Keep battery zap - work within design limits, says Battery World
Batteries live longer when
A happy battery starts its day with zap if it works well within its designed operating limits. Simply this is the best way to get maximum service life Battery World expert Luke Arcus of Battery World Brookvale, NSW says.
But to make a batteries day there is more that can be done to extend the life of a device which converts chemical energy to electrical energy. Most battery failures are due to inappropriate charging and extreme temperature. These factors absolutely ruin a batteries day.
To keep battery cells within their operating limits during both charging and discharging the load on the battery needs to be controlled or the battery isolated from the load if the load cannot be controlled.
The battery cycle life is the number of complete charge - discharge cycles a battery can perform before its nominal capacity falls below 80 percent of its initial rated capacity.
Battery lifetimes of 500 to 1200 cycles are typical.
Battery types fit a huge range of requirements
The actual ageing process results in a gradual reduction in capacity over time. But when a cell reaches its specified lifetime it does not stop working suddenly.
The ageing process continues at the same rate as before so that a cell whose capacity had fallen to 80 per cent after 1000 cycles will probably continue working to perhaps 2000 cycles when its effective capacity will have fallen to 60 per cent of its original capacity.
Chemical reactions internal to the battery are driven either by voltage or temperature. The hotter the battery, the faster chemical reactions will occur.
High temperatures provide increased performance, but at the same time the rate of unwanted chemical reactions will increase resulting in a corresponding loss of battery life.
Batteries fall into two categories:
Primary - when they are flat that is that.
Secondary - rechargable.
Primary batteries come on strong immediately, but secondary batteries must be charged before use. The lead-acid battery is the oldest form of secondary rechargeable battery. Few automotive lead-acid batteries last longer than six years.
Modern car batteries have evolved to include Gel batteries which use a semi-solid electrolyte and AGM Asorbed Glass Mat batteries which absorb the electrolyte in special fibreglass matting.
Dry cell rechargeables are dry cell units which work well in equipment like mobile phones and laptops. These include nickel-cadium, nickel-zinc, nickel metal hydride, and lithium-ion (Li-ion). Li-ion is the dry cell battery market leader.
Primary batteries have a self discharge rate and can lose between 8 and 20 percent of their original charge every year even if they are not put under load.
Secondary rechargable batteries have improved through recent lithium technology and their self discharge rate is better but they still trail primary batteries in this area. Most nickel-based batteries are partially discharged when purchased and must be charged before they can be used.
But technology is on the march and NiMH batteries are ready to use when bought and have only about 15 percent discharge per annum.
Where possible keep your batteries in a charged state Battery World recommends. With lead-acid type batteries, a fully automatic battery "maintaining" charger, which is usually very safe due to its low amp hour output, is essential in maintaining battery life so as to avoid any sulphation which can build up on the plates of the battery.
It is essential if you have a "calcium" grid type car/boat battery to avoid it being too heavily discharged as it may struggle to get back to full health even after a jump start and alternator recharge.
Think green, act purple for proper disposal
The effects of a heavy discharge on a dry cell secondary rechargeable isn't as obvious, but a degredation will occur in nickel based batteries left for longer periods without recharge or use.
Battery World can check out what type of battery you have, if it is correct for your needs and how best to keep it in optimal health so you don't get caught out on your next trip.
www.batteryworld.com.au to find your nearest local store.
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contact: Garth Morrison
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