Supplying batteries since 1952

An A – Z of Batteries – T, U and V

Written on September 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

Our A-Z of all things battery may be fast approaching its end, but we’ve still got plenty of interesting snippets of information to share in what we hope you will agree has been a fascinating exploration of facts, figures and fascinating insights into the automotive battery and its rich history.

 

T is for Tudor

Henri Tudor CollegeValery Shanin / Shutterstock.com

Henri Owen Tudor was a Luxembourgish engineer, inventor, and industrialist who is best known for developing the first practical lead-acid battery in 1886, following on from the groundbreaking theoretical work of French physicist Gaston Planté.  Henri Tudor established one of the first ever battery factories in Rosport for the purposes of manufacturing the predecessor to today’s automotive batteries. However, the cost of manufacturing the product in Luxembourg, which had no lead industry and little domestic demand of its own, forced Tudor to expand manufacturing overseas, particularly in Belgium, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Tudor died of lead poisoning in 1928, at the age of 68. At the time of his death, 25,000 people worked in the manufacture of Tudor batteries.

In 1987, CRP Henri Tudor (the Henri Tudor Public Research Centre) was founded in Luxembourg, and named in honor of Henri Owen Tudor and his devotion to research and innovation. In May 2009, the Tudor Museum with exhibits relating to his development of the lead-acid accumulator, opened in Rosport Castle where Tudor lived.

 

U is for U B Thomas

Bell Labs

U B Thomas was a scientist at the world-renowned Bell Laboratories, founded by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880. As the telecommunications network that Bell had facilitated through the invention of the telephone went into a phase of rapid expansion and development, the leading American provider AT&T quickly realised the importance of having a stable and reliable power system to support the network and its unique demands. U B Thomas realised that the lead acid technology used for today’s car batteries would be the ideal solution, but quickly realised that improvements could be made to improve the battery lifespan. His work in this field contributed significantly to the modern lead acid battery used in automotives and other applications today.

 

V is for VRLA

Lucas VRLA Battery

A VRLA battery (valve-regulated lead-acid battery), more commonly known as a sealed lead-acid (SLA), gel cell, or maintenance free battery, is a type of lead-acid rechargeable battery. Due to their construction, the Gel and AGM types of VRLA do not contain high levels of liquid compared with the standard counterparts, and consequently can be mounted in any orientation, and do not require constant maintenance. It should be noted, however, that the commonly used term “maintenance free” is a misnomer as VRLA batteries still require cleaning and regular functional testing. They are widely used in large portable electrical devices, off-grid power systems and similar roles, where large amounts of storage are needed at a lower cost than other low-maintenance technologies like lithium-ion.

There are three primary types of VRLA batteries, Sealed VR wet cell, AGM and Gel. Gel cells add silica dust to the electrolyte, forming a thick putty-like gel. These are sometimes referred to as “silicone batteries”. AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries feature fiberglass mesh between the battery plates which serves to contain the electrolyte. Both designs offer advantages and disadvantages compared to conventional batteries and sealed VR wet cells, as well as each other.

 

Manbat are one of the UK’s largest and most experienced distributors of automotive batteries. With over half a century in the market, we are proud to offer our customers and almost unparalleled level of knowledge – as well as an exceptional standard of customer service. For all your automotive battery enquiries, contact us online or call us now on 01743 218500.

An A – Z of Batteries – Q, R and S

Written on August 25, 2016 at 9:10 am

In this article we continue our A -Z of all things battery with the letters Q, R and S, taking a look at quiescent voltage, reverse charging and sulphuric acid as we continue to explain everything you ever needed to know about the automotive battery.

 

Q is for Quiescent Voltage

Quiescent Voltage

The quiescent voltage is the theoretical open circuit voltage of a cell in a 12v battery at full charge. As a 12V vehicle battery is generally comprised of 6 cells, the value per cell if fully charged will be 2.10V, which multiplied by six gives the total voltage of the battery. If a battery is not fully charged, the quiescent voltage will fall, making it harder for the battery to deliver the voltage needed to start the engine. Generally speaking, reading the voltage of a single cell will be a good indicator of the overall battery health. A fully working battery in a correctly functioning system will charge during vehicle use in order to maintain the correct level of power.

 

R is for Reverse Charging

Reverse Charging

Apart from their ability to deliver the high level of surge power needed to start an engine, one of the key reasons that lead acid batteries have become such a vital component of the modern automotive vehicles is the possibility to recharge them during the normal operation of the vehicle, in a process known as reverse charging. As a general definition, reverse charging is the process by which an electrical battery can be charged, discharged into a load, and recharged many times. It is this process that has led to the lead acid battery frequently being referred to as an “accumulator”, as it accumulates and stores energy through a reversible electrochemical reaction.

As long as the battery is properly looked after, this process will be able to occur for a large number of cycles, hence the long life of a typical car battery. If the battery is not properly looked after or is too old, however, the conditions inside will deteriorate and eventually prevent reverse charging from being effective. As a rule, it is generally recommended to replace a car battery after about five years of standard use in normal conditions.

 

S is for Sulphuric Acid

Sulphuric Acid

Sulphuric acid, the liquid substance frequently referred to as battery acid, is the key to how an automotive battery works. A car battery consists of a number of cells, each of which houses two electrode plates – one negative (lead), one positive (lead dioxide) – suspended in a solution of sulphuric acid (PbSO4). The discharge process is driven by the conduction of electrons from the negative plate back into the cell at the positive plate in the external circuit, and the charging process by the reverse. At full discharge, the electrolyte loses much of its dissolved sulfuric acid and becomes primarily water.

Whatever the vehicle, buying the correct battery and maintaining it properly will guarantee that it lasts as long as possible. At Manbat, we stock a vast range of vehicle batteries for cars, motorcycles and LCV’s , as well as industrial and marine applications. With twelve branches nationwide stocking a full stock of Varta, Numax and Lucas batteries to cover almost every vehicle part number available, you can be sure we have the battery you need, when you need it. To find out more, fill in our online contact form or give us a call on 01743 218500.

An A – Z of Batteries – N, O, P

Written on July 25, 2016 at 11:16 am

In this installment of our A – Z of all things battery, we look at two the brands available in our extensive range, as well as the man who invented the car battery as we know it today.

 

N is for Numax

Manbat introduced its Numax brand in 2002. Since then, the brand has become a significant and respected player within the automotive sector. It has also established itself as the UK’s premier range of leisure and marine batteries.

As well as offering part numbers which cover 98% of standard petrol, diesel and LPG powered cars and light commercial vehicles, the Numax battery range also includes a classic car range, designed specifically for use on vintage and classic vehicles. These include encapsulated hard rubber casing and retro aesthetics, whilst preserving the performance and reliability that Numax batteries have come to represent.

Numax batteries are also available for Commercial / HGV / Heavy Plant / PSV and Agricultural applications. Features of this range include increased capacity for higher cold start performance, reinforced handles and locked plates for extra resistance to vibration

Over the last couple of years we have extended the Numax family with innovative products that tie into the stored energy marketplace which give people the choice of buying top Quality products that are built to the highest standard, at a very reasonable price.

Numax Battery Range

 

O is for Optima

Manbat is proud to be a key distributor for Optima Batteries, a brand whose batteries were first used in 1969 for the US space programme to power the Lunar Rover. Their wound cell technology  was bought by Gates Rubber in 1972, and in 1983 the firm began to develop it for automotive applications.

The Gylling Group of Scandinavia bought OPTIMA® in 1994, opening a factory a year later in Colorado. In 2000 OPTIMA® was acquired by Johnson Controls. In 2007 JCI laid the foundation stone for a new production site in Monterrey, Mexico, enabling it to keep pace with global demand.

Unlike typical batteries which consist of two electrode plates, wound batteries use a spiral-wound cell with thin lead foil electrodes. They are noted for their exceptionally high rate output and long life – some of them lasting up to 10 years. Wound batteries have proved particularly suitable in the aircraft and military sectors, where they have been used in a variety of aircraft including the Harrier and F16.

Today, OPTIMA® batteries are repeatedly proving their importance in a variety of applications which includes car racing, off-road and 4×4 vehicles, marine sport, leisure vehicles, military generators, cleaning equipment, emergency vehicles, construction vehicles, agricultural machinery, mobile generators, uninterrupted power supply, electrical vehicles, and many more.

Optima Batteries

 

P is for Planté

Gaston PlantéGaston Planté (22 April 1834 – 21 May 1889) was a French physicist who invented the lead–acid battery in 1859. The lead-acid battery eventually became the first rechargeable electric battery marketed for commercial use and is today most widely used in the automotive market.

His early model consisted of a spiral roll of two sheets of pure lead separated by a linen cloth, immersed in a glass jar of sulfuric acid solution.The following year, he presented a nine-cell lead-acid battery to the Academy of Sciences. In 1881, a fellow scientist Camille Alphonse Faure went on to develop a more efficient and reliable model that saw great success in early electric cars.

 

For one of the UK’s most extensive range of lead-acid batteries, take a look at our brands and products pages. If you need advice on batteries for a specific purpose, get in touch online or by calling us on 01743 218500 and our experts will be happy to help.

Searching for a car/motorcycle or LCV battery? Try our powerful Battery Finder, the simplest way to find the optimum replacement battery.

Your Car Battery: 5 Summer Maintenance Tips

Written on July 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Did you know that the summer heat can be worse for your car battery than the cold of winter?

All car batteries need to be replaced at one time or another and the two main contributory factors for this needing to be done sooner rather than later are excessive heat and overcharging. Whilst the higher temperatures help to increase the battery capacity and make it easier to turn over the engine, the high temperatures of summer can in fact be worse for your battery, decreasing the degradation rate almost up to 33% more than the minus figures of winter! We run through some top tips to help you maintain your car battery through the warmer months.

Get to know your battery

Whilst generic information is available for the upkeep of car batteries, it is worth knowing a bit more about the specific battery you have. Have a read through the manual to understand the correct procedures for cleaning and maintenance to ensure you can keep on top of it and regularly service the battery as required.

car in sun

Keep it cool

As temperatures rise, where possible, keep your car parked in a shaded area. The heat speeds up the chemical reactions in the battery and those with older batteries run the risk of being stranded by premature failure of the battery.

Turn off electronics

Electronics are the main source of parasitic loads (small currents of energy the battery needs to continuously deliver). Electrical items such as air conditioning, electric windows and stereo systems all have heavy electrical loads. Before you leave your car, ensure all electrical appliances are off to give your battery more time to discharge.

Check water levels

If you have removable filler caps on your battery, open them to check the water level in each cell. To avoid sulfation, the plates inside should be covered by fluid. If the fluid is low, use distilled water to top up the levels, do not use tap water. Whilst plates should be covered, be sure not to overfill as the heat can cause the solution inside to expand and overflow.

Water in car battery

Regularly inspect and clean

To ensure your car battery is kept clean, detach the cables and wipe the terminals. Your battery should also be strapped down tightly and all connections need to be secure. By regularly checking your battery, you can help prevent further damage occurring. If you suspect your car battery may be damaged, report it your garage as soon as possible.

At Manbat, one of the country’s largest supplier of automobile batteries, we know batteries and supply a full, top quality range. For more information, contact us online or call us on or give us a 01743 218500. More information about our Manbat branches can be found here.

Numax; The Leading Leisure Battery Brand

Written on June 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm

NUMAX LEISURE RANGE

The Leading leisure battery brand

Knowing how hard choosing the right leisure battery can be, Manbat Ltd have found the solution with their well-known Numax batteries and have come up with a new range of high quality, yet affordable leisure batteries.

The new range offers batteries of three categories from the very best A class range to the more affordable C class battery, all following the NCC’s leisure battery scheme to make sure you the customer is put first. Along with the prestigious NCC approval, Numax is a trusted brand offering durability and reliability for all conditions.

The first product in Numax’s brand new range is the C class, LV range. This comes in three sizes all 12V, only varying in Ah. The LV22MF offering 75Ah and the LV30MF offering 100Ah are already existing Numax leisure products. However, they have received a makeover providing you with even more quality and higher performance levels to improve the product yet at the same prices, in addition, to this the LV range offers the all new LV26MF. All of which are C rated by the NCC and are both sealed and maintenance free.LV22MF-Low-Res

If you are a customer who requires a higher cyclic capacity in your battery, Numax’s DC range provides you with the ideal solution. Starting with the NCC class C DC24MF battery, the DC range also offers three different batteries all B classed by the NCC showing a step up in quality of the products. Both the 25MF and the 27MF provide you with 90Ah, but the 25MF is the only battery in the range with an EN rating showing its compatibility and high quality to fit in with European standards. The final battery in the DC range is the DC31MF which offers 105Ah for those requiring more power.DC24MF-low-res

At the peak of Numax’s new leisure range is the XD range, consisting of the XDC extra cyclic batteries and the XDT super cyclic XDT30MF. The XD range consists of dual purpose batteries which provide you with the highest quality battery for your caravan or motorhome.

In the XDC range Numax’s extra cyclic batteries offer exceptional cyclic capabilities. The XDC24MF offering 80Ah is renowned for its high performance and is regarded to be the best battery in its size category despite the fact it is only able to gain a C class NCC rating due to casing constraints. Along with this the XDC range also consists of the XDC27MF (95Ah) and the XDC31MF (105Ah) both with the potential to achieve a category A NCC rating.

XDC27MF-Low-Res

The final battery in Numax’s all new leisure range is the XDT30MF which is a class A rating, consisting of 115Ah it is the perfect battery for more difficult environmental conditions. The 30MF also brags its ability to achieve over 1,000 cycles; it also carries tubular plate technology making it more robust. Finally the XDT30MF has both an enhanced life expectancy and enhanced performance in order to gain a lower depth of discharge, making it an extremely high quality, reliable battery.XDT30MF-Low-Res

With Numax’s new range it has never been easier to choose a leisure battery that’s the right choice for you. Manbat Ltd are proud of their product and assure that it will provide quality, reliability and performance making Numax the right leisure battery for you.

More about our Leisure Range

 

 

 

An A -Z of Batteries: J – M

Written on June 10, 2016 at 10:41 am

In this edition of our ongoing A -Z of all things battery, we continue with the letter J.

 

J is for Jump Start

In a perfect world, you’ll never have to encounter the inconvenience of a completely flat battery. Looking after your battery properly will go a long way towards preventing this frustrating situation, but now and again jump starting is the only option to get a vehicle started. Even with a relatively new and healthy battery, leaving electronics such as the lights or radio on for a prolonged period will soon consume enough power that there is insufficient remaining to start the engine.

There are two common ways to jumpstart a vehicle. Firstly, cables can be used to draw power from another vehicle. Alternatively, a portable machine can be used to jump start or boost a battery. This is a much safer and controlled approach.

The Noco Genius Boost GB40 is a powerful and versatile piece of equipment that can safely jump start a dead battery in seconds. It is suitable not just for cars, but also for boats, motorcycles, motorhomes, snowmobiles and commercial vehicles – you name it, it starts it! The ultra-safe, ultra-compact, rugged, and portable lithium-ion jump starter features spark proof technology and reverse polarity protection.

The Noco GB40 is able to instantly jump start most single-battery applications up to 20 times on a single charge. Rated to 7000 Joules, it is ideal for a wide range of vehicles including trucks and engines up to 6.0L Gas and 3.0L Diesel.

J is for Jump Start

 

L is for Lead Acid

The traditional car battery is known as a Lead Acid battery. Invented by French physicist Gaston Planté in 1859, it is the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Relatively inexpensive, lead acid batteries are favoured for use in cars and other internal combustion vehicles because they are able to deliver a high ‘surge power’ – the initial energy required to get the engine started. The name of the lead acid battery comes from its internal structure – it is basically comprised of cells with two metal plates made from lead, which are separated by an electrolyte reservoir of sulphuric acid.

Modern improvements have resulted in more stable batteries which are less prone to leakage and therefore safer. These include gel batteries, which as the name suggests, contain the electrolyte in the form of a gel rather than a liquid and Absorbed Glass Matt (AGM) which uses a glass fibre matt soaked in electrolyte. This structure means that the battery is prevented from leaking if punctured. AGM technology also results in a generally more stable battery that performs better after storage and in cold conditions, amongst others.

L is for Lead Acid

 

M is for… Manbat

It would be hard to compile an A – Z of all things battery without featuring Manbat. After all, we are one of the UK’s leading automobile battery suppliers with a proud history that spans more than half a century. The origins of the present day name Manbat date back to 1952, when founder Harry Pemberton began the Manchester Batteries company in Abergele, North Wales. The company remained under the ownership and direction of the Pemberton family until then Managing Director Roger Pemberton retired in 2009. The company then started a new and exciting era within the Eco-Bat Technologies Group with Steve Sheppard at the helm.

M is for Manbat

 

Since then, the company has continually expanded, including the acquisition of established brands Powercell and Battery Power Systems Ltd. The Manbat company is now headquartered in a 3000 m2 site in Shrewsbury, which also forms the main distribution centre. Together with our regional service centres, we can now get the battery you need to any location on the UK by the next day.

To find your regional distribution centre, visit our branches page. If you would like to contact a member of the team, use our online contact form or call us on 01743 218511 and we will be happy to help.

An A-Z of Batteries – G, H and I

Written on May 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

In this article,we continue our A-Z of all things battery (and get a little scientific along the way).

 

G is for Galvanic Cell

The key to how a car battery produces energy is down to a scientific invention known as the Galvanic Cell, named after prominent Italian scientist Luigi Aloisio Galvani. It is also sometimes referred to as the Voltaic Cell, after another Italian scientist – Allesandro Volta, who is widely credited as the inventor of the electric battery. Both scientists were fascinated by the concept of electricity – so much so that they frequently disagreed. Whilst they both made significant discoveries, it is probably more true to say that it was actually Volta who really invented the battery as we know it today.

Whilst most people refer to a single cell as a battery, by true definition a battery should always consist of multiple cells – just like in the automotive battery today.

In its simplest form, a Galvanic or Voltaic cell works on the principle that if contact is made between two different metals using a conductive material, energy is exchanged. The process is made more effective by submerging the two metals – known as the electrodes – in a highly conductive electrolyte solution. When electrode A has more negativity than electrode B, electrons are attracted to electrode B – creating a unidirectional electrical current.

Want to learn more? Click here to see a full description of the process on Wikipedia.

 

Galvanic Cell

 

 

H is for Hydrometer

Have you ever had to diagnose automotive battery problems? Did you know that a battery hydrometer is actually widely considered to be the most effective way to determine whether a battery is fully charged?
So what is a battery hydrometer and how does it work? A hydrometer is an instrument that measures the specific gravity or relative density of a liquid. In English, that is the ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water.

The state of charge of a lead-acid battery can be estimated from the density of the sulfuric acid solution used as electrolyte. A hydrometer calibrated to read specific gravity relative to water at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5°C) is a standard tool for servicing automobile batteries. Tables are used to correct the reading to the standard temperature.

Random fact – the exact same principle can also be used to measure the quality of antifreeze solution.

 

Hydrometer

 

 

I is for Ignition

Modern cars have more and more electronics, making battery reliability more important than ever. In addition, some cars also use a reserve battery as an additional power source for driving. The main purpose of a car battery, however, has not really changed for many years – to provide the power required to ignite the engine.

Whilst most automobiles require a single 12 volt battery for ignition, heavier industrial vehicles may need multiple batteries that are set up to provide a combined voltage of 24 volts.

There are two key measurements that reflect a battery’s suitability for a given vehicle – Ampere Hours (A-h) and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). Amp hours refers to the amount of energy that can be stored by the battery and is a legal requirement in Europe. Cold Cranking Amps refers to the amount of current a battery can provide at 0 °C. Whilst this was an important consideration in older cars, modern fuel-injected cars tend to start within seconds, meaning that it is much less relevant today.

At Manbat, we are experts in automotive batteries. We supply and distribute top quality Varta, Lucas and Numax batteries across the entire UK. In addition, we are able to provide a wealth of resource for professionals in the automotive sector. To learn more or find your nearest distribution centre, contact us now.

Looking for a specific battery? Try the Manbat Battery Finder to get the best battery for any vehicle, along with technical specifications, fitting instructions, MSDS and more. Search instantly by registration mark, VIN or make/model.

The Manbat Battery Finder – The Best Way to Find the Right Battery

Written on April 18, 2016 at 10:26 am

Whilst this winter’s storms may have played havoc on the roads, thanks to the mild temperatures many motorists have been spared the usual battery problems associated with the season.

However, even batteries that have kept going throughout the winter months may still be due for replacement. Every car battery has an optimum lifespan, and this can be reduced by all manner of factors.

Choosing the optimum battery to begin with will ensure that the best possible performance is provided by this essential component. Now, with the new Manbat Battery Finder, finding the right battery for any car, motorcycle or LCV just got a whole lot easier.

 

manbat battery finder

 

What is it?

The Manbat Battery Finder is a powerful lookup tool that allows you to search for the best battery for almost any vehicle using either the registration number, VIN or make and model details. Based on the vehicle details you have provided, the Battery Finder will show you a selection of the best possible batteries from our range of top manufacturers – Varta, Lucas and Numax.
The lookup caters not only for cars, vans and motorcycles using traditional batteries, but also has a constantly updated database for newer vehicles with start-stop technology.

Whatever the vehicle, you are sure to find the best battery quickly and easily.

 

How does it work?

 

Registration Number Lookup
If you have the registration number handy, all you need to do is type it in the box and our powerful database will find a selection of the best batteries for you. Click on any of the results and you will be able to access all the essential information including 20hr capacity, starting Power (CCA) and estimated fitment time.

Scroll down the page, and you will find a full technical information sheet which can be printed for your convenience. In addition, there is also a downloadable Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available for every battery.

With access to one of the UK’s largest and most up to date vehicle databases, our results are as comprehensive and accurate as possible.

 

VIN/Chassis Number Lookup
If you don’t have access to the registration number for the vehicle, then you can use the VIN/Chassis Number lookup. Just under the main box, you will find an option to switch to this search. Simply enter the relevant number and hit search, and you will get the results just as with the registration lookup.

 

Make/Model Lookup
Alongside the previously described lookups, you can also search for a battery with our powerful Make/Model Lookup. To begin, click on ‘By Make/Model’ below the main field. A new view will then open that allows you to input the vehicle type and details of make and model. The intelligent system is programmed to limit each result to those that are relevant for the given make or model, so that a minimum of effort is required to complete the details.

 

Why Manbat?

Manbat is one of the UK’s largest battery distributors with branches nationwide. We specialise in offering the very best vehicle batteries from our suppliers including top manufacturers such as Varta, Lucas and Numax. We pride ourselves in providing ‘Expert Local Service on a Truly National Basis’. To find out more or contact a member of the team now, contact us online or give us a call on 01743 218500.
For a full list of regional distribution centres, click here.

Car Battery Essentials – D, E and F

Written on March 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

In this article, we continue our A-Z of car batteries with a look at the next three letters of the alphabet.

 

D is for Direct Current

A car battery, unlike a household power supply, provides direct current or DC. This means that whilst household electricity known as alternating current (AC) provides electric in the form of a wave, the power output from a car battery appears much closer to a straight line.

Essentially, in a direct current power source, the electrons flow in a single direction.

As well as producing direct current, a car battery requires direct current to charge, which is why all AC power is instantly transformed to DC when a battery is a main part of a system, as occurs in an automotive application, such as motorcycles, cars and trucks. The alternator (also known as dynamo) present in vehicles generates AC current which is instantly transformed to DC through a device called a “rectifier”, because a battery is present and most electronics need DC voltage to operate.

Domestic and commercial battery chargers, as well as quick start devices are typically supplied by AC power and feature circuitry to convert this to DC.

 

Direct Current

Image source: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.switched.com/media/2010/09/acdc2.jpg

 

 

E is for Electrolyte

An electrolyte is defined as a substance that produces an electrically conducting solution when dissolved in a polar solvent, such as water. In an automotive battery, the electrolyte is essential to how it works.

In a traditional lead acid battery, each cell contains two plates – one made of lead and the other made of lead dioxide. These plates are immersed in a strong sulphuric acid electrolyte solution. When the battery is in use, lead combines with SO4 (sulfate) to create PbSO4 (lead sulfate), plus one electron.

Lead dioxide, hydrogen ions and SO4 ions, plus electrons from the lead plate, create PbSO4 and water on the lead dioxide plate.

As the battery discharges, both plates build up PbSO4 and water builds up in the acid. The characteristic voltage is about 2 volts per cell, so by combining six cells you get a 12-volt battery.

With a traditional car battery, it is important to try to maintain a charge of at least 50% in order to prevent excessive formation of water, which will cause the battery to stop charging and eventually fail.

Modern VRLA batteries such as Gel and Agm batteries are slightly different, as the electrolyte is not stored in a liquid form but in the form of a thick gel (Gel) or contained within a fibreglass mesh (AGM). This makes them less vulnerable to leakage and therefore generally safer, as well as reducing the risk of failure in cold conditions as they do not tend to produce water buildup to the same extent as a traditional lead acid battery.

AGM batteries are also more electrically reliable, making them the favourable choice for many modern cars which feature lots of on board electronics.

 

car battery

 

F is for Failure

There are several reasons why a car battery can fail. However, with a quality battery and the right level of care and maintenance, the good news is that the majority of failures can be avoided. So what are common causes of battery failure?

Excessive Discharge
As mentioned in the previous section, it is important to maintain a charge level of at least 50% in a traditional battery. This ensures that the electrolyte solution does not undergo a complete transformation that leaves the battery with a high volume of water and no ability to transfer current between the terminals. This water build up can also cause problems in low temperatures as it can freeze.
To help avoid excessive discharge, turn off all nonessential electrical features when starting the car and ensure they are off when the vehicle is not running.

Damage
Because a traditional lead acid battery contains the electrolyte in a liquid form, damage to the housing can cause leakage. Not only can this be harmful to both humans and the wider environment, over time it will leave your battery without the essential fluid it needs in order to function and once the electrolyte has fallen to a certain level it will stop working.

Self Discharge
If a battery is unused for a significant period of time, separation will occur inside, making the battery much less likely to transfer current between the terminals when you try to start it again. Also, a gathering of substances in the bottom of the battery can actually cause the terminals to short out, discharging any energy that may remain.

At Manbat, we are experts in automotive batteries. To learn more about the technical specifications of our products along with a wealth of battery related information, visit the technical section of our website. Be sure to also stay up to date with our latest news, where we frequently publish interesting and informative battery related articles.

Manbat – An A-Z of all things battery

Written on February 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Just as with any other industry specialist, with what we do here at Manbat comes our own very special language. For many suppliers, distributors and fitters the terms we use to talk about batteries are highly familiar. Others, however, may not be quite as knowledgeable. For example, do you know you’re electrodes from your electrolytes? Can you explain what cold cranking amps are?

We’ve put together an A-Z of all things battery to help you know your battery essentials and learn a fact or two along the way.

In this edition, we look at A, B and C.

 

A is for AGM

The term AGM means Absorbed Glass Mat. Unlike with traditional batteries which contain reservoirs of acid, AGM batteries contain glass fibre mat soaked in electrolyte as a replacement to the typical spacer between cells. The amount of electrolyte is just sufficient to keep the mat wet. Because there is no excess liquid, the electrolyte will not escape even if the battery is split or punctured.

The glass mat is also designed to prevent evaporation, meaning that AGM batteries do not need topping up. As a result, the batteries can be completely sealed, making them ideal for use in portable applications.

During the discharge of an AGM battery, Hydrogen gas is formed. In order to prevent this from building up and causing problems, Calcium  – which absorbs the gas – is typically added to the plates. It is important to remember that AGM batteries are optimised for slow discharge.

Another advantage of AGM batteries is that the vertical movement of electrolyteis prevented by the mats. In a traditional lead acid battery, the heavier acid molecules had a tendency to sink to the bottom if the battery was stored, eventually causing damage. This effect, known as stratification, also caused the acid to separate and a layer of water to be formed, which could cause batteries to freeze in cold conditions. The AGM design eliminates such problems, making them less likely to fail in cold conditions.

 

AGM Batteries

Image source http://articles.sae.org/10667/

 

B is for Battery

Whether it’s for a car, a watch or even a toy, there are few people who do not know what a battery is and what it looks like. Admittedly, each of the above examples are very different in appearance, but ultimately they all have the same purpose and function in a similar way. But have you ever thought about just what a battery actually is? Let’s have a look.

In a dictionary, the most basic definition of a battery is:

“A container consisting of one or more cells, in which chemical energy is converted into electricity and used as a source of power.”

Each cell within a battery has a positive terminal known as a cathode and a negative terminal called the anode. The terminal marked positive is at a higher electrical potential energy than the terminal marked negative.

When the battery is connected to an external circuit, electrons flow from the negative terminal and deliver energy to an external device. During this process, electrolytes are able to move as ions within, allowing the chemical reactions to be completed at the separate terminals and so deliver energy to the external circuit.

It is the movement of those ions within the battery which allows current to flow out of the battery to perform work. Although the term battery technically means a device with multiple cells, single cells are also popularly called batteries.

 

car battery

C is for Cold Cranking Amps

Cold cranking amperes (CCA) refers to the amount of current a battery can provide at 0 °F (−18 °C). The rating is defined as the current a lead-acid battery at that temperature can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell – that is, 7.2 volts for a 12-volt battery.

It is a relatively demanding test and is the most widely used cranking measurement for comparison purposes.

Measuring cold cranking amps gives a good idea of what can be expected from a battery in some of the worst conditions possible for starting a vehicle. It should be noted, however, that whilst there are instances where someone may need to start a vehicle in temperatures colder than 0°F or crank an engine for longer than 30 seconds, these are generally exceptions and not representative of typical usage. Regardless, the CCA rating for a battery is still an important performance indicator that offers a general idea of how a battery is designed to perform in the most demanding of conditions.
At Manbat, we are experts in automotive batteries. To learn more about the technical specifications of our products along with a wealth of battery related information, visit the technical section of our website. Be sure to also stay up to date with our latest news, where we frequently publish interesting and informative battery related articles.


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