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Signs and Causes of Signs of Battery Aging

  • Rapid voltage rise when charging - charger shuts down early (incomplete charging)

    A result of the battery charger being fooled by the surface charge on sulphated battery plates. Higher charge voltages are required to overcome internal resistance between battery and the electrolyte .

  • Charge acceptance is slower.

    Explanation for this is the same as the point above.

  • Rapid voltage drop under light loads.

    This is a result of two factors; the first is that the battery contains a surface charge which is rapidly depleted. The second is that a Sulphated battery has reduced surface area between electrolyte and lead plates permitting limited ionic exchange.  In effect, the chemical reaction cannot keep up with demand.

  • Higher temperatures during charge and discharge cycles

    With a lower voltage available from a more-Sulphated battery or cell within a battery array a load places higher demand on that cell or battery than on the others. Using the electrical power formula (Watts = Volts * Amps) when volts go down the Amps must go up to provide the same power.  More Amps (current) results in higher resistance (heat) during discharge.  Higher temperatures can accelerate battery plate erosion which may lead to a flake of lead shorts a cell.

  • Specific gravity varies between cells by 50 points or more

  • Cell to cell voltage variations of 0.05 - 0.1 V.

  • Increased water consumption

    A result of higher charge voltages required to internal resistance the electrolyte breaks down into its molecular components oxygen and hydrogen.   Higher temperatures charge and discharge temperatures cause evaporation.

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Last modified: November 13, 2018