Generator Batteries

Generator Batteries

Generator Batteries

Generator BatteriesBatteries are often required to be float charged for long periods of time and must be able to deliver high current when called upon. 

Generator batteries are sometimes sealed and maintenance free.

Lead Acid batteries are often used however because the content is an acid it is considered a hazardous material and often can not be shipped.

If your generator comes with a dry battery then you may be required to get it filled at Napa Auto Parts for example. The charge is minimal.

Most generators sold here come with sealed maintenance free batteries and do not need to be filled.

How the battery works.

A lead-acid battery is composed of a series of plates immerse in a solution of sulfuric acid. Each plate consists of a grid upon which is attached the active material (lead dioxide on the negative plates, pure lead on the positive plates). All of the negative plates are connected together, as are all the positive plates.

When the battery is under load and being discharged, acid from the electrolyte combines with the active plate material. This releases energy and converts the plate material to lead sulfate. The electrolyte becomes less acidic in the process.

When a battery is recharged, the opposite occurs: the lead sulfate reverts back to active material and the electrolyte becomes more acidic with a higher specific gravity.

Battery Charging

To recharge a lead-acid battery, it is necessary to convert the lead sulfate material which attaches to the discharged areas of the plates back to active plate material.

If the battery has not remained discharged for long or has only been discharged slightly, this is a relatively easy process. However, when the battery has remained discharged for an extended period or has been subjected to repeated deep-discharges without charging fully between cycles, the sulfate material can harden into crystals which are more difficult to convert. Until the sulfate is converted, the sulfated portions of the plates are useless and the battery can accept and hold only a partial charge. Eventually, sulfating can ruin a battery.

Sulfation is the number one cause of battery failure.

Whenever possible, bring any batteries up to full charge as slowly as possible. This slow charging process is also known as equalization. Equalization allows the electrolyte time to diffuse into the less accessible areas of the plate grid and convert those areas from lead sulfate to active plate material.

Infrequently used or stored batteries are also prone to sulfating if not kept fully charged between uses. A battery loses approximately 1 percent of its charge per day (up to 2 percent in hotter climates) due to self-discharge. If self-discharge is not compensated for, a stored battery can become sulfated and will eventually be ruined.

The second most common cause of battery failure is overcharging. Many chargers on the market will damage your battery if left attached for extended periods by “boiling” the water out of the electrolyte solution. Eventually, water loss will destroy a battery. Checking the electrolyte level in a battery and adding distilled water when necessary is extremely important, especially when using fast chargers or many of the trickle chargers on the market.

Buy a small trickle charger and leave it on full time or hook up a small solar cell to keep the battery topped up when not in use.

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