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Maximize Battery Charger

MAXIMIZE YOUR LIFT’S BATTERY CHARGE PROFILE

In the same way, that different deep-cycle battery designs vary in capacity and overall performance, charging the battery can be as unique as the battery itself. Because deep-cycle batteries in various vehicles and machinery can differ in their work environment, the battery’s capacity and performance are susceptible to how they are charged and maintained. Battery manufacturers like U.S. Battery work with charger manufacturers such as Delta-Q to develop various charging profiles for particular battery sizes and designs to maximize your lift’s battery performance. Ultimately, the overall performance of any work platform comes down to how well the batteries are maintained, the depth of discharge, and the “charge quality” during each recharging session.

According to Delta-Q, the manufacturer has more than 50 charge algorithms on hand for a variety of batteries. To determine how to give your equipment’s battery the best charge, you need to understand what charge algorithms are. There are different charge algorithms available on many battery chargers, but to understand this, you first need to know that there are basically three stages of battery charging. The first is a Bulk Stage, where the charger uses constant current at full charger output to bring the battery to approximately 80% state of charge. The second stage is Absorption Charge using constant voltage where the charge current tapers from full charger output to a lower level that depends on battery conditions. The charger allows the battery to control the charge rate at which it can accept a charge until 100% of the amp-hours removed on the previous discharge are returned. At this point, the battery is not quite fully charged and requires a controlled overcharge. The third stage is the Finish Charge, where the charger gives the battery a lower constant current charge at a charge rate that is proportional to the design capacity of the battery. Assuring the battery is fully charged and provides enough gassing to mix the electrolyte to prevent electrolyte stratification.

During these three charge stages, charge algorithms can differ in current, voltage, time, and amount of overcharge. Charge algorithms are adapted to optimize charging for specific battery models and chemistries. To begin with, there are three primary types of algorithms. SPECIFIC charge algorithms that are custom designed in collaboration between the charger manufacturer and the battery manufacturer and are used by most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) of access lifts and machinery. For performance and warranty reasons, lift OEM’s use a specific battery and therefore require a particular charge algorithm to maximize the battery life for the performance and use environment of the equipment. Depending on the battery chemistry and its use, the charge time and current applied during these three stages can vary to provide the best possible balance between cycle life, runtime, and overall battery life.

Some charger manufacturers use GENERIC charge algorithms designed for particular battery chemistries (such as flooded lead-acid, AGM or Gel) and a wide range of amp-hour capacities. Each chemistry requires a different charge algorithm and amount of overcharge. According to charger manufacturer Delta-Q, a generic charge algorithm will provide a reasonable compromise between battery life and performance. Generic algorithms provide greater flexibility between battery makes and models, especially if the owner decides to change to a different battery when it’s time for the battery to be replaced.

Some charger manufacturers offer UNIVERSAL charge algorithms that can be used for all types of batteries, and most battery manufacturers do not recommend the use of these algorithms. If used, battery state of charge and temperature should be carefully monitored to prevent undercharge or overcharge that could severely decrease battery performance and life.

Ultimately, the best way to get the most out of your batteries, and your lift equipment, is to consult with the manufacturer and/or look up the charge algorithm they have for the specific battery in your equipment. The battery charger should use that specific charge algorithm; allowing you to get the most out of your batteries and ultimately your equipment. For more information on batteries and charging profiles, visit www.delta-q.com.

Recycling

U.S. Battery Manufacturing And The Battery Industry, Celebrate Their Commitment Towards Positive Environmental Change On Earth Day

Since 1970, Earth Day has stood as a celebration of the modern environmental movement. Today people and industries around the world, including the lead battery industry, have answered the call to help improve our world by developing methods of manufacturing and operations that are more environmentally friendly. As a result of these new approaches, lead batteries are now a sustainable energy source used in a wide range of applications.

The battery industry has emerged as one of the major success stories of this Earth Day movement. Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) batteries are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the most recycled consumer product in the nation. The innovative recycling methods for the lead battery industry result in 99 percent of every lead battery being recycled. Translating into 130-million used batteries not reaching landfills annually. Over the decades, the process has evolved to use almost every part of the battery. Battery reyclingThe polypropylene outer case and cover are broken down into small pellets and manufactured into new batteries and other plastic products. The internal lead components of the battery are melted down to make components for new batteries. The battery’s electrolyte is neutralized and purified into water or converted into sodium sulfate, a compound commonly used in laundry detergent, glass, and textiles.

The effects of the battery industry’s efforts, however, don’t end there. As well as reducing its environmental impact, the battery industry provides $26.3-billion in revenue to the nation’s economy, impacting suppliers, worker spending, transportation, and distribution sectors. According to the Battery Council International (BCI), the international trade association of battery manufacturers, an estimated $1.7 billion is put into payroll within an industry of approximately 25,000 workers in the United States.

In addition, advancements in battery technology have turned lead batteries into one of the most cost-efficient forms of energy, allowing battery-powered equipment to operate cleanly and with increased reliability. Lower operating costs also offer advantages to lead battery-powered machinery and vehicles, further reducing emissions and reducing the environmental impact of other industries that embrace battery power.

U.S. Battery is proud to be a part of this effort and continually encourages customers and industries it’s involved in to recycle and use battery power where ever possible. Please join U.S. Battery and others in the global community in celebrating Earth Day by visiting the EarthDay.org website and finding an event to participate in or ways to take action. For more information, visit www.earthday.org, or for more information on sustainable deep-cycle batteries for various applications, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO MODERN BATTERY-POWER NEEDS

The rechargeable lead-acid battery has been in continuous development since its initial introduction separately by Siemens, Sinsteden, and Planté during the period of 1852 – 1859. Since then, battery manufacturers such as U.S. Battery, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, have continually sought to improve upon the performance, life, and efficiency of deep-cycle batteries for various commercial and industrial uses.

Deep-Cycle batteries’ overall dependability, cost-effectiveness, and recyclability have enabled them to continue in widespread use since their initial development. When John Anderson took over the reins of U.S. Battery early in the company’s history, he believed it was essential to look for ways to improve upon the basic battery technology. Over the decades, U.S. Battery has continued Mr. Anderson’s legacy by modernizing and innovating deep-cycle battery designs in multiple ways. These improvements enable the company’s products to stay ahead of the changing demands of consumers and the various industries it serves.

One of the first innovations by U.S. Battery was to increase the efficiency of the grid alloys used in the current collectors called grids. Historically, during cycling, the positive grids would slowly corrode, and grid corrosion was found to be a primary failure mode. U.S. Battery improved upon the corrosion resistance of the grids by adding selenium to the antimony grid alloys. The addition of selenium acts as a grain refiner to produce a fine-grain alloy that increases its strength and electrical conductivity as well as reduces corrosion. The effect of this improvement is that positive grid corrosion is no longer a primary failure mode, and the cycle life of F.L.A. deep-cycle batteries has been significantly increased.

The active materials pasted on the grids in a battery’s positive electrodes have also been improved over the years. The active materials start out as basic lead sulfates, and tetrabasic lead sulfate (TTBLS) has been shown to provide the longest cycle life.  Historically, TTBLS crystals have been ‘grown’ in a process called hydroset.  Because growing crystals depends on many factors such as time, temperature, humidity, etc., the sizes of the finished TTBLS crystals can be unpredictable. U.S. Battery has found that through the use of crystal seeding additives, the size and distribution of these crystals can be controlled to produce consistently small crystals distributed uniformly throughout the electrode.  Using a process the company calls Xtreme Capacity, U.S. Battery was able to provide customers with increased initial capacity, faster cycle-up to the full rated capacity, higher peak capacity, and improved charging using the wide range of charger technologies used in various applications.

As improvements to the positive electrodes were made, U.S. Battery realized that improvements to the negative electrodes were needed to balance the active materials’ performance in the battery.  Improving the negative electrodes’ performance allowed U.S. Battery to increase the battery’s overall capacity and extend service life. To do this, improved expanders were used in the negative active materials to prevent the natural tendency of the negative active material to shrink or coalesce during cycling. U.S. Battery also found that in applications with limited time for charging, progressive undercharge can result in negative plate sulfation.  This is often referred to as a partial state of charge (PSOC) operation.  To improve upon this problem, it was discovered that introducing structured carbon materials such as advanced graphites, graphene, and nano-carbons can improve dynamic charge acceptance and control sulfation. This allows renewable energy applications with unpredictable charging from solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources to advance with greater reliability and energy storage capability.

When deep-cycle batteries are used in a vehicle, the motion of the vehicle continually mixes the electrolyte and prevents electrolyte stratification.  However, in renewable energy applications where the batteries are stationary, there is no mechanical mixing of the electrolyte.  In these applications, it is essential to recognize the importance of proper charging to create gassing to mix the electrolyte properly. U.S. Battery has developed special charge algorithms to provide the appropriate amount of over-charge, including equalization charging to prevent electrolyte stratification.

While these improvements on 100-year-old battery technology have kept industries worldwide running efficiently, U.S. Battery is continually searching for ways to improve efficiency further and maintain a level of cost-effectiveness. Once again, the requirements of battery-powered equipment have evolved, both for consumers and the industries that rely on them. U.S. Battery has responded with the development of new product lines that incorporate the reliability, longevity, and capacity that the company’s customers have come to expect. The latest generation of deep-cycle batteries has been shown to last longer, are lighter in weight, and feature a technologically advanced design that will meet the demands of the customer’s energy needs now and in the future. Designed and assembled in the U.S.A., the new product line will be available worldwide exclusively from U.S. Battery. More information on what’s coming from U.S. Battery will be announced in the coming months.

 

U.S. Battery FLA Date Code

How Old Or New Are Your Deep-Cycle Batteries?

Used and refurbished battery-powered equipment are abundant and are often found at great prices. Although the vehicle may be in good working order, it’s important to determine how old the deep-cycle batteries are. In most cases, battery manufacturers stamp or etch a date code on the battery indicating the month, year, and location of manufacture.

U.S. Battery uses a stamped code on the terminals of its flooded lead-acid batteries. The top left letter stamped on the terminal correlates to the month it was manufactured (A-L refers to January to December). In this example, the letter “K” is the 11th month indicating the battery was manufactured in November. The number indicates the year 2014, and the bottom letter specifies the U.S. Battery plant where it was produced.

U.S. Battery Mfg. Co. Plant Codes

  • The letter “X” is for  Corona, California plant.
  • The letter “Y” is for  Augusta, Georgia plant.
  • The letter “Z” is the Evans, Georgia plant.

U.S. Battery Mfg. Co. AGM Date Code

On U.S. Battery AGM Batteries,  the date, month, and year on the battery case are etched into the top of the battery and are clearly visible. The date is in the format of DDMMYY or YYMMDD. In this example, September 15, 2014.

User Manual Cover

U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s New User Manual Provides Complete Information On Battery Data, Maintenance, Safety, Optimization, And More…

U.S. Battery Manufacturing now provides customers with a User Manual that includes everything you need to know to get the most out of your deep-cycle batteries. “Our User Manual is like placing the entire knowledge base of our engineers and battery industry experts at our customers’ fingertips,” says Mike Wallace, U.S. Battery Director of Marketing. “We compiled all of this information into an easy-to-understand manual that is designed to help customers properly use and maintain their batteries from purchase to end of cycle life and beyond.”

U.S. Battery’s User Manual will be updated regularly and covers a variety of topics, including safety, installation, and storage tips, as well as proper maintenance procedures and performance optimization. Customers can also learn how to address frequently encountered scenarios and find links on how to properly compare battery features and capacities before making their next purchase.

To view or download the free interactive digital U.S. Battery User Manual, Click Here

US Battery AGM Deep Cycle logo

US Battery Manufacturing Updates Its AGM Battery Line With A New And Improved Performance Deep-Cycle Design

U.S. Battery Manufacturing has launched its new and improved line of AGM Deep-Cycle batteries specifically designed to provide increased deep-cycling performance. “Our advanced line of AGM Deep-Cycle batteries have features that improve cycling performance and longevity, which makes them a better choice for customers wanting maintenance-free reliable operation,” says Zachary Cox, U.S. Battery VP Operations.

The new AGM Deep-Cycle batteries will be available after March 22, 2021, with updated features such as the use of thick positive alloy grids for exceptional corrosion resistance, high-density positive active material, and advanced glass mat separators. These components work together to maintain the battery cell structure during deep-cycling, limit acid stratification, and inhibit internal shorts.

The batteries also feature a carbon-enhanced negative active material that improves charge acceptance and cycling performance. In addition to being resistant to vibration, fully sealed, and maintenance-free, U.S. Battery’s new AGM design improves reliability, overall performance, and delivers longer cycle life.

In addition to these design upgrades, U.S. Battery’s AGM Deep-Cycle line will also have a new look, featuring a new case and graphics on redesigned labels. On top of the current 6V, 8V, and 12V models, the product line is also expanding to include new 6V and 12V options. “More of our customers are asking for high-performance deep-cycle batteries that are maintenance-free and cost-effective alternatives to lithium,” says Don Wallace, U.S. Battery COO. “We’re responding with engineering that delivers the superior performance and reliability needed for modern battery-powered equipment and vehicles.”

U.S. Battery’s complete line of AGM and Flooded Lead-Acid Deep-Cycle batteries are available for a wide variety of applications such as EV Golf Car & Utility, AWP, RV, Marine, Floor Cleaning Machines, and Renewable Energy.

 

The Battery Council International’s Statement On President-Elect Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Recovery Plan

President-elect Joe Biden announced his Build Back Better Recovery Plan which outlines historic investment in Research & Development in markets “where global leadership is up for grabs” including “battery technology … and clean energy.”

“The lead battery industry, with its strong domestic supply chain, is ideally positioned to rapidly deliver on the President-elect’s promise to have American jobs support the nation’s post-Covid economic recovery, and also to ensure America’s global leadership on technological innovation and a green economy infrastructure,” said Roger Miksad, Battery Council International executive vice president and general counsel.

Lead batteries will be the dominant rechargeable battery technology for the foreseeable future, are the most recycled consumer product in the nation, and are the global leader in a variety of green applications from well-known automotive uses supporting clean mobility in low-carbon start-stop and micro-hybrid vehicles, to the growing utility and renewable energy storage markets which are ushering in a global energy transition.

The U.S. lead battery industry invested $100 million in R&D in 2019 and through agreements with the U.S. National Laboratories system is actively pursuing next gen battery technology and energy storage to meet the needs of a market that is expected to grow from 360 GWh in 2020 to 430 GWh in 2030.  These battery innovations are being developed by U.S companies and will be built by U.S. workers in communities across the nation.

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.

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.