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Battery Maintenance

Battery Do's

  • Think Safety First.
  • Do regular inspection and maintenance especially in hot weather.
  • Do recharge batteries immediately after discharge.
  • Do only use an approved charger for your specific cart and battery configuration

Battery Don'ts

  • Don't add new electrolyte (acid).
  • Don't use unregulated high output battery charger to charge batteries.
  • Don't put off recharging batteries.
  • Don't add tap water as it may contain minerals that will contaminate the electrolyte.
  • Don't discharge a battery any deeper than you have to.
  • Don't let a battery get hot to the touch and boil violently when charging.
  • Don't mix size and types of batteries

Inspection Guidelines

  1. Examine the outside appearance of the battery.
  2. Any fluids on or around the battery may be an indication that electrolyte is spilling, leaching, or leaking out.
  3. Check all battery cables and their connections.
  • Look for cracks in the container.
  • The top of the battery, posts, and connections should be clean, free of dirt, fluids, and corrosion.
  • Repair or replace any damaged batteries.
  • Leaking batteries must be repaired or replaced.
  • Look closely for loose or damaged parts.
  • Battery cables should be intact; broken or frayed cables can be extremely hazardous.
  • Replace any cable that looks suspicious.
  • Make sure all cables are tight

Open-Circuit Voltage Test

For accurate voltage readings, batteries must remain idle (no charging, no discharging) for at least 6 hrs, preferably 24 hrs.

  1. Disconnect all loads from the batteries.
  2. Measure the voltage using a DC voltmeter.
  3. Check the state of charge with Table 1 below.
  4. Charge the battery if it registers 0% to 70% charged.

If battery registers below the Table 1 values, the following conditions may exist:

  1. The battery was left in a state of discharge too long.
  2. The battery has a bad cell.

Batteries in these conditions should be taken to a specialist for further evaluation or retired from service.

 

TABLE 1

Percentage of Charge

Specific Gravity Corrected To

Open-Circuit Voltage

 

6v

8v

12v

24v

36v

48v

100

1.277

6.37

8.49

12.73

25.46

38.20

50.93

90

1.258

6.31

8.41

12.62

25.24

37.85

50.47

80

1.238

6.25

8.33

12.50

25.00

37.49

49.99

70

1.217

6.19

8.25

12.37

24.74

37.12

49.49

60

1.195

6.12

8.16

12.27

24.48

36.72

48.96

50

1.172

6.02

8.07

12.10

24.20

36.31

48.41

40

1.148

5.98

7.97

11.89

23.92

35.87

47.83

30

1.124

5.91

7.88

11.81

23.63

35.44

47.26

20

1.098

5.83

7.77

11.66

23.32

34.97

46.63

10

1.073

5.75

7.67

11.51

23.02

34.52

46.03



Flooded batteries need water

More importantly, watering must be done at the right time and in the right amount or the battery’s performance and longevity suffers.

Water should always be added after fully charging the battery. Prior to charging, there should be enough water to cover the plates. If the battery has been discharged (partially or fully), the water level should also be above the plates. Keeping the water at the correct level after a full charge will prevent having to worry about the water level at a different state of charge.

Depending on the local climate, charging methods, application, etc., It is recommended that batteries be checked once a month until you get a feel for how often your batteries are need watering.

 Important Things to Remember

  1. Do not let the plates get exposed to air. This will damage (corrode) the plates.
  2. Do not fill the water level in the filling well to the cap. This most likely will cause the battery to overflow acid, consequently losing capacity and causing a corrosive mess.
  3. Do not use water with a high mineral content. Use distilled or deionized water only.

Step-By-Step Watering Procedure

  1. Open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
  2. Check electrolyte level; the minimum level is at the top of the plates.
  3. If necessary add just enough water to cover the plates at this time.
  4. Put batteries on a complete charge before adding any additional water (refer to the Charging section).
  5. Once charging is completed, open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
  6. Add water until the electrolyte level is 1/8″ below the bottom of the fill well.
  7. A piece of rubber can be used safely as a dipstick to help determine this level.
  8. Clean, replace, and tighten all vent caps.

WARNING: Never add acid to a battery.


Storage

Periods of inactivity can be extremely harmful to lead acid batteries. When placing a battery into storage, follow the recommendations below to ensure that the battery remains healthy and ready for use.

NOTE: Storing, charging or operating batteries on concrete is perfectly OK.


The Most Important Things to Avoid

  1. Freezing. Avoid locations where freezing temperature are expected. Keeping a battery at a high state of charge will also prevent freezing. Freezing results in irreparable damage to a battery’s plates and container.
  2. Heat. Avoid direct exposure to heat sources, such as radiators or space heaters. Temperatures above 80° F (26.6º C) accelerate the battery’s self-discharge characteristics.

Step-By-Step Storage Procedure

  1. Completely charge the battery before storing.
  2. Store the battery in a cool, dry location, protected from the elements.
  3. During storage, monitor the specific gravity (flooded) or voltage. Batteries in storage should be given a boost charge when they show a 70% charge or less ( See table 1 in the testing section)
  4. Completely charge the battery before re-activating.