Here are the top nine things you can do on a regular basis to extend the life of lead-acid battery-powered equipment.
Do you know the primary cause of lead-acid battery deterioration and capacity loss? 80% of the time, battery sulfation is the root of these problems. However, you can revive your batteries and keep them operating dependably with the right battery maintenance tools and a small investment of time.
Learn everything you need to know about battery maintenance. Learn How Long Do Lead-acid Batteries Last?
How to Maintain Lead Acid Battery?
You must periodically top off your lead acid battery with distilled water to keep it in good condition and ensure that it lasts at least as long as it should. There are additional maintenance recommendations for lead acid batteries.
Add Distilled Water to the Lead-acid Battery
Electrolyte is the name of the liquid in your lead-acid battery. It’s actually a mixture of sulphuric acid and water. The electrolyte heats up and some of the water vapors as your battery charges. The water dissipates as hydrogen and oxygen gases as a result of a process known as electrolysis. As a result, over time, the battery’s electrolyte level decreases. Read How Do Lead-acid Batteries Work?
If the electrolyte level is too low, the plates in the battery cells are exposed and will suffer damage. Additionally, sulfuric acid will be stronger. The electrolyte needs to be changed as a result. This is how it’s done.
- Check the battery water level with a level indicator
How do you know when to add water to your battery? One of the queries we get asked the most is this one. You could constantly check your battery or every battery in every machine in your fleet, but this is horribly time-consuming and there are easier approaches. Indicators are made specifically to check the battery water level for you. They let you know when your battery needs to be recharged.
- Can You Mix Lead-acid and Lithium Batteries?
- Can Lead-acid Batteries Be Recycled?
- Can Lead-acid Batteries Explode?
- Are AGM Batteries Better Than Lead-acid?
There are different systems available. The Smartblinky is one of these. It is installed behind the battery plug. Does it have a green light? You have a healthy level of electrolytes. When the light turns red, you know it’s time to add water to the battery cells.
When charging or after, do you add water to your battery? Before charging, always make sure the electrolyte is covering the battery plates. Charge the battery if the plates are covered, and then top it off as needed. This is because topping off the electrolyte before charging increases the likelihood that it will overflow because it will expand during charging.
- Make sure you always have distilled water nearby
You should never add regular water to a battery. It will damage your battery. Use only distilled water, please. It is also referred to as demineralized water and deionized water. Basically, it’s water that has been filtered to remove metals and minerals that may interfere with the processes in your battery.
Visit a hardware store or an expert in auto parts to purchase distilled water. It’s also simple to make on your own. A demineralization tool like Hydropure and plain tap water is required. The most basic of these gadgets are filled with a particular resin. You open the tap, the resin removes the metals and minerals, and you are left with deionized, demineralized, and distilled water that is safe to use with your battery.
- Install an automatic battery water filler system
To what extent do you add distilled water to your battery? Another question we frequently get is this one. The solution differs from battery to battery. This is one of the reasons we advise using a battery water filler system.
Utilizing filler caps with floats and water hoses to connect them to one another, battery water filler systems use this technique. They keep your battery from over-filling. Additionally, they help you save time. All you have to do is fill the hose with distilled water. The filling system does the rest.
Top-up After a Charge and Not Before
As the water in batteries is critical to the transfer of energy, the introduction of fresh water must occur at the correct time during its charging cycle, which is after the battery has completed its charge and never before. The electrolyte expands when it gets warm so topping up before a charge can result in spillage of electrolyte.
Ensure Battery and Charger Compatibility
There is a significant difference between a charger that merely functions and one that is specially made to effectively charge a particular brand and type of battery. Check with battery suppliers to confirm that the correct charging equipment is being used.
Using the wrong chargers can damage batteries, be very dangerous, and jeopardize insurance coverage. Always adhere to the instructions for charging in your charger’s manual.
Allow Batteries to Fully Charge
Always charge your batteries completely for the best performance. Resist the urge to interrupt a charging cycle or to only partially charge them. Doing so could damage the battery permanently, reducing its capacity as well as potentially shortening its life.
Let Batteries Cool
A typical lead acid battery needs to cool down after each charge for at least two hours. Make this time mandatory as part of your health and safety best practices and factor it into your charging schedule.
Keep An Eye on the BDI
Equipment operators should continually monitor the status shown on Battery Discharge Indicators. Ideally, batteries should be recharged when they have about 25% charge left, according to their indicator. This will keep them in top shape and enable the battery to operate at maximum capacity for a longer period of time.
In order to prevent lift, newer machines are also programmed to shut off the hydraulic function when 80% of the tank is empty. Drive functions are unaffected, though.
Check Cables, Plugs, and Chargers
Plugs and chargers, as well as battery leads, can be vulnerable to rust or damage. Check all equipment and connections and report any frayed wires or worn insulation. A weekly visual inspection will help identify any issues before they can affect the operation of the machinery.
Use Batteries Evenly
Make sure that all batteries are used and charged equally when using multiple batteries, such as when working in environments with multiple shifts. This will eliminate the possibility of over cycling any one battery, which could reduce performance and shorten the battery’s useful life.
Utilizing Battery Monitoring System technology will ensure even use and keep operators informed of the status of the batteries.
Keep Your Battery Clean
Last but not least, it’s critical to maintain a clean battery. Leakage currents that cause a battery to discharge itself and become out of balance have been known to be caused by battery acid, dirt, and dust.
How to Charge a Sealed Lead Acid Battery?
A Sealed Lead Acid battery may be charged by using any of the following charging techniques:
- Constant Voltage
- Constant Current
- Taper Current
- Two-Step Constant Voltage
Constant voltage-current limited charging works best for getting the longest possible battery life and capacity, as well as a quick and economical recharge. Charging a seal lead acid battery, a DC voltage between 2.30 volts per cell (float) and 2. 45 volts per cell (fast) is applied to the battery’s terminals.
The cell’s temporary voltage after discharge may be lower than the applied voltage, depending on the state of charge (SoC). After some time, however, it should level off. The goal of any charging method is to control the charge current at the end of the charge. For a more in-depth discussion on charging your SLA battery refer to our How To Charge a Lead Acid Battery blog.
How to Store Sealed Lead Acid Batteries?
Keeping your batteries in storage for long periods will cause their longevity to decline and cause them to age. Battery cells will also self-discharge over a prolonged period of storage, which will eventually lead to their decomposition. Lastly, the seals on Sealed Lead Acid batteries are susceptible to breaking, which allows water to seep in and permanently harm your battery.
In order to extend the life of your Sealed Lead Acid battery, make sure it is stored properly. If you keep an eye on the voltage and charge the battery back up if it drops below 70%, a sealed lead acid battery can be kept for up to two years. Your Sealed Lead Acid battery’s risk of sulfation will increase as its charge declines.
The Sealed Lead Acid battery will be impacted by temperatures as well. 15°Your battery will keep a fuller charge and last longer on the shelf at a temperature of C (59°F).
Conclusion: Maintain Lead Acid Battery
Lead-acid batteries have advantages and disadvantages, and maintenance is necessary if you want to take full advantage of their advantages. Lead sulfate’s physical characteristics gradually change if the cells are overcharged, and it may even turn obdurate, making it challenging to convert by charging.
There is a tradeoff, just like there is with most things in life, and it is up to the individual to determine whether or not that tradeoff is worthwhile.
Should You Keep Lead Acid Batteries Charged?
Lead acid batteries must always be stored in a charged state. To avoid the voltage dropping below 2.05V/cell and causing the battery to sulfate, a topping charge ought to be applied every six months.
How Often Do Lead Acid Batteries Need Water?
The frequency of use will determine how frequently a lead acid battery needs to be filled with water. A marine or golf cart battery that is only used on the weekends may only require watering once a month. Battery watering may be required once per week for a forklift that is used daily.
How Do I Know If My Battery Needs Water?
Some batteries have a clear battery indicator “eye” on the top that glows green if the water level is good and fully charged, and goes dark if the battery needs fluid or is discharged. If it’s yellow, either the battery is broken or the battery fluid level is low.