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Are your lead-acid batteries ready for spring?

Are your lead-acid batteries ready for spring?

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — RV owners who don’t use a battery charger of maintainer with Pulse Technology over the winter storage period can anticipate sluggish or dead batteries come spring, PulseTech reported in a press release.

When not in use, batteries will self-discharge, with the rate of self-discharge for lead-acid batteries depending on the storage or operating temperature. For example, a 125 AH battery that is stored for four months during winter without being charged or maintained will lose 80 amps of its 125-amp capacity, the release stated. The battery will also suffer from severe sulfation buildup, inhibiting the plates from accepting and distributing a charge.

All lead-acid batteries suffer from the same failure mode, as 80 percent of all lead-acid batteries fail due to the effects of sulfation build up. If left unmanaged, sulfates found in the electrolyte will crystallize and root onto the battery plates and eventually result in premature batter failure, the release continued. This is especially true with seasonally used vehicles and vehicles with short run times and high key off parasitic loads.

All lead-acid batteries consist of two flat plates. A positive plate covered with lead dioxide and a negative made of sponge lead that are immersed in a pool of electrolytes. Electrons are produced from the chemical reaction producing voltage. When there is a circuit between the positive and negative terminals, electricity begins to flow, providing connecting sources with power.

A lead-acid cell produces voltage by receiving (forming) a charge of at least 2.1 volts/cell from a charger. Known as storage batteries, lead-acid batteries do not generate voltage on their own, they only store a charge from another source. The size of the battery plates and amount of electrolyte determines the amount of charge lead acid batteries can store.

Storage capacity is described as the amp hour (AH) rating of a battery. In a typical lead-acid battery, the voltage is approximately 2 volts per cell, for a total of 12 volts or a rating of 125 AH, which equates to the
battery’s ability to supply 10 amps of current for 12.5 hours or 20 amps of current for a period of 6.25 hours.

Those who didn’t use a battery charger or maintainer over the winter months will typically discover a discharged, heavily sulfated battery when they go to use their equipment or vehicles in the spring, the release continued.

To bring those batteries back to peak performance condition, PulseTech Products  recommends the following checklist:

  •  Give the battery case a quick clean to remove any dirt from the outside case.
  • Clean terminal posts and make sure they are free of any corrosion. If significant, clean the terminal posts with a small wire brush to remove sulfate deposits and use dialectic grease or corrosion inhibiting spray to minimize future corrosion.
  • Make sure the electrolyte levels are high enough. If levels are below the maximum line add distilled water (not tap water) up to the line. Not all batteries have a maximum fill line. If that’s the case with your battery, simply fill to 1/8 below the ring of plastic that extends into the cell. Never overfill the battery.
  • Use a battery tester to ensure the battery has a minimum charge of 12.6 volts. If the charge is below that level you will need to charge the battery in a well-ventilated area. To ensure best performance use a smart charger featuring Pulse Technology for a week or more to dissolve the capacity robbing sulfates so the battery can be fully charged and retail full capacity.
  • Not all batteries can be totally recovered. If a battery has a short circuit or physical damage, it is impossible to bring back.

SOURCE: PulseTech Products Corporation press release

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About Darian Armer

Darian Armer is the assistant editor for RV Daily Report. She lives in Billings, Montana, where she enjoys spending time with her husband and three stepchildren. Introduced to the RV industry in 2012, she is happy to be writing for one of the greatest industries around.

One comment

  1. When I store my Class A RV I disconnect the batteries (both house and engine batteries) and leave them in place. There is no electricity where I store my RV so I do not put a Maintainer/charger on them. The RV is stored for about 5 months with only one or two brief uses during that period. I am a snowbird so the storage is in the late spring , summer, and early fall Thus no freezing temps. When I put the RV back in service I clean the battery terminals and make sure the fluid level is not low. During the season when I am using the RV I check the fluid level in the house batteries every month.
    The batteries seem to be holding up well for the three or four years since last replaced.

    Jim

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