Batterybuyers Guide

Tent by Garry Spring gay nless you have been living under a rock or have spent the last few years in Tibet, you've probably noticed that the traditional lead acid wet-cell type car batteries have some new, high tecb competition. Gel and AGM type batteries are quickly gaining popularity because of their higher performance, and longer life. If you've ever wondered what's truly different about these batteries then read on, because we're going to take a closer look at the differences between them, and how to choose which one is right for your particular application.

Let's start with the typical wet-cell, lead acid battery. This type of battery has been around for over 100 years, and other than a few improvements to capacity and construction, it hasn't changed much. These batteries use lead plates and a solution of approximately 35% sulfuric acid and 65% water, which is called electrolyte. The electrolyte causes a chemical reaction when it comes in contact with the lead plates, and the result is electrical energy. An important fact to remember about this type of battery is that when it's being charged, extremely flammable hydrogen and oxygen gases are formed. These batteries are designed to simply vent these gases away into the atmosphere, but explosions are possible if you cause a spark in the presence of hydrogen gas!

Years ago it was very common for everyone to have to "check the specific gravity" of the battery. To do this we used a tool called a "hydrometer". The hydrometer would basically tell you about the chemistry in the battery, and the state ot charge. It was also very common to have to add distilled water to the batteries cells, as the levels would change with charging and load conditions. I remember several alternator noise complaints being cured by simply performing maintenance on one of these old school batteries.

Ttiese batteries are still sold for certain applications, but have generally been replaced by a maintenance free lead acid wet-cell battery. In a maintenance free wet-cell lead acid battery, the hydrogen and oxygen gases that are created during charging are recombined to create water, thereby keeping the battery "wet" at all times. These "flooded" batteries do still vent explosive gases, so you need to be careful at all times to prevent sparks or open flames in the vicinity of the battery.

For car audio purposes, the traditional wet-cell battery (whether maintenance free or not) has some significant performance limitations. First of all, these batteries have higher internal electrical resistance, which limits the amount of instantaneous current that can be delivered to an amplifier. Another drawback of this design is that the battery can become permanently damaged if it is discharged too deeply. However, the wet-cell battery is more economical to buy, and is available in thousands of styles and configurations.

OPTIMA YellowTop

Optima Batteries announces the release of the new group 27F YellowTop, the latest addition to the Optima product family. Hie group 27F not only offers greater power and more than 300 discharge/ recharge cycles, but it is an exact original equipment fit for an extensive line of automobiles. Optima YellowTop Batteries, the only truly dual-purpose batteries available on the market today, are the ultimate power source for high performance audio applications that demand cranking power and heavy-duty cycling. Optimal YfellowTop Batteries provide cleaner power with higher voltage output than traditional batteries, enabling audio enthusiasts to play their systems louder and longer. For more call (888) 8-OPTIMA or visit www.optimabatteries.com

OPTIMA YellowTop

Optima Batteries announces the release of the new group 27F YellowTop, the latest addition to the Optima product family. Hie group 27F not only offers greater power and more than 300 discharge/ recharge cycles, but it is an exact original equipment fit for an extensive line of automobiles. Optima YellowTop Batteries, the only truly dual-purpose batteries available on the market today, are the ultimate power source for high performance audio applications that demand cranking power and heavy-duty cycling. Optimal YfellowTop Batteries provide cleaner power with higher voltage output than traditional batteries, enabling audio enthusiasts to play their systems louder and longer. For more call (888) 8-OPTIMA or visit www.optimabatteries.com

Stinger SPP225D

The Stinger SPP2250 is not only the largest and most powerful battery available in the company's Power2 Series of mobile audio power cells, but it has also been rated as the most powerful car audio battery currently available on the consumer market according to Stinger. The SPP2250 boasts cutting-edge engineering and design features that give this monster power cell super-performance current capability, true deep-cycle operation and a tremendously fast recharge rate. Plus, its durable construction makes it perfect for a wide variety of extreme installations. For more visit www.stingereiectronics.com.

Stinger SPP225D

The Stinger SPP2250 is not only the largest and most powerful battery available in the company's Power2 Series of mobile audio power cells, but it has also been rated as the most powerful car audio battery currently available on the consumer market according to Stinger. The SPP2250 boasts cutting-edge engineering and design features that give this monster power cell super-performance current capability, true deep-cycle operation and a tremendously fast recharge rate. Plus, its durable construction makes it perfect for a wide variety of extreme installations. For more visit www.stingereiectronics.com.

Kinetik HC1200 Power Cell

The Kinetik HC1200 Power Cells are AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat} high power-density batteries. They are "sealed" and can he mounted in any position. These permanently sealed batteries are completely maintenance free, and use a recombination reaction to prevent the escape of hydrogen and oxygen gases which are normally lost to the atmosphere in a regular lead acid battery. Specifically designed tor car audio applications, the HC1200 Power Cells have very low ESR (Eguivalent Series Resistance) which allows them to provide almost Instantaneous current to the amplifier. These batteries also maintain a higher voltage when loaded, and because of the construction, are far more superior to a regular battery interns of heat and vibration resistance. Each HC1200 battery weighs about 28 pounds. For more applications (from racing to car audio) and information visit www.kinetikaudlo.com

Braille B3121/14155

Braille Batteries are used by racers all over the world In the FIAWRC, FIA Formula Racing, Speed Wortd Challenge Series, SCCA ProRally and many other racing series. Braille Batteries are designed for deep-cycle use in premium and race vehicles with enhanced reliability and performance. Braille developed the B3121 to excel at competition use which includes extreme audio systems and insane motors. On more race oriented cars the smaller B14155 is the choice weighing In at 11.5 pound$/5.2kg and enclosed in a carbon fiber case. Both batteries come in weighing almost 10-30 pounds less a standard battery of equal power. For more information visit www.brailleauto.com

Braille B3121/14155

Braille Batteries are used by racers all over the world In the FIAWRC, FIA Formula Racing, Speed Wortd Challenge Series, SCCA ProRally and many other racing series. Braille Batteries are designed for deep-cycle use in premium and race vehicles with enhanced reliability and performance. Braille developed the B3121 to excel at competition use which includes extreme audio systems and insane motors. On more race oriented cars the smaller B14155 is the choice weighing In at 11.5 pound$/5.2kg and enclosed in a carbon fiber case. Both batteries come in weighing almost 10-30 pounds less a standard battery of equal power. For more information visit www.brailleauto.com

The next big advancement In automotive battery technology was the "Gel-Cell" battery. These batteries use an additive in the electrolyte that causes it to become a thick gel consistency, and is known as thixotropic gelled electrolyte. This type of construction allows the battery to be completely maintenance free, known as a recombinant design. Sometimes known as an SVR (sealed valve-regulated) or VRLA {valve-regulated lead acid) battery, the design Is also able to be mounted In virtualiy any orientation, although upside down Is not recommended. Gel type batteries excel at deep cycle applications, where the battery Is deeply discharged as a normal part of its use. They are also very resistant to vibration, and much more heat tolerant than a typical wet-cell battery. Because they are completely sealed and spill proof, they can be shipped by air, have extended shelf life compared to a conventional battery. Because they do not outgas (unless overcharged) the gel battery Is very safe to use in enclosed spaces. They don't have any current limitations when recharging, but they are very sensitive to charge voltage. When using a gel battery, It is critical to use a battery charger that is regulated between 13.8 and 14.1 volts. Higher charge voltages will damage the battery and significantly shorten its life span. Other disadvantages of the gel battery is initial cost, heavier weight, and the required use a temperature sensing, voltage regulated charger.

DIY Battery Repair

DIY Battery Repair

You can now recondition your old batteries at home and bring them back to 100 percent of their working condition. This guide will enable you to revive All NiCd batteries regardless of brand and battery volt. It will give you the required information on how to re-energize and revive your NiCd batteries through the RVD process, charging method and charging guidelines.

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