Wednesday, June 2, 2010

need to know Battery terminology

Ever felt confused when purchasing a new battery and the dealer is throwing out words like Flooded battery, AGM, Hydrometer, and CCA? Jargon specific to batteries that a lot of people are just not familiar with....

Well let us simplify those terms for you so you can blend in with the pro's or rather not feel so confused and bamboozled.


AGM- also know as Absorbed (absorptive) Glass Mat. Technique for seal lead-acid batteries. Electrolyte is absorbed in a matrix of glass fiber, which holds the electrolyte next to the plate and immobilize it, preventing spills. AGM batteries tend to have good power, low internal resistance, good behavior during charging.

Amp, Ampere- unit of electrical current

Amp Hour- unit of electrical energy, one amp of current flowing for one hour. (AH)

Cell- A single battery canister usually grouped together with other cells to form battery packs of different voltages and amperage.

CCA- refers to the number of amperes a battery can support for 30 seconds at a temperature of 0°F until the battery voltage drops to 1.20 volts per cell, or 7.20 volts for a 12V battery. Thus, a 12V battery that carries a rating of 600 CCA tells us that the battery will provide 600 amperes for 30 seconds at 0°F before the voltage falls to 7.20V

Electrolyte- conductive medium in which current flow is due to the movement of ions. In a lead acid battery, the electrolyte is a solution of sulfuric acid.

Flooded cell- the electrolyte is an ordinary liquid solution of acid. Flooded cells are probe to making gas while being charged. They must be periodically checked for fluid level and water added as necessary. Flooded cells are also typically less expensive than agm or gel type.

Gel battery- contain acid that has been "gelled" by the addition of Silica Gel, turning the acid into a solid mass that looks like gelatin. The advantage of these batteries is that it is impossible to spill acid even if they are broken.

Hydrometer- tool for testing the specif gravity of a fluid, such as the electrolyte in a flooded battery.

RC-The reserve capacity of a battery is defined as the number of minutes that it can support a 25 ampere load at 80°F until its terminal voltage drops to 1.75 volts per cell or 10.50 volts for a 12V battery. Thus a 12V battery that has a reserve capacity rating of 100 signifies that it can be discharged at 25 amps for 100 minutes at 80°F before its voltage drops to 10.75 volts.

Sulfation- even though lead sulfate is created in material of plates during normal discharging, this term is used to describe the generation of a different from (large crystals) of lead sulfate which will not readily convert back to normal material when battery is charged. Sulfation occurs when a battery is stored to long in a discharged condition. If it is never fully charged, or if electrolyte has become abnormally low due to excessive water loss from overcharging and or evaporation.

Volt- the unit of measurement of electrical potential or pressure. Most batteries com in 6, 12, 24.

Watt-the unit for measuring electrical power, i.e., the rate of doing work, in moving electrons by, or against, an electrical potential. Formula: Watts = Amperes x Volts.

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