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Battery Maintenance

The maintenance of your deep cycle batteries always falls on the responsibility of the owner, and failure to do so may result in the voiding of your limited warranty. And because the batteries in your cart, are as important as the teeth in your mouth, we highly recommend taking good care of them. Maintenance should be done frequently, following some of these tips, however, if you prefer us to help with that, we would be happy to come to your home or business and perform a Preventive Maintenance Service (click here to link to our PM Page).

Identify Your Battery Type

Age & Condition

Watering

FLOODED BATTERIES ONLY

Water your batteries regularly.

Important Things to Remember

  1. Do not let the plates get exposed to air. This will damage (corrode) the plates.
  2. Do not fill the water level in the filling well to the cap. This most likely will cause the battery to overflow acid, consequently losing capacity and causing a corrosive mess.
  3. Do not use water with a high mineral content. Use distilled or deionized water only.

CAUTION: The electrolyte is a solution of acid and water so eye and skin contact should be avoided.

Step-By-Step Watering Procedure

  1. Open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
  2. Check electrolyte level; the minimum level is at the top of the plates.
  3. If necessary add just enough water to cover the plates at this time.
  4. Put batteries on a complete charge before adding any additional water (refer to the Charging section).
  5. Once charging is completed, open the vent caps and look inside the fill wells.
  6. Add water until the electrolyte level is 1/8″ below the bottom of the fill well.
  7. A piece of rubber can be used safely as a dipstick to help determine this level.
  8. Clean, replace, and tighten all vent caps.

WARNING: Never add acid to a battery.

Charging

Charging batteries properly requires administering the right amount of current at the right voltage. Most charging equipment automatically regulates these values. Some chargers allow the user to set these values. Both automatic and manual equipment can present difficulties in charging. Tables 2 & 3 list most of the necessary voltage settings one might need to program a charger. In either case the original instructions for your charging equipment should also be referenced for proper charging. Here is list of helpful items to remember when charging.

  1. Become familiar with and follow the instructions issued by the charger manufacturer.
  2. Batteries should be charged after each period of use.
  3. Lead acid batteries do not develop a memory and do need not be fully discharged before recharging.
  4. Charge only in well-ventilated areas. Keep sparks or flames away from a charging battery.
  5. Verify charger voltage settings are correct (Table 2).
  6. Correct the charging voltage to compensate for temperatures above and below 80° F (26.6°C). (Add .028 volt per cell for every 10° below 80° F (26.6°C) and subtract 0.028 volt per cell for every 10° F (12.2°C) above 80° F (26.6° C))
  7. Check water level (see the Watering section).
  8. Tighten all vent caps before charging.
  9. Prevent overcharging the batteries. Overcharging causes excessive gassing (water breakdown), heat buildup, and battery aging.
  10. Prevent undercharging the batteries. Undercharging causes stratification which can lead to premature battery failure.
  11. Do not charge a frozen battery.
  12. Avoid charging at temperatures above 120° F (48.8° C).
Charger Voltage Settings for Flooded Batteries System Voltage
Charger Voltage Setting 6v 12v 24v 36v 48v
Bulk Charge 7.4 14.8 29.6 44.5 59.3
Float Charge 6.7 13.5 27 40.5 54
Equalize Charge 8.1 16.2 32.4 48.6 64.8
Charger Voltage Settings for VRLA Batteries System Voltage
Charger Voltage Setting 12v 24v 36v 48v
Bulk Charge 14.4 28.8 43.2 57.6
Float Charge 13.5 27 40.5 54

Additional VRLA (Lead Acid Battery) Charging Instructions:

  1. Become familiar with and follow the instructions issued by the charger manufacturer.
  2. Verify charger has necessary VRLA setting.
  3. Set charger to VRLA voltage settings (Table 3).
  4. Do not overcharge VRLA batteries. Overcharging will dry out the electrolyte and damage battery.

Troubleshooting

How to check if a flooded battery is bad:

To determine if the battery in a system is experiencing a problem, disconnect all electrical loads, fully charge the batteries then disconnect all charging sources. Allow each battery in the system to stand on open-circuit for about one hour. Measure the voltage of each battery. If the battery voltage spread exceeds .15 volts for a 6-volt battery, or .22 volts for a 12-volt battery a problem is indicated. Battery voltage alone does not confirm a problem. When the voltage spread indicates a problem, confirmation is accomplished by taking electrolyte specific gravity readings using a hydrometer. If the specific gravity readings show a spread greater than .030 (30 points), give the batteries an equalization charge and re-test.

Measuring a flooded battery’s state of charge accurately:

The state of charge of a lead acid battery is most accurately determined by measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte. This is done with a hydrometer. Battery voltage also indicates the level of charge when measured in an open circuit condition. This should be done with a voltmeter. For an accurate voltage reading, the battery should also be allowed to rest for a period of one hour minimum in order to let the voltage stabilize.

Can you tilt batteries?

For flooded batteries, 22 degrees from vertical is the maximum recommended tilt. AGM and Gel batteries can be operated vertically or horizontally.

Is it safe to reduce maintenance by not gassing flooded batteries?

You will reduce the frequency of watering, but will cause a condition known as stratification where the specific gravity of the electrolyte is light at the top of the battery and heavy at the bottom. This condition results in poor performance and reduced battery life.

The right solution to clean a battery and neutralize the electrolyte:

A solution of baking soda and water. Use 1 cup of baking soda for every gallon of water.

What is the right product to service the terminals on my deep cycle batteries?

Many manufacturers offer a Battery Terminal Protectant Spray. We recommend the Club Car Factory Part #1014305