Battery Safety Summit To Focus On Education And Safety Of Lithium-Ion Batteries

The agenda for the 10th Annual Battery Safety Summit is reported to be focused on lithium-ion batteries and their expanding application and use by consumers. The summit is scheduled for October 22-25, 2019 in Alexandria Virginia where, according to the Battery Safety Summit will discuss finding accurate test and models that are critical for predicting and controlling the complex electrochemical, thermal, and mechanical behavior of lithium-ion batteries. 

The summit also plans to promote effective safety strategies from battery manufacturers, scientists and regulatory authorities as the use of these batteries increases. The summit intends to continue safety dialogs for the integrating and implementation of lithium-ion batteries to meet growing energy demands. For more information on the Battery Safety Summit, visit https://www.cambridgeenertech.com/battery-safety

Your Boating Spring Checklist Should Include Deep-Cycle Battery Maintenance

As summer approaches, boats often get a spring cleaning where the vessel gets washed, engines get tuned, and seals get inspected. Most often, the vessel’s batteries were removed for storage, but that doesn’t mean they should simply be plugged back in without checking them as well.

Most boats have two types of batteries on board, one for starting the engine(s) and a deep-cycle marine battery for powering accessories such as troll motors, lights, radio, navigation, etc. All of the vessel’s batteries should have been fully-charged before long-term storage, but deep-cycle batteries use for powering accessories need some additional maintenance to keep them working reliably.

Most boats will have a single 12-volt or a series of six-volt flooded lead-acid (FLA) deep-cycle batteries. These are the most cost-effective type of battery versus an AGM or maintenance free batteries. To get your FLA batteries in shape for summer boating, put on some rubber gloves and protective eyewear and remove the vent caps on the batteries to check the level of the electrolyte. The lead cell plates of the battery should be completely submerged in the electrolyte. If not, add distilled water to the point when the plates are fully submerged, usually, 1/4-inch below the bottom of the fill well in the cell cover. Do not overfill.

Once you are sure the battery cell plates are properly submerged in electrolyte the batteries should go through a full charge cycle. Once completed, check the electrolyte levels again and add distilled water to any of the battery cells that may need it.

Check for corrosion on the battery terminals and wiring. Corrosion can be cleaned by spraying a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the electrolyte, then using a wire brush with a plastic or wood handle, the terminals and battery connectors can be cleaned. Use a silicone spray to keep the terminals and connectors clean and to prevent additional corrosion from building up.

Once your deep-cycle batteries are clean and fully charged, it’s a good idea to make sure you do not discharge the batteries past 50-percent. This dramatically reduces battery life. Battery manufacturers also recommend giving your deep-cycle batteries an equalization charge. This is an extended, low current charge performed after the normal charge cycle. It helps keep all the cells in balance. Actively used batteries should be equalized once per month and most battery chargers will have this function built into it. If you have an automatically controlled charger that doesn’t have an equalization function, you can unplug it and reconnect it after completing a charge to give an extra equalization charge.

Once you’ve provided the proper maintenance to your deep-cycle marine battery(s), they should give you optimum performance throughout your boating season. Occasionally, check the condition of each battery charge by using a hydrometer to test the cells and determine the state of charge indicated on the hydrometer and the battery manufacturer specifications. Keeping your marine batteries in shape will make them last much longer and allow you to enjoy your time on the water.

RV Batteries, Getting The Most Power Storage

Most RVs have an electrical system that simply plugs into a power source. When you’re at a more primitive site that has no power or water, your RV’s deep-cycle batteries had better be in top shape to power everything from your fridge, lights, stove and more. Many RV owners don’t always think about their batteries until they stop working, so it’s always important to make sure you have enough energy storage to power all your RV’s accessories. 

The way to ensure your RV has plenty of standby power is to ensure the batteries have enough capacity to handle the power load of all of your RV’s accessories. First, It’s important to know that RVs require a deep-cycle battery for this purpose. These batteries provide longer lasting power compared to regular car starter batteries that are designed to provide maximum power for short periods (to start the engine). Each deep-cycle battery is rated in amp-hours (AH), a measurement of the battery’s capacity. Most are indicated in the amount of current in amps that the battery can provide for 20-hours. 

For example, a deep-cycle battery with a 100 AH rating can deliver 5 amps for 20 hours, or 20 amps for 5 hours, before being discharged. Discharging deep-cycle batteries more than 50-percent will dramatically shorten their life. This is one reason why many experienced RV owners use batteries with the most AH rating they can get. When comparing batteries, make sure you compare them by the same 20-hour standard.

RV owners also switch to using multiple batteries to provide extra capacity. In many instances, this is done by using two smaller 12-volt deep-cycle batteries wired in parallel that will increase the AH capacity rating and leave the voltage at 12-volts. If you really want to dramatically increase your power storage, you can also switch to using two 6-volt batteries that need to be wired in series to produce 12-volts. This can more than double your AH capacity if you have the battery storage space to do so.

Keeping your batteries from being discharged below 50-percent is key to making them last longer, as can checking the water levels in the batteries. In some RVs, it’s difficult to access the batteries for monthly maintenance so some RV owners also install a single-point watering system that makes it easy to add water to each battery from one access point.

For more information on selecting the right RV batteries and maintenance tips on making them last longer, visit www.usbattery.com

On Earth-Day, Industries Get “Green” With Batteries

The increasing use of deep-cycle batteries is helping various industries become leaner and reduce their impact on the environment

A variety of industries have been using battery powered equipment and vehicles for decades. The attraction to incorporate them was initially to improve safety. In the cleaning industry, for example, motorized cleaning machines were much safer with battery power, reducing the risk of trips and falls. In the access lift industry, battery-powered vehicles are more compact and maneuverable, answering the industry’s call for greater safety for works on jobs that extended 18-25-feet above ground.

As these and other industries enjoyed improved safety standards, they began realizing that there was a greater demand for battery powered vehicles because of the hidden benefits that weren’t initially apparent. Companies and industries using battery powered floor cleaning machines, access lifts, golf carts, fork lifts, and other equipment, realized that those equipped with deep-cycle lead-acid batteries ended up being more cost effective than those powered by combustion engines. In addition, with proper battery maintenance, many companies realized lower annual operating costs, and the benefit of reduced environmental impact.

The latter was realized when the Battery Council International announced that lead-acid batteries are one of the most recycled product on the planet, nearing 100 percent. As long as recycling efforts are adhered to, and avoiding recycling lithium-ion batteries in lead-acid battery recycling centers, industries that adopted battery powered equipment are also “greener” than they once thought.

Deep-cycle batteries are also being seriously considered for a growing need for energy storage from alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. During a recent Advanced Energy Storage Caucus in Washington DC, representatives discussed how energy storage is the future of renewable energy and that environmental concerns are also an issue. The discussions also could not ignore the environmental life cycle of deep-cycle lead-acid batteries and their 150-year proven track record within a variety of industries.

With a variety of benefits, there’s clearly a shift towards using battery power that can help many industries change how these batteries are viewed, their safety record, and as an environmental leader.

U.S. Battery’s Manufacturing Facilities In Georgia Receive 2018 Award For Excellence In Client Solutions

The U.S. Institute of Trade & Commerce recognized U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s Augusta and Evans, Georgia plants with the 2018 Excellence Award for Client Solutions. The award focused on U.S. Battery’s commitment to providing its customers with a high level of service that exceeds industry benchmarks, and its ability to manage shipments of product to local and global distributors quickly and efficiently.

“Since 1926, U.S. Battery has made customer service and product quality its top priorities,” says Terry Agrelius, U.S. Battery President and CEO. “Our employees and management staff continuously strive to provide our customers with outstanding service, in order to consistently meet the needs of our global distributors.”

U.S. Battery’s Augusta and Evans, Georgia plants are the largest of the company’s three manufacturing facilities and distribute its deep-cycle battery products to the company’s global customer base. Over the years, the company has received numerous awards and accolades for its product quality, customer service, and on-time delivery.

“It’s always gratifying to be recognized for our efforts, but it’s our high standards that have kept U.S. Battery at the top of the deep-cycle battery industry for decades,” says Agrelius. “Our customers know U.S Battery products perform beyond their expectations, and that our service is top-notch. This is why they continue to do business with us and the reason why more companies in a variety of industries are switching to our products.” U.S. Battery continues to push the boundaries of battery power and in the process, is being recognized as the most respected deep-cycle battery manufacturer in the industry.

Checklist For Charging Deep-Cycle Batteries

When it seems like your deep-cycle batteries aren’t operating at full capacity, it may be that they’re not getting a full charge. Undercharging deep-cycle batteries is a common occurrence, especially when they are constantly being used and there’s a rush to get them back in use before they are fully charged. To ensure your batteries are getting a full-charge every time, follow this checklist of procedures from battery manufacturers that can ensure your deep-cycle batteries are getting a full charge.

Before starting you’ll need to make sure the vehicle the batteries are installed in is off, and that you are working in a well ventilated area and with proper safety equipment such as goggles and gloves. Have a hydrometer handy so you can measure the battery’s state of charge, which is a simple but very effective way to verify your batteries are at full charge.

1) Always charge your batteries as soon as possible and try to limit the depth of discharge to 50 percent to maximize battery life. If you can’t keep track of the depth of discharge, you can’t go wrong by always charging the batteries after every use.

2) Connect the charger to the battery or battery pack and allow it to go through a complete charge cycle until it shuts off.

3) Check the state-of-charge (SOC) of the battery pack by using a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity readings. A fully charged battery usually has a specific gravity reading close to 1.275, but check with the battery manufacturer for this specific full charge reading.

4) If the charger turns off before the batteries are fully charged, unplug and restart the charger.  If it continues to turn off before the batteries are fully charged, consult the vehicle and/or charger manufacturer for corrective actions. 

5) If the charger is working properly, it’s always a good idea to perform an equalizing charge at least once a month. This will cause the electrolyte to gas (bubble) and reduce the chance of stratification, which can lower battery life.

6) Check the electrolyte levels on each battery after charging and add distilled water using a watering pitcher or with a single point watering system. Check with your battery manufacturer to determine the correct levels. These basic steps will ensure your batteries are getting the maximum performance and life. It is important to also regularly check your charger to make sure it’s working properly, and keep it stored in an area where it won’t get damaged. To find additional resources on charger diagnostics, battery maintenance and ways to increase battery efficiency and service life, visit U.S. Battery’s website at www.usbattery.com.  

Battery Sorting, Training Key To Safe Recycling Efforts

Lithium-ion batteries have become part of our daily lives. They have proven useful for powering many of the electronics that we rely on, from cellphones and power tools to a growing number of electric vehicles. Their chemistry and construction, however, are not compatible with the process used to recycle lead-acid batteries. As a result, the Battery Council International (BCI) has growing concerns that more Lithium-ion batteries may be introduced into the lead-acid recycling ecosystem. The results of such contamination can result in explosion and fire that can cause injury to recycling center personnel and equipment. Lithium-ion batteries must be taken to a proper recycling location to be disposed of these facilities are not the same as lead battery recycling centers. Visit the BCI website to find out where to recycle lithium-ion batteries near you.

Properly Identifying Lead-Acid and Lithium-ion Batteries

Some of the best ways to tell the difference between a lithium-ion battery and a lead battery include:

1) Weight – Lead batteries typically weigh almost double that of a lithium battery of the same size.

2) Labeling – Lead batteries are labeled with the letters PB or have the word Lead Battery somewhere on the battery. Lithium-ion batteries have the letters Li or have the words lithium-ion somewhere on the battery case.

3) Terminal Styles – Most lead batteries have two protruding terminals with a light gray appearance. Lithium batteries may have a number of different styles of terminals.

If you’re still not sure what type of battery you have, you should remove the battery for closer inspection to find a label or other markings that may indicate the chemistry.

The BCI has created a toolkit that can be used by companies, to help employees identify and ensure that lead and lithium batteries are not recycled together.  The toolkit includes training videos, as well as a poster and flyer that can aid lead battery sorters and handlers with proper identification.

Video: https://youtu.be/4TPnUrENTRc

Selecting The Best 6-Volt Deep Cycle Battery For Floor Scrubber Machines

Cleaning companies that rely on deep-cycle batteries to power their floor scrubber machines worry when battery power fades before the job is done. Because deep-cycle six-volt batteries take several hours to fully charge, it can mean lost time and money whenever a floor scrubber is down.

This is why it’s extremely important to select the right deep-cycle battery with a run-time that matches the average length of time floor scrubber machines are on duty. To do this, it requires more than just comparing the ratings on the labels and finding the least expensive battery.

Getting optimum power for floor scrubbers, start by determining the correct size, voltage and ampere hour (AH) capacity required for your specific floor cleaning machine.  Compare this information to the battery manufacturer’s rating charts to determine which battery provides the proper voltage, AH capacity, and/or runtime that matches your application.  If you’re comparing batteries from different manufacturers, it’s important to carefully check the information to be sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples.

Battery cycle life ratings are often based on selective data from the manufacturer.  Typically, cycle life ratings are determined by the depth of discharge (DOD), which is the percentage of AH capacity discharged from the battery during each discharge.  As an example, a battery with an 80 percent DOD has only 20 percent of its capacity left. Most battery manufacturers recommend a 50 percent DOD for optimum cycle life vs runtime, but cycle life can be quoted at a wide variety of DOD ratings. This can result in what appears to show a longer cycle life for one battery type over another but may not be an accurate comparison. When comparing cycle life ratings, make sure they are rated using the same DOD.

Because test methods, temperatures, charging algorithms, and charging methods all affect cycle life, relying on printed ratings shouldn’t be your only point of reference. Generally speaking, less expensive batteries may have fewer or lighter internal components (lead plates and plate construction) and may have shorter cycle life in the same application due to greater DOD.  Batteries with more or heavier plates will typically have longer cycle life but will also cost more initially.

Putting this in perspective, a deep-cycle battery with a lower capacity might be a better choice for a company with a cleaning machine that is used occasionally, or for jobs that take less time.  Cleaning companies or rental fleets with cleaning machines that see heavy cycling, a deep-cycle higher capacity battery would benefit them by providing longer run times and lower DOD resulting in longer cycle life. One might be less expensive initially, while the other may last longer and need to be replaced less often, especially if the batteries also receive regular maintenance.

All that being said, when comparing battery brands and run-times to determine which one will be best, be sure to understand the differences between your application and standard test conditions.  Manufacturers test batteries in laboratory environments that are intended to simulate actual conditions encountered in a variety of applications.  These conditions may not perfectly duplicate those in your application, but by understanding the differences, the best comparison can be made.  If possible, take notes on usage patterns, charging practices, and battery maintenance frequency and compare with the battery manufacturers’ recommendations.  Ultimately you may find that one brand stands out from the others and offers you the best performance-per-dollar for your application.

Deep Cycle Battery

Making Your Golf Cart Batteries Last Longer

Nobody likes having to replace a set of 6-volt or 8-volt golf cart batteries every few years, especially if you think you’ve maintained them by frequently charging and watering. So what went wrong? There’s more to making your batteries last longer than simple routine maintenance. According to Fred Wehmeyer, Senior Vice President/Engineering at U.S. Battery Manufacturing, there are three key factors that maximize battery life.

The first is starting with a better battery. If you’ve always shopped for the less expensive battery, you’re sacrificing capacity and extended operation. Premium batteries cost a little more initially, but simply put, they have more lead plates and better internal construction. This is one of the major factors in battery longevity and with the benefit of greater capacity for longer run times between charging.

A better battery will also help with the second factor towards extending battery life, which is the amount of discharge placed on the batteries. Battery manufacturers recommend limiting the discharge rate to 50-percent for optimum battery cycle life. A 50-percent Depth Of Discharge (DOD), can be determined by first applying a full charge to the batteries, and the run time increases, regularly check the state of charge with a simple hydrometer. Battery manufactures typically have a specific gravity chart that shows what the hydrometer will read at full charge, and also identify when it reaches various percentages of discharge. Periodically checking the hydrometer readings will give you a good idea how much run-time the batteries can operate before reaching 50-percent discharge. Charging the batteries at this level, or before 50-percent DOD, will greatly promote longer service life.

The third factor is one you’re probably already doing, proper maintenance. This includes checking water levels and topping off each cell to the battery manufacturer’s recommended levels as needed. It also includes visual inspections that require looking for clean terminals and wiring, then making repairs as necessary. Performing regular equalization charges at least once per month is also an important part of a proper maintenance routine that can prevent stratification and shorten battery life.

Does this really work? The best examples come from new and used golf car dealers who are seeing the benefits of providing training for their customers on these important factors, as well as proper maintenance procedures. Many report that they have had customers get an average of five to seven years out of their batteries, which can dramatically reduce the cost of owning and operating a battery powered golf car over the long haul. For more information on battery maintenance and selecting the right battery for a variety of applications, visit www.usbattery.com.

US REGC2H XC2

Renewable Energy Pushes For Deep Cycle Battery Storage in Large Scale

Attending a roundtable forum on energy storage, Kevin Moran, Executive VP at Battery Council International, says he realized the discussions on large-scale battery storage will be a necessity for areas in the U.S. that are embracing and expanding their use of renewable energy sources. “The potential for an expansion in grid-scale battery storage installations may be even greater that I had previously thought,” said Moran in an article in Batteries International Magazine.  “Several states have either passed, or are considering setting targets for [energy] storage.” 

Moran pointed out that California recently passed a mandate that 100 percent of its electricity must come from renewable sources by 2045. “It’s hard to believe they can meet this goal without a massive investment in battery storage,” said Moran. 

His views on energy storage for the future points to progress made on the battery storage front over the next several years, and that different battery chemistries will be competing with ways on how their products will meet the demands for energy storage in the future.

Large scale battery storage has been used in a variety of industrial applications utilizing specialized batteries designed for this purpose. Dutt Electronics, in Spain for example, utilized U.S. Battery RE series batteries in an autonomous system to balance the power output between stored energy consumption and battery charging during peak energy hours. While systems like these have proven to work in an industrial scale, they can also provide a solution to the growing need for energy storage and distribution in a larger scale.

Additionally, energy storage grids utilizing deep-cycle flooded lead-acid batteries for storage also offer an environmental advantage, according to the BCI, as these types of batteries are nearly 100-percent recyclable in a closed-loop system that offers zero impact on landfills.