8V batteries with watering kit

5 Benefits To Using A Single Point Watering System

Anyone using deep-cycle flooded lead-acid batteries in their electric vehicle or other equipment knows the importance of routinely watering the batteries. During charging, the water content of the electrolyte will decrease due to the electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. If left unchecked, the electrodes inside each cell can become exposed, resulting in a loss of battery performance. Regular watering is essential to the continued life and performance of any flooded deep cycle battery.

Electric vehicles and other equipment using deep cycle batteries typically have from four to eight individual batteries – each with multiple cells. Watering each cell can take a significant amount of time, especially if you are maintaining a fleet of vehicles. Battery packs are often located in areas that are not easily accessible, increasing the time required for watering.U.S. Battery offers two single-point watering systems (SPWS), Battery Watering Technologies and Flow-Rite, that can make battery maintenance quick and easy while offering several other benefits.

  1. You Can Fill All Your Batteries At Once A SPWS connects to all of the cells in each of the batteries within the pack allowing you to fill them with water from a single point.
  2. Save Time During Regular Maintenance On a single battery-powered vehicle, you can water all of the batteries in about a minute, versus what would normally take 45-60 minutes per vehicle.
  3. No Chance Of Over Watering With an SPWS, the battery cells fill up to the proper level and shut off to prevent overfilling.
  4. Monitoring Systems Can Tell You When To Water Some SPWS offer a sensor that can monitor water levels in the battery and indicate when they need watering.
  5. Extended Battery Life Frequent maintenance extends the life of your batteries which in turn lowers your annual operating costs.

Click here for more information and installation instructions for our SPWS

AGM and Flooded Deep-Cycle Batteries

Understanding the Differences Between AGM And Flooded Deep-Cycle Batteries

When it comes to powering electric vehicles like golf carts, deep-cycle lead-acid batteries are the industry standard. The reason is that they are designed to provide the most cost-effective energy storage and delivery over the life of the battery.

Over the years, there have been two main types of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries that many golf car owners and fleets have used, the Flooded Lead-Acid (FLA) battery and the Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery. While both provide optimum performance in a wide variety of applications, their design difference can offer various advantages depending on the application.

Engineering

The main design difference between FLA and AGM batteries is how the electrolyte is managed. In FLA batteries, the battery plates are submerged in the liquid electrolyte. During use, water in the electrolyte is broken down into oxygen and hydrogen gases and water is lost. This requires regular additions of water to be replaced to keep the battery plates fully submerged in the electrolyte.

In AGM batteries, the electrolyte is absorbed in special glass mat separators that retain all the electrolyte needed for the life of the battery.  Since there is no free electrolyte, the oxygen generated on a charge is recombined at the negative plate.  In normal operation, hydrogen is not generated and no water is lost.  This eliminates the need to add water and also allows the battery to be sealed with a one-way valve that prevents leakage of the electrolyte.

Performance Differences

FLA batteries have been used in a wide variety of applications for well over 150 years. Their popularity comes from their safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness when compared with other types of rechargeable batteries.   According to Fred Wehmeyer, U.S. Battery Senior VP of Engineering, FLA batteries deliver the lowest cost per watt-hour both in acquisition cost and in overall cost per charge/discharge cycle.  “This is why they are the best choice for fleets of vehicles or equipment that are used heavily on a daily basis,” says Wehmeyer. “Also, both FLA and AGM batteries offer an environmental advantage over other types of batteries because they are essentially 100 percent recyclable and enjoy the highest recycling rate of any commercial product.”

AGM batteries offer the advantage of being maintenance-free. This can be significant in applications where regular maintenance is difficult or costly, such as when the batteries are located in remote or hard to access locations. Even though AGM batteries cost more per watt-hour, the elimination of maintenance costs reduces the overall battery operational costs.  Also, since the battery is sealed and does not emit gases in normal use, it can be used in sensitive areas such as food or pharmaceutical storage facilities.

Selecting between FLA or AGM deep cycle batteries ultimately depends on the type of use and the capability to provide regular maintenance in the application.

AGM = No Maintenance + Higher Cost + Susceptible to abuse like overcharging

FLA = Requires Watering + Lower Cost + Susceptible to abuse from poor maintenance

No matter what type of battery you use, it is always best to target the depth of discharge to 50 percent or less for both FLA or AGM battery types. This will optimize battery life cycle cost vs acquisition cost over the life of the battery system.

 

Santa's Posse 2019

U.S. Battery Makes Donation To Santa’s Posse

Santa’s Posse is a nonprofit organization that partners with the Clark County, Washington Sheriff’s Office, who collects and distributes toys and food for the needy. To help Santa’s Posse deliver to more than 1,000 families this year, U.S. Battery and its Distributor Battery Systems of Portland, Oregon, donated two US 27DC XC2 deep-cycle 12-Volt multi-purpose batteries. The batteries will be auctioned to raise additional money that helps to provide more than 2,900 kids with toys and holiday meals.

U.S. Battery’s Western Regional Sales Manager Dwayne Porter is also a volunteer Sheriff’s Auxiliary member and presented the donation on behalf of Battery Systems of Portland and U.S. Battery, to Sergeant Kevin Allais of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Donations to Santa’s Posse can be made via the organization’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/SantasPosse/

U.S. Battery products on pallets at Sea Gear Maldives

SeaGear Uses U.S. Battery Products To Provide Reliable Service To Resorts Across The Maldives

SeaGear is one of U.S. Battery’s newest international customers with a reputation of providing quality equipment and service to various resort companies.  Located in the Maldives, SeaGear services 13 resorts across the islands and wanted their customer’s battery-powered equipment to keep up with the demand and provide the reliability they are known for. 

“With SeaGear receiving a second container load of US 8VGC XC2 deep-cycle batteries, it’s a huge milestone for U.S. Battery’s penetration into the South Asia market,” says Rosli Zainol, U.S. Battery Director of Business Development Asia/Pacific/Southeast Asia. “Sea Gear has affirmed its trust in U.S. Battery upon receiving satisfying feedback on our deep-cycle performance products in their customers’ fleet of golf cars. Having such confidence on our batteries allows them to offer to other verticals (especially in the marine and fishing industries) where motive power is critical.”

U.S. Battery products batteries deliver greater overall capacity, longer battery life and the ability to reach peak capacity in fewer cycles.

1.7 million tons of lead batteries is recycled every year

Battery Council International Among The Success Stories In Recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenged companies and organizations to sign and be a part of the EPA’s America Recycles Pledge, representing their active participation in addressing the challenges of America’s recycling programs. After many companies signed and joined, the EPA recently recognized several organizations that have shown exemplary successes in recycling.

Among those recognized was the Battery Council International (BCI), a not-for-profit trade organization that represents the lead battery industry consisting of battery manufacturers, recyclers, and suppliers. The organization is committed to sustainability, the environment, and society by providing extensive information about recycling lead batteries to consumers and policymakers. 

With lead battery recycling at a 99.3% rate and the fact that lead batteries are safely manufactured and recycled through a “closed-loop” state-of-the-art process, BCI estimates this effort keeps more than 1.7 million tons of lead batteries out of  U.S. landfills. BCI was recognized for its training materials, intended for retailers, that help inform handlers on how to identify and remove lithium batteries from the lead recycling process. BCI created a lithium battery training tool kit designed for companies to incorporate into their onboarding programs and learning management systems.

BCI was one of many companies and organizations recognized by the EPA for their recycling efforts in 2018 and celebrates these successes to remind us of the significant progress made by individuals and companies when working together.

Testing Battery Specific Gravity with Hydrometer

Temperature’s Impact on Charging Deep-Cycle Batteries

The chemistry of flooded lead-acid deep-cycle batteries makes them one of the most cost-effective methods of energy storage. The composition of the battery’s design, however, makes it sensitive to temperature, which can affect its charging and discharging rate, something that should be addressed in regular maintenance routines.

Cold temperatures slow the rate of charging and discharge, while warmer temperatures increase the rates. This means that it may take longer for your batteries to fully charge in the winter than they will in the summer. Additionally, in the warmer summer months, batteries may discharge more quickly. Battery manufacturers use 80-degrees F (27 C) as the baseline temperature for optimum operation and calculating charge and discharge rates. Obviously that doesn’t work for everyone, so it’s important to take specific gravity readings with a hydrometer to know if and when your batteries are properly charged in all temperature conditions.

Specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a solution to the weight of an equal volume of water at a specified temperature. A hydrometer can give you an indication of the state of charge of the battery’s electrolyte. A higher number indicates a higher concentration of acid in the electrolyte, indicating the battery is charged. A lower number indicates that the concentration of acid in the battery is less, showing the amount of discharge of the battery.

Battery manufacturers recommend using a simple correction factor to your hydrometer’s readings. Using 80-degrees as your baseline, subtract (.004) from your hydrometer reading for every 10-degrees below 80 °F (5.6-degrees below 27 °C). For example, if the temperature of the electrolyte is 50 °F and your battery specific gravity reading is 1.200, you must subtract .012 from your reading. In this case .004 for every 10-degrees equals .012. Subtract this from 1.200 and your corrected specific gravity reading is 1.188.

Specific gravity readings must be done on every cell of each battery in the pack. Compare the readings to the battery manufacturer’s specifications to indicate the state of charge of your batteries. While it’s not necessary to calculate your hydrometer’s readings for slight variations above or below 80 °F, it should be done in extreme weather conditions or seasonally to ensure that your battery-powered vehicles or equipment are performing at their best.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia Visits California Battery Plant

On September 26, 2019, representatives from U.S. Battery and Battery Council International were pleased to host Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) at U.S. Battery’s manufacturing facility in the city of Corona. Assemblywoman Garcia is an author of AB-142, the Lead Battery Recycling Act (2016) which requires the Department of Toxic Substances Control to investigate and clean up properties impacted by closed lead battery recycling facilities. Additionally, the legislation stabilizes the funding for the program by increasing the current fee on battery manufacturers and making it permanent.

The facility tour showcased U.S. Battery’s process for manufacturing deep-cycle batteries, which are used for a variety of consumer and commercial applications, including energy storage to support solar and wind energy generation, and zero emissions backup power systems. These applications will be especially important in California, which leads the nation in the fight against climate change and has established ambitious goals to curb emissions of climate-forcing pollutants. To achieve these goals, the state will need to avail itself of all viable clean energy technologies, including lead batteries.

The U.S. Battery manufacturing facility is part of the lead battery industry’s overall contribution to California’s economy:

  • 3,056 jobs
  • $195.9 million in annual labor income,
  • $332.9 million in annual gross state product (GSP),
  • $998.6 million in annual output (overall economic benefit), and
  • $92.9 million in annual government revenue.

These benefits are widespread and support a variety of industries throughout California. For details on the economic contribution of the lead battery industry, visit: www.essentialenergyeveryday.com

Battery industry's impact on economy

Lead Battery Industry In The U.S. Drives Economic Growth

A study by the Battery Council International reveals that the lead battery industry in the United States provides a large boost to the economy through manufacturing, recycling and mining activity while continuing to be one of the safest and most reliable sources of energy storage.

Highlights from the study include:
  • The lead battery industry employs nearly 25K workers and contributes $26.3 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • The lead battery industry indirectly affects various industries, including suppliers, worker spending, transportation and distribution, and research and development, which contribute a total of 92,000 jobs and $1.7 billion annually in payroll.
  • Lead batteries are used to power nearly 275 million cars and trucks.
  • Many modern vehicles utilize start-stop technology; a system that allows cars to temporarily stop their engines, while idling, to conserve fuel. According to the Consortium for Battery Innovation, this technology, which utilizes lead batteries, is eliminating 4.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S.
  • Lead batteries have a recycling rate exceeding 99 percent, and are the most recycled consumer-produced products in the U.S. According to the BCI, a new lead battery consists of more than 80 percent recycled material, and nearly 70 percent of its lead comes from recycling from a “closed-loop” industry, making it the most environmentally sustainable of all battery technologies.

Investment in research and development also adds to the lead battery industry’s contribution to economic growth in the U.S. According to the BCI, in 2018 the lead battery industry invested over $100 million into this area, continuing to meet the rapidly changing needs within transportation, renewable energy, communications and other sectors, and has already improved the lifespan of batteries and their ability to store energy.

In total, the BCI study demonstrates how the U.S. lead battery industry annually supports $6 billion in labor income, $10.9 billion in the gross domestic product (GDP), $26.3 billion in overall economic impact, and 2.4 billion in government revenue. These impacts, according to the BCI, represent the lead battery’s total contribution to the national economy. To find out more and read the BCI’s economic impact study, visit the website at www.batterycouncil.org

 

Connected 8v Batteries

Deep-Cycle Battery Terminals And Cable Maintenance Tips

When battery-powered vehicles and equipment suffer from intermittent performance issues, one of the most common reasons for this is poor battery cable connections. Ironically, loose connections can be caused by both under-tightening and over-tightening of the battery terminal connectors, as well as corrosion that can occur over time. Deep-cycle battery terminals are made from lead, which is a soft metal that creeps over time. The result is that they must be retightened regularly to maintain proper torque levels. If too much torque is applied when attaching cables to battery terminals, however, it can cause damage to the lead terminals preventing them from making a proper connection.  Battery manufacturers recommend terminal torque specifications that vary with the different types of terminals used for deep-cycle batteries.

Deep cycle batteries can come with UTL, UT, large and small L, Offset S, and SAE tapered post terminals, among others.  For UTL and UT battery terminals with threaded studs, the recommended torque is 95 – 105 in-lb (7.9 – 8.8 ft-lb).  For bolt-thru terminals such as large and small L and Offset S, the recommended torque is 100-120 in-lb (8.3 – 10 ft-lb).  SAE terminals have a recommended terminal torque of 50-70 in-lb (4.2 to 5.8 ft-lb). For other terminal types, consult the battery manufacturer’s recommendations. When measuring terminal torque, use a torque wrench with settings or readings in the 0 – 200 in-lb (0 – 16 ft-lb) range. Larger torque wrenches can inadvertently exceed the recommended settings or readings.

It is also important to consult the battery manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper type and assembly of the terminal hardware. Most manufacturers provide stainless steel nuts and lock washers or plated bolts, nuts, and lock washers with the batteries depending on the type of terminal used. The correct method is to position a lock washer between the nut and the connector (never between the connector and the lead terminal) and apply the recommended torque to completely compress the lock washer without deforming the lead terminal.

Clean terminals will maintain the best connection, so if corrosion is observed on the battery terminals and connectors, they should be cleaned with a wire brush and a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize any electrolyte that may be on the surfaces. To reduce the formation of corrosion on the terminals, battery manufacturers recommend using a corrosion inhibitor after making proper connections. Never apply grease or other lubricants between the terminals and connectors since they can interfere with the connection.

Check the cables to determine if they are corroded and need to be replaced.  Corrosion can extend under the cable insulation but is often not visible. A good ‘tug’ on the cables can expose weak connections. If new cables or connectors were added during the life of the vehicle, make sure the wire connectors are properly crimped and soldered to the cable ends.  Studies have shown that wire cables with crimped connectors that are not soldered to the cable ends can corrode faster and create a high resistance connection between the wire cable and crimped connector. This high resistance can cause excessive heating during discharge and melt the lead terminal, causing a loss of connection and permanent damage to the battery.  If any of the cables show signs of melted insulation, corrosion under the insulation, or have bare wire showing replace the cables and connectors.

While faulty connections are often the cause of battery terminal meltdowns resulting in poor performance, using appropriately sized wires with properly crimped and soldered connectors and the proper torque settings will reduce the chances that poor connections will adversely affect battery performance.

U.S. 145 XC2 with XC2 logo

Initial Capacity vs Rated and Peak Capacity for Deep-Cycle Batteries

Deep cycle batteries are designed to provide continuous power over an extended period of time and are then recharged in preparation for the next discharge/recharge cycle.  For many industrial and consumer applications where energy storage is critical, flooded lead-acid batteries provide premium performance at an unrivaled cost.  Consumers, however, may not be aware that flooded lead-acid deep cycle batteries are designed to reach their rated and/or peak capacity after a conditioning period of capacity ‘cycle-up’.  This cycle-up period consists of a series of discharge/recharge cycles in normal operation during which the available battery capacity increases with each cycle.  This conditioning cycle-up period is designed to provide the optimum in cycle life vs. cost for this type of battery and application.  The number of cycles required to achieve rated and/or peak capacity depends on many factors, including but not limited to battery design, recharge method, depth of discharge, temperature, etc.

Most deep cycle battery manufacturers provide a ‘Capacity Development Curve’ that describes the relationship of initial capacity and the number of cycles required to achieve rated and/or peak capacity for this type of battery.  The test procedures used to determine battery capacity ratings and capacity development relationships are specified in Battery Council International procedure BCIS-05 BCI Specifications for Electric Vehicle Batteries (Rev. 2010-15).  Per BCIS-05: “Long-life deep cycle EV batteries typically exhibit 75-80% of rated capacity on initial discharge, full rated capacity within the first 100 cycles, and >100% of rating at peak capacity.”

To achieve optimum cycle life vs. battery acquisition cost, most battery manufacturers recommend sizing the battery’s capacity to ~50% depth of discharge (DOD).  This not only optimizes the cycle life of the battery vs. cost but also provides a ‘reserve’ capacity in situations where additional runtime is needed beyond normal requirements.  Since flooded lead-acid deep cycle batteries can continue to deliver useable capacity down to ~50% of rated capacity, this recommendation also allows utilization of the total number of cycles available from the battery.  For these reasons, the fact that this type of battery does not deliver full rated capacity ‘out-of-box’ is not usually an issue and can easily be managed through proper battery sizing and choice of battery type and manufacturer.

Battery manufacturers do recognize that fleets operating battery-powered machinery such as aerial platform lifts, floor cleaning machines, pallet jacks, and golf carts desire the highest possible capacity over the life of the battery.  Accordingly, they are constantly improving battery designs and charging methods to achieve the highest possible initial capacity and the fastest possible cycle-up without compromising overall cycle life.