procedures or you will damage the battery.

   To equalize, check that the electrolyte is covering the plates in each cell
   and fully recharge the battery. Then increase the charging voltage to the
   battery manufacturer's recommendation, or if not available, add 5% to 10%
   to the absorption charging voltage. Heavy gassing should start occurring
   in each cell. Do not allow the wet battery to get above 125° F (51.5° C)
   or a VRLA battery above 100° F (37.8° C). Take Specific Gravity readings
                                         83
      in each cell once per hour. Stop equalizing when the Specific Gravity values
      no longer rise during the gassing phase and when every cell is gassing
      evenly. Insure that the plates are covered with electrolyte at all times, and
      add distilled, deionized or demineralized water if required, but do not
      overfill. Only equalize if the battery manufacturer recommends it. Four
      stage chargers typically have the bulk, absorption, float and equalization
      stages.

An excellent and easy to understand tutorial on battery charging basics can be found at
http://batterytender.com/battery_basics.php. The following graphs are examples of
charging algorithms used by Deltran [Battery Tender] for power sport, car and deep cycle
batteries:

                         Wet Standard (Sb/Sb)




                 Wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca)




                                           84
Wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)




              85
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) VRLA




        Gel Cell VRLA




             86
                                     [Source: Deltran]

It is extremely important to use the battery manufacturer's recommended
temperature compensated charging voltages and procedures whenever possible
for optimum battery capacity, maintenance and service life. A good rule-of-thumb is
not to use a charger (or charging setting) for batteries that is greater than 25% of the AH
(C/20) capacity or 10% of the RC rating of the battery or batteries being charged. For
example, if the battery has RC of 100 minutes, do not use charger that will exceed 10
amps. The exception is when you are charging a large AGM deep cycle battery bank.
Due of the acceptance rate of the AGM batteries a larger alternator to 33% of the
capacity of the battery bank being charged can be used. Using a smaller alternator,
unless temperature protected, might be damaged.




9.2. Additional Words of Caution and Charging Tips:

   9.2.1. Help prevent blindness and always wear glasses when working around a car
      or deep cycle battery in the unlikely event that it might explode.

   9.2.2. Use the battery manufacturer's charging recommendations and temperature
      compensated voltages whenever possible for optimum capacity, maintenance and
      service life. MATCH the charger (or charger's setting) for the battery type you are
      recharging (or maintaining) and insure the charging voltages are compatible. Except

                                             87
   for VRLA Gel Cells, a small overcharge is slightly better than an undercharge.
   Overcharging Gel Cell batteries can cause voids between the plates and loss of
   capacity will result.

9.2.3. Lead-acid batteries should always be recharged within 24 hours after they have
   been used and the sooner the better. Before recharging, check the electrolyte and
   insure that it is not frozen and that it covers the plates at all times to prevent sulfation
   and to reduce the possibility of an internal explosion. Do not recharge frozen batteries
   because you will damage them. Allow them to thaw out first.

9.2.4. After recharging, recheck the electrolyte levels after the battery has cooled, top off
   with distilled, deionized or demineralized water as required, but do not overfill.
   (Please refer to Section 3.1. for more information about filling batteries.)

9.2.5. Reinstall the vent caps on wet (flooded) batteries before recharging and recharge
   ONLY in well-ventilated areas because explosive are and toxic stibine or arsine
   gasses can be produced during the absorption stage. Insure the vent caps are not
   clogged. Do NOT expose lead-acid batteries to a lit cigarette, sparks or flames
   because they produce flammable gasses and could explode.

9.2.6. Follow the charger manufacturers' procedures for connecting and disconnecting
   cables. Connect the positive (+) lead of the charger to the positive (+) terminal post of
   the battery to be charged and the negative (-) lead of the charger to the negative (-)
   terminal post. Operate in a manner to minimize the possibility of an explosion or
   incorrectly charge the battery. You should always turn the charger OFF or unplug it
   before connecting or disconnecting cables to a battery. Do not wiggle the cable
   clamps while the battery is recharging, because a spark might cause an explosion.
   Good ventilation or a fan is recommended to disperse the gas created by the
   recharging process for wet batteries. As a safety feature, some chargers are designed
   not operate unless the battery has a partial charge or if the leads are reversed.

9.2.7. If a wet battery becomes hot, over 125° F (51.5° C), or if it violently gasses or
   spews electrolyte, turn the charger off temporarily or reduce the charging rate. This
   will also prevent "thermal runaway" that can occur with VRLA (AGM or Gel Cell)
   batteries if the battery temperature is over 100°F (37.8° C). If an air cooled alternator
   becomes too hot during the bulk charging phase, stop and let it cool down or use an
   alternator temperature sensing voltage regulator, like a Balmer or a water cooled
   alternator, Bosch for example.

9.2.8. Insure that charging the battery with an external charger will not damage the
   electrical system or appliances with high voltages. If this is even a remote possibility,
   then disconnect the grounded battery cable from the battery before connecting the
   charger.

9.2.9. If you are recharging Gel Cell VRLA batteries, the battery manufacturer's charging
   voltages are very critical. You might need special charging equipment. In most
   cases, standard deep cycle chargers used to recharge wet batteries cannot be used
   to properly recharge Gel Cell or AGM VRLA batteries because of their higher voltages
   or charging profiles. Overcharging Gel Cell and AGM batteries will significantly

                                          88
      shorten battery service life or cause "thermal runaway" if the battery temperature is
      over 100°F (37.8° C).

   9.2.10. If a battery is charged with a manual or defective charger and all the
      electrolyte is "boiled" out, some batteries can cause a FIRE or produce
      DEADLY CO (Carbon Monoxide) or other gasses.

   9.2.11. Routinely tighten cables connections.

   9.2.12. Never disconnect a car battery cable from a vehicle with the engine running,
      because the battery acts like a filter for the electrical system. Unfiltered (pulsating DC)
      electricity sometimes exceeding 40 volts and can damage expensive electronic and
      electrical components such as emissions computer, audio system, charging system,
      alarm system, etc.

   9.2.13. Alternators are not designed to recharge dead (or flat) batteries and the stator can
      be burned or diodes go bad if used in that manner.

   9.2.14. Wet battery gassing usually starts at 80% of a full charge. A full charge normally
      occurs when the charging current drops off below 2% (C/50) of the AH capacity and
      the battery is moderately gassing (bubbling). For example, the end current for a good
      50 AH (C/20) battery is approximately 1.0 amp (1000 milliamps) or less depending on
      the type.

   9.2.15. Do not recharge batteries with cracked or leaking battery cases.

   9.2.16. Recharge battery banks the same way you discharged them. For example, if you
      discharged two or more fully charged and identical batteries connected together such
      that all the batteries discharged the same, i.e., the same State-of-Charge (SoC)
      readings on all of the batteries, you should recharge them connected the same. If you
      discharged two or more fully charged and identical batteries not connected together
      such that the batteries discharged differently, i.e., different State-of-Charge readings
      on each of the batteries or banks, you should recharge them separately. When the
      batteries are connected together in a bank(s), it is a question for keeping the
      discharges and charges balanced; otherwise, you will undercharge or overcharge
      one or more of the batteries or banks. Overtime, undercharging will reduce capacity
      due to the accumulation of sulfation. The total time to recharge the batteries or banks
      together or individually is about the same because you have to replace the amp hours
      consumed.

   9.2.17. Do not recharge batteries directly from a gas or diesel powered generator that
      does not have regulated DC voltage and most do not. A better approach to recharging
      batteries is to power a "smart" battery charger with the generator so the batteries are
      not overcharged or undercharged.




9.3. Battery Charger Types
                                             89
There are basically three battery charger configurations--single bank, multi-bank
and multi-station. A single bank charger is one that is designed to provide a single
voltage to recharge a single battery or bank of batteries. It is by far the most widely
used configuration. A multi-bank charger provides single voltages to multiple
banks of batteries by using an internal isolator. This type of charge can also act as
a single bank charger and commonly used to recharge unbalanced two, three or
four 12-volt batteries in series to power a motor. A multi-station charger is a used
to recharge more than one battery at the same time. It is functionally two or more
single bank chargers in the same case.

Unless the charging system or charger has adjustable voltage settings, there is no
one system that can recharge all battery types. For example, if the absorption
charge voltage is set for a Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) or AGM VRLA battery at 14.4
VDC, the system would undercharge most wet Standard (Sb/Sb) or wet
"Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) and overcharge some Gel Cell starting batteries. This
would reduce the battery's service life. Some chargers are equipped with an
electronic switch that senses battery voltage at some predetermined level before
the charger will operate. For deeply discharged batteries, this gives the
appearance that they can not be recharged. Please see the charger
manufacturer's operator manual for instructions on how to override this "soft start"
feature. A good quality charger used on a cheap battery is better than a bad
quality charger used on a good battery.

9.3.1. Vehicle Charging System

   A vehicle charging system is made up of three components, an alternator
   (or DC generator), voltage regulator and a battery. Usually when a vehicle
   is jump started, it is NOT driven long enough to fully recharge the battery.
   The length of time to fully recharge the battery depends on the amount of
   discharge, the amount of surplus current that is diverted to the battery, how
   long the engine is run, engine speed, and ambient temperature. An
   alternator is sized by the vehicle manufacturer to carry the maximum
   accessory load and to maintain a battery and NOT to recharge a dead
   battery. For example, if 300 amps were consumed for two seconds to start
   a car from a fully charged battery, it will take an 80 amp charging system
   approximately eight seconds to replace the .167 amp hours of power used.
   If 25 amps are available to recharge the battery, it will take 24 seconds and
   10 minutes at one amp. With a dead 120 minute RC (60 amp hour) battery,
   it would take approximately 45 minutes at 80 amps, 2.4 hours at 25 amps,
   or 60 hours at one amp to obtain a 80% State-of-Charge (SoC) and double
   the time to fully charge it.

   More information can be found in Section 5 or Dan Landiss' Car Batteries
   Are Not 12 Volts on http://www.landiss.com/battery.htm about vehicle
   charging systems. Some battery experts believe that some vehicle charging
   systems undercharge starting batteries and that the batteries should be
   periodically recharged with an AC powered battery charger to optimize their
   service life by removing accumulated lead-sulfate or electrolyte
   stratification.

                                          90
   If you have added after-market lights, winches, audio amplifiers, two-way
   radios or other high powered accessories to your vehicle and engage in
   stop-and-go driving, the vehicle's charging system might not produce
   enough current or voltage to keep your battery fully charged. You might
   need to increase the capacity of the charging system. If you are also
   recharging deep cycle battery banks, please see the caution in
   Section 9.2.7. above. Ideally the combined load of all the accessories
   should be less than 75% of the charging system's maximum output, so that
   at least 25% is available to recharge the battery.




            VEHICLE CHARGING VOLTAGE




                                 [Source: Bosch]




9.3.2. Manual Constant Current Charger

   A manual constant current charger chargers the battery at a constant
   current rate and the battery voltage will increase as the State-of-Charge
   rises. If you use an external constant current charger, set it to deliver NO
   more than the lessor of 1% of the CCA, 12% of the RC rating, or 25% of the
   C/20 rated AH Capacity of the wet battery and also carefully monitor the
   current flowing into the battery. C-rate is a measurement of the charge or
                                          91
discharge of battery overtime. It is expressed as the Capacity of the battery
divided by the number of hours to recharge or discharge the battery. For
example, a 48 amp hour battery would have a charging or discharging rate
of 4.8 amps for ten hours. With manual chargers, you need to determine
how many amp hours have to be replaced and determine the amount of
charging time based on the constant current output of your charger. Manual
constant current chargers will overcharge a battery if not turned off
when the battery is fully charged. Some constant current chargers have
a timer that can turn off the charger will help prevent it from overcharging
the battery. These types of chargers are not recommend to recharge a
VRLA battery because the absorption voltages are critical, especially for gel
cell batteries.

For fully discharged wet batteries, the following table lists the
recommended battery charging rates and times using a constant current
charger:



       CONSTANT CURRENT CHARGING
   Reserve Capacity             Slow Charge              Fast Charge
     (RC) Rating              (RECOMMENDED)
  80 Minutes or less             15 Hours @ 3            5 Hours @ 10
 [32 ampere hours or                amps                    amps
        less]
 80 to 125 Minutes [32           21 Hours @ 4           7.5 Hours @ 10
  to 50 ampere hours]               amps                     amps
  125 to 170 Minutes             22 Hours @ 5           10 Hours @ 10
   [50 to 68 ampere                 amps                    amps
         hours]
  170 to 250 Minutes             23 Hours @ 6           7.5 Hours @ 20
  [68 to 100 ampere                 amps                     amps
        hours]
  Above 250 Minutes             24 Hours @ 10            6 Hours @ 40
   [over 100 ampere                 amps                    amps
         hours]


                               [Source: BCI]




                                     92
9.3.3. Manual Constant Voltage Charger

      A manual two stage (bulk and absorption) constant voltage charger applies
      a regulated voltage to the battery at a constant level during the absorption
      stage. The current drops to below 2% (C/50) of the battery's capacity when
      it approaches 100% State-of-Charge. The recommended charging method
      using a constant voltage charger is to slowly recharge the battery using a
      charger sized to recharge the battery over a ten-hour period (C/10). To
      prevent damage to a fully discharged battery, the current should be less
      than 1% of the CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) rating during the first 30 minutes
      of charge. The charger (or DC power supply) should be adjusted to the
      battery manufacturer's absorption, float or equalizing voltage
      recommendations. Typical battery charging voltage ranges are in the table
      below with the electrolyte temperature compensated to 80° F (26.7° C).
      Manual constant voltage charger (or DC power supply) will overcharge
      and damage a battery if not turned off when the battery is fully
      charged.



COMMON BATTERY CHARGING VOLTAGE RANGES
      @ 80 Degrees F (26.7 Degrees C)

               Battery Type          Charging      Float      Equalizing
               Ca=Calcium            Voltage      Voltage      Voltage
               Sb=Antimony
              Wet Standard             14.5-        13.0-      15.4-16.0
              (Sb/Sb) Deep             14.8         13.2
                  Cycle
                Wet Low                14.4-        13.1-      15.1-16.4
               Maintenance             14.6         13.2
                 (Sb/Ca)
                  Wet                    14.8       13.1-      15.5-16.3
              "Maintenance                          13.4
              Free" (Ca/Ca)
                AGM VRLA               13.8-        13.2-        Not
                                       15.0         13.8      Applicable
                                                               in most
                                                                cases
              Gel Cell VRLA            14.1-        13.2-        Not
                                       14.4         13.8      Applicable
                                         93
Most vehicle charging systems are temperature compensating; however, if
the external charger is NOT temperature compensating, you should adjust
the charging voltage from the table below to correct for the temperature of
the battery. For example, if the electrolyte temperature is 20° F (-6.7° C),
then increase the charging voltage to 15.788 volts for a Wet Low
Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery if the normal charging voltage is 14.6 at 80 °
F. If 100° F (43.3° C), then decrease the charging voltage to 14.204 volts
for the same battery.



           CHARGING VOLTAGE
       TEMPERATURE COMPENSATION
           @ 3.3mv/degree F/cell

           Electrolyte        Electrolyte           Add to
          Temperature        Temperature          Charger's
           Degrees F          Degrees C         Output Voltage
               160°               71.1°              -1.584
               150°               65.6°              -1.386
               140°               60.0°              -1.188
               130°               54.4°               -.990
               120°               48.9°               -.792
               110°               43.3°               -.594
               100°               37.8°               -.396
                90°               32.2°                -.20
                80°               26.7°                 0
                70°               21.1°               +.198
                60°               15.6°               +.396
                50°                10°                +.594
                40°               4.4°                +.792
                30°               -1.1°               +.990
                20°               -6.7°              +1.188
                10°              -12.2°              +1.386
                 0°              -17.8°              +1.584



                                     94
9.3.4. Manual Taper Current Charger

   The taper current chargers and have no controlled current and voltage and
   are dependent upon the internal resistance of the battery. The current starts
   high and tampers off as the voltage increases when the battery approaches
   100% State-of-Charge (SoC). With a taper charger, a high current (up to
   C/2), can be only applied to non-sealed wet batteries for 30 minutes
   maximum or until the battery heats up to 125° F (51.7° C). The current is
   then regulated downward by the battery until the charge state reaches
   100% where it is at a minimum. A better approach to recharge the battery
   with a tamper charger is to size the charger to recharge the battery over a
   minimum of a ten-hour period (C/10). This technique allows the acid more
   time to penetrate the plates and there is less mechanical stress on the
   plates. Manual taper current chargers will overcharge a battery if not
   turned off when the battery is fully charged and is not recommend to
   recharge VRLA batteries.




9.3.5. Automatic Constant Voltage or Taper (Ferroresonant) Charger

   The next step up is an "automatic" two stage (bulk and absorption) charger
   that will stop charging when the battery has a full charge by turning itself off
   at some predetermined current or voltage cut-off point. If the battery
   manufacturer's recommended absorption voltage are used, there is
   less chance of overcharging a battery than with a manual charger. A
   10-amp automatic starting battery charger will cost approximately $50 (US)
   and is suitable for most simple non-gel cell VRLA car battery recharging
   charging applications with battery capacities up to 100 amp hours (C/20) or
   250 minutes of RC. If left connected, when the voltage drops to
   predetermined point (normally 90%-95% SoC) due to self-discharge, some
   better automatic chargers will turn itself back on and recharge the battery.
   Better quality automatic chargers will also include temperature
   compensation, which is critical if recharging occurs in temperatures other
   than 80° F (26.7° C), do not produce sparks if the polarity of the clamps are
   reversed, and will help prevent VRLA battery "thermal runaway".




9.3.6. "Smart" Microprocessor-Controlled Charger

   The best chargers for wet and some AGM starting and motive deep cycle
   batteries are four-stage "smart" microprocessor-controlled temperature
   compensating chargers. They will automatically switch between bulk,
                                         95
   absorption, float, and equalizing charging and some have adjustable
   voltage set points or switches for the different wet battery types and
   automatic temperature compensation. The best chargers for Gel Cell or
   AGM VRLA batteries are a less expensive three-stage temperature
   compensating versions that have bulk, absorption and float charging
   capability (or settings) especially designed for these types of batteries. They
   will also help prevent VRLA battery "thermal runaway". When continuously
   connected, the microprocessor based "smart" chargers can continuously
   charge a battery and keep it fully charged indefinitely. Some one to three-
   amp three-stage versions cost less than $60 (US). They are ideal for for
   Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) and some Standard (Sb/Sb) and AGM VRLA
   deep cycle batteries to 75 AH (C/20) or 188 minutes of RC that are used
   once per week or less. Good examples are for power sport vehicles (ATVs,
   Jet skis, motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc.), RVs, caravans, farm and lawn
   tractors, and antique vehicles.




9.3.7. Float Charger and Battery Maintainer

   There are basically two types of float chargers. The first type is used to float
   or maintain wet or VRLA car or motive deep cycle batteries and the second
   is one to float or maintain wet or VRLA stationary deep cycle batteries.

   If you are using wet or VRLA car or motive deep cycle batteries and already
   have a tamper or two stage constant current or voltage charger, then a
   voltage-regulated "float" charger or battery maintainer set at approximately
   13.2 VDC, for example, Vector VEC080, costing less than $30 (US) can be
   continuously used after the battery has been fully charged. This will
   maintain it at a 100% State-of-Charge with a C/100 rate to offset the
   battery's internal self-discharge and prevent it from sulfating. Batteries that
   have the same plate chemistry (battery type) can be connected in parallel to
   a float charger after they have been fully charged and the charger's current
   output is greater than 1% of total amp hour capacity of the batteries
   connected to it. If you are using wet or VRLA stationary deep cycle
   batteries, then use a float charger at approximately 13.8 VDC that is sized
   to carry the maximum load plus an extra 10% depending on how fast you
   want to recharge the batteries.




9.3.8. Trickle Charger

   Trickle charger is typically a cheap, unregulated voltage (C/100) charger
   used to maintain a battery after it has been fully charged typically costing
   less than $20. Do NOT use these types of chargers because they can
   easily overcharge and destroy the wet battery by "boiling" the electrolyte out
                                         96
   and dry out the battery. If you have to use a trickle charger, using a timer is
   highly recommended.




9.3.9. High Rate Fast, Boost or Starting Assist Charger

   High rate fast, boost or starting assist chargers (or settings) are high rate
   chargers that are designed to provide high current to for up to 15 seconds
   to start your engine when the battery is discharged. These types of
   chargers (or settings) to recharge your battery are NOT RECOMMENDED
   because they can easily overcharge and destroy it with the excessive
   current or voltage. If one is used, please do it with extreme caution and
   adhere to the charger manufacturer's recommended procedures.

9.3.10. DC Generators

   Generators capable of producing Direct Current were used up until the
   1950's to recharge car batteries. They were replaced by alternators
   because generators were not as reliable because of their mechanical
   voltage regulation, expense to manufacturer, and added weight. Most
   portable "generators" used today are alternators to produce AC voltage.
   Some have rectifiers (or diodes) to produce "DC" voltage to recharge
   batteries. These portable generators can provide a bulk (up to 80% State-
   of-Charge) or equalizing charge to a battery that has been disconnected
   from the it's load. But recharge with care and monitor the process because
   they typically do not have voltage regulation, can easily overcharge the
   battery and destroy it. Chargers without voltage regulators are NOT
   RECOMMENDED for absorption or float charging.

9.3.11. Inverter/Charger

   Inverter/Charger is an DC to AC converter popularly known as an inverter
   with a builtin charger. Some manufacturers of inverter/chargers are
   Mastervolt, Newmar, Parallax, Progressive Dynamics, TrippLite, Victron,
   Xantrex, and others. When selecting an inverter/charger be sure that the
   charger matches the battery type you are trying to charge and will produce
   the battery manufacturer's recommended temperature compensated
   charging voltages. Some inverter-charger combinations are float chargers
   for stationary batteries and will only produce approximately 13.8 VDC, so
   your need to periodically give the batteries an absorption or equalizing
   charge to extend their overall service lives.

Hyperlinks to battery chargers, "smart" chargers, float chargers and battery
maintainers can be found in the Battery References and Information Links List at
http://www.batteryfaq.org. Please remember to match the charger to the battery
manufacturer's recommended temperature compensated charging voltages for


                                         97
   that type of battery or match the batteries to the charger capability. The better the
   match, the longer the service life and more capacity the battery will have.




9.4. How Long Does It Take To Recharge a Good Battery?

   When a battery is discharged, more power has to be replaced due to loss.
   However, some of the power is converted to heat and lost due to the resistance in
   the cables, connectors and elements within the battery. For most starting batteries
   that are discharged less than 10% of their full capacity, an estimate of time is the
   amp hours to be replaced divided by the current output of the charger. For
   example, a 40 amp hour battery with a 5% discharge would require approximately
   two amp hours to be replaced. Using five amp charger, it would take
   approximately 24 minutes (2/5x60) to recharge the battery. A 10 amp charger
   would take approximately half the time or 12 minutes. For batteries that are
   discharged more than 20% of their full capacity, an estimate of time is twice the
   amp hours to be replaced divided by the current output of the charger. For
   example, a 40 amp hour battery with a 95% discharge would require
   approximately 38 amp hours to be replaced. Using five amp charger, it would take
   approximately 15.2 hours recharge the battery. A 10 amp charger would take
   approximately half the time.




9.5. How Do I Know When My Battery Is Fully Charged?

   In descending order of accuracy and depending on the battery type, one of the
   following three methods is normally used to determine if a battery is fully charged.
   After the battery has cooled to room temperature, recheck the electrolyte levels.
   The plates must be covered at all times to prevent an internal explosion or
   sulfation.

   9.5.1. According to IEEE 450-2002 Annex B Recommended Practice, "The pattern of
      charging current delivered by a conventional voltage-regulated charger after a
      discharge is the most accurate method for determining state of charge. As the cells
      approach full charge, the battery voltage rises to approach the charger output voltage,
      and the charging current decreases. When the charging current has stabilized at the
      charging voltage, the battery is charged, even though specific gravities have not
      stabilized." It should be less than two percent of the capacity (C/50) of the battery. For
      the average sized car battery (BCI Group 24), that would be less than two amps. With
      non-sealed wet batteries, the cells gassing (bubbling) freely and evenly.

   9.5.2. Remove the surface charge by one of the methods in Section 4.3., measure the
      cells with a hydrometer, temperature compensate, and compare the average of the
      readings with the battery's manufacturer's Specific Gravity definition of a cell in a fully
      charged battery.
                                             98
   9.5.3. Remove the surface charge, measure the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) with an
      accurate (.5% or better) digital voltmeter across the terminals, temperature
      compensate, and compare the reading with the battery's manufacturer's OCV
      definition of a fully charged battery.

   If the battery will not "hold" a charge, the charging current does not drop below 2%
   (C/50), and the battery just gets warm or hot, then it might have some permanent
   sulfation. Please refer to Section 16 for more information about sulfation and how
   to remove it.




9.6. How Do I Know If My Battery Is Overcharged?

   Normally, overcharging will consume more water for from a wet battery than
   normal and the electrolyte levels will be low. Other signs of overcharging are a
   "rotten egg" oder, violent gassing, spewing of electrolyte, black "tide-marks" on the
   inside walls of the cells, or black deposits on the bottoms of the filler caps. Other
   signs of overcharging are lumpy brown sediment or muddy red or brown
   electrolyte.




9.7. Battery Charger Buying Tips

   The following are some tips for consumers on buying battery chargers car and
   deep cycle lead-acid batteries. Please see Section 7.1 for definitions of the battery
   types. An excellent and easy to understand tutorial on Battery Charging Basics
   can be found at http://www.batterytender.com/.

   9.7.1. Always wear glasses when working around a battery in the unlikely event
      that it might explode.

   9.7.2. MATCH the charger's output voltages to the battery type and manufacturer's
      recommended absorption, float and equalization (if required) charging voltage
      requirements. A mismatch can easily overcharge or undercharge the battery. Some
      charger manufacturers state that their charger to able to recharge all or most battery
      types. There are differences in the charging voltages and profiles for each battery
      type, so one charger setting can NOT possibly fit all types of batteries because of the
      differences in plate chemistries and alloys used. If the documentation that came with
      the battery or charger or the manufacturer's Web site does not state voltages, contact
      one of their Customer Service representatives and ask. If you do not charge your
      batteries at 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C), temperature compensation needs to
      occur on the charging voltages to properly recharge the battery. A recent study has
      shown that cell equalization will significantly increase the life of wet (or flooded)
      Standard (Sb/Sb), Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca), "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) batteries,
      but is NOT recommended for most AGM or Gel Cell VRLA batteries.
                                            99
   9.7.3. Size the charger based on the discharge amount and how fast you need to use the
      batteries again. Slow recharging is recommended, so chargers that are sized 10% of
      the capacity of wet, AGM or Gel Cell VRLA batteries should be used. Fast or "boost"
      charging batteries can kill batteries because they can warp the battery's plates. Do
      not exceed the battery manufacturer's charging current or voltage limitations. For
      most car batteries, a charger output of four to 10 amps should be sufficient and for
      motorcycle and power sports batteries, one to amps. For more information on charger
      sizing, please see Chris Gibson's article on
      http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/chargesize.html.

   9.7.4. Determine special features you want, for example, "automatic shut off" (two
      stage), "smart" microprocessor controlled, automatic temperature compensation, "soft
      start", portability, waterproofing, indicators, ammeter, lead reversal protection, short
      circuit protection, high temperature protection, etc.

   9.7.5. Determine the total cost of ownership. Shopping on the Internet by using search
      engines, like http://www.google.com or http://www.yahoo.com to find the best prices.
      A charger as a long term investment and a good charger used on a cheap battery is
      much better than a bad charger used on a good battery.

   9.7.6. If you have two stage charger, use a float charger (or battery maintainer). After the
      battery has been fully charged with a two stage charger or the vehicle's charging
      system, you can continuously maintain the full charge with a voltage regulated, one-
      half to two amp float charger matched to your battery type while the battery is not
      being used. This will prevent sulfation from occurring while the battery is not being
      used. Cheap, unregulated "trickle" chargers can overcharge and destroy your battery.

   9.7.7. If you use a small "smart" charger to recharge a large battery, you might have to
      periodically "reset" the charger, for example, every eight hours, by unplugging it and
      plugging it back in. Some small output "smart" chargers have fixed timers that will
      switch the absorption mode to float mode; thus, not allowing sufficient time for a large
      capacity battery to be completely recharged. This fixed timer is used to keep a
      sulfated battery from boiling dry.




9.8. Is Opportunity Charging Worthwhile?

   Opportunity charging is recharging in between the normal daily charging cycle. An
   example is a electric fork lift truck battery being recharged when not in use during
   the workday and during meal breaks. Some experts will argue that a deep cycle
   battery should be sized so that the average Depth-of-Discharge (DoD) should not
   fall below 50% (or 80% depending of the plate chemistry) and the battery should
   be charged only once per day because each charge cycle removes a microscopic
   layer from the entire grid and eventually the upper portion of the grid can not carry
   the current. That is one of the main reasons that grid design and composition is
   extremely important in car batteries for a long service life. Other experts will argue
   that opportunity charging significants lowers the average DoD and causes
                                            100
   multiple, shallow cycles per day, which is better that a higher average DoD and
   one deep cycle with a lower average DoD. The answer to this question probably
   lies somewhere in the middle. You will need to compare the effects of lower
   average DoD and multiple cycles vs. greater DoD and one cycle using the battery
   manufacturer's data to determine the break even point. Generally, opportunity
   charging is good, especially when the average DoD is between 20% and 50% and
   you can fully recharge battery at least once during a 24 hour period when being
   used and once per week while it is not in use to prevent sulfation.




9.9. Is Gassing Good For a Wet Battery?

   When a wet (flooded) 12-volt lead-acid battery reaches the absorption stage which
   is approximately 14.4 VDC at 80° F (26.7° C) or 80% State-of-Charge during a
   charge, it will start to gas (bubble) and is a normal part of the charging process.
   Gassing is the electrolysis of water into two parts Hydrogen gas and one part
   Oxygen gas and can be explosive. The gas bubbles given off by the plates will
   help to mix the electrolyte as they rise to the surface. This will help to prevent
   electrolyte stratification. Electrolyte stratification is acid concentration that is
   greater at the bottom of a battery than at the top, especially within larger batteries.
   Normal charging should produce moderate amount of even gassing of all cells,
   which is good. Overcharging a battery or rapidly charging with high voltage will
   produce heavy gassing, heat, consume excessive quantities of water, accelerate
   positive grid corrosion, warp the plates, and is NOT recommended. Ventilation is
   required for all lead-acid batteries and good ventilation is mandatory for wet
   batteries to dissipate the explosive and toxic gasses produced during
   charging.




9.10. What is the Difference Between a Converter and a Charger?

   An AC-DC Converter (or AC-DC Power Supply) is used to convert 120 or 240 VAC
   power to filtered 12 to 13.8 volt DC power to run DC appliances while connected to
   "shore power" instead of running on battery power. Converters are normally
   voltage regulated to provide a constant supply of DC power and if the voltage is
   high enough, partially recharge a battery. A manual battery charger is designed to
   recharge a battery and typically produces higher voltages. An automatic or "smart"
   battery charger is designed to stop charging when a preset current is achieved or
   produce different voltages, depending on which charging cycle it is in. Battery
   chargers typically do not have the degree of filtering that a converter has.




9.11. What Are Charge Controllers or Voltage Regulators?
                                          101
   Charge controllers and voltage regulators are devices used to control the level or
   levels, in the case of three and four stage units, of DC voltage from a source of
   power to the battery or batteries. Typically charge controllers are used to control
   the output of solar panels and voltage regulators for DC generators or alternators.




9.12. How Long Will a Deep Cycle Battery Last On a Single Charge?

   Discharging, like charging, depends on a number of factors such as the initial
   State-of-Charge, average Depth-of-Discharge, condition and capacity of the
   battery, load and temperature. To determine the amount of discharge time (T) for a
   fully charged battery at 80° F (26.7° C), the simple formula is ampere-hour rating
   (C) divided by the average load in amps (I) or T=C/I is often used. So, 100-ampere
   hour battery with an average 5-amp load should last approximately 20 hours
   (100/5). The total number of amps that are produced when a battery is discharged
   over a 20 hour (C/20) period is the most commonly used specification for
   expressing the capacity of deep cycle batteries used in most RV and Marine
   applications; however, six hour (C/6) for Golf Carts or eight hour (C/8) rates for
   RV/Marine batteries might be more realistic.

   For example, if deep cycle battery's capacity is rated at 100 ampere hours (AH) at
   the 20 hour (C/20) rate, will produce approximately 83 AH at the eight hour (C/8)
   rate, 63 A in two hours (C/2), and 55 AH in one hour (C/1). This is due to the
   Peukert Effect.

   Repeatedly discharging a wet Low Maintenance deep cycle battery below 20%
   State-of-Charge (approximately 12.0 volts) or shallow discharges of less than 10%
   can significantly reduce the number of life cycles. Please see the graph on
   average Depth-of-Discharge in Section 11.3. New batteries often require a
   precondition or "break-in" period of up to 30 cycles before they will produce their
   rated ampere hour capacity. The capacity is reduced overtime as the active
   material flakes (sheds) off the plates and some of the pours fill with hard sulfate.




9.13. How Can I Reduce Recharging Time?

   To reduce the amount of time that your charging system is running, only recharge
   the battery to 80% State-of-Charge level at an amp hour rate not exceeding the
   number of amp hours that need to be replaced or C/4 (25% of the AH Capacity),
   whichever is less. For example, if 50 amp hours has been consumed from a 100
   amp hour battery, then you do not want to recharge it at rate any greater than 25
   amps in one hour. At a 25 amp charging rate, it should take approximately two
   hours to get to a 80% State-of-Charge. Please note that it will take almost the
   same amount of time, at a reduced current, to recharge the battery the remaining
   20% to bring it to 100% State-of-Charge as it took to recharge it originally from the
                                            102
   50% to the 90% level. If the battery is recharged to the 80% State-of-Charge level,
   it should be recharge to 100% at least every 10th cycle or once per week,
   whichever occurs first.

   Using AGM batteries also will reduce the amount of recharging time because they
   have a higher acceptance rate than wet lead-acid batteries. Please see
   Section 7.4 for more information.




9.14. How Can I Adjust the Specific Gravity?

   Battery manufacturers set the concentration of the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte of
   a fully charged wet battery to optimize the capacity, service life, water
   consumption, use in float applications, high discharge rate capability, battery size
   and self discharge rate. When the Specific Gravity is increased on purpose or by
   additives, the following occurs: capacity, service life, water consumption, high
   discharge rate capability, and self discharge rate are increased and use in float
   applications and battery size decrease. When you decrease the Specific Gravity,
   the reverse occurs. You might ask why increasing the Specific Gravity on wet
   starting and motive deep cycle batteries is not a good thing? The answer is that it
   also accelerates the corrosion of the positive plate grids and connecting straps
   and you could have a premature battery failure; thus effecting overall service life,
   but clearly there might be some short termed gains at the expense of increased
   watering and service life.

   Normally, unless there is a spill, battery acid should never be added to a battery. If
   the temperature compensated Specific Gravity reading needs to be increased in a
   cell for whatever reason, remove a small amount of some the existing electrolyte
   and replace it with fresh battery acid with a 1.300 Specific Gravity. Repeat the
   process until the cell matches the Specific Gravity readings of the rest of the cells
   or, if the battery is fully charged, the manufacturer's temperature compensated
   recommended value for a fully charged cell. If the temperature compensated
   Specific Gravity reading needs to be decreased in a cell for whatever reason,
   remove a small amount of some the existing electrolyte and replace it with
   distilled, deionized or demineralized water. Repeat the process until the cell
   matches the Specific Gravity readings of the rest of the cells or, if the battery is
   fully charged, the manufacturer's temperature compensated recommended value
   for a fully charged cell. Some typical Specific Gravity readings at 80° F (26.7° C)
   for full charged cells are:

         1.300-1.310 for wet motive deep cycle batteries with tubular positive
          plates

         1.267-1.284 for wet motive Deep Cycle batteries with solid lead
          positive plates

         1.260-1.270 for wet Starting batteries with pasted plates

                                            103
         1.215-1.250 for wet stationary Deep Cycle batteries with solid lead
          positive plates




9.15. How Do I Recharge Small SLA Batteries?

   SLA or Sealed Lead Acid batteries or part of the VRLA Battery class and are
   normally under 50 amp hours in capacity. Most of the SLA batteries in use today
   are AGM because they are less expensive, but there are a few gel cell SLA
   batteries in service. For fast recharging, you should limit to the current to 30% of
   the amp hour capacity of the battery and use an absorption voltage of 2.45
   VDC/cell or 14.7 VDC or a 12-volt battery. When the charging current has dropped
   to .01 times of the amp hour capacity, then the battery is fully charged and the fast
   charging voltage should removed or reduce it to a float charging voltage of 2.25
   volts/cell or 13.5 VDC for a 12-volt battery.




9.16. How Do I Recharge Unevenly Discharged or Non-identical Batteries at the Same
   Time?

   If discharging the batteries unevenly or using non-identical batteries has to occur,
   then use an isolated multi-bank charger, single bank charge with an external diode
   isolator (adjusted for the voltage loss), or combiner to recharge the batteries at the
   same time.




                                            104
10. WHAT CAUSES MY BATTERY TO DRAIN OVERNIGHT?

                               Last Updated on December 25, 2005


Parasitic (or ignition key off) drain is the cumulative load produced by electrical devices, for
example, emissions computers, clocks, security alarms, radio presets, etc., that operate
continuously after the engine is stopped and the ignition key has been switched off. Normal
parasitic loads are below 75 milliamps (.075 amps). When the parasitic load is greater than
75 milliamps (.075 amps), batteries will drain more quickly. Glove box, trunk, and under hood
lights that do not automatically turn off when the door is closed or shorted diodes in alternators
are the most common offenders. Cooling fans, power seat belt retractors, radios and dome
lights left on, alarm systems, and electric car antennas have also caused batteries to drain
overnight. Leaving your headlights on will generally discharge a fully charged car battery, with
90 minutes of Reserve Capacity (36 amp hours), within a couple of hours.

It is highly recommended, especially if you are using a sealed wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca)
battery, allow to thaw if frozen, fully recharge it in a well ventilated area with an external battery
charger, remove the surface charge, and load tested both the battery and the charging system
for latent damage from the deep discharge. You could have a damaged or bad battery. If the
alternator is warm and the engine is cold, then check for a shorted diode in the alternator.

Below are some methods that are used to test the parasitic load with the engine NOT running,
under hood light disconnected, all accessories switched off, and the vehicle doors closed:

             Connect a 12-volt bulb across the positive and negative battery
              terminals to test the bulb and the battery. If it glows brightly, then
              remove the negative battery cable and connect the bulb in series
              between the negative battery cable terminal clamp and the negative
              battery terminal. If the bulb continues to glow brightly, then start
              removing fuses or connections to the positive battery post one-at-a-
              time until the offending electrical component is identified by the bulb
              dimming.

             A better approach is to use a DC ammeter, for example a Fluke 175,
              inserted in series with the negative battery cable terminal clamp and
              the negative battery terminal or a clamp-on DC ammeter, like a Fluke
              336 or i410 around the negative battery cable. Starting with the
              highest scale, determine the current load. If the load is above 75
              milliamps (.075 amps) after the initial surge, then start removing
              fuses or connections to the positive battery post one-at-a-time until
              the offending electrical component is identified by the parasitic load
              dropping to within 75 milliamps (.75 amps).

             Additional troubleshooting techniques can be found in a guide from
              Exide at
              http://www.exide.com/products/trans/na/battery_care/electrical_para
              sitic_load.pdf.

                                                  105
11. CAN I INCREASE THE LIFE OF MY BATTERY?

                              Last Updated on February 26, 2005


The most important consideration in increasing the overall service life of a lead-acid battery is
preventive maintenance. Please see Section 3 for more information on preventive
maintenance. The typical life of a good quality, well maintained and properly charged battery is:

                             EXPECTED BATTERY SERVICE LIFE

                              Pasted Plate Car             0 to 12
                              (used as a Deep              months
                                   Cycle)
                              Pasted Plate Car              4 to 5
                                                            years
                                 Pasted Plate            to 4 years
                                  Marine/RV
                            Solid Plate Golf Cart        to 6 years
                                Gel Cell VRLA            to 8 years
                                  AGM VRLA               to 8 years
                                     Ni-Cad                 to 10
                                                            years
                                  Calcium                   to 10
                            Telecommunications              years
                                (Stationary)
                              Fork Lift (Motive)            to 10
                                                            years
                             Manchex Industrial             to 15
                                 (Motive)                   years
                                Wet Standard                to 20
                              (Sb/Sb) Industrial            years
                                 (Stationary)
                                      Ni-Fe                 to 20
                                                            years


Here are some tips to increase car or deep cycle battery service life:

   11.1. Protect your car battery from high underhood temperatures with a heat shield or case,
      keeping it full charged at all times, and well maintained are the easiest ways to extend
      it's life. In hot climates and during the summer, the electrolyte levels need to be checked

                                               106
   more frequently. In a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the
   underhood temperature has increased more than 30% since 1985.

   Chrysler studies have shown that relocating the battery outside the engine
   compartment has increased the average OEM battery life by eight months.
   Relocating the starting battery to the trunk or passenger compartment, as Mazda
   did in their Miata a number of years ago, is becoming more popular by the car
   manufacturers to protect the starting battery from the high underhood
   temperatures. However, use sealed VRLA AGM or Gel Cell type batteries because
   they normally do not produce gas when recharged or wet batteries vented to the
   outside. If you use a gel cell as a starting battery, you might have to lower the
   charging system voltages because they are very critical and to keep from
   overcharging the battery.

   For motive and stationary deep cycle batteries, temperature is equally as
   important for extending the service life of the battery or battery bank. Common
   sense and chemical intuition suggest that the higher the temperature, the faster a
   given chemical reaction will proceed. Quantitatively this relationship between the
   rate a chemical reaction proceeds and its temperature is determined by the
   Arrhenius equation. Battery life, due to positive grid corrosion, is reduced by 50%
   for every 18° F (10° C)rise in ambient temperature over 70° F (21.1° C).

11.2. Periodically check the State-of-Charge of car batteries. Based on your driving habits,
   some vehicle charging systems undercharge the battery causing an accumulation of
   Lead sulfate known as sulfation. This sulfation reduces the capacity of the battery. If the
   battery is not fully charged, recharge it periodically with an external battery charges
   matched to the battery type. Please see Section 9 for more information on charging and
   chargers and Section 16 for more information on sulfation.

   In addition to temperature, car battery life and the number of charge and discharge
   cycles is dramatically influenced by the average State-of-Charge (SoC) as
   reflected in the following graph:

                                     Car Battery Life




                                            107
                         [Source: Adverc Battery Management]

   If possible in a well ventilated area and at room temperature, recharge a deep
   cycle battery each day it is used and as soon as possible after each use. The best
   way to prevent permanent lead sulfation when a starting or deep cycle battery (or
   battery bank) is not in use, is to maintain it's State-of-Charge at 100% by
   continuous float charging. If continuous float charging is not possible, recharge
   before the State-of-Charge drops below 80%. Permanent sulfation kills
   approximately 85% of all deep cycle and starting lead-acid batteries not in
   weekly service. During hot weather, try and drive your vehicle at least once per
   week and in cold weather, once every two weeks. This is because batteries are
   perishable and the vehicle's parasitic (ignition key off) load and the natural self-
   discharge drain the battery. When the battery is not fully charged, sulfation occurs
   and the lead sulfate crystals will accumulate, harden and reduce the capacity of
   the battery. The same phenomenon occurs when a battery is undercharged or
   when electrolyte stratification occurs in larger wet lead-acid batteries. Please see
   Section 16. for more information on sulfation.

11.3. Reducing the average DoD (Depth-of-Discharge), the inverse of SoC, by proper deep
   cycle battery sizing will significantly increase a deep cycle battery life. For example, a
   pasted plate wet battery with an average of 50% DoD will last twice as long or more as if
   it is has an 80% average DoD. A 20% DoD average battery can last up to five times
   longer than one with a 50% DoD average. Wet Golf cart batteries will typically have an
   average 225 cycles at 80% DoD and 750 cycles at 50% DoD. For more information of the
   "50% Rule", please see Chris Gibson's article on
   http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/50percent2.html. Always avoid DoDs that are greater than
   80%. The "sweet spot" (optimum DoD for the greatest amount of power produced over
   the service life) is generally somewhere between 20% DoD and 60% DoD average. For
   the AGM battery example below the "sweet spot" is approximately 22.5% DoD based on
   the greatest amount of power produced.
                                           108
                AGM Life Cycles vs. Percent Depth-of-Discharge (DoD)




                                    [Source: Concorde]

11.4. Never discharge any 12-volt lead acid battery below 10.5 volts because it can damage
   the battery. An adjustable low voltage disconnect set for an 80% Depth-of-Discharge
   (DoD) or less can limit the maximum DoD and protect the batteries and electrical
   appliances. Leaving your lights or other accessories on and fully discharging a car battery
   can ruin it due to "cell reversal", especially if it is a sealed, wet Maintenance Free (Ca/Ca)
   type. Deep discharges in freezing weather will cause the battery to freeze and the
   expansion of the electrolyte can damage the plates, separators or even crack the battery
   case. If freezing should occur, you must let your battery thaw, physically inspect case for
   leakage, fully recharge it with a "smart" or "automatic" external charger matched the the
   battery type in a well ventilated area, remove the surface charge, and load test the
   battery and charging system to determine if there is any latent or permanent damage.

11.5. In extremely cold climates, keep the car battery continuously fully charged when not
   in use, the engine and battery warm, and use low viscosity synthetic engine oil. AGM or
   Ni-Cad batteries work better in sub-zero temperatures than wet lead-acid batteries.

11.6. In hot climates use the "hot climate or "South" versions of car batteries. They have
   special plate and connecting strap formulations, lower Specific Gravity levels or
   increased the amounts of electrolyte to provide more "cooling" for longer service life.
   Using non-sealed Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) car batteries is encouraged because you
   can add water. "Watering" is required more often in hot climates and add only distilled,
   demineralized or deionized water or, in a emergency, rain water. The plates must be
   covered at all times to prevent an internal battery explosion or sulfation. Do not overfill,
   and keep the top of the battery clean. Do NOT add electrolyte (battery acid) to a battery
   unless some electrolyte has spilled. If the Specific Gravity levels are increased beyond
   the battery manufacturer's recommended limit, there will be a higher capacity level, but


                                             109
   more maintenance and a shorter service life. Please see Section 9.14 for more
   information on adjusting Specific Gravities.

11.7. Turning off all unnecessary accessories, rear window heater, climate control, and lights
   before starting your car will significantly decrease the load on the battery while cranking,
   especially when it is extremely cold.

11.8. Reducing the parasitic (key-off) load to below 75 milliamps.

11.9. In cold climates, increasing the diameter of the battery cables will reduce the voltage
   loss.

11.10. If required, equalize wet (flooded) and some AGM batteries. Equalizing can also
   prevent electrolyte stratification, which can cause sulfation. Please see Section 9. for
   more information on equalizing batteries.

11.11. For vehicles not used weekly or driving habits that cause undercharged batteries,
   continuously float charge the car battery or fully recharge it periodically to remove the
   accumulated lead sulfate. Please see Section 13 for more information on storing batteries
   and Section 16 for more information on sulfation.

11.12. Provide adequate ventilation. High ambient temperatures above 80° F (or 26.7° C)
   will shorten battery life because it increases positive grid corrosion, growth and VRLA
   "thermal runaway".

11.13. Recharging slowly using the battery manufacturer's recommended temperature
   compensated voltages and procedures.

11.14. Avoid shallow (below 10%) discharges of deep cycle batteries because lead dioxide
   builds up on the positive plates. In other words, you should discharge a deep cycle
   battery between 10% and 80% Depth-of-Discharge.

11.15. Use batteries with thicker pasted or solid plates, thicker or tampered grids, and
   reduce the number of discharge-charge cycles. Each cycle removes a microscopic layer
   from the grid. Eventually the upper portion of the grid can not carry the current.

11.16. Apply the correct battery type for the application, that is, starting for starting
   applications, motive deep cycle batteries for motive, and stationary deep cycle batteries
   for stationary applications. Please see Section 7.1 for more information on battery types.




                                            110
12. WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF PREMATURE BATTERY FAILURES?

                               Last Updated on February 26, 2005


Normally, premature battery failures are caused by one or more of the failures listed below with
water loss and sulfation the main offenders. Prior to 1980, plate or grid shorts were the most
common failure. Since then the manufacturers have significantly improved the life expectancy
by using improved separators, plate alloys to reduce corrosion, and heat shields. By relocating
batteries to the passenger compartment (or trunk), also has considerably decreased premature
battery failures. Batteries that have been in use for longer periods of time will typically fail from
multiple causes. All batteries will fail at some point in time from old age (positive plate
shedding of active material or grid corrosion).




                                   [Source: Interstate Batteries]



   12.1. For wet car batteries, lack of preventive maintenance, high underhood heat, fast
      recharging (greater than C/4), or overcharging causes a loss of water, account for over
      50% of the failures. For wet motive and stationary deep cycle batteries, water loss due to
      the lack of preventive maintenance or overcharging. Please see Section 3 for more
      information on preventive maintenance.

   12.2. Sulfation from water loss, undercharging, electrolyte stratification (especially in larger
      batteries over a 100 amp hours), using tap water, excessive temperatures, or prolonged
      periods of non-use account for approximately 85% of the deep cycle and starting battery
      failures that are not used weekly (or bi-weekly in colder climates). Some vehicle charging
      systems based on driving habits (short trips or high loads) leaving the car battery

                                                 111
   constantly undercharged and sulfated. Please see Section 16 for more information on
   sulfation.

12.3. Battery post or terminal corrosion, which cause a charging and discharging problems.
   Please see Section 3 for more information on preventive maintenance.

12.4. High ambient temperatures above 77° F (25° C) causing accelerated positive grid
   growth or corrosion, increased self-discharge, or thermal runway in VRLA (AGM and Gel
   Cell) batteries. For every increase of 15° F above 77° F, a VRLA (AGM and Gel Cell)
   battery's life is cut in half.

12.5. Excessive deep discharges below 10.5 volts, such as leaving your vehicle's lights on.

12.6. Misapplication, for example, using a starting battery in a deep cycle application, a
   motive deep cycle battery instead of a stationary for a UPS, or an undersized battery (or
   battery bank) that causes discharges greater than the battery was designed for or will not
   produce enough capacity.

12.7. Plate-to-strap shorts due to excessive vibration caused by loose hold down clamps or
   vehicle running surfaces or freezing.




                                           112
13. HOW CAN I STORE BATTERIES?

                              Last Updated on December 26, 2005


   INDEX:

       13.1. How Do I Prevent Permanent Sulfation?

       13.2. So How Do I Store My Battery?

All lead-acid batteries are perishable. If not used weekly, people kill more deep cycle and
power sport batteries with bad charging and maintenance practices, than die of old age!

When a lead-acid battery is discharged, soft lead sulfate crystals are formed in the pores and on
the surfaces of the positive and negative plates. When left in a discharged condition or
excessive high temperatures, is continually undercharged, or the electrolyte level is below the
top of the plates or stratified, some of the soft lead sulfate re-crystallize into hard lead sulfate.
These crystals cannot be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This creation of hard
crystals is commonly called permanent "sulfation". It is the leading cause and accounts for
approximately 85% of the premature failures of lead-acid batteries not used on weekly basis.
The longer sulfation occurs, the larger and harder the lead sulfate crystals become. The positive
plates will turn a light brown and the negative plates will be dull, off white. These permanent
crystals lessen a battery's capacity and ability to be recharged or hold a charge. Sulfation
primarily occurs in deep cycle and power sport batteries that are typically used for short periods
and then are stored for long periods where they slowly self-discharge. Whereas, a car or
motorcycle starting battery is normally used several times a month, so permanent sulfation
rarely becomes a problem unless it is unused or stored for long periods.

While a battery is in storage or not being used, the discharge is a result of parasitic load or
natural self-discharge. Parasitic load is the constant electrical load present on a battery while it
is installed in a vehicle even when the ignition key is turned off. The load is from the continuous
operation of electrical appliances, such as an emissions computer, clock, security system,
maintenance of radio station presets, etc. While disconnecting the negative battery cable will
eliminate the parasitic load, it has no affect on the natural self-discharge of battery. Thus,
permanent sulfation can be a huge problem for lead-acid batteries while sitting for long periods
on a dealer's shelf, in a basement, cellar, barn or garage, or in a parked vehicle, especially in
hot temperatures.

   13.1. How Do I Prevent Permanent Sulfation?

       Please see Section 16.2 for more information on preventing sulfation.




   13.2. So How Do I Store My Battery?

                                                113
Batteries naturally self-discharge 1% to 60% per month (depending on the
battery type and temperature) while not in use. Sulfation will begin occurring
when the State-of-Charge (SoC) drops below 100%. Please see Section 16
for more information on sulfation. Cold will slow the process down and heat
will increase it up. Storing batteries under 250 AH on concrete floors will not
cause them to naturally self-discharge faster. Please see Section 14.1 for
more information on this myth. Below are six simple steps while your
batteries are not in use to protect them from permanent sulfation and
premature failure.

13.2.1. Physically inspect for leakage or damaged cases, remove any corrosion,
   clean and dry the tops of the batteries to remove possible discharge paths from
   dried battery electrolyte, and clean the terminals. If the battery is in a vehicle,
   remove the negative connection from the battery to eliminate the additional
   parasitic (key off) discharge.

13.2.2. If the battery has filler caps, check the electrolyte (battery acid) level in each
   cell. If required, add only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to the
   recommended level, but do not overfill.

13.2.3. Fully charge and equalize wet (flooded) batteries, if required, using the
   procedures in Section 9 and recheck the electrolyte levels when the battery
   cools.

13.2.4. Store in a cold dry place, but not so that it will freeze, and where it can be
   easily recharged. The freezing point of a battery is determined by the SoC and
   the higher it is, the lower the freezing temperature. Please see the State-of-
   Charge Tables in Section 4. Based on the battery type you are using, connect a
   "smart", microprocessor based three stage or four stage charger or a voltage
   regulated float charger to continuously "float" charge your battery. Do not use a
   cheap, unregulated "trickle" charger or a manual two stage charger which was
   not designed for "float" charging or you will overcharge your battery. A less
   desirable alternative to float charging would be to periodically test the State-of-
   Charge using the procedure in Section 4. When it is 80% or below, recharge
   using the procedures in Section 9. The frequency of testing and recharging will
   depend on the ambient storage temperature.

                AGM BATTERY FLOAT CHARGING VOLTAGE




                                       114
                     TEMPERATURE IN DEGREES C (F)

                             [Source: Concorde]

13.2.5. Periodically test the State-of-Charge (SoC) and ensure that the electrolyte is
   at the proper levels.

13.2.6. When you remove the batteries from storage, charge and equalize, if
   required, using the battery manufacturer's recommended charging procedures
   or, if not available, the one in Section 9.




                                      115
14. WHAT ARE THE MYTHS ABOUT BATTERIES?

                              Last Updated on January 6, 2006


  INDEX:

     14.1. Storing a battery on a concrete floor will discharge them.

     14.2. Driving a car will fully recharge a battery.

     14.3. A battery will not explode.

     14.4. A battery will not lose its charge sitting in storage.

     14.5. Wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) batteries never require maintenance.

     14.6. Test the alternator by disconnecting the battery with the engine running.

     14.7. Pulse chargers, desulfators, aspirins or additives will revive sulfated
     batteries.

     14.8. On really cold days turn your headlights on to "warm up" the battery up
     before starting your engine.

     14.9. Car batteries last longer in hot climates than in cold ones.

     14.10. Charging cables or jump starters will start your car.

     14.11. A larger capacity battery will damage my car.

     14.12. Lead-acid batteries have memories.

     14.13. Bad batteries will not harm the charging system or starter.

     14.14. Once formed, batteries will not change polarity.

     14.15. Use tap water to refill batteries.

     14.16. Driving to recharge a dead car battery.



  14.1. Storing a battery on a concrete floor will discharge them.

     All lead-acid batteries will naturally self-discharge which can result in loss of
     capacity from sulfation. The rate of self-discharge is most influenced by the
     temperature of the battery's electrolyte and the chemistry of the plates. This self-
                                                 116
   discharge is often mistaken for concrete floor causing the battery to drain. Some
   experts believe that storing car or deep cycle batteries on a colder concrete floor
   might actually slow down the self-discharge (leakage) rate because the floor acts
   as a heat sink and cools the battery. (Please see Section 13 for more information
   on storing batteries and Section 1 for more information on sulfation.

   In the early 1900s, when battery cases were made of porous materials such as
   tar-lined wood boxes, storing batteries on concrete floor would accelerate their
   natural self-discharge due to external leakage. Modern battery cases are made of
   polypropylene or hard rubber. These cases are sealed better, so external leakage-
   causing discharge is no longer a problem, provided the top of the battery is clean
   and free from wet or dried electrolyte and the same temperature as the floor.

   Large differences in temperature could cause electrolyte stratification within very
   large batteries (>250 AH) which could accelerate it's internal "leakage" or self-
   discharge if the battery is sitting on an extremely cold concrete, stone or steel floor
   in a warm room, boat or submarine. Stirrers or bubblers are often used on these
   types of large batteries to keep the electrolyte from stratifying. Undercharging will
   also cause electrolyte stratification, which can also result in loss of capacity from
   sulfation.




14.2. Driving a car will fully recharge a battery.

   There are a number of factors affecting a vehicle charging system's ability to
   recharge a battery, such as how much power and charging voltage from the
   alternator is diverted to the battery, how long the power is available, and the
   temperature. Generally, idling the engine or short stop-and-go trips during bad
   weather or at night will not fully recharge a car battery or will leave your battery
   undercharged which causes sulfation. When a dead battery needs to be
   recharged, it is best to use an external battery charger because you could over
   heat and damage your vehicle's charging system and your will save a lot of gas
   and wear and tear on your engine. Please see Section 5 and Section 9 for more
   information on vehicle charging systems and charging.




14.3. A battery will not explode.

   Charging a wet lead-acid battery naturally produces hydrogen and oxygen gasses
   as electrolysis of the water occurs and needs to occur in well ventilated areas.
   While spark retarding vent caps help prevent external battery explosions, sparks
   occur when jumping, connecting or disconnecting charger or battery cables and
   ignite the gas causing an explosion. From the U.S. Department of Energy, DOE-
   HDBK-1084-95, "Precautions must be routinely practiced to prevent explosions
   from ignition of the flammable gas mixture of hydrogen and oxygen formed during
                                            117
overcharge of lead-acid cells. The maximum rate of formation is 0.42 L of
hydrogen and 0.21 L of oxygen per ampere-hour overcharge at standard
temperature and pressure. The gas mixture is explosive when hydrogen in air
exceeds 4% by volume." Less common internal explosions usually occur while
starting the engine or using the battery and normally just blow the filler caps or
cover off the battery and splatter electrolyte all over the engine compartment or
battery box.

The most probable cause of internal battery explosions are from a combination of
low electrolyte levels below the plates in the battery, a low resistance bridge is
formed between or across the top of the plates, and a build up of hydrogen gas in
the cell. The low resistive bridge is called "treeing" between the positive and
negative plates. When current flows in the battery, a spark occurs and ignites the
residual gas in one or more of the cells. A second possible cause is a
manufacturing defect in the weld of one of the plate connecting straps causing a
spark igniting the residual gas. Another source of internal battery explosions are
caused from direct electrical shorts across the battery's terminals. The battery
rapidly over heats form the high current and can explode. The largest number of
internal battery explosions occur in hot climates due to the loss of water while
starting the engine. Most internal battery explosions could have been prevented if
the plates were always covered with electrolyte. Please see Section 3 for more
information preventive maintenance.

A less common form of internal battery explosion occurs when a dead short is
applied across the battery terminals or the battery is in a fire.




                            [Source: Popular Mechanics]



                                         118
   Periodic preventive maintenance (Please see Section 3.), working on batteries in
   well-ventilated areas, or using sealed AGM or Gel Cell type batteries can
   significantly reduce the possibility of battery explosions. To neutralize residual
   battery acid, be sure to thoroughly wash the engine compartment and the back of
   the hood with a solution of one-pound baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to one
   gallon of warm water and rinse thoroughly with water. While not fatal, each year
   battery explosions cause thousands of eye and burn injuries from the electrolyte
   (battery acid). According to PREVENT BLINDNESS AMERICA, last year (2003)
   nearly 6,000 motorists suffered serious eye injuries from working around car
   batteries. Should a battery explosion occur and battery electrolyte (battery
   acid) gets in someone's eyes, flush them out with any drinkable liquid
   immediately because SECONDS count, continue flushing with water for at
   least 15 minutes, and seek immediate medical attention.




14.4. A battery will not lose its charge sitting in storage.

   Depending on the type of battery and temperature, batteries have a natural self-
   discharge or internal electro chemical "leakage" at a 1% to 60% rate per month.
   Over time the battery will become sulfated and fully discharged which make it
   more susceptible to freezing. Higher temperatures will significantly accelerate this
   process. A battery stored at 95° F (35° C) will self-discharge twice as fast than one
   stored at 75° F (23.9° C). Leaving a battery in a vehicle can increase the discharge
   of battery due to the additional parasitic (ignition key-off load), unless the negative
   cable is disconnect from the battery. (Please see Section 15 and Section 16 for
   more information on parking times and sulfation.)




14.5. Wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) batteries never require maintenance.

   The term "Maintenance Free" generally refers to a wet, sealed lead-acid car and
   deep cycle batteries with calcium positive and negative plates. (Please see
   Section 7.1.3 for more information on these types of batteries.) In hot climates, the
   water is lost due to evaporation the high underhood temperatures and the normal
   charging process. Water can also be lost due to excessive charging voltage or
   charging currents. Using non-sealed wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) batteries (with
   filler caps) are encouraged in hot climates so distilled, deionized or demineralized
   water can be added when this occurs. (Please see Section 3. for other preventive
   maintenance procedures that should be performed on wet "Maintenance Free"
   (Ca/Ca) batteries.)




14.6. Test the alternator by disconnecting the battery with the engine running.
                                         119
   A battery acts like a voltage stabilizer or filter to the pulsating DC produced by the
   alternator. Disconnecting a battery while the engine is running could destroy the
   sensitive electronic components connected to the electrical system such as the
   emission computer, radio, audio system, cell phone, alarm system, etc., or the
   charging system, especially with internal voltage regulators, because the peak
   voltage can rise to 40 volts or more. In the 1970s, removing a battery terminal was
   an accepted practice to test charging systems of that era. That is not the case
   today. Static electricity and spikes from connecting and disconnecting batteries or
   test equipment could also damage sensitive electronic components.




14.7. Pulse chargers, desulfators, aspirins or additives will revive sulfated batteries.

   Using pulse chargers, desulfators or additives are very controversial subjects.
   Despite claims of the charger manufacturers, some battery experts believe that
   there is no conclusive proof that pulse chargers work any better than constant
   voltage chargers to remove permanent or prevent sulfation. Most agree that there
   is no evidence that additives or aspirins provide any long-term benefits. Short
   term gains are achieved by increasing the acidity (Specific Gravity) of the battery,
   which could increase the Amp Hour capacity, but increase the water consumption
   and positive grid corrosion and will decrease the overall service life of the battery.
   After a heavy discharge, allowing a battery to rest will regain some of its capacity
   as the electrolyte has an opportunity to diffuse in the pores of the plates.

   The the controversy between the additive manufacturers, battery manufacturers,
   and independent elecrochemists has been going on for years as demonstrated in
   this AD-X2 Battery Additive, From a Trickle to a Torrent article form the National
   Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Museum.




14.8. On really cold days turn your headlights on to "warm up" the battery up before
   starting your engine.

   While there is no doubt that turning on your headlights will increase the current
   flow in a car battery, it also consumes valuable capacity that could be used to start
   the cold engine. Therefore, this is not recommended. For cold temperatures,
   externally powered temperature compensated battery "float" chargers, warmers or
   blankets, and engine block heaters are highly recommended if the vehicle can not
   be parked in a heated garage. AGM and Ni-Cad batteries will perform better than
   wet lead-acid batteries in extremely cold temperatures.




14.9. Car batteries last longer in hot climates than in cold ones.
                                           120
   Car batteries last an average of two thirds as long in hot climates as cold ones.
   Heat kills car batteries, especially sealed Maintenance Free (Ca/Ca) batteries, and
   cold reduces the battery's starting capacity. (Please see Section 11.1 for more
   information on increasing battery life.)




14.10. Charging cables or jump starters will start your car.

   The cigarette lighter charging cable's advertising states "charges weak batteries in
   minutes." There is little doubt that charging cable products will certainly recharge
   your car battery if you have enough time and your battery is in good condition.
   Cigarette lighters are normally fused at 10 amps, so to be safe they probably limit
   current flow less that the fuse size. Given the diameter of the wire used in the
   cable, the amount might be even less.

   They work by applying higher voltage from the vehicle with the good battery to
   "charge" the bad one. In order to charge a battery the charging voltage need to be
   approximately two volts greater than the the battery voltage to overcome the
   internal resistance. Now let's assume it is a hot day and that you need just of 3%
   of the battery's capacity to start the engine from a 40 amp hour battery. This
   means you will need at least 7.5 amps for 10 minutes to flow from the good battery
   with the engine idling to the bad one. Now let's also assume that it is below
   freezing and you have left your lights on. You will need at least 50% capacity or
   20 amp hours to start the vehicle. This will take over two hours to partially charge
   the dead battery. Using jumper cables with the engine running at high idle will
   partially charge a dead battery much faster. Please see Section 6 for jump
   starting, but be sure the battery is not frozen or the case is cracked.

   Some auto jump starter uses special high current batteries to provide up to 900
   peak amps to start your engine. It can provide 200-300 amps for up to 8-10
   seconds. Standard AA alkaline batteries are used to trickle charge the special
   batteries to maintain their charge. This type of emergency starter should start all
   but diesel engines up to six or eight times on one charge, depending on the
   capacity of the battery, condition of the engine and the temperature. After this, the
   jump starter should be recharged for 24 to 48 hours.




14.11. A larger capacity battery will damage my car.

   A starter motor will only use a fixed amount of current from the battery, based on
   the resistance of the motor. A larger CCA, RC or AH capacity battery supplies
   only what is required. It will not damage your vehicle; however, using batteries
   with higher or lower voltage or physically too high could potentially cause harm.


                                            121
14.12. Lead-acid batteries have memories.

   Lead-acid batteries do not have the "memory effect" mistakenly identified with first
   generation Ni-Cad batteries; however, continuous undercharging will lower the
   capacity of the battery over time due to the accumulation of permanent lead-
   sulfate or "sulfation". Deep discharges below twenty percent State-of-Charge
   (approximately 12.0 volts) can damage batteries and will shorten their service
   lives.




14.13. Bad batteries will not harm the charging system or starter.

   A bad or weak starting battery causes additional stress on a charging system,
   starter motor or starter solenoid. It can cause premature failures due to
   compensating for the voltage or current. If you replace a battery, alternator,
   voltage regulator or starter, you should test the other components for damage and
   repair or replace them as required.




14.14. Once formed, batteries will not change polarity.

   If a battery is fully discharged and continues to have a load, for example leaving
   the headlights on, it is possible for one or more cells to reverse polarity. When the
   battery has been recharged with reversed polarity the polarity can change. This is
   referred to as "cell reversal". To change polarity, fully discharge the battery and
   recharge it with the correct polarity.




14.15. Use tap water to refill batteries.

   Use only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to replace the lost water in
   batteries because using tap or reverse osmosis water from residential systems
   can produce calcium or magnesium sulfate crystals that can fill the pores and coat
   the plates. In an emergency, use rain water because rain water does not contain
   calcium or magnesium.




14.16. Driving to recharge a dead car battery.

                                            122
If jump starting is required to start an engine, the battery should be fully charged
by an external charger and then tested for latent damage. Assuming that a car
battery has a 50 amp hour capacity and the vehicle's charging system is capable
of producing 50 amps at highway speeds, it would take approximately 120 minutes
to fully recharge a good battery. If the battery is frozen, it is best to temporarily
install another fully charged battery until the original battery can be thawed out,
fully recharged and tested. Vehicle charging systems are not designed to recharge
fully discharged batteries and doing so may damage the stator or the diodes from
overheating.




                                        123
15. HOW LONG CAN I PARK MY VEHICLE?

                              Last Updated on December 25, 2005


The amount of time, usually referred to as "airport", "garage", or "storage" time, that you can
leave your vehicle parked and still start your engine is dependent on such things as the battery's
initial State-of-Charge (SoC), the Reserve Capacity, the amount of natural self-discharge and
parasitic (ignition key off) load, temperature and battery type (plate chemistry). Car
manufacturers normally design for at least 14 days or more "airport" time; based on a fully
charged battery in good condition, moderate weather, and no additions to the original car's
parasitic load (for example, an after market alarm system). The number of days will vary based
on the temperature. When a battery drops below 100% SoC, sulfation starts slowly occurring,
and this will reduce the capacity of the battery, and left unchecked, will kill the battery.

If you leave your vehicle parked for more than two weeks, then you have several options:

   15.1. The best long term (over one month) option is to continuously float charge your car
      battery in a well ventilated area by connecting a "smart" battery charger, voltage
      regulated float charger, or 5 watt or greater solar float charger. You will need a "float"
      charging voltage between 13.2 and 13.8 VDC at 80° F (26.7° C) and at least .5 amps
      (500 milliamps) to overcome the vehicle's parasitic load and the natural self-discharge of
      the battery. Do not use a cheap "trickle" charger, because it will overcharge your battery
      and dry out the electrolyte. This option will allow you to park you vehicle indefinitely, but
      the battery should be checked periodically.

   15.2. Disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to remove the parasitic load, but be sure
      that you have saved any security codes or radio stations presets that will have to be
      reprogrammed, but the battery's natural self-discharge will continue. This option will
      work from one month to six months depending battery type and temperature.

   15.3. Replace the battery with the largest VRLA AGM or Spiral Wound AGM type battery that
      will fit, e.g., an Optima or Exide Select Orbital, with very low self-discharge rates. For
      periods greater than two months, also disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to
      remove the parasitic load. This option will work for six months to twelve months
      depending battery type and temperature.

   15.4. Install a battery with a larger reserve capacity or connect an identical battery in parallel,
      but the battery's natural self-discharge will continue. For periods greater than two
      months, also disconnect the NEGATIVE (-) battery cable to remove the parasitic load.
      This option will work for two months to twelve months depending battery type and
      temperature.

   15.5. Replace the battery when you are ready to drive the vehicle again, especially if the
      battery is over three years old and in a hot climate.

   15.6. Have someone drive your car during the day at highway speeds every two weeks for at
      least 15 minutes to keep the battery charged.

                                                124
15.7. Jump start the battery and hope that there is no latent damage.

15.8. Install a low voltage disconnect. This is especially helpful if the driver forgets to turn the
   headlights off.




                                              125
16. HOW CAN I REVIVE A SULFATED BATTERY?

                              Last Updated on December 28, 2005


   INDEX:

       16.1. How Can I Tell If my Battery Has Permanent Sulfation?

       16.2. How Do I Prevent Permanent Sulfation?

       16.3. How Do I Recover Sulfated Batteries?

       16.4. Where Can I Find Additional Information On Sulfation?

People kill more deep cycle batteries with poor charging practices, than die of old age!

Lead sulfation actually starts when you remove the charging voltage a full charged lead-acid
battery. The lead sulfate crystals are converted back to lead during the normal charging cycle.
The real question is, if all of the lead sulfate crystals are not turned back into lead, how long
does it take before they become so hard that they can not be converted? The answer is that
varies--it could be weeks or months and depends on a number of factors such as the quality of
the lead, temperature, plate chemistry, porosity, Depth-of-Discharge, electrolyte stratification,
and so on.

During the normal discharge process, lead and sulfur combine into soft lead sulfate crystals are
formed in the pores and on the surfaces of the positive and negative plates inside a lead-acid
battery. When a battery is left in a discharged condition, continually undercharged, or the
electrolyte level is below the top of the plates or stratified, some of the soft lead sulfate re-
crystallizes into hard lead sulfate. It cannot be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This
creation of hard crystals is commonly called permanent or hard "sulfation". When it is present,
the battery shows a higher voltage than it's true voltage; thus, fooling the voltage regulator into
thinking that the battery is fully charged. This causes the charger to prematurely lower it's output
voltage or current, leaving the battery undercharged. Sulfation accounts for approximately 85%
of the lead-acid battery failures that are not used at least once per week. The longer sulfation
occurs, the larger and harder the lead sulfate crystals become. The positive plates will be light
brown and the negative plates will be dull, off white. These crystals lessen a battery's capacity
and ability to be recharged. This is because deep cycle and some starting batteries are typically
used for short periods, vacations, weekend trips, etc., and then are stored the rest of the year to
slowly self-discharge. Starting batteries are normally used several times a month, so sulfation
rarely becomes a problem unless they are undercharged or the plates are not covered with
electrolyte.

As a consequence of parasitic load and natural self-discharge, permanent sulfation occurs as
the lead-acid battery discharges while in long term storage. (Parasitic load is the constant
electrical load present on a battery while it is installed in a vehicle even when the power is
turned off. The load is from the continuous operation of appliances, such as a clock, security
system, maintenance of radio station presets, etc.) While disconnecting the negative battery

                                                126
cable will eliminate the parasitic load, it has no effect on the natural self-discharge of a car
battery. Self-discharge is accelerated by temperature. Thus, sulfation can be a huge problem for
lead-acid batteries not being used, sitting on a dealer's shelf, or in a parked vehicle, especially
in HOT temperatures.

Car and deep cycle lead-acid batteries are perishable!

   16.1. How Can I Tell If my Battery Has Permanent Sulfation?

      Chances are that your battery has some permanent sulfation, if it will not "take" or
      "hold" a charge and exhibits one or more of the following conditions:

             If your wet (flooded) Standard (Sb/Sb) or wet (flooded) Low
              Maintenance (Sb/Ca) battery has been not been recharged for over
              three months, especially if the temperature in the storage area was
              consistently over 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). (Six months for wet
              Maintenance Free (Ca/Ca) or one year for VRLA AGM or Gel Cell.)

             While recharging in a well ventilated area, the ammeter does not
              drop to below 2% (C/50) of the twice the amp hour capacity of the
              battery divided by the charging rate in hours and the battery is warm
              or hot. For example, if you have a 50 AH battery and a ten amp
              charger, a discharged battery should be fully charged within 10 hours
              (2 x 50 AH/10 amps = 10 hours).

             If the Specific Gravity is low in all cells after the battery been on a
              charger for a long time.

             If the temperature compensated absorption charging voltage is
              correct and the battery is gassing or boiling excessively.

             Poor performance or low capacity.

             When the SoC measured by a hydrometer, which is more accurate,
              does not materially agree with the SoC measured by a digital
              voltmeter




   16.2. How do I prevent permanent sulfation?

      The best way to prevent sulfation is to keep a lead-acid battery fully charged
      because lead sulfate is not formed. This can be accomplished three ways.
      Based on the battery type you are using, the best solution is to use an external
      charger in a well ventilated area that is capable of delivering a continuous,
      temperature compensated "float" charge at the battery manufacturer's
      recommended float or maintenance voltage for a fully charged battery. For 12-volt
      batteries, depending on the battery type, usually have fixed float voltages between
      13.1 VDC and 13.9 VDC, measured at 80° F (26.7° C) with an accurate (.5% or
                                                127
   better) digital voltmeter. [For a six-volt battery, measured voltages are one half of
   those for a 12-volt battery.] This can best be accomplished by continuously
   charging using a three stage for VRLA (AGM or Gel Cell) batteries or four stage
   for wet (flooded) batteries, "smart" microprocessor controlled charger. If you
   already have a two stage charger, then use a voltage-regulated "float" charger or
   battery "maintainer", set at the correct temperature compensated float voltage to
   "float" or maintain a fully charged battery. If you need Web addresses or telephone
   numbers of the charger manufacturers, please see the Chargers and Float
   Chargers and Battery Maintainers sections of Battery Information Links List. A
   cheap, unregulated "trickle" or a manual two stage charger can overcharge a
   battery and destroy it by drying out the electrolyte.

   A second method is to periodically recharge the battery when the State-of-Charge
   drops to 80% or below. Maintaining a high State-of-Charge tends to prevent
   irreversible permanent sulfation. The frequency of recharging depends on the
   parasitic load, temperature, battery's condition, and battery type. Lower
   temperatures slow down electrochemical reactions and higher temperatures will
   significantly increase them. A battery stored at 95° F (35° C) will self-discharge
   twice as fast than one stored at 75° F (23.9° C). Standard (Sb/Sb) batteries have a
   very high self-discharge rate; whereas, AGM and Gel Cell VRLA batteries have
   very low rates. Please see Section 7.1 for more information on battery types.

   There are trade-offs between the economics of continuous "float" charging, where
   self-discharge and resulting sulfation does not occur, and periodic charging with
   the increased potential for a shorter battery life due to permanent sulfation. If you
   decide to periodically recharging the batteries while in storage, increased
   recharging frequency, disconnecting any parasitic load, or storing them in colder
   temperatures will impede the self-discharge and reduce the possibility for
   permanent sulfation, but will also reduce the total number of life cycles.

   A third technique is to use a solar panel or wind or water generator designed to
   "float" charge batteries. This is a popular solution when AC power is unavailable
   for charging. The size of a solar panel or wind or water generator required will
   depend on the average amount of available natural resource, battery capacity and
   temperature. Normally a five watt or larger panel is required for an average car
   battery. A charge controller (voltage regulator) is required when the peak current
   output exceeds 1.5% of the amp hour capacity of the battery.

   A desulfator may be used in conjunction with any of the above methods.




16.3. How do I recover sulfated batteries?

   Here are some methods to try to recover permanently sulfated batteries:

   16.3.1. Light Sulfation


                                             128
   Check the electrolyte levels and try one of the following three methods for
   removing light sulfation:

   16.3.1.1. Equalize the battery. Please see Section 9.1.4. for more
   information on equalizing.

   16.3.1.2. Apply a constant current at 2% of the battery's Reserve Capacity
   or 1% of the Amp Hour capacity rating for 48 to 120 hours, depending on
   the electrolyte temperature and capacity of the battery, at 14.4 VDC or
   more, depending on the battery type. Cycle (discharge to 50% and
   recharge) the battery a couple of times and test its capacity. You might
   have to increase the voltage in order to break down the hard lead sulfate
   crystals. If the battery gets above 125° F (51.7° C) then stop charging and
   allow the battery to cool before continuing.

   16.3.1.3. Use a desulfator also known as a pulse charger. A list of some of
   the desulfator or pulse charger manufacturers is available on the Battery
   References Links List at http://www.batteryfaq.org. Please note that despite
   desulfator manufacturer's claims, some battery experts feel that desulfators
   and pulse chargers do not work any better at removing permanent or
   preventing sulfation than do constant voltage chargers.

16.3.2. Heavy Sulfation

   Check the electrolyte levels and try one of the following two methods for
   removing heavy sulfation:

   16.3.2.1. Replace the old electrolyte with distilled, deionized or
   demineralized water, let stand for one hour, apply a constant current at four
   amps at 13.8 VDC until there is no additional rise in specific gravity, remove
   the electrolyte, wash the sediment out, replace with fresh electrolyte
   (battery acid), and recharge. If the specific gravity exceeds 1.300, then
   remove the new electrolyte, wash the sediment out, and start over from the
   beginning with distilled water. You might have to increase the voltage in
   order to break down the hard lead sulfate crystals. If the battery gets above
   125° F (51.7° C) then stop charging and allow the battery to cool down
   before continuing. Cycle (discharge to 50% and recharge) the battery a
   couple of times and test capacity. The sulfate crystals are more soluble in
   water than in electrolyte. As these crystals are dissolved, the sulfate is
   converted back into sulfuric acid and the specific gravity rises. This
   procedure will only work with some batteries.

   16.3.2.2. Use a desulfator also known as a pulse charger. A list of some of
   the desulfator or pulse charger manufacturers is available on the Battery
   References Links List at http://www.batteryfaq.org. Please note that despite
   desulfator manufacturer's claims, some battery experts feel that desulfators
   and pulse chargers do not work any better at removing permanent or
   preventing sulfation than do constant voltage chargers.


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16.4. Where Can I Find Additional Information On Sulfation?

   Please read Collyn Rivers' article, Battery Pulsing Devices. Here are some articles
   on sulfation, desulfation and desulfators by Alistair Couper, Lead Acid Battery
   Desulfation Pulse Generator; Some Technical Details on Lead Acid Batteries: The
   Chemistry of Sulfation, and Why Pulsing Helps, and Desulfator Frequently Asked
   Questions.




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17. WHY WON'T MY ENGINE START?

                              Last Updated on December 25, 2005


Finding the reason why your engine will not start can be a very frustrating problem. The battery
and starter motor's principal job is to start the engine. While the engine is running, the alternator,
voltage regulator and battery all work together to provide stable source of power for your vehicle
and to recharge the battery. All of these components, including the wiring and wiring
connections, must be in good working order to start and operate your engine.

Assuming you have the battery's plates covered with electrolyte, sufficient fuel, the engine and
ignition system are in good working order, and the electrolyte is not frozen, the following is a list
of four simple instructions on how to troubleshoot the problem and isolate the source:

1. If there are no lights or other strange electrical problems, CHECK the wiring, battery
    terminal mating surfaces, inside the positive GM style side battery cable terminal with
    multiple cables, and grounding strap between the engine and chassis for corrosion or
    oxidation. Clean each end to bare metal. Loose, bad or corroded connections are very
    common causes. If good, then

2. RECHARGE and TEST the battery for latent damage and TEST the charging system. If
    good, then

3. Test the starter. Burned solenoid contacts, worn starter motor brushes or loose starter bolts
    are common problems for older vehicles.

4. If the problem continues or the battery drains overnight, TEST for excessive parasitic
    (ignition key off) drain.

Some auto parts or battery stores in the United States and Canada, like Auto Zone, Sears, Wal-
Mart, Pep Boys, etc., will test your battery, charging system and starter for free. Simple stuff,
like corrosion, bad or loose cable connections, loose alternator belt, loose starter bolts, or a
dead battery, can cause your car not start. If the problem is not corrected, take your vehicle to a
good auto electric shop is highly recommended.




                                                 131
18. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ON BATTERIES?

                             Last Updated on December 25, 2005


Additional information on car and deep cycle batteries maybe found on the Web site at
http://www.batteryfaq.org/. For example, there is a frequently updated list list containing
hyperlinks to lead-acid battery manufacturer's sites, battery brand names, private labeling
information and telephone numbers. There are two lists with hyperlinks to battery related
product information and references about lead-acid batteries, for example, charging systems,
regulators, isolators, test and monitoring systems, associations, books, magazines, history,
directories, standards, etc. Also, there is a zipped (.zip) file of all documents and graphics
contains of this Web site. It can found at Battery.zip.

Most of the battery manufacturers have a Battery FAQ posted on their web sites in addition to
product information, specifications and charging voltages and procedures. Web addresses will
often change, so you can use an Internet search tool like http://www.google.com/,
http://www.yahoo.com/, http://www.msn.com/, etc. to locate the new addresses. These search
tools are very effective in finding specific topics as well.

I will be happy to try and answer your lead-acid battery and charging questions.
Historically, over 80% of the questions I receive have already been answered in the FAQ
posted on this Web site, so please check it first. Some of the e-mails I receive do not
have a valid return address, so please inclose a valid "Reply To:" e-mail address in your
message and include a "Subject:" that will not be blocked by your spam filter or firewall.
All e-mail received with a virus or worm will be automatically deleted. For comments,
suggestions or questions, please e-mail Bill Darden at info@batteryfaq.org or
william.darden@uumail.de.

I highly recommend that you hyperlink to http://www.batteryfaq.org/ rather than republishing this
document because this information will be revised weekly to keep up with the advancements in
batteries and the changing resources. Revisions will be indicated with a more recent date or
higher version number. These documents are in the public domain and can be freely
reproduced or distributed without permission. Attribution is always appreciated, but not required.




                                               132
19. HOW CAN I PRINT THIS FAQ?

                            Last Updated on December 25, 2005


The intent of this page is to present ways you can print the documents posted on this Web site.
While hyperlinking to http://www.batteryfaq.org/ is highly recommended because it is frequently
updated, many of you would like a printed copy. Some have asked why the FAQ and supporting
documents were divided into smaller Web pages. The answer is because the FAQ was
becoming so large that some readers were experiencing time-outs when trying to view it while
using their dial-up Internet connection. The choice was between eliminating some of the
graphics or breaking up the FAQ into smaller pages. Also, there is a zipped (.zip) file of all
documents and graphics contains of this Web site. It can found at Battery.zip.

   19.1. Printing or Saving With Graphics

             Open the Web pages using a word processing program, like
              Microsoft Word, that supports .htm or .html files and use the
              program's Print command. If you want to save the Web pages, copy
              them into one document and used the Save As command. This is
              especially useful when you want to concatenate or combine a
              number of Web pages into one document.

             For example, in Internet Explorer, use your Web browser's Print or
              Save As commands. They are under the File button in the upper left
              hand corner of the Web page. Printing directly from your browser
              could cause some portions of the pages to be cut off, so resizing
              your pages to fit on your printer, reformatting, or printing in the
              "landscape" mode is recommended.



   19.2. Printing Without Graphics

             Use your Web browser's Save As command and save the Web page
              as a text (.txt) file.

             Print the text file using a word processor, Notepad, Workpad, DOS
              Print command, or a text editor.




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