Battery 101: How To Avoid Motive Power Downtime

Downtime, whatever the reason, is costly and stressful. From planned maintenance to unexpected failures, downtime happens, and sometimes at truly inconvenient times. Use these tips to make sure that the only downtime you experience is the time you plan for.

Assess The Fleet and Power Usage

Before you can take steps to preventing downtime, you need to understand your fleet and its power performance.

Issues likely to come to light through an assessment are poor charging practices, old equipment, and incomplete maintenance procedures. Once you’ve completed a thorough assessment you can implement changes and improve procedures to better manage your power and performance.

Adjust The Power Purchase Plan

Over time, power management can get off course when purchasing decisions are made as package deals with fleet purchases, instead of based on exact needs. Post-assessment results should have brought to light the precise areas to focus on for improved power performance.

Issues such as trying to charge batteries with old or outdated chargers can be quickly remedied by purchasing equipment that fit your needs.

Unplanned downtime can be reduced rapidly by treating power purchases as a component to improve performance and productivity.

Battery Rotation: First In First Out

Improperly rotating batteries can lead to downtime at the worst time.Mo

When trying to keep your fleet up and running it’s imperative to have a battery rotation schedule that not only charges the oldest batteries first but can also increase the life cycle of your batteries.

A first-in, first-out system also increases your ability to identify older batteries that are nearing the end of their life cycle or are experiencing decreased performance ability.

Routine Service And Maintenance

Proper power management relies on complete battery maintenance as well as proper maintenance of the fleet.

By following a maintenance schedule, you can more readily identify if there is a problem with a battery or one vehicle in the fleet that is causing the batteries to fail more quickly.

Performing load tests during these maintenance cycles is a good way to quickly determine if power issues are from battery failure or if there is a bigger issue with the equipment itself.

Consider Alternate Solutions

In the world of motive power management, it’s worth a look at management and maintenance contracts.

By contracting out the power management many fleet managers can off load the challenges of maintaining the proper batteries and charger technologies as well as lock in prices.

Maintenance contracts are also a good way to ensure that your downtime is limited. By outsourcing fleet and power maintenance, your equipment will be more likely to undergo regular diagnostics that will quickly highlight issues as soon as they arise allowing for prompt solutions.


Eliminating downtime is impossible, but limiting your downtime is completely within your capabilities.

Understanding the power needs of your fleet and managing key performance factors will help prevent unnecessary downtime and help identify potential failures before they happen.

By creating a process that involves regular assessments, routine maintenance and proper rotation cycles you’ll be able to keep your fleet on the road longer and performing better.

Battery 101: Is It A Good Idea To Jump Start My Lawnmower Battery?

When your lawnmower battery dies, your first instinct may be to junk it, recycle it, and grab a new one. Unless the battery is too old to be recharged, a jump start might be worth a try. Don’t just grab the jumper cables and go, however – that could lead to disaster. First, follow a couple steps:

  1. Make sure the battery is really dead. Before you just assume that the battery is the culprit, make sure it’s not something else first. Checking the oil and the fuel level is a good place to start troubleshooting.
  2. Check for a clicking sound. Typically when the battery is the reason your lawnmower won’t start, you will hear a clicking noise when trying to start it. You may want to make sure you are in a quiet place first as sometimes the clicking noise can be hard to hear.

Getting Started

Once you’ve determined the battery is the problem, next you’ll want to make sure you have all the tools necessary to safely jump start the mower:

• wire brush
• baking soda
• jumper cables
• safety goggles
• leather gloves to protect against shock

1. Use the baking soda and wire brush to clean any corrosion that has built up on the battery terminals of both the car and the lawnmower batteries. Corrosion can prevent the cables from properly connecting to the terminals. Make sure to wear your gloves during this process.
2. Connect the positive cable (red cable) to the positive terminal on the lawnmower battery and the other to the car battery. Connect the negative cable (black cable) to the car battery and the other black cable needs to be grounded to the lawnmower’s engine block.
3. Start the car first and then try to start the lawnmower. If it doesn’t start right up let the car engine run for a few more seconds and then try it again.
4. Once the mower is started, remove the jumper cables in the reverse order that you put them on. Make sure not to let the cable clamps touch each other until each clamp is removed.
5. Let the lawnmower battery charge for at least 30 minutes.

Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Lawnmower Battery Running Longer:

– Many lawn mowing enthusiasts, especially those with riding mowers, will hook up a trickle charger to the mower’s battery if they aren’t going to use it again soon.
– Don’t have access to a trickle charger? That’s ok. Just make sure to fully charge the battery every one to two months.
– Check the battery every so often to make sure there isn’t corrosive build up or cracks in the casing. Corrosion can be cleaned with baking soda and a wire brush. This will help prevent the battery from discharging at a higher rate causing early failure.
– If your lawnmower battery is a wet cell battery, you may need to replenish the water level with distilled water. Open the caps to check the water level and refill as needed.
– Keep an eye on the top reasons batteries fail prematurely to extend your battery’s life.

Proper battery maintenance is a good way to help keep all of your battery powered equipment working at peak performance levels. From making sure that the cables are tightened down to regularly cleaning the battery terminals, if you take care of your battery, it will take care of you.

Everything You Need to Know About Marine/Boat Batteries

Marine batteries, commonly known as boat batteries, are just as important to think about maintaining as your car battery. Proper care makes sure when you’re taking the boat out for the first time in the spring or summer, you’re not left with an unexpected dead battery. Here’s what you need to know about the maintenance and care for your marine batteries.

The Kind Of Battery Do You Need

The kind of battery you’ll want on board depends on what you need the battery to do (many boat batteries are deep cycle batteries). Sounds practical enough, but think about more than just starting your boat.

If you have a simple motor and no electrical gadgets to speak of, then a cranking battery will do the trick. However, if you have any electrical equipment like a GPS, depth finder or even a radio, you’ll want to check out a deep-cycle battery.

Cranking Battery – it’s main purpose is just to start the engine by providing a quick burst of energy. This means while they aren’t reliable to keep your radio going all day, they are more than up to the task of getting your boat going for that early morning fishing trip.

Deep-Cycle – a deep cycle battery offers a lower and more steady rate of energy than the cranking battery. This means that you can run all of your electrical equipment without the risk of having to charge your battery on the water.

Deep cycle batteries are also great if you need to power a depth finder, live well, bilge pump, GPS, fish locator etc.

Because these types of marine batteries are used for different purposes, they aren’t interchangeable. Make sure you stick with the battery type your boat was designed for. Attempting to use a battery that is not designed for your specific type of boat can lead to battery failure, or worse. If you want to learn more about different batteries in general, check out some basic battery knowledge.

Maintaining Your Battery

The maintenance your battery will require depends on the chemistry and construction of the battery you have.

Wet-Cell Battery – the most common and typically the most affordable. They contain many cells with an electrolyte liquid most of us call battery acid.

Allowing the fluid levels to get low can lead to the battery’s early demise, so it’s important to refill the cells with distilled water. While this may seem like doing a lot, there are advantages to a wet-cell battery:

  • They are generally lighter in weight than other batteries
  • Generally have a longer life cycle

*One major downside to having a wet-cell battery on a boat is their susceptibility to the boat vibrations

Lithium-Ion – the newcomer to the battery world is proving to be a star, but be warned, this high-performance battery comes with a high-end price.

  • They are lightweight and carry a deep charge
  • They also have the longest life cycle of all the batteries and can be recharged faster and more times over the course of their life

*If your boating passions depend on high performance, then splurging on a powerful lithium-ion battery may just be worth it.

Gel Battery – Gel batteries are filled with electrolyte similar to the wet-cell battery, with the primary difference being that the liquid is turned into a gel. This eliminates the need to replenish the cells with water.

  • These batteries are generally maintenance free and have a greater resistance to the boat vibrations
  • Their rate of self-discharge is fairly low as well, which means they can be stored throughout the winter without having to be recharged as often

*The drawbacks here are the cost and the need for special equipment. Gel batteries can cost two times that of a wet-cell battery and they require a special charger.

AGM Battery – AGM or Absorbed Glass Mat batteries have a fiberglass mat that is soaked in the electrolyte and placed between the battery plates.

  • This construction means that there is no need to refill the cells
  • Able to withstand higher vibration rates

*AGM batteries are also heavier than a traditional wet-cell battery, and are unforgiving if inadvertently overcharged.

Long Term Care

All boat batteries need to be cleaned and cared for just like the rest of your boat. While you are wiping down the boat, take some time to look at your battery. Remove any dirt or corrosion that may be building up.

This simple action will add life to your battery and slow down its rate of self-discharge. Make sure no cracks or malformations appear in the casing. If so, it could mean a problem with the voltage and you’ll want to have it checked out. If you’re getting ready to store for the winter, make sure you store all marine batteries fully charged and in a climate controlled environment. Chargers may just be accessories, but using a top quality marine battery charger is a great product to have, since you never want to store a battery that’s discharged.

You can either attach the battery to a trickle charger to keep it charged throughout the winter, or check it at least once a month and recharge as necessary.

Battery 101: Top 5 Reasons Batteries Fail Prematurely

It’s undeniable: batteries fail over time. Even though that’s true, you can help extend it’s life. Some brands like RELiON even dedicate themselves to extending battery life.

Unfortunately, many batteries come to an early demise simply because they aren’t properly maintained. Before you toss out another battery before it’s time, read the top five reasons batteries fail prematurely, and learn how to prevent it from happening to you.

  1. Temperature

Batteries are very susceptible to extreme temperatures.

In hot temperatures, batteries will expel more energy than in a normal range of temperature. The heat causes a loss of electrolyte in the battery leading to an increase in discharge and eventual failure.

The cold can be just a troublesome. In the extreme cold, it can take more energy from the battery to power up the equipment attached to the battery. This strain on the battery can also lead to early failure.

Prevention: Store batteries in a temperature controlled environment. Leaving them in the extreme temperatures outside will only shorten their life cycle.


  1. Incorrect Charging

Throwing your battery on a charger and cranking the voltage to speed up the charging process is a great way to cause your battery to fail early. Battery manufacturers will specify the charging voltage range for the battery and that range should be adhered to.

Charging at a voltage too low will cause sulfation as well as cause the battery plates to lose the active material that makes it work.

Charging at too high a voltage accelerates corrosion and increase the rate of self-discharge. A high voltage creates heat which in turn causes the battery to discharge.

Prevention: Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging. Ensure that your battery charger is set to the recommended voltage. If you can, it’s also a good idea to monitor the battery during the charging process to prevent overcharging.


  1. Incorrect Storing Practices

When storing a battery, it’s important to know how. While the days of not being able to store batteries on the garage floor are long gone, a number of things still need to be considered when putting batteries away for a period of time.

  • Make sure the battery is clean and fully charged before putting it on the shelf. Putting a battery away while it has dirt, dust or corrosion on it will simply cause the battery to discharge at a rate higher than its natural rate of self-discharge.
  • Putting the battery away fully charged will also help prevent it from reaching a state of deep discharge, making it difficult to recharge later.Once the battery is fully charged, you shouldn’t have to recharge it but once a month or so.
  • Consider the ambient temperature. Extreme high and low temperatures will dramatically decrease the life cycle of a battery in storage.

Prevention: Before putting a battery away make sure it’s clean, charged and in a climate controlled environment.


  1. Using Batteries Interchangeably

Just because batteries look similar or are used for the same general purpose does not mean they can be used interchangeably.

The manufacturer of the equipment you are trying to power designed their product to use a specific type of battery. For instance, one type of car may need higher cranking amps while another may need to work with an idle-start-stop system.

Using the wrong battery will not only cause failure in the equipment you trying to power but will cause permanent damage to your battery.

Prevention: When changing a battery, only exchange like batteries for like.


  1. Incorrect Installation

Incorrectly installing a battery can lead to early failure and even can cause extreme damage such as fire or even an explosion. Connecting the positive cable to the negative post, damaged post seals, or loose connections are all examples of incorrect battery installation that can lead to battery damage and failure.

Prevention: Follow all manufacturer’s installation instructions and make sure that all battery connections are clean and in proper working order.

When your batteries are dead and need to be replaced, remember you can recycle your batteries.