Winter Storage And Maintenance Tips For Flooded Lead Acid Batteries

Flooded lead-acid batteries used in a variety of applications have charge and discharge rates that depend highly upon temperature. While warmer climates tend to speed-up charging and discharging rates, cold winter months can slow down the rate of charge/discharge. In addition to affecting rates, colder temperatures also carry the risk of freezing the electrolyte if the battery is not stored properly.

One of the most common mistakes during winter months is storing flooded lead-acid batteries in a discharged state. A discharged battery in extremely cold temperatures will allow the electrolyte to freeze, causing it to expand. Electrolyte expansion can crack the battery case, causing a leak or complete battery failure. A fully charged battery has a freezing point around -80 °F while a discharged battery has a freezing point around 20 °F. By keeping the battery fully charged during the winter months, the electrolyte is less likely to freeze and cause unexpected failures.

With that said, don’t expect to charge your batteries and come back in the spring expecting everything to be okay. In cases where complete vehicle fleets are stored away during the winter, it is important to consistently check the battery’s state of charge by taking specific gravity readings. Like charging rates, temperature also affects your readings, so it’s important to add a correction factor that varies with the electrolyte temperature. The optimum temperature to take a hydrometer reading is 80 °F (27 °C). As a rule of thumb, subtract four points (.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. In this example, the battery cell is less than 50 percent charged and should be recharged before being put into winter storage; (a fully charged battery should read approximately 1.270). If your corrected specific gravity readings are low, fully charging the batteries will put them in a safe state for storage.

Temperature also effects charge and discharge rates. A cold battery will charge and self-discharge slower than a warm battery, but will also exhibit lower capacity. This is especially true for battery powered fleets that are that are able to operate in colder temperatures during winter months. Although these fleets may not experience freezing temperatures, the cold temperature increases the resistance in the battery’s chemistry and causes a reduction in battery capacity. A general rule of thumb for capacity is for every 15-20 degrees below 80 °F, the battery loses 10 percent of its capacity.

The ability to check specific gravity readings in flooded lead-acid batteries is an advantage in cold weather operation. It allows the operator to fully understand the effects of cold temperature on the batteries, and allows them to be properly maintained. While the downside of storing or operating golf car batteries in the winter requires regular specific gravity checks, one positive aspect is that colder temperatures also reduce self-discharge rates. In the long run, taking the time to check the state of charge on your fleet’s batteries will ultimately be more cost effective than having to replace one or more damaged batteries. To find additional resources on battery maintenance and ways to increase battery efficiency and service life, visit U.S. Battery’s website at www.usbattery.com.

By Fred Wehmeyer, Senior Vice President/Engineering U.S. Battery Manufacturing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Installing A Flow-Rite Single Point Battery Watering System

Keeping your flooded lead-acid batteries properly filled with water is an essential part to prolonging battery life and maintaining optimum performance. But with multiple batteries that make up a power source for golf carts, RVs, cleaning machines and other vehicles, the task of watering can be a long and cumbersome process.

This is one of the reasons why a single point watering system can be very useful. Using a single point watering system can make it easy to water a complete battery pack, without having to reach them in cramped compartments or having to check each battery cell. Complete systems like those available from Pro-Fill are easy to install and feature a fill-valve that stops the flow of water into the battery cell, once the proper fill level is achieved. Flow-Rite also builds in a flame arrestor to prevent accidental ignition of battery cell gasses, making the entire process very safe and reliable.

Installing a Flow-Rite Pro-Fill watering system involves removing the battery cell vent covers and replacing them with the new fill-valves supplied in the kit. Measure and trim the supplied water hose leading to the fill-valves on each battery, starting from the center outwards. Route the lines to each of the batteries in the pack and cap off the ends to keep the water contained within the system. The Flow-Rite system can be used with a gravity feed water tank, or a siphon hose that can be inserted into a bottle of distilled water. It’s also important to remember that after installing a single point watering system, that you only add water after the batteries have been charged. With easier access and faster, accurate, watering capabilities, its easy to see how a single point watering system can be a huge benefit to maintaining your flooded lead-acid batteries and extending their overall service life and performance. For more information on a variety of single point watering systems for flooded lead-acid batteries, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

Installation Procedure:

USB_FlowR-1a

The Flow-Rite fill valves automatically shut the flow of water when the proper fill level is reached. The valves also have a built-in flame arrester to prevent accidental ignition of battery cell gasses.

 

Make sure you’re in a well ventilated room and use proper battery maintenance protection. Remove the vent caps on each battery.

 

On six-volt systems the Flow-Rite valves come in sets of three. These are inserted into each of the battery vents.

 

The fill valves lock in place by twisting the top cap.

The fill valves lock in place by twisting the top cap.

 

Find one of the center batteries in your pack and attach the fill hose so that it will be easy to access.

Find one of the center batteries in your pack and attach the fill hose so that it will be easy to access.

 

 The hoses simply install by pushing them onto the water channel connectors as shown here.


The hoses simply install by pushing them onto the water channel T-connectors as shown here.

 

Measure and cut the appropriate length of hose to connect each of the batteries.

Measure and cut the appropriate length of hose to connect each of the batteries.

 

The Pro-Fill directions will give you ideas on how to properly route the lines to manage the flow of water to all the batteries in your pack.

The Flow-Rite directions will give you ideas on how to properly route the lines to manage the flow of water to all the batteries in your pack.

 

Some of the water T-connectors at the farthest ends of the battery packs will need to be capped off to properly divert the water to the other batteries.

Some of the water T-connectors at the farthest ends of the battery packs will need to be capped off to properly divert the water to the other batteries.

 

The center fill hoses incorporate a quick disconnect coupler that prevents water from leaking out of the system. The other half of the fill valve attaches to a water source like a gravity feed tank or hand pump.

The center fill hoses incorporate a quick disconnect coupler that prevents water from leaking out of the system. The other half of the fill valve attaches to a water source like a gravity feed tank or hand pump.

How To Install A Battery Watering Technologies Single Point Watering System


Using a single point watering system can save lots of time and effort in maintaining flooded lead acid battery packs. Most golf car and RV owners know that after charging their battery packs they will have to open up the battery compartment in the vehicle, check each battery cell, and fill each one with a precise amount of water.

While watering is a necessary step, making the process simpler and faster can be accomplished by using a single point battery watering system. Complete systems like those from BWT, are a popular choice for many golf car and RV owners because they feature a visible indicator that shows if the battery cell is low on water, and prevents over-filling.

Installing a watering system is easy and over time, can save money by dramatically cutting down on maintenance time, especially if you’re maintaining a fleet. The basic steps include removing the battery cell covers and replacing them with the float-caps provided in the kit. Once all the caps are on each of the battery cells, the hose is trimmed and attached to each of the caps, and routed so that filling can be accomplished near the center of your battery pack.

Most kits come with a gravity feed water tank, or a siphon hose that can be inserted into a bottle of distilled water. It’s also important to remember that after installing a single point watering system, that you only add water after the batteries have been charged.

Although it’s much faster and easier to water flooded lead acid batteries after they’ve been charged, it’s also important to realize that proper watering will extend the service life and performance of the batteries. For more information on a variety of single point watering systems for flooded lead-acid batteries, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

bwt single point system

A complete single point watering system like this one from BWT comes ready to assemble.

 

BWT valve/cap

Each battery cap covers one cell and includes a flow-nozzle and float that closes off the incoming water once the cell is properly filled.

 

 

BWT valve cap level indicator

As the float comes up, an indicator window makes it easy to see if the battery cell is filled to the precise level.

 

 

removing battery vent caps

The first step in installing a single point watering system is to remove the vent caps on all of the batteries. Make sure you’re using proper safety equipment and are performing this in a well ventilated area.

 

 

BWT cell cap

The BWT caps simply press and snap into place over each battery cell opening.

 

 

Install hose to bwt cap

Measure and trim the water hose so that the caps are connected.

 

 

connect bwt caps with hose

Here you can see how each battery has its caps in place and that they are connected with a small section of hose.

 

 

connecting battery cells

Depending on how many batteries are in your pack, follow the instructions to measure and trim the hose to properly route the flow of water.

 

 

water flow

This example shows the water flow through this six battery pack for a typical golf car.

 

 

center fill hose

The fill hose is attached to a T-connector that will flow water to both sides of this battery pack.

 

 

bwt center fill hose connected

Here you can see how the filler hose is attached to the center of the pack and how the water fill flow from the center out to each battery cell.

 

 

bwt end flow nozzles plugged

The flow nozzles on the valve caps at the farthest end of the battery pack are capped to prevent water from spilling out during filling.

 

 

bwt fill hose coupler

Once the system is installed, the center fill hose can be easily connected to the water source with a quick-connect coupler.

 

U.S. Battery’s 8-Volt Deep Cycle Batteries Increase Golf Car Performance And Reliability

With higher initial capacity and longer service life, U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s 8-volt Deep Cycle batteries improve golf car performance and reliability. The company’s exclusive XC2™ formulation and Diamond Plate Technology® are combined to create the industry’s most efficient battery design, providing the highest initial capacity and highest rated capacity through the life of the battery. This plate technology also allows U.S. Battery’s products to reach peak capacity in fewer cycles, provide higher total energy delivery, extend service life, and be compatible with a wider range of battery chargers.

 

“Golf car owners and fleet managers used to have to choose between a battery that provided either higher peak power or longer service life,” says Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/Executive Vice President. “We set out to build a better battery that provides our customers with both higher initial capacity and longer service life by improving the plate structure and composition. A better, longer lasting battery won’t need to be replaced as often and, when properly maintained will save our customers money in the long run.”

 

Available in three configurations, US8VGCE (121 amp-hrs. @20 hrs), US8VGC (170 amp-hrs.@20 hrs.), and U8VGCHC (183 amp-hrs.@20 hrs.), the batteries feature extra heavy-duty connector lugs, a tough polypropylene exterior case, and the company’s positive locking SpeedCap® venting system for easy maintenance.

U.S. Battery also manufactures 6 and 12volt deep-cycle batteries for a variety of applications. U.S. battery products are manufactured in the U.S.A. and distributed worldwide. For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.

 

Corporate Contact: Dwayne Porter, PR- Marketing Manager, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879 (800) 695-0945. E-mail: DPorter@usbattery.com.

How To Equalize Charge And Prevent Stratification On Deep-Cycle Batteries

Recharging deep-cycle batteries with a charger using a constant voltage or a fixed charge algorithm can, over time, lead to a condition called stratification. Stratification occurs when the acid in the electrolyte separates from the water and settles to the bottom of the battery causing damage to the bottom area of the battery plates.
To prevent stratification, it’s important to regularly perform an equalizing procedure to your batteries.   Equalizing adds an extended charge at the end of the normal charging process necessary to  promote gassing of the electrolyte in order to “re-mix” the acid and water.

THE EQUALIZING PROCESS
The method used to properly equalize batteries is as easy as using a high-quality battery charger that features an automatic equalizing mode, or has the capability to extend or restart the charging process as needed. Follow these procedures to properly equalize charge your batteries.

  1. Make Sure The Battery Is A Flooded Lead-Acid Type.
  2. All Electrical Loads To The Battery Must Be Removed.
  3. Connect Your Charger And Charge The Batteries Until The Charger Terminates A Normal Charge Cycle.

a.) If the charger is equipped with an automatic equalizing mode, make sure the charger is
connected and powered up long enough to complete equalization.

b.) If the charger is not equipped with an automatic equalization mode, assure the charger
completes a full, automatic charge, and then restart the charger by disconnecting AC
power and reconnecting.  The charger should restart and extend the charge time by 1-3
hours

4.   Correct Equalizing Will Cause Gassing And Bubbling Of The Electrolyte.
5.   Take Specific Gravity Readings Every Hour.
6.   You Will Know That The Equalization Process Is Complete: When the specific
gravity values no longer increase during the gassing stage.  If the charger terminates the
charge automatically, before the hourly specific gravity readings are constant, restart the
charger and continue the process until specific gravity readings are constant.

7.  Make Sure To Replace Any Water Lost During The Process.

Equalizing your deep-cycle batteries is a great way to extend battery life and lower operational costs over time. It will also help to remove a buildup of lead sulfate crystals on the battery’s plates, a condition called sulfation. This condition lowers the battery’s ability to take a full-charge and diminishes its full power. Equalizing is just one of several procedures you should be adding to your maintenance schedule every time you service the batteries.  This regular service, including watering, should be performed at least once a month, or more frequently during periods of heavy use. For more information, contact U.S. Battery Manufacturing, 1675 Sampson Ave. Corona, CA 92879. (800) 695-0945. Visit https://www.usbattery.com.