Battery care and maintenance will differ dependant up on the type battery and also the application in which it is being used.
The three main types of battery are vented (wet flooded), VRLA Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) and VRLA Gel.
Below are some general care and maintenance tips to help you get the most from your battery.
NEVER ATTEMPT TO CHARGE A BATTERY WITHOUT FIRST REVIEWING THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CHARGER BEING USED
As automotive batteries are very heavy, great care should be taken when lifting. Always bend your knees NOT your back.
For batteries over 25Kg it is recommended that 2 people carry the unit.
- Correct charging is imperative to maximize battery performance. Both under or over charging batteries can significantly reduce the products’ life. For proper charging, refer to the instructions that came with your equipment, or contact the Customer Services Dept. at Platinum Batteries (Europe) Ltd on 0845 063 9999
- Most chargers are automatic and pre-programmed. Some chargers allow the user to set the voltage and current values.
- Always wear proper eye, face and hand protection.
- Turn the charger and timer “OFF” before connecting the leads to the battery to avoid dangerous sparks.
- Ensure the charger is set to the appropriate program for flooded/wet, AGM or gel, depending on the type of battery you are charging.
- Batteries should be fully charged after each use.
- Lead-acid batteries flooded/wet, AGM or Gel) do not have a “memory effect” and therefore do not need to be fully discharged before recharging.
- Charge only in well-ventilated areas.
- Ensure you connect the charger leads to the correct battery terminals; red positive (+) lead to the positive (+) terminal and black negative (-) lead to the negative (-) terminal. If the battery is still in the vehicle, ensure you ‘ground’ your negative lead by connecting it to the engine block. Be sure the ignition and all electrical accessories are turned off. (If the vehicle has a positive ground, connect the positive lead to the engine block.)
- Check electrolyte level (wet flooded batteries) to make sure the plates are covered with water before charging.
- Check that all vent caps are secured properly on the battery before charging.
- Flooded/wet batteries will gas (bubble) towards the end of charge to ensure the electrolyte is properly mixed.
- Never charge a frozen battery.
- Avoid charging at temperatures above 45°C.
- Make sure that the charger leads to the battery are not broken, frayed or loose.
- Set the timer, turn the charger on and slowly increase the charging rate until the desired ampere value is reached.
- If the battery becomes hot, if there is violent gassing or spewing of electrolyte, reduce the charging rate immediately or turn off the charger temporarily.
- Always turn the charger “OFF” before removing charger leads from the battery to avoid dangerous sparks.
- Once a battery has been manufactured it begins to die. Always rotate batteries held in stock using the ‘first in – first out’ principle.
- Batteries should be fully charged before being placed in storage.
- Store in a cool, dry location, in an upright position.
- Disconnect from equipment to eliminate potential parasitic loads that may discharge the battery.
- Batteries gradually self-discharge during storage. Monitor the specific gravity or voltage every 4-6 weeks and recharge if required.
- When batteries are taken out of storage, it is advisable to recharge before use.
- Any spillages should be neutralised with a baking soda solution.
- Batteries that are in stock, or fitted onto an application that is not in regular use, should have the voltage checked a minimum of every 2 weeks. If the voltage is below 12.6v (for a 12 volt battery), then the battery should be recharged.
- Examine the outside appearance of the battery; the top, terminals and connections should be dry, clean and free of dirt or corrosion.
- If there is liquid on the top of an open top wet flooded battery, then this may mean that the battery is being over-watered or overcharged. Refer to Watering section, below, for the correct maintenance procedure.
- If liquid is on the top of an AGM or gel battery this could mean that the battery is being overcharged and the performance and life will be reduced.
- Water should never be added to AGM, Gel or other sealed batteries as they do not lose water during use.
- Wet flooded batteries need to be checked and watered periodically. The frequency depends upon battery usage and operating temperatures. Check new batteries every few weeks to determine the watering frequency for your application. It is normal for batteries to need more watering as they age.
- Fully charge the batteries prior to adding water. Only add water to discharged or partially charged batteries if the plates are exposed. In this case, add enough water to cover 6mm over the tops of the plates.
- Check the battery for cleanliness at regular intervals and keep terminals and connectors free of corrosion. Terminal corrosion may adversely affect the performance of the battery, and it could present a safety hazard.
- Check that all vent caps are secured properly on the battery.
- Clean the top of the battery, terminals and connections with a cloth or brush and a solution of baking soda and water (1 cup of baking soda to 1 gallon of water).
- Do not allow the cleaning solution to get inside the battery.
- Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
- Apply a thin coat of terminal protector spray or petroleum jelly.
- Keep the area around batteries clean and dry.
- If the vehicle is not being used for a period of time, the battery should be disconnected to prevent any quiescent drain.
- A battery in a severely discharged state will never recover, resulting in a replacement battery being required.
- Before installation or maintenance of your batteries, have the following equipment available:
- Goggles and gloves.
- Flat head screw driver – to open vent caps
- Distilled or de-ionised water.
- Insulated spanner or other tool for removing battery terminals.
- Baking soda (in case of electrolyte spillage).
- Terminal protector spray or petroleum jelly.
- Voltmeter (for Sealed / AGM Gel batteries).
- Hydrometer (for open vented wet flooded batteries).
- Battery charger.
- Follow all the procedures in this User’s Guide for proper installation, maintenance and storage.
- Do not discharge your battery more than 80%. This safety factor will eliminate the chance of over-discharging and damaging the battery.
- If you have any questions or concerns about battery care, please contact the Customer Services Dept. at Platinum Batteries (Europe) Ltd on 0845 063 9999.
- A new battery will not deliver its full rated capacity from day 1. This is normal and should be expected as it takes time for a battery to reach maximum performance or peak capacity.
- When operating batteries at temperatures below 80°F (27°C) they will deliver less than the rated capacity. For example at 0°F (-18°C) the battery will deliver 50% of its capacity and at 80°F (27°C) it will deliver 100% of its capacity.
- When operating batteries at temperatures above 80°F (27°C) they will deliver more than the rated capacity but the battery life will be reduced.
- The life of a battery is difficult to predict, as it will vary with application, frequency of usage and level of maintenance.
Lead-acid batteries are the environmental success story of our time, because more than 97% of batteries are recyclable. In fact, lead-acid batteries top the list of the most highly recycled product, above paper and other consumables.
Platinum Batteries (Europe) Ltd supports the correct recycling of your battery, to keep the environment clean and promote the Platinum ECO-Life Scheme, which highlights exactly what is involved in the battery recycling process.
Please contact the Customer Services Team at Platinum Batteries (Europe) Ltd on 0845 063 9999 to understand how we can help you to properly recycle your batteries.