Batteries - How Do You Know You'll Have the Juice When You Need It?

Written by Brendon Turner

Modern vehicles make a lot of demands upon their batteries. We expect our batteries to be reliable, have a large reserve capacity and a long life span, and be maintenance-free. In short, once a battery has been installed, we no longer want to think about it. Here's some tips on how to choose a battery that will serve you well.

For automotive applications, there are basically three types of batteries: conventional, maintenance-free, and recombination.

Conventional Batteries

A 12-volt automotive battery contains six cells. In each cell is a series of alternating positive and negative plates, between which are isolator or separator plates to keep them apart. Allrepparttar negative plates inrepparttar 146127 battery are connected, as are allrepparttar 146128 positive plates. Each plate has a grid construction, and to this grid,repparttar 146129 plate's active material - sponge lead - is bonded. The plates in each. cell are covered with a solution of distilled water and sulfuric acid (electrolyte). Asrepparttar 146130 battery discharges (supplies electricity),repparttar 146131 acid inrepparttar 146132 electrolyte reacts withrepparttar 146133 active material inrepparttar 146134 battery plates, forming lead sulfate and weakeningrepparttar 146135 electrolyte solution. Conversely, asrepparttar 146136 battery is charged,repparttar 146137 acid is returned torepparttar 146138 solution, thereby strengthening it, andrepparttar 146139 used portion ofrepparttar 146140 lead sulfate is converted back into active material inrepparttar 146141 plates. During this process, hydrogen and oxygen molecules are off-gassed out ofrepparttar 146142 electrolyte, which is why a conventional battery often needs topping up with distilled water. The charge and discharge cycle also means that some lead sloughs offrepparttar 146143 plates. Over time, this builds up inrepparttar 146144 bottom ofrepparttar 146145 case, reducingrepparttar 146146 overall capacity ofrepparttar 146147 battery fluid. When enough material builds up,repparttar 146148 plates will short out, and you're stuck with a dead battery.

Maintenance-Free Batteries

Closed (maintenance-free) batteries are essentiallyrepparttar 146149 same as conventional batteries, except that they contain extra electrolytes inrepparttar 146150 partially sealed case. However, over time, this excess fluid is used up as fluid slowly off-gases hydrogen and oxygen molecules throughrepparttar 146151 vents. Because these batteries cannot usually be topped off, oncerepparttar 146152 plates begin to be exposed,repparttar 146153 battery's life span is over. Usually, this takes a long period of time, which is why these batteries often last longer than conventional batteries. However, in situations where frequent, rapid charge/discharge occurs (such as when running a winch or powerful spotlight without runningrepparttar 146154 engine), a maintenance-free battery may not outlast a conventional one.

Another type of maintenance-free battery isrepparttar 146155 gel-type battery While these batteries cannot leak or spill fluid and can be installed at odd angles, they do have a weakness. Using electrolyte gel necessitatesrepparttar 146156 use of thinner plates so that adequate dispersion ofrepparttar 146157 acid throughrepparttar 146158 active material occurs. Since gel batteries are also sealed, they cannot be topped off and care must be taken when charging so they don't overcharge and gas-off, which will result in excessive sloughing ofrepparttar 146159 plates, premature reduction in electrolytes, and eventual battery failure. This means that duringrepparttar 146160 harsh vibrations associated with trail riding, a marginal gel battery can fail completely asrepparttar 146161 plates literally fall apart.

Recombination Batteries

The recombination battery is overallrepparttar 146162 best battery for off-road and heavy-duty use. They're called recombination because they recombinerepparttar 146163 gas formed during charging, channeling it intorepparttar 146164 separators so it doesn't vent out ofrepparttar 146165 battery and reclaimingrepparttar 146166 water to keep electrolyte concentration at optimum. They are completely sealed (except for a reseating pressure-relief vent) and require no topping off of fluids. Recombination batteries can use either liquid or gel-type electrolytes and are different from other batteries becauserepparttar 146167 acid is bound intorepparttar 146168 separators and pure lead can be used inrepparttar 146169 plates. Because ofrepparttar 146170 purity ofrepparttar 146171 materials used, there is no sloughing andrepparttar 146172 plates in these batteries can be very tightly packed. The result is a powerful, compact battery with quicker charging time, lower internal resistance than conventional or maintenance-free batteries, and a longer life span. In fact, for a conventional battery to deliverrepparttar 146173 same amount of starting power as a recombination battery, it would have to be two or three times larger. Because they contain no liquid as such, recombination batteries can be mounted in any position, will work whenrepparttar 146174 case is damaged, and won't leak in a rollover. In short, for off-road use, they are just aboutrepparttar 146175 perfect battery.

How Batteries Are Rated

Battery ratings are a determination of how much power a battery can produce under marginal conditions. There are a number of ways to determine a battery's output, but ratings by ampere hour (Ah), cold-cranking amperes (CCA), and reserve capacity arerepparttar 146176 most common.

Ampere hours are determined byrepparttar 146177 SAE 20 test. This test is designed to showrepparttar 146178 amount of current that can be drawn from a battery for 20 hours withoutrepparttar 146179 voltage dropping below 1.75 volts per cell. In real-world terms, this means that a healthy battery should be capable of keepingrepparttar 146180 parking lights lit for 20 hours. For starting your truck, Ah doesn't mean much. However, for powering accessories withoutrepparttar 146181 engine running, this can be an important measurement.

The Magnificent Seven - Quick Tips for Cheaper Car Insurance

Written by Jason Hulott

Gettingrepparttar best deal on your car insurance does not mean that you have to forgorepparttar 146091 security of being covered by a well-known insurer. There are many ways of tailoringrepparttar 146092 policy and considerations you need to make to providerepparttar 146093 cover you need at a lower cost.

1 Excess All policies have an ‘excess’ – that isrepparttar 146094 amount you will have to fork out if you make a claim on your car insurance. It can range from £50 upwards. However, choose to pay an additional excess on top ofrepparttar 146095 compulsory excess and you’ll pay a lower premium.

2 Residence If your car is garaged overnight or on your driveway, you’ll pay a lower premium than if it was left inrepparttar 146096 street.

And those who live inrepparttar 146097 country will pay less than someone living in an inner-city.

3 Grouping While you may be able to pick up a second hand Porsche at a bargain price, you’ll more than make up it forrepparttar 146098 cost of insurance. Check outrepparttar 146099 group -repparttar 146100 lowerrepparttar 146101 group number,repparttar 146102 lowerrepparttar 146103 premium.

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