How to Use A Battery Hydrometer

Car batteries are heavy and mysterious items when it comes to their operations. To many people, the battery either works or fails altogether at some point in time. Understanding how a battery functions and steps to check it are great ways to familiarize yourself with this changing technology. Get familiar with how to use a battery hydrometer for evaluation purposes. These tools can give you more information than just trial and error during charging and discharging.

1. First, Gear Up

Using a hydrometer means that you need access to the sulfuric acid found within the battery. It’s highly corrosive, so be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear.

Put on these items, including:

  • Protective eyewear
  • Thick gloves
  • Closed-toe shoes

Deep Cycle Battery Store even suggests wearing a rubber apron. Any electrolyte solution that’s spilled can quickly burn through cotton clothing.

2. Prep the Car and Battery

Move the car to a well-ventilated area. Shut it off, and pop the hood. Remove the covers on the battery that give you access to the electrolyte solution below, suggests It Still Runs. Because you want to test all of the cells, be sure to carefully take off all of the covers. You don’t want to perform this task midway through your measurement process. Drops of sulfuric acid might spring up from the battery.

3. Insert the Hydrometer

Carefully insert the battery hydrometer into the cell. Press on the bulb that acts as a syringe. You should see fluid filling the hydrometer.

Continue to squeeze the bulb until the battery electrolyte solution fills the device to the maximum level. This device tests each cell by measuring the specific gravity of the fluid. This value tells you if the cell is properly working or on its last legs. Batteries need all six cells in good working order to operate at peak levels, reports How it Works.

4. Read and Test All Cells

With a full bulb of battery electrolyte fluid, read the measured value on the device. Write this value down. Continue onto the next cell. It’s important to take a reading of every cell at the same time before you perform any calculations. The electrolyte temperature plays a role in determining the overall battery life.

5. Calculate Your Results

Make a note of the electrolyte temperature. It’s normally somewhere around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature varies, you must account for that change in the calculations.

When you’re measuring the specific gravity, and you read 1.250 as the value, it only retains this number if the temperature is at 80 degrees F. For every 10-degree difference, add or subtract 0.004.

A specific gravity value of 1.250 at 100 degrees F. would be adjusted to 1.258, for instance. The battery life results use the adjusted numbers as follows, including:

  • Between 1.274 and 1.239 is 100- to 75-percent charged
  • Between 1.238 to 1.201 is 74- to 25-percent charged
  • Values under 1.200 indicate a discharged cell

6. Avoid Watering the Battery

There are a lot of tasks associated with battery maintenance, including watering the battery. If you’ve just performed this task, don’t use a hydrometer just yet. Allow it to be discharged and charged back up at least once before measuring the battery electrolyte fluid. You need the water to uniformly mix with the battery’s solution before an accurate number can be measured. All of the cells might test poorly with fresh water in the reservoir.

Discuss your battery questions with our team at Northeast Battery today. Car batteries don’t have to remain a mystery. Learn how to use the hydrometer, and you’ll feel more comfortable around the engine’s components in no time. Being knowledgeable will only help you with vehicle troubleshooting in the future!

…Are GEL Batteries Worth It?

Many terms are tossed around when it comes to batteries, including sealed, flooded and valve regulated. Gel batteries are also a common term, which refers to the sulfuric acid and silica substances within the housing that create a stiff paste to conduct electricity. If you’ve been pricing gel batteries, you may wonder if you should make the leap with this technology. Discover why a gel battery is worth it in particular applications.

Taking the “Leak” out of Batteries

There are many pros and cons to gel batteries, but the leading reason why they’re superior to any other cell battery is the leak-free design. Unlike flooded batteries, gel designs don’t have liquid electrolytes. All of the acids are suspended in a solid matrix. The battery might be turned upside down or tipped over during use, and leakage doesn’t occur.

This simple fact reduces corrosion on the housing’s exterior and prolongs the battery’s life cycle. It’s safer to touch without gloves because any acids remain trapped within the housing at all times.

Venting Heat Away

Heat tends to be the enemy of any deep cycle battery. If it heats up too much on a regular basis, the battery’s performance and lifespan suffers. The beauty of gel batteries is their heat-transfer abilities. The separator used in these designs is conductive, which allows heat to move out from the housing. Gel batteries simply run cooler than their relatives, such as AGM or absorbed glass mat models. These designs trap the heat, and lead to a shorter lifespan for the battery overall.

Depending on the Valve

In recent years, VRLA or valve regulated lead acid batteries have become a staple as a high-quality cell battery, reports Science Direct. It comes with a valve made typically of EPDM rubber. This valve protects the battery from leaks that are common with flooded designs.

When you consider if gel batteries are worth the price, take a close look at this valve. As long as it’s made with quality materials, it provides stability and longevity to the battery. In fact, this design is quickly making its way into many industries, so choosing a valve regulated lead acid battery may be the norm in the future.

Working Well in Low-Current, High-Temperature Environments

Golf carts, boats and RVs are all applications that demand a deep cycle battery. Power must flow at a constant rate with some harsh conditions thrown in. You need to be able to rely on the battery charging. Marine batteries work well as gel batteries, for example. Tight areas where unusual positions for the battery are common can employ the gel’s stable structure.

Hot conditions are commonplace for most gel-battery applications too. The life cycle of any battery can be quickly shortened if it’s not designed for particular temperatures. Gel batteries seem to thrive in high temperatures when they can give off a steady stream of power.

Performing at Peak Levels Every Time

A gel battery is worth it because performance is optimized throughout its lifespan. According to Battery University, its internal design gives you a dome-shaped curve to its power output. You don’t have a dwindling voltage, which is common with other batteries. Your application benefits from many deep cycles that have enough power for every accessory.

These peak levels are achieved through advanced designs and unique structures of the gel substance. When your core concern is top-notch performance, no other battery can offer the same reliability.

Speak to the experts at Northeast Battery today. We can make sense of today’s power options and battery charging. Marine batteries, deep cycles and other subjects are ready to be broken down by our team. Get on board with gel batteries to see a difference in your powering options!