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Inci-Aku Technical Tips

 

Battery Maintenance

 

1- If your battery is in not in the maintenance free group, regarding to your driving frequency ( especially if you are driving more than 20.000 km/year) check the electrolyte level of your battery in every 3 months. Please note that in case of shortage of the electrolyte, pure water needs to be added. Do not use any other liquid other than pure water.

 

2- If your battery is in maintenance free group but you are driving more than 20.000 km/year then again make service control every 3 months.

 

3- Necessarily control the tightness of battery clamps and check the oxidation status per pole terminal in each technical service. Do not forget that loose clamps can cause serious problems from melting of the polar head to burning of your battery. If you have oxidisation on the pole heads always wash poles with hot water until the oxidation is resolved. Otherwise, it may create an additional resistance due to oxidation and prevent charging of your battery.

 

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

 

5- In each technical service maintenance, check the batteries voltage. Make this check 1 hour after the motor is cooled. In this way, you may see the real voltage level of your battery. If the voltage is < 12,40 - 12,60 V, then charge the battery 3-6 hours with a 1/20 capacity of your battery. Check the batteries voltage 1 hour after the charging is completed. If the batteries voltage is > 12,70 V then you can end up charging.

 

Premature Battery Failures

 

Normally, premature battery failures are caused by one or more of the failures listed below, with water loss and sulfation the main offenders. All batteries will fail at some point in time from old age (positive plate shedding of active material or grid corrosion).
For wet car batteries, lack of preventive maintenance, high underhood heat, fast recharging (greater than C/4), or overcharging causes a loss of water, which accounts for over 50% of the failures.


  • 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 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) leave the car battery constantly undercharged and sulfated.
  • Battery post or terminal corrosion, which cause charging and discharging problems.
  • High ambient temperatures above 25° C causing accelerated positive grid growth or corrosion, increased self-discharge, or thermal runway .For every increase of 10° C above 25° C, the battery's life is cut in half due to positive grid corrosion or the self-discharge rate is doubled.
  • Misapplication, for example, using a starting battery in a deep cycle application, or an undersized battery (or battery bank) that causes discharges greater than the battery was designed for or will not produce enough capacity.
  • Plate-to-strap shorts due to excessive vibration caused by loose hold down clamps or vehicle running on rough surfaces or freezing.
  • 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.

All lead-acid batteries are perishable. If not used weekly, more deep cycle and power sport batteries fail from bad charging and maintenance practices, than failing from 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-crystallizes into hard lead sulfate. These crystals cannot be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This creation of hard crystals is commonly called permanent "sulfation".

Sulfation 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. 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 the 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.

Chances are that if 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 recharged for over three months, especially if the temperature in the storage area was consistently over 25° C. [Six months for wet "Maintenance Free" (Ca/Ca) ]
  • While recharging in a well ventilated area, the ammeter does not drop to below 2% (C/50) of the expected time to recharge the battery and the battery is warm or hot. For example, if you have a fully discharged 50 Amp Hour battery and a ten amp charger, a discharged battery should be fully charged within 10 hours (2 x 50 AH / 10 amps = 10h).
  • If the Specific Gravity is low in all cells after the battery has 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.
  • Plates are not charged enough and sulfanation occured on the surface of plate
  • Battery wait for a long time in warehouse or vehicle without any cranking.
  • Lax of strap.
  • Failure in electrical system.(Alternator gives lower than 13,8V)
  • Some leaks on vehicle. ( Car trunk lamp / door lamp / other lamp or consumers )
  • Inappropriate recharge.
  • Vehicles have 24V battery , converter has a failure.
  • Leaving consumers open.
  • Inappropriate usage( Too much power consumed by battery when vehicle is not in use),

HOW TO PREVENT PERMANENT SULFANATION ?


The best way to prevent sulfation is to keep a lead-acid battery fully charged because lead sulfate is not formed.


1- 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 16.1 V, measured at 27° C with an accurate (.5% or better) digital voltmeter. 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.

2- Periodically recharge the battery when the State-of-Charge drops to 75% 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 35° C will self-discharge twice as fast than one stored at 25° C. Standard (Sb/Sb) batteries have a very high self-discharge rate; whereas, Ca/Ca batteries have very low rates.

3- 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 recharge the batteries while in storage, increasing recharge 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.

4- 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 51.7° C then stop charging and allow the battery to cool before continuing. Sulfanation and Excess Charge

Care ;

If sulfanation goes to solid sulphate , battery perceives normal charge like a excess charge for a while.
A normal sulphate battery can be saved , but excess charged battery not.
CHARGING SYSTEM FUNCTIONAL DIAGRAM
Inci Aku Batteries available from Component Distributors


1- 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.

If the end users have added after-market lights, winches, audio amplifiers, two-way radios or other high powered accessories to their 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. They might need to increase the capacity of the charging system.

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.

2- ALTERNATOR

• High or low charge;
Alternators give generally 13.8-14.4 V for battery or system . If a system gives
lower than 13,8 V or bigger than 14,4 V , it means that battery takes insufficient
charge or excess charge. If voltage is lower than 13,8V , it causes to
sulphanation in battery . Making charge a sulphanate battery looks like washing
your hands when you wear gloves. In a sulphanate battery , when you make a
charge , because of the sulphanate crystal , charge is not done homogeneously
so some regional burns occur on the surface of the plate. Meanwhile , this
condition causes heating up in battery before battery goes to excess charge.
For this reason , alternators must be checked in every time , when vehicle
comes into service. Also , this control is made in every battery
change.
• Wrong battery selection ; ( especially bigger types ),
• Too much consumed battery , adding new consumers to system
without standart , short usage of vehicles make alternator temperature heating
up. Also these things cause failures in alternator .
• In brief ; we recommend ; Depending on the battery technology ,
For heavy commercial vehicles alternator exit voltage between 14,2 to 14,4 V
and for passengers and light commercial vehicles between 14,4 to 14,8 V .

3. VEHICLES WAIT FOR A LONG TIME WITHOUT RUNNING

In present , many vehicles have some electronic parts , such as alarms , electronic brains ,etc. These consumers take parasitic energy from battery without vehicle running between 0 to 100 mA/h.

Example ; Consider , vehicle has 50 mA/h consumption and it has a 50 Ah battery.

If vehicle does not run for a day ; 50 mA x 24 h = 1200 mA = 1,2 Ah /day
If vehicle does not run for a week 1,2 Ah / day x 7 days = 8.4 Ah ,
If vehicle does not run for two week 1,2 Ah /day x 14 days =16.8 Ah
Consider , battery is fully charged at the beginning ;
At the end of one week consumption in battery ; 8.4 Ah / 50 Ah = % 16.8
At the end of two week consumption in battery ; 16,8 Ah / 50 Ah = % 33,6
You see , at the end of two week , battery capacity decreses to %66,4 . So it is lower than 75 % and battery voltage is lower than 12,4 V.

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 , please wear glasses to protect your eyes in the unlike even of an explosion. Here are some simple steps to maintain your battery:

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. If the battery is not fully charged (75% State-of-Charge), recharge it with an external battery charger in a well ventilated area. 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. Periodically fully recharging with an external charger will restore most or all of the battery's capacity.

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 car batteries with low electrolyte levels, recharge the battery first and allow the battery to cool to room temperature. Then add only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to the level indicated by the battery manufacturer or just to the bottom of the filler tubes (vent wells or splash barrels) as shown in the diagram below. Avoid overfilling, especially in hot weather, because the heat will cause the electrolyte to expand and overflow. In an emergency, use rain water. Do not use tap water or water from residential Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems to refill batteries because it could contain chlorine, calcium or magnesium and produce chlorine gas or calcium or magnesium sulfate crystals. These crystals can gradually fill the pores or coat the plates which will reduce the battery's capacity and cause premature failure. State-of-Charge (SoC) readings will be inaccurate immediately after the addition of water, recharges or discharges.

ELECTROLYTE FILL LEVELS FOR SMALL BATTERIES
Less Than 200 AH

If a battery has dried out due to an overcharge, you can try to recovery it by refilling with distilled water and slowly recharging it. It might take several discharge/charge cycles before some or all of the capacity is restored.

Remove any corrosion, lead oxidation, paint or rust with a brass wire battery brush or with a "ScotchBrite" pad from the terminal's mating surfaces on both ends of each battery cables, battery posts, lugs or terminals, and engine grounding strap connections. For safety, brush the corrosion away from you and wear eye protection. A stiff steel wire brush or sandpaper may damage protective lead plating on copper connectors or terminals. Corrosion is normally a white powdery substance, but could have other colors mixed in with it like gray, yellow or green. Heavy corrosion can be neutralized with a mixture of one cup of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to one glass of warm water. Some folks have been known to use Diet Coke or Pepsi to dissolve corrosion. You are probably thinking why "diet"? Diet is used because it does not contain sugar which will leave a sticky residue. Bare metal to metal mating surfaces are required for very low electrical resistance and good current conductivity.

To prevent corrosion caused by batteries located under the hood, thinly coat the terminals, posts, terminal clamps, lugs and exposed metal around the battery with high temperature and water resistant wheel bearing grease, lithium grease or silicone. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or Calcium grease is not recommended for use under the hood because they have a low melting point.For car or deep cycle batteries not subject to high temperatures, use "No Oxide A" (or the battery manufacturer's recommended grease) on the posts, lugs, terminals or 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 lugs, 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:
*Dirty or wet battery tops normally caused from expansion of electrolyte from overfilled cells or weeping from faulty battery terminal seals
*Acid fumes leaking through the vent caps, which could be a sign of overcharging
*Not enough battery box or room ventilation
*Electrolysis due to the mismatch of metal alloys used in the battery posts, lugs, terminal
clamps or terminals

• Tighten loose hold-down clamps to prevent excessive vibration, battery lugs, terminals
and connectors.
• Clean the battery top to eliminate conductive paths created by dried or wet electrolyte
and to prevent corrosion.
• Clean the alternator or charging system to allow better heat transfer and check the
alternator belts for cracks and correct tension.
• 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, lug or connector with the multiple cables. Larger cable and lugs, connectors
or terminals are better because there is more surface area and less voltage drop.
• Replace the battery if the battery case is bulging, cracked or leaking, especially around
"GM" style side terminals.
• Periodically rotate batteries in a bank because the lowest capacity batteries tend to fail
first and to insure that the connections are clean and tight.
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.

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, to reduce water consumption and wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) starting batteries to reduce cost. Over time, this combination tends to undercharge the battery and to cause electrolyte stratification which causes the battery to gradually loose capacity due to an accumulation of lead-sulfate or premature failures. One solution is to periodically recharge the battery with an external charger to remove the sulfation or to increase the absorption voltage output to the battery .

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
  • 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. 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.

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