Simple Battery Maintenance

Simple Battery Maintenance main image Simple Battery Maintenance image

As with most things, batteries can benefit from a little maintenance to give them better performance and a longer life.  With a few simple steps you can get more from your investment and save yourself potential issues further down the road.  Let start with a few easy reminders.

Fully Charged

So, what is a fully charged battery?  12 volts?  Unfortunately, this is not the case.  A fully charged AGM battery is 12.6V or above, this is the level where your battery is ready to give you its maximum performance.  If your battery is below this, at say 12.3V it may still be working but at a reduced performance and can also lead to a shortened life span if left for long periods of time.  A battery charger or trickle charger will help you keep life in your battery and have it ready to go when you need it.  

Battery Charger/Trickle Charger

Always check for physical damage or swelling of the battery before charging, as that could be a sign of overheating or overcharging.  Once satisfied connect the charger with the power turned off, making sure to obtain the best possible connection between the battery terminals and the battery charger connectors.  Turn on the power to the charger and follow the manufactures instructions to select the appropriate battery type for the battery you are wanting to charge.  Different constructions of batteries require different rates of charging Wet, Calcium, AGM and lithium all require individual charging profiles from the battery charger, using the wrong settings may result in damaging your battery.  To identify a fully charged battery the voltage should be reading between 12.6V and 12.9V, but always allow the battery to rest for one hour after charging before checking the voltage to allow any surface charge to dissipate

Trickle/maintenance chargers are a much softer approach to battery charging than a full battery charger.  Trickle chargers' output 12V but only at 1.5Amp or lower.  It for this reason a trickle charger will often not be able to charge a fully flat battery (12.0V or lower), the internal resistance within the battery is too high for the battery to accept charge at those levels.  Where a trickle charger excels is float charging the battery when the vehicle is not in use.  So to speak, when hooked up it is always on and gently trickling power into the battery, toping up the power levels and countering any minor power draw or natural discharge.  This approach is ideal for any motorcycle, trailbike, jet ski or caravan that is used seasonally or left for extended periods of time.  Having the trickle hooked up and topping up your battery means you can be sure you are ready to go when the time comes.

Terminals

The business end of any battery.  A good clean connection is key to maximising battery performance, check that all surfaces are clean and free from corrosion before installing your battery.  When disconnecting your battery, it is advised to always remove the earthed terminal (often negative) first, and when installing to reverse this and attach the earthed wire last, this will reduce the chances of arching out the electrical system during installation.  When connecting a motorcycle battery with screw in terminals it is advised to be aware to tighten the terminals so that they will not loosen under vibration when in use.  Lock-tight or other such tightening chemical additives should never be used as they can adversely affect connectivity and reduce the performance of the battery.

Battery Size

It is always advised to match the OEM size when replacing the battery.  Going smaller can leave you with an electrical system that is underpowered to do the job properly.  Alternately, bigger is not always better either, forcing a larger battery may not give the gains expected and create a safety hazard as well.  The electrical system has been designed with a battery capacity and performance in mind, changing the size may well strain other parts of the system such loads to and from the alternator and starter.  Best to always size correctly to the application.

 

If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Battery Solutions Network