US Battery’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing Michael J. Coad Retires After 16 Years Of Service

Corona, Calif.- Michael J. Coad is set to retire at the end of December as U.S. Battery’s VP of Sales & Marketing, after serving the company for 16 years. Coad began with the company as Eastern Regional Sales Manager and in 2014 was appointed Director of Sales. He was named VP of Sales & Marketing in 2019. “My time at U.S. Battery has been the most enjoyable years of my career. I am truly going to miss working with the entire team,” said Coad.

Coad was responsible for managing, negotiating, and planning all sales activities for the company and developed numerous key relationships with OE manufacturers and regional distributors within various industries. “Mike has been a huge asset to the company as well as a great friend for over 30 years,” says Donald Wallace, U.S. Battery COO. “His attention to detail and commitment have had a lasting impact on the U.S. Battery sales department as well as in his efforts to build strong customer relationships. His steadfast presence will be greatly missed by all.”

Coad retires with 40-years in the battery industry, first working as a route-truck salesman with New Castle Battery Manufacturing Company before working his way up to a VP position there. Coad was also National Sales Manager at Yuasa Battery before coming to U.S. Battery in 2004.

Specific Gravity

WEEDING OUT A BAD BATTERY FROM YOUR PACK

Most electric golf cars utilize a battery pack of four or more deep-cycle batteries that can last a long time if you’ve performed the proper maintenance. Periodically, however, the vehicle may not seem to have the range it used to, and replacing all of the batteries may be cost-prohibitive at the moment. In most cases, it’s not the entire battery pack that is going bad, but instead, one battery is not keeping up with the rest of the pack and hurting performance.

Identifying A Bad Battery In Your Pack

1: Fully Charge Your Battery Pack And Take Readings

Perform a full charge to all the batteries and check the specific gravity readings on each battery with a hydrometer and multi-meter. Use the battery manufacturer’s data to see if the readings show the battery pack is undercharged. (Here’s an example of a typical deep-cycle battery data). Repeat the charge cycle to bring the state of charge of the pack up. If, after repeated charges, the batteries begin to increase in specific gravity readings, the problem is not the batteries, and further investigation is required.

2: Perform A Discharge Test At 50% DOD

If the specific gravities indicate charged batteries (1.260 or higher in all cells) and the voltage readings are good on each battery, discharge the battery pack on the vehicle in question. If one cell is significantly lower than the rest of the cells in the pack, mark that battery as suspect. Use a load tester or run the golf car through its typical routine. Battery packs that give less than 50-percent of the rated runtime are usually considered bad.

3: Test And Find The Bad Battery

Measure the voltage at the end of your discharge test to locate the bad battery. The one with a significantly lower voltage than the rest of the pack at the end of discharge is usually the culprit.

4: What If All The Batteries Show Low Voltage?

If all the batteries have a low voltage, and your hydrometer readings on all the batteries do not show a single defective cell, then the entire battery pack may be at the end of its service life.

Replacing Defective Batteries

Once you’ve found a bad battery in your golf car’s battery pack, it is okay to replace the single battery with a new one if it’s under six months old.  If the battery is over six months old, it’s best to replace it with another battery from your fleet that has a date within six months of the rest of the pack or replace the entire pack.

When replacing a single battery or battery pack, it’s important to keep these facts in mind:

1) Cycle life comparisons should be made at the same depth of discharge (DOD).

2) Amp-hour ratings should be compared using the same discharge time and/or discharge current that will be used in the application.

3) Run-time ratings may be the most accurate comparison when selecting a battery for a given application.

Battery Watering fill line

Take the Worry Out of Watering Deep-Cycle Batteries While Making Them Last Longer

The switch to battery-powered aerial platforms, scissor lifts, and boom lifts allowed these vehicles to be smaller, more maneuverable, and safer. Most use deep-cycle FLA batteries because they offer the lowest operation cost if you maintain and replenish water in the battery cells. That’s where the difficulty often lies. Busy schedules and long work hours often leave batteries improperly maintained in this critical area resulting in a loss of performance and life.

Addressing this issue results in two options:  replace your vehicle(s) batteries with more expensive lithium or maintenance-free lead batteries, or make watering simpler to assure your batteries are watered properly so they can last longer and provide optimum performance.  With the availability of a variety of battery watering monitors and single-point watering systems, there’s no reason that your batteries’ maintenance should be neglected.

A battery watering monitor replaces one vent cap on a single battery of a battery pack and indicates the battery pack’s water level. Since batteries are usually connected in series in a pack and charge and discharge together as a pack, you typically only need one monitor per vehicle to indicate the condition of the battery pack. Vehicles with multiple packs in parallel will need one for each series pack.  Watering monitors use a built-in probe and processor that triggers an LED indicator light to signal when the pack needs water. The indicator light can be mounted in the battery compartment for easy access by maintenance personnel or in a more convenient location that the operator can easily monitor.

Combined with one of several types of single-point watering systems on the market, watering batteries can be made very simple.  Watering systems are designed to work on just about any battery model. Most are very simple to install with many kits available pre-assembled for your specific vehicle, battery manufacture, and battery configuration. When batteries need watering, attach the inlet connection of the watering system to the kit’s siphon valve and a hand pump that supplies water from an appropriate source (most often a large container of distilled water). After a few pumps to start the siphon, all of the batteries in your pack are filled to the correct level without the fear of overfilling.

The advantages of maintaining the electrolyte levels more frequently and reliably results in battery packs lasting much longer – as much as 7 – 10 years in many instances, especially when battery packs are not discharged more than 50% as recommended by most manufacturers. Combine this with charging your batteries at every opportunity and performing an equalizing charge at least once per month. You’ll see a dramatic increase in the life and overall performance of your batteries.

In addition to saving money over the long run and making your batteries last longer, the drudgery of battery watering can be reduced to a quick and simple procedure.

R&J Batteries' construction

U.S. Battery’s Australian Distributor R&J Battery Continues To Expand

U.S. Battery distributor R&J Batteries, one of Australia’s largest battery distributors, is expanding its presence in Queensland with the purchase of Tableland Batteries located outside of Atherton, Australia. This gives R&J its sixth branch in Queensland and its 24th branch since the company’s inception. “I believe that there are plenty of opportunities to expand our wings and grow the R&J Batteries brand throughout the Tablelands region,” said Ray Robson, Managing Director of R&J Batteries. “We currently service this area weekly from the R&J Batteries Cairns warehouse. By taking over this business, it will allow us to further explore new opportunities into regions that we have not serviced in the past.”

In addition to the new business acquisition, R&J Batteries is also in the process of constructing a new distribution center as part of its growth strategy in Queensland. The 2,750 sqm distribution center is located in Stapylton, which is opposite the existing R&J Batteries Stapylton branch. The construction of the site is expected to be completed in March 2021. According to Stuart Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer at R&J Batteries, the new distribution center will consolidate several smaller warehouses and accommodate future growth opportunities. “This is a very exciting chapter in the history of R&J Batteries. We have outgrown our current site, so moving into a dedicated, bigger facility will allow us to grow and service the entire Queensland region for many years to come. Investing close to $7,000,000 on this new facility is a major commitment from Ray and is a sure sign of his commitment to the future of R&J Batteries in Queensland as well as throughout Australia and New Zealand,” said Hamilton.

As R&J Batteries continues to expand into the region, the company also prepares for the company’s 25th-anniversary celebrations later this year.

U.S. Department of Energy Urged to Invest in U.S. Lead Battery Industry

In January 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a program for creating and sustaining U.S. global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports, utilizing a secure domestic manufacturing chain independent of foreign resources of critical materials. In response, the Battery Council International (BCI) filed comments urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to recognize the importance of the lead battery industry to the nation’s energy storage needs and to invest in America’s lead battery industry as part of the DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

According to the BCI, the lead battery industry by definition fulfills this goal. It is a domestic industry, which means that the raw materials used to manufacture lead batteries in the U.S. and North America are recycled and produced domestically, including the lead, plastic, and electrolyte. There is no need to import minerals or other materials from unreliable markets to ensure a steady, dependable, and affordable source of energy storage.

The BCI believes that ongoing research into advanced lead battery technologies presents incredible opportunities for the lead battery industry to deliver the energy storage needs of the future. BCI’s comments highlight several of the important advances that have been made by the lead battery industry in recent years and describe several basic science research opportunities that are well-placed for federal investment and grants.

In the coming months, DOE will be releasing opportunities for industry to seek federal grants to pursue additional research into advanced battery technologies. BCI expects to continue engaging with DOE and other stakeholders to ensure that lead batteries are among the technologies chosen to receive federal attention.

BCI’s comments can be accessed here. For more information, contact Roger Miksad at rmiksad@batterycouncil.org.

overlanding house prowerrv

Increase Your RV’s House Power For Overlanding Adventures: Selecting The Right Battery

Most RV’s are equipped with two types of batteries, one for engine starting and another that stores reserve energy to power appliances and the electrical systems in the RV (house power). Most campgrounds with RV parking have electrical hook-ups and when connected there’s no worry about draining your house power battery.  But as more RV owners venture to primitive sites, having the right kind of battery will keep you from running out of power during your stay.

It’s important to understand that there are different types of batteries that can be installed in RV’s for house power use. The most common is a standard 12-volt automotive starter battery. According to Fred Wehmeyer, Sr. VP of Engineering at U.S. Battery Manufacturing automotive starter batteries are not the best type to use for house power when primitive camping.  When you need reserve power to operate lights and appliances in your RV without electrical hook-ups, you need sustained power over a long period of time.  Automotive batteries are designed to provide very high current over a very short time to crank the engine, but are not designed to be discharged deeply and will drain quickly when powering the house load.  Also, the vehicle’s alternator/regulator charging system is not designed to fully charge batteries that are deeply discharged when used for house power.  This type of battery charging requires a dedicated charger that can be connected to AC power and also requires specially designed deep-cycle batteries to withstand the rigors of deep-cycling to provide many hours of reserve energy.

Deep cycle batteries are a much better choice for RV house power.  They are available in both 6 volt and 12-volt sizes that can be connected in multiple series and parallel configurations to provide the amp-hour capacity at 12 or 24 volts, to support the runtime needed in the application,” says Wehmeyer. “Depending on the physical size and the internal design of the battery, battery manufacturers provide ratings on the battery label to indicate the runtime and amp-hour capacity at various discharge rates and times.  This allows the user to match the battery voltage and amp-hour capacity to the desired runtime for the specific requirements of the various loads (lights, appliances, etc.) and to select the best deep cycle battery type and configuration for the application.”

If you look at the types of batteries that owners of electric powered golf carts are using, the vast majority are equipped with 6, 8, or 12-volt deep-cycle lead-acid batteries because they provide reliable and cost-effective power over many years of deep-cycle service. “Switching your RV’s house power from an automotive starter battery to a deep cycle, RV/Marine or golf car-type battery will provide greater amp-hour capacity (reserve power) for Overlanding adventures and longer cycle life particularly when sized properly for a maximum of 50 percent depth of discharge (DOD) based on the battery pack’s total amp-hour capacity,” said Wehmeyer.

When discussing deep cycle batteries, there are essentially two types,  flooded lead-acid (FLA) and valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA).  There are also two types of VRLA batteries,  absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries and gelled electrolyte (GEL) batteries.  FLA batteries require regular maintenance such as checking the electrolyte levels and adding distilled water to the battery cells from time to time. This is to ensure the electrolyte completely covers the cell plates at all times, typically 1/4-inch below the bottom of the fill well of the cell cover.

Sealed VRLA batteries have no free electrolyte in them and do not require water addition.  In an AGM battery, the electrolyte is absorbed in a special glass mat separator, and in a GEL battery, the electrolyte is immobilized in a silica gel.  Both types of VRLA batteries require special chargers and/or charge algorithms to provide optimum performance and life.  They are usually heavier, more expensive, and do not last as long as premium FLA deep cycle batteries.

Deep-cycle lithium batteries are becoming more popular in many applications but Wehmeyer says that the chemistry of lithium batteries requires a battery management system (BMS) to safely control how the battery is charged and discharged.  While there are specialized chargers available for lithium batteries, it is not a simple proposition to safely add them to an RV’s electrical system.

As you can see, simply switching from standard automotive starting batteries to deep cycle batteries for your RV’s house power can be very beneficial.  Also, if later you find that you need additional runtime or capacity, you can add more batteries or switch to higher amp-hour capacity batteries.  Another option is to add solar panels and/or an auxiliary generator to be able to charge the batteries when AC power is not available.

 

Nilfisk floor cleaning machine

Replacement Batteries For Nilfisk Floor Cleaning Machines

Choosing the right deep-cycle batteries for Nilfisk Retriever and SRModel Ride-On-Top floor cleaning machines

Nilfisk is one of the leading manufacturers of battery-powered floor cleaning machines that last a long time. Many older models are still in use with maintenance crews that utilize these vehicles on a full-time basis. With proper maintenance, the deep-cycle batteries can last several years but eventually will need to be replaced. Here are some of the best replacement batteries with some options for SR and Retriever sit-on-top models.

The Nilfisk Retriever 4000B and 4600B model cleaning machines, as well as the Nilfisk SR1100B machines, require a 24-Volt battery pack that fits a Group Size 902 deep-cycle battery.  U.S. Battery manufactures a US 305XC2 deep-cycle battery that is a direct replacement that provides 310 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate. If the vehicle will be under severe working conditions requiring longer operating times between charges, U.S. Battery also has a High Capacity battery for these vehicles, a US 305HCXC2, which provides 340 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate.

There are several models of the Nilfisk SR ride-on-top floor cleaning machines that require different size batteries because of the size and shape of the unit. For Nilfisk SR1000B and SR1005B models that require a 24-volt battery pack with a group size 31 battery, U.S. Battery offers it’s US 31DSXC2 deep-cycle battery that provides 130 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate.

Nilfisk SR100ECO models utilize a group size 24 battery and operate with a 12-volt system requiring two 12-volt batteries. U.S. Battery’s US 24DCXC2 is an optimum choice for a replacement with an 85 amp-hour rating at a 20-hour rate. Larger Nilfisk SR1300B models also have a 24-volt system but can operate with longer runtimes with four 6-volt batteries in the 903 group size platform. U.S. Battery’s US L16XC2 deep-cycle batteries are a popular choice, providing 385 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate. Greater capacity can be achieved with U.S. Battery’s US L16HCXC2 high-capacity batteries that are rated at 420 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate.

The Nilfisk SR1300ECO floor cleaning machine utilizes a 24-volt system requiring two 12-volt deep-cycle batteries in a group size 27. U.S. Battery’s US 27DCXC2 makes a great replacement, providing 105 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate.

Proper Maintenance Adds Battery Life

To get the most performance from your new battery, you must develop a regular maintenance schedule that consists of:

  • Checking and replenishing the electrolyte levels. Installing a BWT or Flow-Rite single-point-watering kit can make this an easy and quick process.
  • Performing an equalization charge
  • Checking and Cleaning battery terminals and connections
  • Performing an opportunity charge when possible

For a full list of proper Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance procedures, please see our page or download our Care & Maintenance brochure. U.S. Battery Deep Cycle batteries are handcrafted in the U.S.A. The batteries also feature our exclusive XC2 formulation that produces increased initial capacity, fastest cycle-up time to full-rated capacity, improved recharge-ability, and the highest total energy delivered than any battery in their class. For a complete list of Flooded Lead-Acid or AGM batteries for all types of floor cleaning machines for various make and manufacturers, U.S. Battery’s Floor Machine Battery page to see all of the models, sizes, and specifications available to fit your particular vehicle.

 

US Battery Evaluates Expanding Market Reach Based on Gridtential Energy Silicon Joule™ Technology

US Battery Evaluates Expanding Market Reach Based on Gridtential Energy Silicon Joule™ Technology

SANTA CLARA and CORONA, Calif., July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Gridtential Energy, the inventor of Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology and US Battery, a global leader of FLA (flooded lead acid) deep cycle batteries, announce that they have entered into a formal agreement to collaborate on Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, US Battery and Gridtential Energy will industrialize bipolar plate pasting and curing processes. Additionally, Silicon Joule™ bipolar AGM (absorptive glass mat) batteries will be assembled and tested, using US Battery active material to drive further improvements in cycle life, energy density, battery efficiency, charging rates, and manufacturability. As US Battery achieves new performance milestones, the company will be well-positioned to manufacture and distribute industry-leading bipolar AGM products to the market.

Silicon Joule™ bipolar technology enables an innovative class of advanced lead batteries with silicon at its core. It is a design-driven, low-cost, high-performance, patented energy storage solution that provides improved power density, cycle life, dynamic charge acceptance and wider temperature range, with up to 40% lower weight, while retaining full lead-battery recyclability. This is all accomplished while leveraging existing technologies from mature industry supply chains – allowing rapid scaling through existing lead-battery infrastructure.

US Battery provides FLA and AGM deep cycle batteries for golf cars, NEV (neighborhood EV) & LSEV (low-speed EV), industrial electric vehicles, as well as renewable energy & energy storage battery markets. US Battery products provide premium deep cycle battery life with the advantages of high initial capacity, fast cycle up to full rated capacity, high total energy throughput, ultimate charger compatibility, and high charge efficiency to meet new regulatory requirements at low cost per watt-hour.

Terry Agrelius, CEO of US Battery commented, “US Battery hopes to combine the current advantages of premium deep cycle, lead-acid battery cycle life that provides low cost per watt-hour over the life of the battery with the advantages of high power density and increased cycle life offered by the Gridtential Energy Silicon Joule™ bipolar battery technology. This combination could provide the improvements necessary for US Battery to better compete with the advanced battery technologies currently on the market and proposed for future market development while maintaining the safety and recyclability of lead-based battery technologies.

John Barton, CEO, Gridtential Energy said, “US Battery is an ideal partner for Gridtential. Leapfrog product innovation often starts with fresh thinking on how to best utilize core company strengths to make a disruptive move. Gridtential offers a better way to build a battery with modern materials from the solar industry. The leadership at US Battery is taking a smart approach, leveraging Silicon Joule™ technology with their organizational expertise in electrochemistry and battery manufacturing to create a new class of high-performance products. Gridtential is proud to work with partners taking bold steps to accelerate advancements in the industry.”

 

About Gridtential Energy

Gridtential’s cutting-edge Silicon Joule™ battery architecture combines the traditional benefits of lead batteries – low cost, near 100% recyclability, and safety – with the performance and life cycle usually associated with lithium batteries. Industries from motive power to grid energy storage are searching for lower-cost, sustainable solutions to meet diverse energy needs.

Gridtential Energy provides Silicon Joule™ reference batteries, development kits, bipolar materials, and non-exclusive licenses, enabling manufacturing partners to easily adapt their factories to provide high performing, higher voltage 24V & 48V batteries to their customers for the hybrid-automotive, Low-Speed EV (LSEV), energy storage system (ESS) & Telecom back-up markets – all without giga-scale capital investments. To learn more visit: http://www.gridtential.com/.

battery pack capacity infograph

Battery Pack’s Size Impacts Capacity And Run-Time

Having to buy a new set of batteries for your golf car is not something people always look forward to. A 48-volt golf car can take anywhere from four or even eight batteries, depending on the compartment space and vehicle model. This can be a big investment, so if you could get away with only buying four 12v batteries, would that be better? It might seem so upfront, but depending on how often you use your golf car and the amount of runtime you expect, fewer batteries with the same voltage may not always be the best choice.

Depending on the make and model of your golf car, it may seem less expensive to buy four 12-volt batteries connected in series to power a 48-volt system. Choosing higher voltage deep-cycle batteries, however,  often means sacrificing amp-hour capacity. Under constant use, a four-battery pack will have a shorter life cycle than a pack producing the same 48-volts but made up of more batteries. The reason is that the larger battery pack provides a substantial increase in amp-hour capacity, leading to more runtime and cycle life than a smaller battery pack.

More batteries connected in series can produce the same amount of voltage, but because there are more batteries to share the load, it lowers the discharge rate per battery. The driving range is also extended because more batteries increase the overall capacity. Think of it like adding a larger fuel tank to your car. With a larger battery bank, you can drive your golf car farther between charges. If you keep your depth of discharge (DOD) on the battery pack less than 50 percent, it will ultimately add to making the pack last much longer than a pack with fewer batteries.

For example, on a 48-volt golf car, you can typically get a longer driving range and increased battery life with six 8V batteries, and even more capacity with eight 6V batteries. There are still other variables to consider, as there are various 6V and 8V batteries with different amp-hour ratings, but when you replace the batteries with the same amp-hour rating required by the golf car manufacturer and provide proper maintenance procedures, the battery bank with more batteries will last longer. Additional information on explaining the effects of wiring batteries in series and parallel can be found here: https://www.usbattery.com/info-center/configuration/

JLG batteries

Replacement Batteries For JLG Electric Scissor Lifts

Choosing The Right Deep-Cycle Batteries for JLG 24-Volt ES, RS-Series, and JLG 48-Volt LE, E-Series Lifts

JLG is one of the leading manufacturers of scissor lifts and aerial work platforms that are used globally. The company has several lines of battery-powered vehicles that have improved duty-cycles due to their use of deep-cycle batteries.

Many of the company’s ES and RS Series scissor lifts feature a 24-volt system that takes a Group Size GC2 deep-cycle battery. Most of these lifts utilize four 6-volt batteries, so when it comes time to replace them, there are a couple of options that can keep these lifts running at optimum efficiency while also lowering annual operating costs. U.S. Battery’s US 2000XC2 offers 220 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate, offering an excellent value for JLG ES and RS Series lifts to provide excellent life and reliability when maintained.

When work crews need a battery that can keep up with long work cycles and want a longer-lasting battery, U.S. Battery’s US 2200XC2 is perhaps one of the best and hardest working deep-cycle GC2 sized batteries on the market. The US 2200XC2 has 232 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate, giving JLG lifts more runtime and longer life, especially with regular charging and maintenance.

JLG’s larger LE and E Series platform lifts have a 48-volt system and utilize eight Group Size 903 batteries. For these applications, U.S. Battery manufactures the US L16XC2 deep-cycle battery, which provides exceptional value with extended runtime and long life. The US L16XC2 produces 385 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate, making it one of the most popular batteries in this size range for these applications. U.S. Battery’s US L16EXC2 battery is also a Group 903 and is a cost-effective solution for platform lifts, which supplies 360 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate. The US L16HCXC2 is a high-capacity model in the same Group Size 903, that provides 420 amp-hours at a 20-hour rate, offering JLG LE and E Series lifts the maximum runtime available.

Proper Maintenance Makes The Difference 

To get the most performance from your new battery, you must develop a regular maintenance schedule that consists of:

  1. Checking and replenishing the electrolyte levels. Installing a BWT or Flow-Rite single-point-watering kit can make this an easy and quick process.
  2. Performing an equalization charge
  3. Checking and Cleaning battery terminals and connections
  4. Performing an opportunity charge when possible

For a full list of proper Deep Cycle Battery Care & Maintenance procedures, please see our page or download our Care & Maintenance brochure.

U.S. Battery Deep Cycle batteries are handcrafted in the U.S.A. The batteries also feature our exclusive XC2 formulation that produces increased initial capacity, fastest cycle-up time to full-rated capacity, improved recharge-ability, and the highest total energy delivered than any battery in their class. For a complete list of Flooded Lead-Acid or AGM batteries for work platforms visit U.S. Battery’s Aerial Work Platform Battery page to see all of the models, sizes, and specifications available to fit your particular vehicle.