Interesting Battery Facts
Nearly all batteries will not reach full capacity until cycled 10-30 times. A brand new battery will have a capacity of about 5-10% less than the rated capacity.
Batteries should be watered after charging unless the plates are exposed, then add just enough water to cover the plates. After a full charge, the water level should be even in all cells and usually 1/4″ to 1/2″ below the bottom of the fill well in the cell (depends on battery size and type).
In situations where multiple batteries are connected in series, parallel or series/parallel, replacement batteries should be the same size, type and manufacturer (if possible). Age and usage level should be the same as the companion batteries. Do not put a new battery in a pack which is more than 6 months old or has more than 75 cycles. Either replace with all new or use a good used battery. For long life batteries, such as the Surrette and Crown, you can have up to a one year age difference.
The vent caps on flooded batteries should remain on the battery while charging. This prevents a lot of the water loss and splashing that may occur when they are bubbling. We strongly recommend Water Misers for use with all (wet) deep cycle batteries !
When you first buy a new set of flooded (wet) batteries, you should fully charge and equalize them, and then take a hydrometer reading for future reference. Since not all batteries have exactly the same acid strength, this will give you a baseline for future readings.
When using a small solar panel to keep a float (maintenance) charge on a battery (without using a charge controller), choose a panel that will give a maximum output of about 1/300th to 1/1000th of the amp-hour capacity. For a pair of golf cart batteries, that would be about a 1 to 5 watt panel – the smaller panel if you get 5 or more hours of sun per day, the larger one for those long cloudy winter days in the Cape.
Lead-Acid batteries do NOT have a memory, and the rumour that they should be fully discharged to avoid this “memory” is totally false and will lead to early battery failure.
Inactivity can be extremely harmful to a battery. It is a VERY poor idea to buy new batteries and “save” them for later. Either buy them when you need them, or keep them on a continual trickle charge. The best thing – if you buy them, use them.
Only clean water should be used for cleaning the outside of batteries. Solvents or spray cleaners should not be used.
Some Peukert Exponent values (just for info). Trojan T-105 = 1.25; Optima 750S = 1.109; US Battery 2200 = 1.20.
More information – Manufacturers Websites
- US Battery Manufacturing Company – some good information and data.
- Crown Battery – A major manufacturer of industrial and deep cycle batteries.
- Trojan Battery – not a lot of real technical info here, but has all the specifications.
- Exide – not much here but marketing stuff, but you can buy Exide T-shirts. We don’t sell Exide.
- Surrette – Specs and data on the Surrette deep cycle and marine batteries
- Concorde – specs and data on all the Concorde batteries, including Lifeline.