Frequently Asked Battery Questions
Why choose Lithium batteries?
What about the Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery used in laptops, PDA's, ect.?
Why use Rechargeable NiCad (NiCad or Nickel Cadmium) batteries?
Why use Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries?
What are alkaline type batteries?
What about Zinc Air batteries?
What are Silver Oxide batteries?
Why use heavy duty (carbon zinc) batteries?
What is an Ampere (A)?
What is MilliAmp Hour or mAh?
What is Amp Hour or Ah?
What is cut off voltage?
What does OEM stand for?
What is a Cycle?
What is a Deep Cycle battery?
Why use an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery?
What is MCA or Marine Cranking Amps?
What is CCA or Cold Cranking Amps?
What is PCA or Pulse Cranking Amps?
What is a Volt?
What is a Watt?
What is an OHM?
What is RC or Reserve Capacity?
What is a starting battery?
What is battery sulfation?
What is a Gel battery (Gel Battery)?
What is meant by "smart" and "dumb" batteries?
What is self-discharge?
What is shelf life?
What does Capacity mean?
How do I connect my batteries in "Series?"
How do I jump start my battery using booster cables?
Safe Booster Cable Operation
How do I connect my batteries in "Parallel?"
Do you need a custom battery pack made?
What is the standard life of a rechargeable battery?
Does it help to store batteries in the refrigerator?
My new battery is not taking a charge, is it defective?
Do batteries self discharge when not in use?
Do I ever need to add acid to my lead acid battery?
Can batteries freeze?
Why isn't my new battery working?
Why use new aftermarket batteries?
How can you maximize battery performance?
Is it possible to upgrade the devices battery to a newer chemistry?
Can I overcharge a battery?
How do I dispose of or recycle my old batteries?
Are lead acid batteries recyclable (Auto, Marine type)?
What is a Battery? - ¿Que es una bateria o pila?
What are some of the major types of lead acid batteries?
What is a marine battery?
What is a Sealed Maintenance Free Battery?
What is an AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat Battery?
What are the advantages of the AGM battery?
What is the difference between MCA and CCA?
What is HCA rating?
What is a WATT-HOUR (Watt-Hr, WH)?
What is OHM'S Law?
What is Electrolyte?
What is the proper electrolyte level?
How can a standard automotive or marine battery's state of charge be accurately measured?
Does my deep cycle battery develop a memory?
Is there a maximum temperature for charging lead acid batteries?
What is the "Memory Effect" that I have heard about?
Do I need to charge my new Laptop or Notebook battery?
Do I have to condition my Laptop or Notebook battery?
Can I take a wheelchair, scooter or other equipment that is powered by a sealed AGM or Gel battery on a airplane or cruise ship?
Q: Why choose Lithium batteries?
A: Lithium chemistry is a very active material that provides a great deal of energy compared to the amount of material used. Lithium batteries are light in weight while maintaining a high voltage and longer service life compared to other type primary chemistries (for example alkaline, carbon zinc batteries). Non-rechargeable lithium batteries are typically 3.0 Volts to 3.6 Volts, however, AA & AAA 1.5 Volt Lithium Batteries are available.
Q: What about the Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery used in laptops, PDA's, ect.?
A: Li-ion (lithium ion) batteries use lithium compounds which are more stable than the standard lithium used in non rechargeable lithium batteries. A lithium battery should never be recharged while "lithium-ion" batteries are made to be recharged. Rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries have a higher energy density than most other types of rechargeable batteries. Which means that for their size or weight they can store more energy than other rechargeable batteries. They also operate at higher voltages than other rechargeable, typically about 3.7 volts for lithium-ion verses 1.2 volts for NiMH or NiCad. This means a single cell can often be used rather than multiple NiMH or NiCad cells. Lithium-ion batteries also have a lower self discharge rate than other types of rechargeable batteries. This means that once they are charged they will retain their charge for a longer time compared to NiMH and NiCad rechargeable batteries. Lithium-ion batteries will maintain most of their charge even after weeks or months of non use. However, NiMH and NiCad batteries will lose anywhere from 1-5% of their charge per day, (depending on the storage temperature) even if they are not installed in a device.
Q: Why use Rechargeable NiCad (NiCad or Nickel Cadmium) batteries?
A: NiCad batteries provide a high discharge capability with great cycling performance. Generally used in applications such as cordless phones or in high drain, fast recharge applications such as cordless power tool or two-way radio. NiCad batteries offer more cycling capability than NiMH, but with lower capacity. NiCad batteries must be disposed of properly for recycling.
Q: Why use Rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries?
A: NiMH batteries provide outstanding capacity in a lightweight, rechargeable format. NiMH is interchangeable with NiCad in devices while providing a more environmentally friendly profile. Generally utilized in applications ranging from cellular phone to camcorder or digital cameras. NiMH batteries offer higher capacity than NiCad, but with fewer cycles. NiMH batteries are to be disposed of properly for recycling.
Q: What are alkaline type batteries?
A: Alkaline batteries, also known as manganese dioxide, are non-rechargeable and are the most commonly used batteries for heavy current, extended run-time disposable applications. Capable of running in a wide range of temperatures and perform under varying drains (low and high), alkaline batteries are the choice for standard consumer electronics. Standard sizes are AA, AAA, C, D and 9V configurations.
Q: What about Zinc Air batteries?
A: Zinc Air batteries provide the highest power density for non-rechargeable chemistries per unit of weight. Compact in size and utilizing oxygen for "activation", zinc air batteries are commonly used in hearing aid, medical and mercury replacement applications.
Q: What are Silver Oxide batteries?
A: Silver Oxide batteries provide extensive power in miniature configurations. Primary applications for silver oxide batteries are watches, cameras and measurement instruments.
Q: Why use heavy duty (carbon zinc) batteries?
A: Heavy Duty non-rechargeable batteries, also recognized as carbon zinc or zinc chloride, provide dependable, economic power solutions for every day use. Generally used in low drain, consumer electronics, heavy duty batteries are configured in the most common sizes (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V), as well as, specialty sizes for telecommunications, hobby and industrial uses.
Q: What is an Ampere (A)?
A: The amount of current flow within a circuit. Measured in Amps.
Q: What is MilliAmp Hour or mAh?
A: mAh (milli-ampere hour) is a capacity rating that measures how much current a battery will discharge over a specified period of time (typically a one hour period). Higher mAh ratings do not necessarily reflect how fast current can be drawn, rather, how long a current can be drawn. For example a 2000 mAh battery will sustain a 2000 milli-Amp (2 ampere) draw (or load) for approximately one hour before dropping to a voltage level that is considered discharged. A 1800 mAh battery will sustain a 1800 milli-Amp (1.8 ampere) draw for approximately one hour. Overall capacity is influenced by other factors such as temperature, depth & speed of discharge.
Q: What is Amp Hour or Ah?
A: Ah (Ampere hour) is a capacity rating that measures how much current a battery
will discharge over a specified period of time (generally a 20 hour period). Higher mAh ratings do not necessarily reflect how fast current can be drawn, rather, how long a current can be drawn. For example a 20Ah battery will sustain a 1-amp draw for approximately 20 hours before dropping to a voltage level that is considered discharged. A 40Ah battery will sustain an 8-Amp draw (or load) for approximately five hours. Capacity is influenced by other factors such as temperature, depth of discharge and speed of discharge.
Q: What is cut off voltage?
A: The voltage at the end of a useful discharge. Cut off voltage will vary by device. However, the cut off voltage for a device specifies the inoperable point for the device utilizing battery power.
Q: What does OEM stand for?
A: OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, referring to the particular maker of the battery. OEM batteries are often referred to as "original" batteries.
Q: What is a Cycle?
A: A cycle is considered one discharge and one charge sequence for a rechargeable battery.
Q: What is a Deep Cycle battery?
A: Deep cycle batteries are designed for multiple, extended discharge & charge cycles. Deep cycle batteries can be discharged as low as 80% repeatedly and fully recover. DC Generally refers to lead chemistry batteries designed with thicker lead plates than a standard automotive battery. Deep Cycle batteries provide outstanding performance in marine, RV, wheelchair, scooter and security applications.
Q: Why use an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery?
A: An AGM battery is a sealed, non-spillable maintenance free, valve regulated battery. An AGM battery utilizes a fine fiber glass material separator between the lead plates within the battery. The AGM design is also highly resistant to vibration deterioration. AGM batteries, are also called starved electrolyte they operate with no maintenance and can be installed in various ways (except upside down) without spill and provide outstanding power per dollar invested. AGM batteries are commonly interchanged with traditional flooded lead acid batteries as the charge/discharge profile of these batteries are similar. AGM batteries have low internal resistance and a very low self-discharge rate (from 1% to 3% per month). So they can sit unused for much longer periods without charging. This technology is used by Optima and Odyssey Extreme batteries for rugged applications.
Q: What is MCA or Marine Cranking Amps?
A: MCA is a measurement of the starting power of a battery at 32°F under a load (ampere draw) for 30 seconds with the end voltage maintained at 1.20 volts per cell. MCA is generally 20% higher than CCA (cold cranking amps).
Q: What is CCA or Cold Cranking Amps?
A: CCA (cold cranking amps) is a measurement of the starting power of a battery at 0°F under a load (ampere draw) for 30 seconds with the end voltage maintained at 1.20 volts per cell. Several variations of CCA ratings may be applied to a battery including; MCA (marine cranking amps) or CA (Cranking amps), which are generally 20% higher than CCA (cold cranking amps) and reflect higher temperature testing.
Q: What is PCA or Pulse Cranking Amps?
A: PCA (Pulse Crank Amps) is a rating specifically geared towards starting applications only. PCA is a short duration (5 seconds), high rate discharge measurement generally used in the powersport industry. PCA is a rating used by Odyssey batteries.
Q: What is a Volt?
A: A volt is the unit of measure for electrical potential or pressure.
Q: What is a Watt?
A: A watt is the unit for measuring electrical power (Watts = Amperes x Volts).
Q: What is an OHM?
A: OHM is a unit for measuring electrical resistance or impedance within an electrical circuit.
Q: What is RC or Reserve Capacity?
A: RC (reserve capacity) is the number of minutes that a battery can support a 25 ampere load at 80°F until its terminal voltage drops to 1.75 volts per cell or 10.50 volts for a 12V battery. For example, a 12 volt battery that has a reserve capacity rating of 100 minutes signifies that it can be discharged at 25 amps for 100 minutes at 80°F before its voltage drops to 10.50 volts.
Q: What is a starting battery?
A: Starting batteries (sometimes called SLI for starting, lighting, ignition) are commonly used to start and run engines. Engine starters are generally rated for their output cranking power (CCA). Starting batteries are not
recommended for deep cycle applications, but will provide some extended power (defined as reserve capacity RC) in the event of failure of a vehicles electrical generating system.
Q: What is battery sulfation?
A: Sulfation is the formation of lead sulfate on the surface of and within the pores of the active material of the lead plates within a battery. If the sulfation forms large crystals on the plates, the battery will not function efficiently or may not work at all. Common causes of battery sulfation are sitting a long time in a discharged condition (non use), operating under high temperatures, and prolonged over charging or under charging.
Q: What is a Gel battery (Gel Battery)?
A: A gel battery is a sealed, non-spillable maintenance free, valve regulated battery. Gel Batteries have a gelling agent added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside the battery. Gel batteries also use one way valves in place of open vents, this helps the normal internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, reducing gassing. Gel Cell batteries are non-spillable even if they are broken and rugged. Gel batteries are generally used in deep cycle applications and provide high deep discharge and recovery capabilities.
Q: What is meant by "smart" and "dumb" batteries?
A: Smart batteries have internal circuit boards with smart chips that permit them to communicate with laptop computers and monitor battery performance. Dumb batteries do not have the chip for communicating with the application, but will run the device.
Q: What is self-discharge?
A: The loss of capacity in a battery due to internal chemical reactions. Self- discharge will occur within all batteries and is influenced by temperature. Self-discharge occurs no matter if the battery is connected to your device or not.
Q: What is shelf life?
A: The amount of time a battery will retain an operable percentage of its stated capacity (calculated under ambient temperature storage conditions) before having to recharge it.
Q: What does Capacity mean?
A: Capacity is the measure of the energy stored in a battery. This is shown in the Ah (Ampere hour) or mAh (milli-Ampere hour), capacity defines the ability of a battery to perform under a specified discharge criteria
Q: How do I connect my batteries in "Series?"
A: First, never connect batteries of different chemistries, voltage or capacity in parallel.
The positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery; the positive terminal of the second is connected to the negative of the third, etc. The voltage of the assembled battery is the sum of the battery voltages of the individual batteries. So the batteries are connected: + to - to + to - to + to -, etc. The capacity of the battery is unchanged.
Q: How do I jump start my battery using booster cables?
A: Warning: Batteries produce explosive gases. These instructions are designed to minimize the explosion hazard. Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times. Both batteries should be of the same voltage (6 V, 12 V, etc.).
Q: Safe Booster Cable Operation
A: When jump starting, always wear proper eye protection and never lean over the battery. Do not jump start a damaged battery; inspect both batteries before connecting booster cables. Be sure vent caps are tight and level. Be sure that the vehicles are not touching and that both ignition switches are in the "OFF" position. Turn off all electrical equipment (radio, defroster, windshield wipers, lights, etc.)
The following steps should be followed exactly:
1. Connect positive (+) booster cable to positive (+) terminal of discharged battery.
2. Connect other end of positive (+) cable to positive (+) terminal of assisting battery.
3. Connect negative (-) cable to negative (-) terminal of assisting battery.
4. MAKE FINAL CONNECTION OF NEGATIVE (-) CABLE TO ENGINE BLOCK OF STALLED VEHICLE, AWAY FROM BATTERY AND CARBURETOR.
5. Be sure that cables are clear of fan blades, belts and other moving parts of both engines.
6. Start vehicle and remove cables in REVERSE order of connections.
Q: How do I connect my batteries in "Parallel?"
A: First, never connect batteries of different chemistries, voltage or capacity in parallel.
The positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the positive terminal of the second battery, the positive terminal of the second is connected to the positive of
the third, etc. and The negative terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery, the negative terminal of the second is connected to the negative of the third, etc. So the batteries are connected: + to + to + and - to - to -. In this configuration, the capacity is the sum of the capacities of the individual batteries and voltage is unchanged.
Q: Do you need a custom battery pack made?
A: Call your Battery-Plex team at 954-325-9717.
Q: What is the standard life of a rechargeable battery?
A: Operating under normal conditions, the life should be between 400 to 800 charge-discharge cycles, or 1 to 3 years on average. As your rechargeable battery begins to die, you will notice a decline in the running time of the battery. When your two hour battery is only supplying you with twenty minutes worth of use, it is time for a new one. When a battery is not used for extensive periods of time it should be removed from the device and stored in a cool, dry and clean environment. Self-discharge will occur when the battery is not used for an extended time period. Fully charge the battery before use after storage. Long term storage will have permanent effects on the battery's capacity.
Q: Does it help to store batteries in the refrigerator?
A: Yes, cooler temperatures will provide a slight extension of battery life. However, only store new or fully charged batteries. Batteries stored in a refrigerator must be kept dry as well. Higher temperatures will increase the flow of ions or self-discharge within the battery. Storing primary batteries (D's, C's, AA's, AAA's, 9 volt, etc.) in a cooler environment slows down this rate of discharge that all batteries experience even when not in use, hence a longer shelf life. If this is done, it is important that the batteries be kept as dry as possible by keeping them in an airtight container in the driest part of the refrigerator, the door for example. When removing batteries from the refrigerator, you must allow them to "thaw out" or warm up to room temperature before using them in your device.
Q: My new battery is not taking a charge, is it defective?
A: New batteries from the factory are in a slightly discharged condition and must be fully charged before use. It is recommended that you fully charge and discharge the new battery two to five times to allow it to reach its maximum rated capacity. An overnight charge (approximately twelve hours) is recommended. It is normal for a battery to become warm during charging and discharging. When charging the battery for the first time, the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is normal with rechargeable batteries. At times, new batteries are more difficult for the application to charge; they must be conditioned. At times the charger will stop charging a new battery before it is fully charged. If this happens, simply remove the battery from the device and then reconnect it. This may happen several times during the first battery charge.
Q: Do batteries self discharge when not in use?
A: Yes, all batteries self-discharge. The rate of discharge depends on the type of battery and the storage temperature.
Q: Do I ever need to add acid to my lead acid battery?
A: Under standard or normal conditions, you "never" need to add acid or electrolyte (unless tipped over). Low maintenance batteries may need fluid added to keep the "plates" safely immersed. Only distilled, deionized or approved water should be added.
Q: Can batteries freeze?
A: If the battery is in a discharged state, the electrolyte in a lead acid battery can freeze. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately 16.0°F. The freezing temperature of the electrolyte in a fully charged battery is -92.0°F.
Q: Why isn't my new battery working?
A: No need to worry since there is nothing wrong with your rechargeable battery. Your new battery will arrive to you in a slightly discharged state. Therefore, it must be charged in order for it to work. We recommend that new batteries should be charged and discharged two to five times in order to allow them to reach their capacity.
Q: Why use new aftermarket batteries?
A: Replacement batteries or "after market" batteries will often last longer than the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) batteries that came with your application. These are new, high quality guarantied batteries. You pay for the battery, not the name.
Q: How can you maximize battery performance?
A: Across all battery types, there are several things that you can do to ensure the maximum production from your battery: Always store batteries in a cool and dry place. They should be fully charged before being stored for extended periods of time. Do not leave your battery in its charger for more than 24 hours. Doing so will shorten the life of your battery. Keep your batteries and
battery connectors clean. Clean batteries with a cotton swab and alcohol. A clean battery will ensure a good connection between your battery and its device. Keep your batteries dry. Moisture can corrode contact points and limit charge-discharge performance. Do not leave your battery in a discharged state when not in use.
Q: Is it possible to upgrade the devices battery to a newer chemistry?
A: NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion are all different technologies and usually "can not" be substituted unless the device has been configured to accept more than one type of chemistry battery. Each chemistry requires a different charging algorithm to be properly and safely charged. Your applications charger must be properly configured or designed to be capable of charging the chemistry of the battery. Please, refer to your owner's manual to find out which rechargeable battery types the particular device supports.
Q: Can I overcharge a battery?
A: Yes, overcharging batteries can reduce life and effectiveness. Once your battery is fully charged, take it off the charger.
Q: How do I dispose of or recycle my old batteries?
A: All rechargeable batteries (NiCad, NiMH, Li Ion, and Lead Acid) must be disposed of properly through approved recycling facilities. To recycle your batteries, they may be returned to a battery retailer in you area (i.e. Sears, Radio Shack), automotive service station or other authorized collection centers for recycling. You may also visit the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation web site at: www.rbrc.org.
Q: Are lead acid batteries recyclable (Auto, Marine type)?
A: Yes. Lead acid batteries are the most commonly recycled battery type. The lead in the battery is re-used in new batteries. The plastic containers are neutralized and used in the manufacture of new battery cases. The electrolyte can be processed for recycled waste water uses. In some cases, the electrolyte is cleaned and reprocessed and sold as battery grade electrolyte. In other instances, the sulfate content is removed as Ammonia Sulfate and used in fertilizers. The separators are often used as a fuel source for the recycling process.
Q: What is a Battery?
A: Batteries store energy, much like a gas tank stores gas. The word battery is limited to an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electricity, by use of a galvanic cell. A galvanic cell is a fairly simple device consisting of two electrodes (an anode and a cathode) and an electrolyte solution. Batteries consist of one or more galvanic cells. As chemicals in the battery change, electrical power is stored or released. Batteries are not 100% efficient. Some energy is lost as heat and chemical reactions when charging and discharging. If you use 1000 watts from a battery, it might take 1200 watts or more to fully recharge it. Slower charging and discharging rates are more efficient.
Q: What are some of the major types of lead acid batteries?
A: Batteries are divided in two ways, by application (what they are used for) and construction (how they are built). The major applications are automotive, marine, and deep-cycle. Deep-cycle includes solar electric (PV), backup power, and RV and boat "house" batteries. The major construction types are flooded (wet), gelled, and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat). AGM batteries are also sometimes called "starved electrolyte" or "dry", because the fiberglass mat is only 95% saturated with Sulfuric acid and there is no excess liquid. Flooded may be standard, with removable caps, or the so-called "maintenance free" (that means they are designed to die one week after the warranty runs out). All gelled are sealed and a few are "valve regulated", which means that a tiny valve keeps a slight positive pressure. Nearly all AGM batteries are sealed valve regulated (commonly referred to as "VRLA" - Valve Regulated Lead-Acid). Most valve regulated are under some pressure - 1 to 4 psi at sea level.
Q: What is a marine battery?
A: Marine batteries are considered a "hybrid" battery which actually fall between the starting and deep-cycle batteries. Marine batteries are usually rated using "MCA" or Marine cranking amps which is rated 32 degrees F, while CCA is at zero degree F. (For more information on CCA, CA & MCA, please see below)
Q: What is a Sealed Maintenance Free Battery?
A: Sealed batteries are known as maintenance free batteries. They are made with vents that (usually) cannot be removed. A standard auto or marine maintenance free battery is sealed, but not fully leak proof. Sealed batteries are not totally sealed since all batteries must allow gas to vent during charging. There are sealed lead acid (SLA) batteries that are non-spillable. Please information on our SLA batteries, see AGM and Gel batteries below.
Q: What is an AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat Battery?
A: The newer type of sealed nonspillable maintenance free valve regulated battery uses
"Absorbed Glass Mats", or AGM separators between the plates. This is a very fine fiber Boron-Silicate glass mat. These type of batteries have all the advantages of gelled, but can take much more abuse. These are also called "starved electrolyte." Just like the Gel batteries, the AGM Battery will not leak acid if broken.
Q: What are the advantages of the AGM battery?
A: The advantages of AGM batteries are no maintenance, sealed against fumes, hydrogen, leakage, or non-spilling even if they are broken, and can survive most freezes. AGM batteries are "recombinant" - which means the Oxygen and Hydrogen recombine inside the battery. These use gas phase transfer of oxygen to the negative plates to recombine them back into water while charging and prevent the loss of water through electrolysis. The recombining is typically 99+% efficient, so almost no water is lost. Charging voltages for most AGM batteries are the same as for a standard type battery so there is no need for special charging adjustments or problems with incompatible chargers or charge controls. Since the internal resistance is extremely low, there is almost no heating of the battery even under heavy charge and discharge currents. AGM batteries have a very low self-discharge rate (from 1% to 3% per month). So they can sit in storage for much longer periods without charging. The plates in AGM's are tightly packed and rigidly mounted, and will withstand shock and vibration better than any standard battery.
Q: What is the difference between MCA and CCA?
A: The marine cranking ampere (MCA) rating of a battery is very similar to the CCA rating; the only difference is that while the CCA is measured at a temperature of 0°F, the MCA is measured at 32°F. All other requirements are the same - the ampere draw is for 30 seconds and the end of discharge voltage in both cases is 1.20 volts per cell.
Q: What is HCA rating?
A: The full form of HCA is hot cranking amperes. It is the same thing as the MCA or the CA or the CCA, except that the temperature at which the test is conducted is 80°F.
Q: What is a WATT-HOUR (Watt-Hr, WH)?
A: A WATT-HOUR is the unit of measure for electrical energy expressed as Watts x Hours.
Q: What is OHM'S Law?
A: OHM'S Law expresses the relationship between volts (V) and amperes (A) in an electrical circuit with resistance (R). It can be expressed as follows: V= IR Volts (V) = Amperes (I) x Ohms (R). If any two of the three values are known, the third value can be calculated using the above equation.
Q: What is Electrolyte?
A: In a lead-acid battery, the electrolyte is sulfuric acid diluted with water (acid). It is a conductor that supplies water and sulfate for the electrochemical reaction:
Q: What is the proper electrolyte level?
A: Liquid levels should be 1/8 inch below the bottom of the vent well (the plastic tube that extends into the battery). The electrolyte level should not drop below the top of the plates.
Q: How can a standard automotive or marine battery's state of charge be accurately measured?
A: The state of charge of a lead acid battery is most accurately determined by measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte. This is done with a hydrometer. Battery voltage also indicates the level of charge when measured in an open circuit condition. This should be done with a voltmeter. For an accurate voltage reading, the battery should also be allowed to rest for a period sufficient to let the voltage stabilize.
Q: Does my deep cycle battery develop a memory?
A: Lead acid batteries do not develop any type of memory.
Q: Is there a maximum temperature for charging lead acid batteries?
A: When charging lead acid batteries, the temperature should not exceed 120°F. At this point the battery should be taken off charge and allowed to cool before resuming the charge process.
Q: What is the "Memory Effect" that I have heard about?
A: The NiCad chemistry batteries, and to a lesser degree NiMH chemistry batteries, are known to have what is called the "memory effect". What this refers to is that if a battery is repeatedly only "partially" discharged before recharging, the battery "forgets" that it has the capacity to further discharge all the way down. The way to avoid the dreaded "memory effect" is to fully cycle (fully charge and then fully discharge) the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Batteries can be discharged by unplugging the device's AC adapter and letting the device run on the battery until it ceases to function. This will insure your battery remains healthy.
Q: Do I need to charge my new Laptop or Notebook battery?
A: A new battery comes in a discharged condition must be charged before use (refer to the devices manual for charging instructions). Upon initial use (or after a prolonged storage period) the battery may require three to four charge/discharge cycles before achieving maximum capacity. When charging the battery for the first time the device may indicate that charging is complete after just 10 or 15 minutes. This is a normal phenomenon with rechargeable batteries. Remove the battery from the device, reinsert it and repeat the charging procedure.
Q: Do I have to condition my Laptop or Notebook battery?
A: Yes, it is very important to condition or fully discharge and then fully charge the battery every two to three weeks. Failure to do so may significantly shorten the battery's life (this does not apply to Li-Ion batteries, which do not require conditioning). To discharge, simply run the device under the battery's power until it shuts down or until you get a low battery warning. Then recharge the battery as instructed in the user's manual.
Q: Can I take a wheelchair, scooter or other equipment that is powered by a sealed AGM or Gel battery on a airplane or cruise ship?
A: Yes. There should be no problem, the battery is considered non-spillable, non-hazardous, since it is an absorbed glass mat design. These sealed lead acid valve regulated (VRLA) batteries are classified as "Battery, wet non-spillable, not subject to regulations" by DOT and IMO. By IATA they are classified as "Not restricted for air transport" and they are in compliance with IATA/ICAO special provision A67. For the gelled electrolyte batteries, they are classified as "Battery, wet, filled with acid, UN2794, Class 8". They can be legally shipped via air with special packaging etc.