Posts

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.

 

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.

US L16HC XC2 Deep Cycle Battery

A Solar Energy Battery Storage Bank Made To Last 16 Years

Low Amperage Draw And Impeccable Maintenance Kept A Battery Energy Storage Bank Operable For More Than A Decade

Grover, Wyoming resident Jody Jenson, isn’t living “off-grid,” but his home is in a rural part of the state, where water comes from a well and delivered to the home by electric pumps. After several power outages, he didn’t want to rely on the city’s power grid to have fresh water, so he built a 48-volt solar system with U.S. Battery Deep-Cycle batteries for energy storage that have provided 16-years or reliable service.  “I did not like the vulnerability of relying on the grid for our drinking water,” said Jenson. “I spent over $12,000 on this system, including digging a new 100-ft. well. It definitely wasn’t to reduce costs, but more about having freshwater availability.”

To supply power to the pump system Jenson utilizes four 120-watt solar panels mounted together and wired to provide 24-volts and is connected to a circuit breaker and charge controller.  To store energy, he uses eight US L16HC XC2 batteries. “The system powers the well-pump that draws 4-amps, depending on groundwater level, but it’s pretty consistent,” he says. “It takes about 18-hours to fill the 1200 gallon cistern. The system normally runs about 12-hours between low and full tank levels.  From the cistern, there’s another pressure pump that draws six amps for approximately three minutes after starting, providing roughly 30-gallons between cycles.”

 Even though the system doesn’t draw huge amounts of amperage, Jenson never expected that the US L16HC deep-cycle batteries would last 16-years. “When I bought them, I remember being told that with proper maintenance, they should last something like five years,” said Jensen. “I knew with care, they would last longer.”

Jenson has taken exceptionally good care of his deep-cycle batteries, demonstrating how cost-effective flooded lead-acid batteries can be with proper maintenance. His routine includes weekly and monthly procedures. “Every week I go to check the system, including the water level in the cistern, corrosion on the battery posts, charging rate,  and battery voltage,” he says. “The batteries are still showing 26.5-volts fully charged. Once a month, I also check battery water levels and the amperage draw of the two pumps. This gives me any clues as to any problems that might be occurring. Quarterly, I add distilled water to the 24 individual cells.” 

While most people would consider this an impeccable maintenance routine, Jenson also includes periodic equalizing charges. “After adding water, I equalize the bank of batteries with the charge controller for a period of two hours at a maximum of 16-amps,” says Jensen. “I have never equalized without the batteries being fully charged. I’ve totaled up all the water I have added over the years, and as of today, from February of 2003 to now, I’ve added 63-gallons of water to the 24-cells!”

In addition to Jensen’s unique system and maintenance procedures, U.S. Battery L16 HC deep-cycle batteries feature the company’s XC2 formulation that uses Diamond Plate technology, highly efficient synthetic tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) crystal structures that enhanced performance, charging, and extend battery life. U.S. Battery also manufactures a line of Renewable Energy Batteries that are specifically designed for energy storage and feature Defender Moss Shields that reduce mossing and sulfation conditions, and Outside Positive Plates that mitigate the effects of plate sulfation.

While receiving 16-years of service from a set of deep-cycle batteries is not common, Jenson’s theory of having a large battery bank with a relatively low amperage draw, does demonstrate what low depth-of discharge and proper maintenance procedures can do to extend the life of deep-cycle batteries used for energy storage.

Replacement Deep-Cycle Batteries For Vertical Lifts 

Battery-powered vertical lifts are becoming increasingly popular with construction crews, as they are more compact, easily maneuverable, and provide a higher degree of safety than traditional ladders and scaffolding. 

To ensure reliable operation, it’s important for crews and rental facilities to utilize the proper deep-cycle batteries that power them. Some companies like Skyjack, JLG, Snorkel, and others, come equipped with four of our 6V flooded lead-acid batteries that feature quick fill caps that allow for easy inspection and water replenishing.  Over several years of operation, vertical lift manufacturers recommend utilizing the same type of replacement batteries to ensure proper operation. 

Deep Cycle BatteryModels such as Skyjack’s popular SJ12 feature U.S. Battery model US2200 XC2 6V deep-cycle batteries that provide a 232 amp-hour rating at a 20-hour rate, that is also designed to provide the highest rated capacity and fastest time to cycle up to rated capacity than any other deep-cycle battery in its class. These batteries also feature U.S. Battery’s SpeedCap design, making it easy to check water levels and to conduct routine maintenance, which includes checking water levels and topping off each cell to the battery manufacturer’s recommended levels as needed. 

Proper maintenance 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 extend the service life of your batteries.

In addition to getting the right replacement batteries, the depth of discharge and regular maintenance are also key to making your vertical lift’s batteries last longer. Starting with a higher quality battery, such as what the vertical mast originally was equipped with, is a good start. It’s best to follow-up with ensuring that the batteries are limited to being discharged at no less than 50-percent. 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 manufacturers 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 of 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.

With the right set of replacement batteries and routine maintenance, many construction crews and equipment rental facilities report that they have averaged five to seven years out of their batteries.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Continues Support For Physics Factory’s Efforts To Educate Students Using Renewable Energy

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

Getting The Most Out of U.S. Battery’s Mobile App

U.S. Battery introduced its mobile app earlier this year.  This powerful tool allows users to access exclusive U.S. Battery content from their Apple or Android device. Here are a few ways that the app can be useful to you.

Battery Application Guide

When it comes time to replace one or more of your deep cycle batteries, selecting the right one for your application can be confusing. Battery powered vehicles and equipment often operate under different voltages and run-times, which makes selecting the right deep-cycle battery particularly important.

U.S. Battery Manufacturing created its mobile app to help you make the correct battery selection. The included Battery Application Guide makes it easy to find and select the right battery for a variety of applications including golf carts, floor machines, aerial work platforms, and more. By selecting your machine’s manufacturer and model, you can determine the batteries best suited to ensure your machine’s optimal performance.

Access to Product Spec. Sheets

From the app, you are able to easily access the most up-to-date spec. sheets and product information for all of U.S. Battery’s Flooded Lead Acid and AGM batteries.

 User-Specific Notifications

Learn about new products you might be interested in as soon as they are announced. Users can create a login and get notifications on new products, events, articles, and videos that are customized to their particular interests.

The U.S. Battery app is free and is available for download from iTunes and Google Play.

Simple Solar Power Upgrade For Marine Use

This boat owner and blogger pieced together a simple solar system to efficiently re-charge his deep-cycle batteries

Mark McMaster wanted to add a solar charging system to provide efficient power on his 34-foot, 1983 Tollycraft Series II boat, and reduce the need to run a noisy generator and conserve fuel. “We don’t have an onboard generator, and we hate the noise in quiet anchorages,” says McMaster.

TollyBatteryCompartmentBeing in the Equipment Business, especially related to golf courses and parks, McMaster was familiar with battery powered products and 12-volt deep-cycle batteries. “We supplied these machines with a variety of brands of batteries, but hands down, the best overall performance has been with U.S. Battery Products,” said McMaster.

It didn’t take long for McMaster to install a bank of four US2200 XC2 6-volt deep-cycle batteries in 2013 to his boat. Once he decided to go solar, he added a second set of four batteries and began the conversion. McMaster added four 100-watt flexible panels from Amray Solar and attached them to the bimini for the time being. A Victron MPPT charge controller was also used along with LinkPro battery monitor. The system allows McMaster to monitor the system via the Victron app and with the four solar panels, has so far managed to keep the batteries fully charged.

“The system works great so far, beyond expectations,” says McMaster. “We’ll get a better test of the entire set-up once we head out for a two or three-week trip. My only wish is that I should have taken better care of the batteries when I started. I should have performed an equalization charge on them on a regular basis and not let them get down to the 55-percent discharge range. I might replace them next spring and we’ll definitely use U.S. Battery products.”

You can see the entire solar system upgrade and other upgrades he’s made to his boat, on the Tolly Rodger blog: https://tollyroger.com. More information on U.S. Battery deep-cycle batteries for marine and RV applications can be found on the U.S. Battery Manufacturing website at https://www.usbattery.com.

Wiring system and controller for the battery bank.

Wiring system and the controller for the battery bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solar panels temporarily attached to bimini.

Solar panels temporarily attached to bimini.

Camper Van Equipped With Solar And Battery Storage

Traveling Troy outfitted his Astro Van with a solar system and U.S. Battery AGM batteries for energy storage

Not many of us can pack up our van and head out onto the open road for extended periods, but Traveling Troy is a blogger who converted his Chevrolet Astro Van into a camper and is now enjoying the van life. “From the beginning of the build, I knew I wanted to be unplugged from the grid as much as possible,” says Troy. “I knew solar would be my main source of power, but we (my Dad and I) also installed the ability to use stored power and a battery isolator for those rainy days.”

Troy had no idea how many solar cells and batteries he would need, so he began listing all of the electronic components and how often he would use them. “To determine how many watts of solar and the battery size needed, I listed all the power consuming items I planned to use while traveling,” says Troy. “This included my laptop, cellphone, gadgets, fridge, and others.”  U.S. Battery has an Interactive Energy Chart that helps determine battery storage requirements on the U.S. Battery websites. “We took the estimated watt usage from each of these items and determined how many hours or minutes a day I would use them,” he says. “This gave us an idea of maximum daily consumption.”

camper van power center Realizing how much power he was going to need, Troy says he figured to utilize as much of the van’s rooftop for solar panels. “It was decided that we would go as big as we could go with the limited space,” says Troy.  “That ended up being 300 watts of solar panels on the roof of the van and two 6 volt batteries with 210 amp hours inside the van.”

Troy decided to use U.S. Battery AGM deep-cycle batteries because of their compact size and because he wanted something maintenance-free. “We knew space was going to be limited in the small Astro van and every inch mattered,” says Troy. “The battery compartment was no exception.  We chose U.S. Battery AGMs because we wanted a deep cycle battery that was reliable, maintenance free and spill proof.  The plan was to install the batteries in the back corner of the van and build around them.  The area above the batteries and around the batteries was valuable build space.  Two years later, and the U.S. Battery AGM batteries are still going strong.”

The solar system installed in his camper van is a custom build, but many of the pieces are readily available. “Our solar systems consist of Three Renogy 100 watt Monocrystalline solar panels run in parallel to a Renogy PMW solar controller which charges two 6-volt AGM 2000 batteries from U.S. Battery,” says Troy. “All the components are neatly packed into our ‘Power Center’ which uses what would normally be wasted space around the back passenger wheel well of the van.  Some of the components include a 200-watt inverter, 12-volt cigarette plug, shore power breaker and shore power battery charger.”

power center 2 (1)So far, the system has worked well and Troy has had enough power to live out of the van and explore the country. “I’m in the third week of a 3-month road trip and it has been really amazing being on the road full-time and living out of the van, off the grid,” says Troy. “My plan is to explore Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday.  Then I’ll be exploring Southern Utah and the Mighty Five National Parks.  Finally, I’m hoping to meet up with my dad and step-mom in Colorado while they’re on a road trip.”

Troy chronicles his trips and the continuous build-up of his camper van on his social media pages, travelingtroy.com. Additional information and videos on the camper van build are on Troy’s YouTube page. www.youtube.com/c/Travelingtroy.

 

 

 

Battery Powered Elevating Platforms May Soon Be Replacing Ladders

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there were 268,731

Ladder/Stool fall injuries, in the U.S., requiring medical treatment in 2017

Ensuring employee safety is an ongoing concern, causing many employers to look at the use of traditional ladders and scaffolding in the workplace. These growing concerns have in turn led to an increase in demand for compact vertical lifts and smaller scissor lifts. An article in the May-June 2018 issue of Access, Lift & Handlers Magazine reported that vehicle manufacturers such as JLG, Skyjack and, Snorkel are making smaller, more compact vertical mast lifts and scissor lifts in response to the industry’s call for greater safety for workers who would normally use ladders and scaffolding on jobs of 18 to 25 feet.

These low-level lifts feature smaller footprints, tighter turning radiuses, and are lighter than typical Aerial Work Platforms. They are available in manually operated or self-propelled models, allowing them to access areas that would be difficult or impossible for other lifts. The Skyjack SJ12 & SJ16, for instance, have a zero inside turn radius and only weigh 1,720lbs. and 2,130lbs, respectively. And, they only need four 6v deep cycle batteries, like the US2200 XC2, to supply the necessary 24V for operation. Due to their versatility and stability, construction crews, facility managers, and consumers are quickly adopting vertical mast lifts; as a way to reduce the risk of injury on the job.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]