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Lead Acid Battery Classification

Lead acid batteries are classified by what they are used for and by construction. The most common flooded lead acid battery application is automotive in which the battery is briefly and with high amperage for starting then lights etc. once the vehicle is started and charging. Deep cycle applications where there is a long duration with lower amperage load are usually broken down into specific applications such as RV, golf cart, renewable energy, industrial and marine.

There are three popular types of storage batteries for off grid applications: flooded batteries (wet) , AGM and Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA batteries) and GEL batteries. The electrolyte all of these batteries is a solution of sulphuric acid and water.  AGM batteries have their electrolyte is suspended in a fiberglass mat (AGM technology), and are sealed allowing these batteries to be mounted in a variety of positions.  The electrolyte within a GEL Battery is jellied also making these spill proof.  Care should be taken with Gel batteries because a heavy charge may create voids.   

VRLA and AGM are generally 2 to 3 times as expensive as flooded, and the cycle lifetime is usually similar.  So why and where would these batteries be used?

  • In areas with little or poor ventilation
  • In areas or applications where maintenance access is a problem or service is unavailable. (or owners are maintenance adverse)
  • In areas that a flooded battery might spill or break and cause damage

Lighted buoys, sailboat batteries.. are two examples of areas where AGM batteries are frequently used.


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Last modified: September 17, 2021