Activate your truck, golf cart or industrial machine with a battery in tow, and you know that power might be an issue one day. Lead-acid batteries are the workhorses of the industry for the most part.
They’re reliable to a certain degree – however.
LA batteries have an enemy hidden within their basic design: sulfation. By understanding sulfation, you can avoid most frustrations with a dying or outright dead battery. Chemical reactions within the battery are both amazing and frustrating at the same time.
The chemical environment
Sulfuric acid and lead make up the bulk of a standard, lead-acid battery. As you apply electricity to the battery, the electrolytes within the liquid become excited. They essentially mix together. A fully charged battery has electrolytes that are constantly moving and releasing electrons, which allows the power to steadily flow from the battery and into your vehicle or other machine.
Sulfation occurs in every battery, states Iota Engineering. It’s natural for some sulfate to emerge from the chemical processes and adhere to the battery’s internal plates. However, too much sulfation creates power problems that are quickly observed by any user. Avoiding excess sulfation is the key.
Your charging behavior
Everyone is guilty of not properly charging their batteries. You don’t have time to adhere to the “perfect” charge. For lead-acid batteries, between 14 and 16 hours are necessary for a good charge, reports Battery University. Most people only give the battery an overnight charge of around seven or eight hours. If a “perfect” charge is possible with each session, sulfation doesn’t occur on a prolific level.
If your LA battery is in a vehicle, your charging patterns are different. Once the vehicle is running, the battery is under a charge throughout the drive. This scenario works perfectly for truckers and long-distance drivers. Taking short drives on a regular basis, however, creates sulfation that will decrease the battery’s lifespan.
Symptoms of the “dying” battery
Because no one can charge a battery to its exact needs every time, it will decline at a constant rate. Consider these symptoms produced by your battery when its life is nearly over, such as:
- Decreased running times
- Reduced power to your load
- Excessive charging times to fully saturate the cells
These symptoms tend to sneak up on you because they’re progressive. The charging times are slow in their demise, but they are quantifiable. Consider your charging habits and the battery’s age. A replacement may be necessary in the near future.
Reviving the cells
Soft or reversible sulfation can be treated with a steady current to a fully charged battery. The concept behind this action involves molecular excitement on an intense level. As the current moves through the battery, sulfate crystals that are attached to the plates and preventing proper charging can dissolve back into the liquid solution.
This action doesn’t work for every battery, however. In fact, the practice can be dangerous if you’re not applying the proper current. It’s possible for the battery to break down even further with too much power. Consulting professionals about your power issues is the best choice.
Heading into the future
Today’s battery designers and retailers are looking for a simple solution to sulfation. The answer lies in a unique, acid-mixing battery. These specialty batteries, called ULTRAPOWER +Plus with MIXTECH, have a design where the electrolytes consistently mix as the product is being charged and discharged.
Because the liquid is constantly in flux, excess sulfation cannot occur on a widespread level. You’re left with a battery that runs twice as long as a standard, lead-acid battery. With power demands that are only increasing over time, a long-lasting battery will always be welcomed.
Trusting in your local, battery dealer is the best way to keep up with your power needs. Northeast Battery continues to improve upon today’s power supplies as the latest technology is tested and retested. We’re pleased to fight sulfation with you as battery technology continues to expand and improve.