A deep-cycle battery is a lead-acid battery designed to deliver regular deep discharges while using most of its capacity. It is easy for laymen to believe all batteries are either deep cycle batteries or starting batteries. That is however not true. While these are the two types of batteries we have, there is a difference between the deep cycle battery and starting batteries.
A starting battery is designed to deliver only short, quick, high current bursts of energy for a short period of time The starter battery also has a greater plate count as well as a thin plate, with the plates having a higher surface area. It is important to note that starting battery discharge only a small part of their capacity.
The deep cycle battery, however, is designed for deep discharge cycles while using most of its capacity. It is designed to provide less instant energy, but it has a higher long-term delivery than the starting battery.
The deep cycle battery has thicker plates and can survive a greater number of deeper discharge cycles. Starter batteries are those found in your regular automobiles, while the deep cycle batteries can be found in recreational vehicles (RV), boats, golf cart, forklift and so on.
Another major difference between this two is that the deep cycle battery can be used as a starter battery but a starter battery can’t be used as a deep cycle battery.
Whether you’re using machinery powered by a starter battery or a deep cycle battery, you are supposed to maintain them as best as possible. This is something most people don’t put in mind and they and up with a bad or dead battery in record time.
MAINTAINING A DEEP CYCLE BATTERY
Step 1. Always Check The Charge Of Your Deep Cycle Battery
It is important to always keep an eye out for your battery charge, especially during high usage period. A fully functioning deep cycle battery will discharge about 45-75% of its capacity, although this is entirely dependent on the manufacturer’s preference.
There are various tools to help you determine the charge of your battery. A few of them are the voltage indicating digital monitors, amp-hour meters, and hydrometers. Your deep charge battery is due for a recharge when it reads a 50% charge. It is however essential never to let your battery charge go lower than 20%, this ensures a long life.
Step 2. Avoid stratification
In your RV deep cycle battery, for example, it is important to prevent stratification of the electrolyte in your deep cycle battery. This occurs as a result of repeated partial charging and discharging. Stratification of the electrolyte in the best RV deep cycle battery can result in a significant reduction of the battery’s capacity and reduction.
When stratification occurs, the acid seeps from the top to the bottom of the battery, and the absence of acid at the top limits plate activation. There are several ways to rectify stratification, but the best methods are;
- Regular running of the battery
- Slow diffusion
- Mechanical stirring of the electrolyte
Step 3. Prevent Sulfation
If left uncharged for too long, lead-acid batteries like the RV deep cycle batteries run the risk of sulfation. Sulfation occurs when your battery can no longer charge because of the crystallization of the lead sulfates.
Once crystallization occurs, it means it’s too late to save the battery. How than do you prevent the risk of sulfation? You must fully recharge your RV deep cycle battery after a recharge cycle. This is the only way to keep your battery healthy and prevent against sulfation.
Step 4. Periodic Equalization of Deep Cycle Batteries
Following a normal charge cycle, periodic equalization needs to be done to keep cells balanced. Equalization is an extended low power charge which usually extends the charge time by about 3 hours. Since any deep in cell regularity can lead to battery failure or instability, than keeping the cells balanced through equalization is then very important.
Step 5. Always Let Your Battery Cool Off
After an extended period of use and recharging, it is essential to let the battery remain inactive and cool off. You might be wondering why you should let it cool off. Since so much heat is generated during a recharging cycle, if you run the deep cycle battery immediately afterwards, it can cause grid corrosion and later degrade into complete battery failure.
Maintaining your deep cycle battery is relatively easy to do. With just a little care on your part, you can enjoy a healthy battery for a very long time
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