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Proper Deep-Cycle Battery Care And Maintenance

Published: 6/1/2012 Author: Vicki Hall, Director of Quality Assurance and Technical Services, Trojan Battery Category: Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance of deep-cycle flooded, AGM and gel batteries will provide maximum performance and longer life of a battery investment. Following these simple steps ensures that these batteries will enable you to operate at optimum levels day in and day out.

Tips for Proper Maintenance:

1) Charging

  • Charge batteries after each use and follow the manufacturer’s charging instructions
  • Add water to flooded batteries after they are charged, not before
  • Do not interrupt a charge cycle, unless opportunity charging
  • Never charge a frozen battery
  • Avoid charging at temperatures above 120°F (49°C)

2) Cleaning

  • Clean the battery terminals and cable lugs regularly with a solution of baking soda and water using a wire brush. It is imperative to properly maintain the entire connection in a flooded battery because corrosion at either end of the connection can cause high resistance and potential battery failure. Rinse with water and dry
  • Thinly coat all connections with anti-corrosion spray or silicone gel to resist corrosion

3) Torque

  • Tighten all wiring connections per the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Do not over-tighten which can result in post breakage
  • Avoid under-tightening which can result in post meltdown
  • Make sure there is good contact with the terminals

4) Equalizing (flooded batteries only)

  • Connect battery to charger, set to equalize mode, and start the charge cycle
  • Take voltage readings every hour
  • Equalization is complete when voltage no longer rises
  • If charger does not have an equalization setting call the battery manufacturer’s technical support staff to determine setting

5) Safety

The safety precautions and procedures outlined below should be followed whether handling flooded or valve regulated (AGM or gel) batteries.

  • Always wear protective clothing, safety glasses, and gloves when handling and/or performing battery maintenance
  • Never add acid to a battery
  • Keep batteries clean and dry
  • Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries
  • Charge only in well ventilated areas
  • Skin contact with electrolyte should be avoided
  • Always use insulated tools

6) Storing

There are very important steps that should be followed when storing batteries for an extended period of time.

  • Completely charge batteries before storing and monitor every six weeks while in storage
  • Batteries gradually self-discharge during storage. AGM batteries self-discharge at a much slower rate than flooded batteries. Be sure to monitor voltage every 4-6 weeks. Stored batteries should be given a boost charge when they are at 70 percent state of charge or less.
  • Store batteries in a cool, dry location avoiding areas where freezing temperatures are expected
  • Keep batteries fully charged to prevent freezing
  • When batteries are taken out of storage, recharge them before use
  • Avoid direct exposure to heat sources, such as radiators or heaters
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