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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.

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.

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.

 

Connected 8v Batteries

SpeedCaps™ For Your Deep-Cycle Battery

U.S. Battery SpeedCaps™ Go Beyond Venting Deep-Cycle Battery Cells

The vent caps used on deep cycle batteries are designed to allow the escape of gases formed inside the battery when it is being charged and to limit the escape of electrolyte in normal operation. The vent caps are also designed for easy removal to visually check the electrolyte level in the battery and to add water as necessary.   They also allow for the insertion of a hydrometer to check the battery’s state of charge.  During regular maintenance that requires removing and reinstalling the vent caps, there is a possibility that the vent caps may not be properly reinstalled.  This could allow electrolyte to spill over onto the battery and cause corrosion on terminals and surrounding areas.

To improve on the standard battery vent cap, U.S. Battery SpeedCaps™ are designed with a cantilever-style closure that is attached to three or four battery cell caps. This design allows all the caps to be easily removed with a single twist. The design not only makes the removal of the battery caps easier, but it also ensures that they are properly seated when being replaced. The locking ramp on top self-adjusts to maintain compression between the sealing gasket and vent well surface for the life of the battery. SpeedCaps™ are designed to make your job of battery maintenance as hassle-free as possible while also maintaining a proper seal and gas venting during use.CAD drawing of U.S. Battery SpeedCaps

Proper venting is critical during charging when gas is being generated within the electrolyte and bubbles to the surface, helping to mix the electrolyte. To prevent electrolyte from escaping past the vent caps, U.S. Battery SpeedCaps™ feature 0.750-inch diameter porous discs that assure proper venting while maintaining flame retardance to prevent gas ignition inside the battery. They also have four separate vent holes that decrease backpressure and prevent internal pressure buildup.

Since vent caps are removed and replaced frequently during regular battery maintenance, U.S. Battery SpeedCaps™ are designed with a larger diameter flange. The enlarged flange ensures even pressure on the surface of the sealing gasket while maintaining a tight fit between the barrel and cylinder to eliminate side-to-side movement and the chance for misalignment of the gasket onto the sealing surface.

To prevent spilling of the electrolyte during vehicle movement in golf carts, aerial platform lifts, RVs, boats, etc., the SpeedCap™ design also features a double-sided internal baffle with multi-directional channels and a sloped center hole return drain, all designed to route battery electrolyte back into the cell.

With all these safeguards in place, U.S. Battery SpeedCaps™ are an example of one of the many details the company adds to its products to ensure they provide optimum performance and cycle life compared to other deep-cycle batteries on the market.

US 12VRX XC2

Deep-Cycle Battery Tune-Up Tips

Aside from routinely adding water and charging your deep-cycle batteries, battery manufacturers recommend giving your batteries a tune-up. Simply put, this consists of a few methods to check the condition of the deep-cycle batteries and the associated components so that everything can continue to run perfectly.

Battery Terminals and Wires

1) Safety first. Always perform battery maintenance in a well ventilated area and wear eye protection and gloves.

2) Open the battery compartment of your deep-cycle battery-powered vehicle and check the wires and terminals connected to the battery. If corroded, clean them with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize acid corrosion (easily done with a spray bottle). Remove the cables from the battery terminals and, using a wire brush with a plastic or wooden handle to prevent shorting, clean the terminals and wire connections down to the bright metal. Replace any wires that are frayed or broken.

3) Reconnect the cables to the battery terminals. The recommended terminal torque is 100-inch pounds or 15-18 pounds on the end of a six-inch wrench. Avoid using larger wrenches or power tools.  Lead terminals can easily be damaged by over-tightening.  The goal is to fully compress the split-ring lock washer but no more. Use insulated tools to prevent arching.

4) Once the terminals and cables are clean and connections are secure, use silicone spray or a corrosion inhibitor to prevent additional corrosion from forming.

Condition of the Batteries

1) Remove the vent caps on each of the deep-cycle batteries and check the electrolyte level in each cell. If some are low, refill with distilled water so that the plates are covered with at least ¼ inch of electrolyte before charging.  After charging top up to within a ¼ inch of split-ring level indicator.

2) Use a hydrometer to determine the state of charge for each battery. During winter storage, all of the batteries should have been stored in a fully charged state. Check the battery manufacturer’s recommendation for the fully charged specific gravity for each type of battery.

3) If the batteries are fully charged, the vehicle is ready to start service. If the batteries are not fully charged, connect the charger and let it run through a full charge cycle. After charging recheck the electrolyte level and use a hydrometer to verify the batteries are at full charge.

4) After the first 30-days of use, perform an equalization charge to balance the cells and to mix the electrolyte to  prevent stratification.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your deep-cycle batteries in your golf cart, aerial work platform, forklift or even your RV and boat, should be ready to go back to work. With regular maintenance, they will continue to run at optimum performance and last longer with lower annual operating costs. For more information on deep-cycle batteries for your particular application and maintenance tips, visit www.usbattery.com.

 

 

U.S. Battery Manufacturing Launches New Endurance Plus™ Line Of Deep-Cycle Batteries

U.S. Battery Manufacturing has launched a new line of deep-cycle batteries called Endurance Plus™. The Endurance Plus™ line is made up of 6-volt, 8-volt and 12-volt batteries that feature improved overall performance and higher ratings in an all-new bright red color case and top. “Our engineers were able to improve the performance on some of our most popular batteries that include the US 2000XC2, US 8VGCXC2, and US 12VRXXC2, to create a new category for the U.S. Battery brand we are calling Endurance Plus™,” said Don Wallace, U.S. Battery CMO/Executive VP Sales and Marketing.  “The Endurance Plus™ line provides our distributors with the opportunity to offer customers the industry’s most efficient batteries with higher performance ratings, ultimately giving customers a better battery and greater overall value.”

Endurance Plus™ batteries are manufactured in the U.S.A. and feature molded-in UTL terminals that have torque values that are consistent with current burned-on UTL versions. Dual molded terminals will be available soon as an option. The batteries also feature U.S. Battery’s exclusive XC2 formulation that give them the highest 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.

The full line-up of Endurance Plus™ batteries, ratings and sizes are available on the company’s website, at www.usbattery.com.