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.