What causes lead-acid batteries to fall?


Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to start your vehicle, recreational vehicle, boat, or other device only to discover that the battery is entirely dead. You can find yourself lost in the woods and have to pay a steep price to start a new battery. This is unfortunately rather typical for those who are not familiar with the primary sources of damage to lead-acid batteries. Continue reading as we examine lead-acid batteries in more detail, including how they operate and several mistakes you should avoid making to keep them in good condition.

What causes lead-acid batteries to fall?

What exactly is a lead-acid battery?

A typical rechargeable battery that has been around for more than 160 years is the lead-acid battery. Their fundamental design is two positively and negatively charged lead plates floating in an acidic electrolyte solution. The electrolyte’s interaction to the plates is altered by a chemical reaction when electrical current is applied to the system, which charges the battery.

When you use a battery, the process is reversed since the opposing chemical reaction generates battery electricity. To keep the electrolyte solution at the right concentration, a lead-acid battery that has not been sealed must be regularly opened and topped off with distilled water.

AGM (absorbent glass mat) or gel batteries are two other battery designs besides this straightforward one. These batteries operate on the same fundamental principles but are built and composed differently. They provide marginally better performance in some areas and require less maintenance than traditional flooded lead-acid equivalents.

Exactly what could harm a lead-acid battery?

Sadly, a variety of factors can cause harm to lead-acid batteries. These batteries can sustain lasting damage if the conditions aren’t appropriate for the chemical reactions to take place since the reactions are what make the batteries work.

For instance, damaging a lead-acid battery by completely draining it might exacerbate the sulfation chemical reaction. As a result, the battery’s discharge capacity must not be greater than half of its rated capacity to prevent a reduction in service life.

On the other side, overcharging a battery can also result in damage. As a result, the sheet’s performance is impacted by an imbalance in the chemical changes that occur.

Lead-acid batteries must also be fully charged after every cycle of discharge. Sulfation, which cannot be stopped, happens if they are not fully charged. The chemical reaction between the plates and the electrolyte is impacted by sulfation, a type of crystalline lead sulfate (a mixture of lead and acid in the electrolyte).

In addition

In addition, operating a lead-acid battery with an electrolyte solution that is either too thick or too thin (outside of the allowed range) will seriously harm the battery.

Delamination is another potential problem with lead-acid batteries. Due to variations in reagent chemistry density, the top and bottom halves of the cell have different chemical compositions. If the battery is not being stirred or moved, issues may develop (most frequently in stationary applications).

Finally, lead-acid batteries can suffer severe damage from high temperatures. The battery’s chemical deterioration will be considerably accelerated by any temperature higher than 80 degrees. Sulfation and quick self-discharge are brought on by this.

What error do owners of lead acid batteries make the most frequently?

The most frequent error people make is using lead acid for a purpose other than what it was designed for. Only when lead-acid batteries are briefly (less than 50%) depleted before being fully recharged do they experience extended life. Vehicle start is one application that satisfies this requirement.

In stationary storage applications, stratification and sulfation problems could occur. Deep discharges or erratic charging are something that lead-acid batteries shouldn’t be subjected to. Applications with these features include off-grid electricity storage and solar energy storage.

The two most frequent errors that cause harm to lead-acid batteries are charging errors and charge omissions. Some users overdischarge their batteries, which results in long-term chemical and function changes. By overcharging or charging the battery too quickly, others can harm the battery in the same way.

Running in extremely cold or hot conditions might potentially harm your battery.

Running in extremely cold or hot conditions might potentially harm your battery. One of the main reasons lead-acid batteries break down is poor or absent maintenance, which is typically brought on by too much or too little water in the electrolyte.

Our batteries are considerably superior to lithium-ion batteries for energy storage applications because lithium does not have any of the issues that lead-acid batteries do when they malfunction. Lead acid works fantastically as a starting battery but fails miserably as a storing battery.

How can I tell if my lead-acid battery needs to be repaired?

One of the main causes of lead-acid battery degradation is poor performance. Is your battery failing to provide the required voltage or overall capacity? You ought to look into this more after learning this.

There is also obvious damage. Are there any odd lumps, warps, or cracks on your battery? Check to be sure there haven’t been any leaks or unauthorized disclosures.

How does an overheated lead-acid battery affect things?

Lead-acid batteries can overheat at any time, especially in warm weather or when the battery is already deteriorating. All batteries will warm up during operation, but overheated lead-acid batteries risk severe harm. As soon as the electrolyte solution inside the battery exceeds the boiling point, acid or hydrogen gas begins to be released. If people breathe these vapors in, it might be dangerous.

Your battery’s fluid levels will keep dropping throughout this time, and if they become too low, they could damage your battery. Once they have cooled down, many batteries can be recharged by adding more distilled water to top them off. However, if sealed batteries such as AGM and gel types overheat, you’ll need to replace them.

Can a lead-acid battery be resurrected?

A lead-acid battery is typically just dead. Replace any that have experienced serious lead-acid battery deterioration or are past the end of their typical lifespan.

A lead-acid battery can absolutely be revived in other circumstances. A battery should be jump-started or connected to a trickle charger if it appears to be nearly dead. These gadgets gradually supply the battery with a little amount of low-voltage power. This assists in balancing the battery’s charge and might even partially recover it.

However, sulfation causes the majority of issues, and there is no effective method of dissolving the crystals. Sulfates may dissolve in chemical solutions that you can add to your electrolyte mixture, but doing so is risky.

Can a lead-Acid battery be tested?

Yes, but it’s really challenging to measure capacity accurately. However, it is extremely simple to check to verify if voltage is being output. An ordinary digital voltmeter is all you need.

A battery’s positive terminal should be connected to the voltmeter’s positive end, and vice versa. The voltage of the battery will become immediately apparent.

Most of the time, you want to see a reading that is higher than 12.4 but lower than 12.9. Some authorities, however, advise somewhat greater or lower permissible reading ranges. You can be sure your battery is operating properly within those limits. A fully charged battery may not be able to keep a charge adequately if readings fall outside of this range. A battery with an over voltage reading of over 12.9 would be a significant problem that could harm the associated sensitive equipment.

The battery must be discharged using specialized equipment in order to accurately test the battery’s true capacity.

How soon should lead-acid batteries be changed?

You can quickly assess whether your battery needs to be changed using a few different methods.

Utilize the voltmeter testing technique described above first. If the voltage reading is low, consider charging the battery and running the test again. The battery has outlived its usefulness when the voltage is continuously low.

You may notice a noticeable loss in capacity in some applications (such RV house batteries), with your batteries depleting more quickly with the same amount of use as before. Last but not least, some battery owners change their batteries ahead of time based on their anticipated lifespan, which for deep-cycle batteries is two to three years and for starting and automotive batteries is five to eight years.

Lithium: the better battery alternative to replace lead-Acid

Of course, you can just switch to a superior battery alternative to eliminate all of these worries regarding lead-acid battery deterioration and other problems. Owners of lithium batteries, which have advanced greatly in recent years, will discover that.

For instance, compared to their weight, lithium batteries have a significantly higher capacity. This implies that you can increase capacity while keeping your weight the same or even reduce it (for circumstances like sailboats or some RVs). More severe temperatures can be tolerated by lithium batteries. Unlike older batteries, you can fully discharge them without harming them. They can also charge far more quickly and require little to no maintenance.

You shouldn’t be concerned about lithium’s higher price than lead acid, despite the fact that some people might be. Although you will have to pay a little more up front for lithium batteries, they will last two to three times longer than conventional batteries! Many lithium battery owners discover that their overall costs are lower than if they were to purchase numerous, less expensive lead-acid batteries.

Lead-acid batteries: are they worth it?

There are some circumstances where a lead-acid battery is the ideal answer. This is particularly true when a starting battery is required or when battery performance is not the top concern. When starting an engine, the battery is swiftly depleted and then fast recharged by the engine. Additionally, the vehicle’s motion avoids stratification.

But for many users, the numerous inconveniences and disadvantages of these antiquated batteries are simply not worth it. The benefits of superior lithium technology, which keeps getting better and offers anything from more efficient performance to less maintenance, are numerous.

Even if not everyone may be ready to upgrade just yet, the trend is obvious. Lithium-ion batteries and #LeadisDead will both keep growing in the battery industry.

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