Battery maintenance and servicing

For a reliable operation certain amount of maintenance is necessary.

Bleibatterien im el With all work, an eye protector and gloves are prescribed (A splash apron is also a very good idea - RRY).

While handling acid one should be careful. On the skin one often hardly feels the acid and you can transfer a splash on the hand into the eye. Splashes on the skin, particularly in the eyes and on wounds, should be washed immediately with water. Splashes on your good clothes mean mostly the end of the good piece, after each washing ever larger holes will develop.

Distilled water

Aqua destLead-acid batteries must be refilled occasionally. The operating instruction prescribes a weekly check.

The water consumption depends strongly on the adjustment of the battery charger. The batteries " are boiled up " (Equalized in US terminology - RRY) while the charging, so that a good acid mixing develops. This produces hydrogen gas and acid mist that is vented by a hose (Only on the OEM Yuasa batteries, the Trojans that most US vehicles use have caps that separate out the acid mist to a certain extent. Since hydrogen is lighter than air, and the vent hose leads down, I doubt that it does any good anyway in dissipating potentially explosive vapor from the battery compartment - RRY). Often the acid level is badly readable in the battery, it helps by to shake the whole vehicle carefully to vibrate around the acid level. At the cells in hit a corner one can insert a short cardboard strip in-hold around the acid level to read off. To be refilled distilled water must, as one receives it in each gas station. The battery plates must be broadly covered with acid always a finger.

(Due to the nature of the charger on this vehicle, which equalizes the batteries with every charge cycle, this vehicle will greatly benefit from Hydrocaps. These special caps catalytically recombine the hydrogen liberated by gassing back into water, which drips back into the cells. They can be obtained from Hydrocap Corp, 975 NW 95 Street, Miami, Fl 33150, Tel: (305) 696-2504. The only disadvantages are the cost, about $9 per cap, or $162/vehicle, and the sorta tricky sizing. When I get them for my vehicle, I'll post the sizing information. - RRY)

Acid concentration check

Säureheber The lead battery is filled with 37,5% solution of diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

The best indications of the charge and health of a lead battery one can make on the basis of acid concentration, therefore it is meaningful to measure these occasionally.

For the measurement one needs a hydrometer.

Here in the picture three pieces are shown, of different designs. The left from plastic became unfortunately fogged, the same design in glass unfortunately does not live with me any more. The right hydrometer became leaky at the rubber bellows.

The middle one functioned well and was also the most expensive at 20DM. Problems with this there are only if the acid level is very low, then the short hose loses suction.

Acid concentration is indicated in kg/litres (English customary units are Specific Gravity relative to water - RRY)

With 20C one can deliver the following estimation:

SVG [ kg/l ] Charge
1,28 - 1.30 100%
1,21 10% - empty -

All cells must have the same acid concentration. There is different acid concentration in the cells, this points on sulfate ions.

Battery aging

100Ah BatterieIn the case of lead batteries the amp/hour capacity and thus the range become ever less. The best life span is achieved by batteries much to be used. Many City-El drivers achieve 7000 - to over 10.000 km battery life. With rarely used vehicles there were already run-outs of battery after 2000 km of driving.

If lead batteries are idle for a while, we say " the battery sleeps ", i.e. it does not have from the outset again your full capacity. The battery needs only a few cycles " to wake up ". To quite new batteries the same applies.

Battery maintenance

Batteriepol Here an example, how the battery is not to look.


Battery reactivation

In order to bring back batteries which have in the capacity diminished, I recommend the following procedure. Take yourselves one Sunday, and drive in the morning a small round, to approx. for the half of the capacity. Charge the vehicle up to the 100% of the capacity display again and drive it afterwards again down - this time somewhat further. Charge it again, and the whole play repeat. If one holds out consecutively this several times, the battery will somewhat warm up. They will possibly notice less charge, as indicated on the capacity meter, is used on a given route. The following night, charge the battery again to 100%.

Who has an appropriate battery charger can the battery also longer time with small current charge, until all cells are again on same acid concentration - cook it on a small flame. The individual charging methods are so dependent upon battery type that I can give no overall solution here.

A few dealers have battery test stands and can measure battery volts and amperes under load. Thus a diagnosis of battery capacity can be made. Also try to select dealers for new batteries that test and provide guarantees against infant failures. The battery is then delivered with measurement data.

(If batteries become sulfated due to age, undercharging, or leaving them discharged, amazing results can be obtained by using a compound called EDTA (Ethylenediamine Tetraacetic Acid) to revive them. See this article for information on sulfation and it's treatment. Trailhead Supply appears to be defunct, Bryant Laboratory has a web site, or try Vinquiry 7795 Bell Rd, Windsor, CA 95492-8519 Phone: (707)-433-8869. An aggressive pharmacist or a local chemical supply house should be able to get you some. - RRY)

Acid layering

An unpleasant effect of the battery is the so-called acid layering, i.e. the acid-concentration of the battery is different above and down. This acid layering is caused by insufficient gassing (Equalization -RRY) of the batteries. There are battery lovers who use hydrometers to measure the acid concentration up and down the cells, and begins these to adjust. So far my love has not extended so far. If the battery charger is correctly adjusted and the vehicle is regularly moved, the acid layering should not occur.


Nickel-Cadmium Batteries

NC Batterien This battery type has relatively high water consumption, so it's likely an automatic water filling system is installed. Water is only added to a central tank, all cells are then automatically up to the correct height filled.

NC-batteries are filled with a caustic solution. With work with caustic solution one must watch out extremely. Caustic solution splashes on the skin give immediately skin discolorations. Who operates on these battery types, I recommend an eye rinsing bottle in additional to eye protector, as well as a bucket to the water in easy reach.

With larger vehicles filling runs already semi-automatically.

letzte Änderung 13.09.99