Frequently Asked Questions | Platinum International Limited
 0161 971 5000      [email protected] Birmingham, England, B37 7WL

Batteries for all intents and purposes are a technical product, but this should not be a barrier to anyone’s understanding of battery technology and the purpose of batteries in a given application.

We realise that some companies like to make things ‘Tech-Heavy’, so that someone who is looking into their product range, with no prior experience, doesn’t have a clue what they are dealing with.

We are not one of those companies, we strive to Keep It Simple! With this in mind, we are cutting through the Jargon to help give you a better understanding of what batteries are and how they work! Here at Platinum we also provide a complete range of chargers for the batteries that we supply.

What does the term ‘CCA’ refer to?

CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps, which is relevant to the engine starting capability of the battery. CCA measures how well the battery will perform at certain temperatures.  Platinum International uses the Society of Automobile Engineers or ‘SAE’ standard, which means the cranking performance of the battery is measured under controlled conditions at a temperature of -18˚C for 30 seconds.

For example, if a fully charged battery is rated at 590 amps SAE, it can produce 590 amps for a period of 30 seconds, at a temperature of -18°C.  The voltage must drop below 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts for a 12 volt battery) during this test.

Are all batteries rated at SAE for cold cranking amps?
No, there are multiple standards for ‘CCA’ used throughout the world.  Amongst the others are ‘EN’, ‘DIN’, ‘IEC’, ‘MCA’, and ‘HCA’.  These other specifications are either, tested over differing timescales, temperatures or voltages, therefore they cannot be compared to another battery tested at a different standard.
What does the term ‘Ah’ refer to?

Ah stands for Ampere Hour, which is a measure of battery capacity or rather, how much energy can be stored in a battery.  The higher the Ah rating, the more energy can be stored in the battery.  The Ah rating is most relevant for slow drain applications, such as; Caravan & Leisure Vehicles; Marine; or other applications that take a large amount of energy from the battery over a prolonged period of time, these are also known as Deep Cycle applications.

Platinum International uses the ’C20’ or ‘20 hour’ standard for its automotive and leisure range.  This means that a fully charged battery rated at 100 Ah (C20) can produce 5 amps (100 Ah divided by 20), for a period of 20 hours. Again this procedure is done under strict conditions at a temperature of +25°C, where the voltage must drop below 1.75 volts per cell (10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery).

A common misconception is that a 100Ah battery will produce 100 amps for 1 hour, 50 amps for 2 hours, 20 amps for 5 hours, 1 amp for 100 hours……etc.  This is absolutely incorrect.

Are there other Ah standards?
Yes, the Automotive industry tends to use the C20 standard but industrial applications (Fork Trucks, Access Platforms, Mobility…etc.) use standards such as: C1, C5, C10 & C100.  So a fully charged battery rated at 100 Ah (C5) can produce 20 amps (100 (Ah) divided by 5), for a period of 5 hours, at a temperature of +25°C and the voltage must drop below 1.75 volts per cell (10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery).
What does the term ‘RC’ refer to?
RC is Reserve Capacity, which also refers to energy storage capacity of the battery, similar in some ways to Ah, but rated in minutes as opposed to amps.  The standard used for this by all manufacturers is 25amps.  A battery with a Reserve Capacity of 60 means that a fully charged battery can produce 25amps for a period of 60 minutes, at a temperature of +25°C and the voltage must drop below 1.75 volts per cell (10.5 volts for a 12 volt battery).
What is a ‘Calcium’ battery?
Automotive batteries contain Lead Acid. Calcium is a hardening agent within the plate grids which reduces water loss and increases electrical performance, shelf and service life. This is also needed if the battery is fitted to a vehicle with a ‘smart charge’ system. All Platinum batteries are Calcium/Calcium (both positive and negative plate grid) construction.
What is a ‘Silver Calcium’ battery?
In the late 1990s some manufacturers added a very small amount of silver to the plate grids, the benefit of this was said to be increased performance and resistance to very high, under bonnet, temperatures. This was more of a requirement for certain areas of the USA and other hotter climates, there were no benefits for Northern Europe. This manufacturing process proved expensive and in many cases pointless, so it was discontinued a few years later.
What does the term ‘battery cycling’ refer to?
A cycle is the discharge and recharge of a battery, for automotive starter applications this should be irrelevant. However, Leisure, Marine and Industrial batteries must have the capability to be deeply discharged and recharged many times during their service life. These ‘cyclic’ batteries are still Lead Acid construction, but the technology and components differs slightly from those of a starter battery.
What does the term ‘Depth of Discharge’ of a battery refer to?

Depth Of Discharge (DOD), simply put, is how deeply the battery is discharged e.g. if the battery is 100% charged, the DOD is 0%. If however the battery is just 70% charged, the DOD is 30%.

A deeper discharge will have an effect on the service life of a battery, and for specification purposes it is important that the Depth of Discharge (DOD) is quoted. Platinum Deep Cycle batteries are rated at 50% DOD. A battery rated at 100Ah, which provides 120 cycles to 50% DOD means that 50Ah can be taken from the battery at least 120 times.

Is the battery fitted to a caravan different from a conventional starter battery?

Yes. The battery on a conventional vehicle is solely designed to supply a high short burst of energy to start the car.

A caravan battery is required to supply a much lower current for a longer period of time, it will also be discharged and recharged many times.

This means that the technology and components differ from those of a standard starter battery, therefore use of a starter battery in a cyclic application would result in failure within the early months of service would be the result.

Is the battery fitted to a Start-Stop application different from a conventional starter battery?

Yes. Again the battery on a conventional vehicle is designed to supply a high short burst of energy to start the car.  Once the engine is running the vehicles charging system will replenish any energy taken from the battery and will supply all other electrical loads.

However, a Start-Stop battery is required to supply energy to the various electrical devices when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is not running.

This means that the technology and components differ from those of a standard starter battery, otherwise it would fail in the early months of service.

Why are there two types of Start-Stop battery (AGM and ECM)?

This depends upon the application. Vehicles at the premium end of the market tend to take Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM), whilst smaller entry level vehicles may take the Enhanced Cyclic Mat (ECM) battery. If the vehicle has brake regeneration, then the AGM battery must be used.

For battery replacement, an AGM must be replaced with AGM. ECM batteries must be replaced with an ECM battery, or you can sell up to an AGM battery.

I have also seen AFB and EFB listed for Start-Stop, what are these?
These are exactly the same technology as ECM, different names are used by different suppliers.  AFB stands for Advanced Flooded Battery and EFB stands for Enhanced Flooded Battery.
What is the difference between AGM and ECM (AFB/EFB)

ECM batteries are an evolution of the standard wet flooded battery. They have tin added to the plate grids and improved double layer separators, which provides longer life.

In addition to this the range has an increased reservoir of electrolyte acid, additional polyfleece scrim material on the plates & thicker plates which provide increased cyclic performance.

AGM technology utilises Absorbent Glass Material separators, which is a sponge like material that holds all of the acid solution. This makes the product 100% spill and leak proof as there is no ‘free flowing’ acid within the battery.

Also the negative plates have high carbon content, which allows for increased charge acceptance and a faster recharge, to work in line with brake energy regeneration.

A further distinguishing feature of the AGM battery range is the Gas Recombination technology. This keeps the Hydrogen and Oxygen within the battery throughout the charging cycle, therefore prolonging the life of the battery. A wet flooded battery may release some of these gases.