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Good battery info.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by fr8train, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. fr8train

    fr8train 1/2 ton status

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    Pulled this from a newsgroup.

    During the normal discharge process, 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 or is continually undercharged, some of the soft
    lead sulfate is re-crystallizes into hard lead sulfate, which cannot
    be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This creation of hard
    crystals is commonly called  sulfation  and is the most common cause
    of failure of lead-acid batteries while in storage. The longer
    sulfation occurs, the larger and harder the lead sulfate crystals
    become. These crystals lessen a battery s capacity and ability to be
    recharged. People kill more deep cycle batteries (due to sulfation)
    with poor charging practices, than die of old age. This is because a
    deep cycle battery is typically used for short periods and then is
    stored the rest of the year why they are slowly discharging. In
    contrast, a car or motorcycle battery is normally used several times a
    month, so sulfation rarely becomes a problem.

    Sulfation is a result of lead-acid battery discharge while in storage,
    which is a consequence of parasitic load and 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 appliances,
    such as an emissions computer, the clock, a security system, and the
    maintenance of radio station presets in a radio.] While disconnecting
    the negative battery cable will eliminate the parasitic load, it has
    no affect on the other problem, the natural self-discharge of battery.
    Thus, sulfation can be a huge problem for lead-acid batteries not
    being used while in storage or sitting on a dealer s shelf, in a
    basement, or in a parked vehicle.


    How do I prevent 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. (1) The best solution is to use a charger that is capable
    of delivering a continuous  float  or  trickle  charge at the battery
    manufacturer s recommended float or maintenance voltage for a fully
    charged battery. 12-volt batteries and depending on the battery type,
    usually have fixed float voltages between 13.2 VDC and 13.6 VDC,
    measured at 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C) with an accurate (.5% or
    better) digital voltmeter. For a six-volt battery, measured voltages
    are one half of a 12-volt battery. Charging can best be accomplished
    with a microprocessor controlled three- or four-stage charger, such as
    a, Battery Tender (Deltran), Truecharge (Statpower), BatteryMinder,
    Schumacher, ChargeTek, etc., or by voltage-regulated (or constant
    voltage) charger set at the correct float voltage. By contrast, a
    cheap, unregulated  trickle  charger can overcharge a battery and
    destroy it. (2) A second method is to periodically recharge the
    battery when the State-of-Charge drops from 100% to 80%. At 70
    degrees F (21.1 degrees C), a battery with 100% State-of-Charge
    measures approximately 1.261 Specific Gravity or 12.63 VDC and 80%
    State-of-Charge measures 1.229 Specific Gravity or 12.47 VDC.
    Maintaining a high State-of-Charge tends to prevent irreversible
    sulfation. The recharge frequency is dependent on the parasitic load,
    temperature, a battery s condition, and plate formulation (battery
    type). Temperature matters! Lower temperatures slow down
    electrochemical reactions and higher temperatures speed them up. A
    battery stored at 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) will self-discharge
    twice as fast than one stored at 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees C). (3) A
    third technique is to use a solar panel or wind generator to float
    charge the battery. This is a popular solution when AC power is
    unavailable for charging.


    So how do I store my battery?

    There are three simple steps. First, if the battery has filler caps,
    check the electrolyte (battery acid) level in each cell. If required,
    add only distilled water to the recommended level, but do not
    overfill; clean the top of the battery and posts; and fully charge the
    battery. Second, store the battery in a cool (above freezing), dry
    place where it can be easily recharged. Finally and most importantly,
    prevent sulfation by keeping the battery charged above the 80%
    State-of-Charge level!
     
  2. 77Jimmy

    77Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Good timing! I just got the latest issue of Consumer Reports and they tested a whole bunch of batteries. The Diehard WeatherHandler pretty much cleaned house in every size category. In the Size 78 Category (which says fits GM vehicles), the Motorcraft Test Tough Max was rated tops, followed by Optima Red Top, Duralast Gold (North), Napa 75XDT800, Champion 4x4, and Duralast Gold (South). The Diehard SUV,Truck&Van (North) ranked near the bottom. Thought I'd pass the info along... /forums/images/icons/tongue.gif
     
  3. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Good info. Thanks for passing it on. I have put some thought to a solar deal on my redneck camper.
     
  4. MudbogAD

    MudbogAD 1/2 ton status

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  5. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I've been getting Consumer Reports for many years. Their battery test finds different results every time they do them. So it seems that getting an awesome battery is pretty much the luck of the draw. For instance, why would one type of DieHard get an excellent rating, while another gets a poor rating? Making a lead acid battery isn't rocket science, so the variablility doesn't make much sense to me.
     
  6. 77Jimmy

    77Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Good point. I was wondering that myself. I guess on average the Diehards seem to be the best.
     
  7. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    But thats a little odd too. Last I recall (hear say though) was that there were only a handful of Lead acid battery manufactures, besides the specialized batteries companies such as optima, and those who make those for deep cycle 20 year solar/hydro power applications.

    So like the Autozone Duralast brand, Sears Diehard, etc. were all made by some other manufacturer.
     
  8. Grim-Reaper

    Grim-Reaper 3/4 ton status Author

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    Yep that's correct. only a couple of major manufactures. One is Union Carbide. I think Pannasonic has a plant. I don't recall the third.
    A few years back one of Union Carbides plants in Indonesia burned to the ground. That plant manufactured Li Ion batteries. main use for those are things like Lap top batteries and cell phones.
     
  9. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    I used to run DieHards in everything I owned. But the last 3 that I got didn't last more than 15 months. /forums/images/icons/mad.gif They would just die without warning. One day the truck would start just fine, the next day the freakin' dome light wouldn't even come on. And putting those batteries on a charger all day wouldn't revive 'em. I finally got fed up with paying the "pro-rata" fees to get them replaced and made Sears give me a full refund. I put a DuraLast Gold in that truck and the battery has been fine for over 4 years now. /forums/images/icons/cool.gif
     
  10. Living Large

    Living Large Registered Member

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    As a current service manager for the worlds largest industrial motive battery manufacture(big batteries 1,000-4,000 pounds), the info listed is a great guideline to follow to prolong battery life. But one word of advice on purchasing new batteries, there are really only 3 main manufactures of car starting batteries. These 3 companies private label for all the brands that you see at the local auto parts stores. Some are good solid batteries, and others are of very poor quality. Sears recently settled a multi- year multi- million lawsuit against the manufacture of the Sears Die hard label, for selling used/defective batteries as new to Sears. This is why people had MAJOR problems in the mid to late 90's with the product. Also NAPA has experienced MAJOR quality/warrenty claims with their line of batteries, manufactured by some one else. NAPA has announced that it will begin to source batteries from other companies to private label. And finally, you have a MAJOR manufacture of most of the discount chain store batteries filling for bankruptcy in May 2002. My goal of the paragraph was not to bad mouth my competition,(no names were used)or flame anybody, but to educate my fellow 4-wheelers. Buyer beware.......
     
  11. 77Jimmy

    77Jimmy 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks for the info, LivingLarge. Sounds like it's basically luck of the draw when purchasing a new battery -- hard to find out what you're buying exactly. Hope no one thought I was promoting Diehards...was just passing along the info that was presented in Consumer Reports. I still think they do a good job of testing products so I think their report has some merit, but as w/ anything it's the info you gather from other people and the experiences they've had w/ batteries that is really important. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
     
  12. bigmack

    bigmack 1/2 ton status

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    I've got duralast batteries from Autozone in both my trucks and my car. I haven't had any problems with them, they range from 1-4 years old. I have had a some champion batteries that I bought at advance auto parts that were terrible, I had a GMC jimmy a couple of years ago and I went thru 3 champion batteries in about 6 months before I got one that was OK.
     

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