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Phone: 503-362-2684
Fax: 503-362-2787

2725 Portland Rd. NE,
Salem, OR 97301


Battery School

General Battery Care Procedures

General deep cycle battery care procedures
  • Cycle the battery lightly (20% or less depth of discharge) the first few cycles. This helps complete the forming process of the plates (in case they are not completely finished forming).

  • Always allow batteries to "cool off" after charging. The cooling time is very important because heat is generated during the recharge and discharge cycles. Without the cooling time the heat grows, accelerating grid corrosion, which is one of the major causes of battery failure.

  • Opportunity charging (quick charging between uses) is detrimental to battery life. While it is true that the shallower the cycle, the more cycles the battery can deliver, opportunity charging is not good because the cooling time is eliminated, shortening life. (I.e. One charge cycle per day is preferable.)

  • Never charge a wet battery with a sealed (gel cell) battery charger.The wet battery needs the higher voltages to finish the charge and without it the batteries never come back to 100% and sulfation can occur.

  • Never charge a sealed (gel cell) battery with a wet battery charger. The higher voltages (above 14.8 volts) that a wet battery charger generates causes excessive gassing too fast for the sealed battery to recombine, causing dry-out and battery failure.

  • Never let the electrolyte level of a wet battery fall below the plates. Lack of maintaining the electrolyte in a wet battery causes damage (sulfation) to the exposed portion of the plate that reduces capacity.

  • Never store a battery in a discharged state. The sulfate that forms during discharge should not be ignored for an extended time period because severe sulfation will take place sometimes, making the battery impossible to recharge fully.

  • Always fill your serviceable, wet batteries with water (preferably distilled) after they have been charged). If the electrolyte level is at least above the plates, do not fill the battery until after recharge. The electrolyte expands during charging and if you fill them before recharging, the electrolyte will possibly bubble out of the battery. The plates must be covered with electrolyte for recharge but be careful not to overfill.

  • Always keep the tops and terminals of batteries clean and free of corrosion. The film on top of the battery can cause the current to migrate between the posts, accelerating self-discharge.

  • A fully charged battery will give you the best and longest service. Be sure the batteries are fully charged before testing or using your R..Vs. A fully charged battery, without a drain or load, after the surface charge has dissipated, is 12.63 volts for a 12 volt battery. Other states of charge are: 12.60 volts = 93% charged 12.55 volts = 89% charged 12.50 volts = 85% charged 12.45 volts = 80 % charged 12.18 volts = 50 % charged.

  • An overly discharged battery may need to be cycled a few times before it can recover fully. If a battery begins to heat before coming up to a full state of charge, it may be necessary to discharge the battery and recharge it a few times. This charge and discharge cycle may help the current acceptance of the battery and facilitate its recovery to a usable condition.

  • In situations where multiple batteries are connected in parallel, series or series/parallel, a replacement battery(s) should be of the same size, age and usage level as the companion batteries. Do not put a new battery in a pack that has 50 or more cycles. Either replace with all new or use a good used battery(s).

  • Deepcycle batteries need to be equalized periodically. Equalizing is an extended, low current charge performed after the normal charge cycle. It helps keeps cells in balance. Actively used batteries should be equalized once per week. Manually timed chargers should have the charge time extended about 3 hours. Automatically controlled chargers should be unplugged and reconnected after completing a charge cycle.

  • As batteries age, their maintenance requirements change. Generally their specific gravity is higher. Gassing voltage goes up. This means longer charging time and/or higher finish rate (higher amperage at the end of charge). Usually, older batteries need to be watered more often. And, their capacity decreases.

  • Inactivity can be harmful to deep cycle batteries. If they sit for several months, a "boost" charge should be given; more frequently in warm climate (about once a month) than in cold (every 2-3 months). This is because batteries discharge faster at higher temperatures than at colder temperatures.

Reasons Why Batteries Fail

General Difference Between Gel and Wet Batteries

State of Charge and Sulfation

Connect Your Batteries for Optimum Efficiency

Just A Little Corrosion Causes Big Voltage Drops

Don't Be Misled By Battery Ratings

Which Deep Cycle Battery Do I Choose?

Daily Amphere-Hour Consumption For Your RV

Safety Tips on Charging Batteries

Determining When A Battery is Fully Charged

Why Are My Batteries Discharged

What is the difference between series battery connections and parallel battery connections and how do they increase battery capacity and voltage?

Jump start procedures

Preparing your batteries for winter

Advantages and Disadvantages of using two 12 volt batteries connected in parallel or two 6 volt batteries connected in series.

Testing the battery