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Battery Aging

Common Causes of Lead Acid Storage Battery Failure

Undercharging:

  •  Continuous operation of a battery in a partial state of charge (sulphation).  Most people do not understand that the nominal battery voltage e.g. is not the full charged voltage, see table below.
  •  Not allowing the batteries to reach a full state of charge after use (sulphation)
  •  Storing a battery in a partial state of charge (causes hardened sulphation)
  •  Continuous low charging voltage may cause stratification of the electrolyte causing the formation of lead sulfate (sulphation)

Overcharging:

  •  Continuous-charging by a poorly designed battery charger causing:
    • corrosion of the positive plates
    • excessive water consumption
    • overheating

    Boat and RV converters are the worst culprits when it comes to overcharging batteries.

Under-watering:

  •  Water is lost during the charging process which may cause irreparable damage if the electrolyte level is allowed to drop below the top of the plates.

Over-watering:

  • Excessive watering of a battery results in additional dilution of the electrolyte resulting in reduced battery capacity.

OFF-GRID, THERE IS NO RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BATTERY VOLTAGE AND STATE OF CHARGE. That is unless the battery has been left without charging or discharge for four to five hours.  Specific Gravity as measured by a hydrometer is the only exact way to measure current state of charge.

Nominal Voltage Fully Charged Volts & SG Depleted Volts & SG
12 V 13.8 V   1.255 1.275  SG 12 V 1.130-1.110
241V 27.6 V   1.255 1.275  SG 24 V 1.130-1.110
48 V 55.2 V   1.255 1.275  SG 48 V 1.130-1.110

Don't take your battery to the depleted voltage Volts or Specific Gravity!



WARNING: Never add acid to a battery.

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Last modified: November 13, 2018