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Maintenance And Care For Your Automotive Battery Makes All The Difference In The World

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Maintenance And Care For Your Automotive Battery Makes All The Difference In The World

Elliott Turner
31 August 2008


Lead-acid batteries are all made up with the same components; the positive plates coated with lead dioxide and the negative plates of soft spongy lead. Years ago the lead plates were conditioned through 50 charge and discharge cycles in order to build up the dioxide and spongy lead layers. In more recent years in order to cut costs these materials are chemically prepared and pasted on hollow wafer like lead grids. When an electrical current is past through the positive grid is changed into lead dioxide and the negative plated is changed into spongy lead. Wooden or plastic separators, which will allow the acid electrolyte to flow through and the gasses to escape must then separate the plates.

The most common reason for the failure of batteries is sulfation, which is caused by leaving the battery in an undercharged condition for too long. Doing this will not kill the battery right off, but it does decrease the battery�s charge capacity. If the sulfate is allowed to get to what is known as stage three the crystalline sulfate the process is no longer reversible with regular charging.

Auto start batteries are not designed to be discharged below 10.6 volts. Should this happen the lead sulfate will expand and spread across the plates and separator and short the battery. The voltage between the terminals will read 10.5 volts and the battery is dead and cannot be restored.

Another reason for the low discharge of an auto start battery is the reversal of the polarity in one of the cells. The voltage will read 8.5 volts; the battery is dead and the situation is not reversible.

If the battery gets dropped the result the shock will result in the active material being shed from the plates. This will lead to a reduced capacity and the loose deposits can cause a short if wedged on one of the plates or if a connection across the plates is produced at the bottom. These batteries cannot be restored.

Air pocket can form between the plates and if not removed that area of the plate is useless. There is nothing, which can be done to correct this situation. The only thing is the grid design and the quality separators will prevent this from happening. This is the main reason cheap batteries don�t last. Using a proven battery tester will make all the difference in the world when it comes to knowing whether or not your battery will function when you need it the most.

Find out more about what battery tester you need and what type of batter test method will work best for you at http://batteryresearchcenter.com/battery_tester/

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