NOVATEK ELECTRONICS INC.


CARING FOR LEAD - ACID BATTERIES

WHAT ARE SOME "DO - NOTS" FOR LEAD - ACID BATTERIES?

Do Not allow Lead - Acid Batteries to become and remain discharged!

Lead - Acid Batteries should be maintained in a state of full charge as much as possible. When they are not fully charged, they are prone to freezing, sulfation, and other destructive processes that will result in short battery life!

Lead - Acid Batteries should not be deep - discharged (not even the ones that are designed for that type of service!) unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary to discharge a Lead - Acid Battery for any reason, it should be recharged right away.

Do Not allow water levels to drop in Lead - Acid Batteries

Once a battery plate is left exposed, that part of it may be useless forever!

WHAT ARE COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY LEAD ACID BATTERY OWNERS?

Undercharging: Generally caused by not allowing the charger to restore the battery to full state of charge after use. Continually operating the battery in a partial state of charge, or storing the battery in a discharged state results in the formation of lead sulfate compounds on the plates. This condition is known as sulfation. Sulfation reduces the battery's performance and may cause premature battery failure.

Deep - Discharging: When batteries reach a very low state of charge, one or more of the cells may actually reverse in voltage. When that happens, it can be very difficult to ever get the battery to recover completely even with a lot of care.

Overcharging: Continuous charging causes accelerated corrosion of the positive plates, excessive water consumption, and in some cases, damaging temperatures within a lead acid battery.

Under-watering: In deep cycle, lead acid batteries water is lost during the charging process. If the electrolyte level drops below the tops of the plates, irreparable damage may occur. Water levels should be checked and maintained routinely.

Over-watering: Excessive watering of a battery results in additional dilution of the electrolyte, resulting in reduced battery performance. Additionally, watering the battery before charging may result in electrolyte overflow and unnecessary additional maintenance.

Improper Storage: Batteries stored for more than 30 days should be kept on "battery maintainers" or recharged at regular intervals to prevent sulfation. Batteries will discharge internally and die prematurely whether or not they are stored on concrete.

WHEN SHOULD WATER BE ADDED TO BATTERIES?

Water may be lost during charging, so the best time to water your batteries is at the end of a charge cycle. Also, during charging, heating causes liquid volume to increase, so the electrolyte may overflow if the battery was filled when cool.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD BATTERIES BE WATERED?

Battery use patterns will determine the frequency of watering. For example, the weekend fisherman may find he only needs to water the batteries in his boat once a month. A maintenance supervisor for a golf course might need to service the batteries in their golf cars every week. Also batteries used in warmer areas may require more frequent watering. It is best to check your batteries regularly as this will give you a good feel for how often your batteries will require watering. WARNING: A brand - new battery may have a low electrolyte level. The battery must be charged before water is added. Adding water to a battery before charging may result in dangerous electrolyte overflow.

WHAT IS A PROPER ELECTROLYTE LEVEL?

In a fully - charged battery, liquid levels should be just below the bottom of the vent well and above the level of the top of the plates. The electrolyte level should not ever drop below the top of the plates or the battery may be damaged!

DO YOU EVER ADD ACID TO A BATTERY?

Under normal operating conditions, you should never need to add acid. Only clean distilled, deionized or otherwise approved water should be added to achieve the recommended levels mentioned above. When a battery is shipped in a dry state or when accidental spillage occurs, electrolyte mixture may be added to the battery. Once filled with electrolyte, a battery should only need periodic water addition.

CAN BATTERIES FREEZE?

The electrolyte in a lead acid battery may freeze if it is not fully charged. At a 40% state of charge, electrolyte will freeze if the temperature reaches approximately -16.0 F. The electrolyte in a fully charged battery freezes at approximately -92.0 F.

WHAT IS THE SPECIFIC GRAVITY OF A FULLY CHARGED BATTERY?

A hydrometer reading of 1.277 or greater indicates full charge.

CAN I REDUCE MAINTENANCE BY NOT GASSING OR (BUBBLING) MY BATTERIES?

You will reduce the frequency of watering, but you may cause a condition known as stratification, which results in poor performance and reduced battery life. The bubbling action which occurs during gassing ensures the electrolyte is well-mixed.

HOW CAN I TELL IF A BATTERY IS IN POOR CONDITION?

The first indication of a battery problem is reduced performance. To determine if the battery is experiencing a problem, isolate the battery from all electrical loads and the charging source. Allow the battery to stand disconnected for about one hour. Measure the voltage of each cell in the system. All cells should be within + / - .05 volts of each other or better. If the battery voltage spread in a multiple - battery system exceeds .15 volts for 6 volt batteries, or .30 volts for 12 volt batteries, further investigation may be needed. Battery voltage alone does not confirm a problem. When the voltage spread indicates a problem, one should take specific gravity readings using a hydrometer to investigate further. If the specific gravity readings show a spread greater than .030 (30 points), corrective action should be taken. The accepted corrective action is to give the batteries an equalization charge.

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