What is a Lead Acid Battery

Lead-acid batteries, invented in 1859, are the oldest type of rechargeable battery. The Lead Acid battery is made up of plates, lead, and lead oxide (various other elements are used to change density, hardness, porosity, etc.) with a 35% sulfuric acid and 65% water solution. This solution is called electrolyte, which causes a chemical reaction that produces electricity. A Lead-Acid battery can be a flooded / wet cell, Gel or AGM Battery, where each can be starting batteries (cranking for automotive) or deep cycle use.

Assembly & Construction of starter Battery


Types of Lead-acid Batteries

1- Flooded / Wet Cell Batteries

Flooded or Wet Cells are the oldest types of lead acid batteries. The electrolyte in these batteries is liquid sulfuric acid solution. They offer the most size and design options and are built for many different uses.

It can be Starting battery (short cycles), UPS Standby Battery that requires high rate, or Deep Cycle battery for prolonged usages.

2- GEL Battery

A gel battery (also known as a "gel cell") is a VRLA battery with a jellified electrolyte; the sulfuric acid is mixed with silica fume, which makes the resulting mass gel-like and immobile. Unlike a flooded wet-cell lead-acid battery, these batteries do not need to be kept upright. Gel batteries reduce the electrolyte evaporation, spillage (and subsequent corrosion issues) common to the wet-cell battery, and boast greater resistance to extreme temperatures, shock, and vibration.

Gel Batteries' sub-types can be also classified into Cranking Battery (Automotive), Stand-By Battery or Deep Cycle battery, depending on the plates' thickness inside the battery.

3- AGM (Absorbing Glass Matt) Batteries

The latest and most advanced battery technology is Advanced AGM VRSLAB batteries (Advanced Glass Mat, Valve Regulated Sealed Lead Acid Batteries), which were developed to provide increased safety, efficiency, and durability over all existing battery types.

Instead of using a gel, an AGM uses a fiberglass like separator to hold the electrolyte in place. The physical bond between the separator fibers, the lead plates, and the container make AGMs spill-proof and the most vibration and impact resistant lead-acid batteries available today.

AGM Batteries' sub-types can be also classified into Cranking Battery (Automotive), Stand-By Battery or Deep Cycle battery, depending on the plates' thickness inside the battery.

Battery Capacity Ratings

CCA, CA, AH and RC. What are these all about?
Several capacity ratings have been established by the Battery Council International (BCI) that determine the current capacity of the battery. The current capacity is an indication of the battery's ability to develop and deliver high amperage current to the starter and provide reserve power to the electrical system.

1- Cold Cranking Amps:
Cold cranking amps (CCA) is a measurement of the number of amps a battery can deliver at 0 ° F for 30 seconds and not drop below 7.2 volts. So a high CCA battery rating is especially important in starting battery applications, and in cold weather. This measurement is not particularly important in Deep cycle batteries, though it is the most commonly 'known' battery measurement.

2- Cranking Amps:
The second battery rating is the "Cranking Amps (CA)" rating, not to be confused with Cold Cranking Amps (CCA). CA is the battery's ability to deliver a cranking current at 32˚F. This CA rating is the same test as in the CCA rating, except it is calculated at a high temperature. A battery with a CA rating of 800 may confuse a technician who may assume it is a CCA rating number. To convert CA at 32˚F to CCA at 0˚F, divide CA by 1.25. Example: a 650 CCA rated battery has the same current capacity as a 812 CA rated battery. This apparent marketing ploy may confuse the public into thinking they are purchasing a battery which is higher in capacity than it really is.

3- Reserve capacity (RC):
The third battery rating, the reserve capacity rating, is the time in minutes a vehicle can be driven after the charging system fails. This is roughly equivalent to the conditions after the alternator fails while the vehicle is being driven at night with headlights on. The battery alone must supply current to the headlights and the computer / ignition system. The assumed battery load is a constant discharge current of 25A. The reserve capacity rating is the length of time a fully charged battery that is at a temperature of 80˚F (26.7˚C) can supply 25A before the terminal voltage falls below 10.5V.

4- Ampere Hour (Ah):
The fourth battery rating, the ampere-hour rating (expressed in ampere-hours, or Ah) is the amount of current a fully charged battery can supply for 20 hours without having the terminal voltage fall below10.5V. This test is made at a temperature of 80˚F (26.7˚C). An amp hour (AH) is a rating usually found on deep cycle batteries. If a battery is rated at 100 amp hours it should deliver 5 amps for 20 hours, 20 amps for 5 hours, etc.

Battery Cycles vs Life

A battery "cycle" is one complete discharge and recharge cycle. It is usually considered to be discharging from 100% to 20%, and then back to 100%. However, there are often ratings for other depth of discharge cycles, the most common ones are 10%, 20%, and 50%. You have to be careful when looking at ratings that list how many cycles a battery is rated for unless it also states how far down it is being discharged.

Battery life is directly related to how deep the battery is cycled each time. If a battery is discharged to 50% every day, it will last about twice as long as if it is cycled to 80% Depth Of Discharge (DOD). If cycled only 10% DOD, it will last about 5 times as long as one cycled to 50%.

Battery Maintenance

Battery Maintenance is an important issue.

- The battery should be cleaned using a baking soda and water solution; a couple of table spoons to a pint of water.

- Cable connections need to be cleaned and tightened as battery problems are often caused by dirty and loose connections.

- A serviceable battery needs to have the fluid level checked. Use only mineral free water, Distilled is best as all impurities have been removed, and there is nothing left that could contaminate your cells.

- Don't overfill battery cells especially in warmer weather because the natural fluid expansion in hot weather can push excess electrolytes from the battery.

- To prevent corrosion of cables on top post batteries use a small bead of silicone sealer at the base of the post and place a felt battery washer over it.

- Coat the washer with high temperature grease or petroleum jelly (Vaseline), then place cable on the post and tighten.

- Coat the exposed cable end with the grease. Most folks don't know that just the gases from the battery condensing on metal parts cause most corrosion.

Selecting a battery

When buying a new battery, it is best suggested to purchase a battery with the greatest reserve capacity or amp hour rating possible. Of course the physical size, cable hook up, and terminal type must be a consideration.

1- Battery Type:
You may want to consider a Gel Cell or an Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) rather than a Wet Cell if the application is in a harsher environment or the battery is not going to receive regular maintenance and charging.

Be sure to purchase the correct type of battery for the job it must do. Remember that engine starting batteries and deep cycle batteries are different.

2- Freshness:
Freshness of a new battery is very important. The longer a battery sits and is not re-charged the more damaging sulfating build up there may be on the plates.
Most batteries have a date of manufacture code on them. The month is indicated by a letter 'A' being January and a number '4' being 2004. C4 would tell us the battery was manufactured in March 2004. Remember the fresher the better. The letter "i" is not used because it can be confused with #1.

3- Size:
Be aware of the dimensions of your original battery; a bigger size battery may not fit.

4- Power:
Know what are the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) required to your vehicle or application

Tires-How to read Tires' Information

Tire Sidewall Marketing Descriptions:

In addition to the tire's brand and line names (tire model), there is a lot of information provided by the manufacturer on the sidewalls of the tires they produce. Some of the branded information provides the tire's basic dimensions and identifies the week it was produced. Other branding lists the types of materials used internally to reinforce the rubber, along with the tire's maximum inflation pressures and loads. And others confirm the manufacturer certifies the tire meets various industry standards and measures up to the government regulations of the nations in which it will be used.
While not all information is branded on every tire, the illustration includes the typical information found on many tires.

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Tires

1) Aspect ratio
This technical-sounding term refers to the relationship between the width of a tire and the height of the tire's sidewall. High-performance "low profile" tires have "low aspect ratios" — meaning their sidewalls are short relative to their width. This provides extra stiffness and thus better high-speed handling and grip — but also tends to result in a firmer (and sometimes, harsh) ride. "Taller" tires tend to provide a smoother ride and better traction in snow.

2) Contact Patch
As your tires rotate, only a portion of the total tread is actually in contact with the ground at any given moment. This is known as the contact patch. Think of it as your tire's "footprint." Sport/performance-type tires are characterized by their wider footprint — more tread is in contact with the ground — which provides extra grip, especially during hard acceleration on dry pavement and during high-speed cornering.

3) Treadwear indicators
These are narrow bands built into the tread during manufacturing that begin to show when only 1/16 of the tire's tread remains. Also called wear bars, treadwear indicators are there to provide an obvious visual warning that it's time to shop for new tires.

4) Speed ratings
An alpha-numeric symbol you'll find on your tire's sidewall that tells you the maximum sustained speed the tire is capable of safely handling. An H-rated tire, for example, is built to be safe for continuous operation at speeds up to 130 mph. Most current model year family-type cars have S (112 mph) or T (118 mph) speed ratings. High performance cars often have tires with a V (149 mph) or ZR (in excess of 149 mph) speed rating. A few ultra-performance cars have W (168 mph) and even Y (186 mph) speed-rated tires.

5) Maximum cold inflation load limit
This refers to the maximum load that can be carried in a given vehicle with a given type of tires — and the maximum air pressure needed to support that load. In your vehicle's owner's manual, you should be able to find the recommended cold inflation load limit. It's important not to exceed the load limit (or over or under-inflate the tires) as this can lead to stability/handling problems and even tire failure. Always check tire pressure "cold." Driving creates friction which creates heat; as the tires warm up, the air inside expands, increasing the pressure. Measuring air pressure after driving can give a false reading; you may actually be driving around on under-inflated tires.

6) Load index
This number corresponds to the load carrying capacity of the tire. The higher the number, the higher the load it can safely handle. As an example, a tire with a load index of 89 can safely handle 1,279 pounds — while a tire with a load rating of 100 can safely handle as much as 1,764 pounds. It's important to stick with tires that have at least the same load rating as the tires that came originally with the vehicle — especially if it's a truck used to haul heavy loads or pull a trailer. It's ok to go with a tire that has a higher load rating than the original tires; just be careful to avoid tires with a lower load rating than specified for your vehicle, even if they are less expensive. Saving a few bucks on tires is not worth risking an accident caused by tire failure.

7) Radial vs. bias-ply tire
Bias-ply tires have their underlying plies laid at alternate angles less than 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread; radials have their plies laid at 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread. That's the technical difference. The reason radial tires are dominant today is that they help improve fuel efficiency and handling; they also tend to dissipate heat better than bias-ply tires. No modern passenger cars come with bias-ply tires these days and their use is generally not recommended. (Exceptions might include older/antique vehicles that originally came equipped with bias-ply tires. Some RVs also used bias-ply tires, etc.) It is very important never to mix radial and bias-ply tires; dangerously erratic handling may result.

8) LT and MS tires
These designations indicate "Light Truck" and "Mud/Snow" — and are commonly found on tires fitted to SUVs and pick-ups. LT-rated tires are more general purpose, built primarily for on-road use — while MS-rated tires typically have more aggressive "knobby" tread patterns designed for better off-road traction.

9) Temporary Use Only
Many modern cars come with so-called "space-saver" tires which are smaller and lighter than a standard or full-size spare tire. They are designed to leave more room in the trunk and be easier for the average person to handle when a roadside tire change becomes necessary. However, they are not designed to be used for extended (or high-speed) driving. Your car will probably not handle (or stop) as well while the Space Saver tire is on – and you should keep your speed under 55 mph and avoid driving on the tire beyond what's absolutely necessary to find a tire repair shop where you can have your damaged tire repaired or replaced.

10) Treadwear, Traction and Temperature ratings

Each tire has three separate ratings for Treadwear, Traction and Temperature.

- Traction ratings run from AA to A to B and C — with C being the lowest on the scale. The ratings represent the tire's ability to stop on wet pavement under controlled testing conducted by the government. C-rated tires are marginal and should be avoided. Never buy a tire with a Traction rating that isn't at least equal to the minimum rating specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

- Temperature ratings from A to B to C — with C being the minimum allowable for any passenger car tire. The ratings correspond to a given tire's ability to dissipate heat under load; tires with lower ratings are more prone to heat-induced failure, especially if driven at high speeds (or when overloaded). As with Traction ratings, never buy a tire with a Temperature rating that's less than specified for your vehicle.

- Treadwear ratings differ from Traction and Temperature ratings in that they aren't a measure of a tire's built-in safety margin. Instead, these ratings — represented by a three digit number — give you an idea of the expected useful life of the tire according to government testing. A tire with a Treadwear rating of 150, for example, can be expected to last about 1.5 times as long as a tire with a Treadwear rating of 100. These are just guides, however. Your tires may last longer (or not) depending on such factors as how you drive, whether you maintain proper inflation pressure and rotate the tires per recommendations — and so on.

Tires Dimensions Explained

Example size: 225/45R17

- The first three numbers in a typical size (225/45R17) are the tire's indicated section width in millimeters, measured from sidewall to sidewall.

- The second pair of numbers (225/45R17) is the tire's aspect ratio or profile. This is a ratio of sidewall height to section width. The section height's measurement can be calculated by multiplying the section width by the aspect ratio. The answer will be the height of one sidewall. For example:
225mm x 0.45 = 101.3mm

- The last number (225/45R17) is the diameter of the wheel in inches.
If you are familiar with measurements in the metric system, the wheel diameter can be converted into millimeters by multiplying it by 25.4.
For example:
17" x 25.4 = 431.8mm

Tires Load Index

Tires Speed Symbols

It is the indication of the maximum speed when driving on the smoothly-paved road after the installment of the tire.