Size The Load To The Battery
4 hours have gone by, the battery has put out 20 amp-hours and is going strong. This battery should be good for 80AH or so. It will take 16 hours to discharge at this rate.If I’d used two of those lightbulbs the test would go twice as fast.I’ll have to look at the clock again in just under 12 hours to avoid uncertainty about what the reading means.Look up how much current your battery was made to deliver. Don’t overload it. There’s a relationship between cycle depth, rate of discharge, and lifetime of the battery.Battery manufacturers can provide amazing amounts of data on this. It can be pretty confusing until you wrap your head around it.Let me summarize it for you. Flooded lead-acid 6 volt golfcart batteries such as the T105 are the cheapest way to get watt-hours from a battery. Except for free scrap batteries that is.Some day soon Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries will catch up. They charge faster and are much lighter, so for applications such as laptops and some electric cars they make sense now.One final thing: After the test, charge that battery up and keep it charged! Sitting around in the discharged state causes sulfation and loss of capacity in lead-acid batteries.
What Should I Consider When Getting A Battery Replacement
Heres a breakdown of what to look for in a replacement battery:
A. Battery Type And Technology
Do you need a starter battery or a deep cycle battery?
Youll find these functions in both the lead acid battery and AGM battery.
Lithium batteries tend to have a longer battery life but are in a different class altogether since theyre usually used in electric cars.
You might also be interested in specific battery brands for their technology, like the Odyssey battery that features very thin battery plates with high lead content or the Optima battery with spiral-wound cells.
B. Cold Cranking Amps
CCA represents the batterys ability to start in a colder temperature. Get one with a CCA rating thats the same or slightly exceeds that of your current battery.
C. Battery Group Number
The battery group defines the batterys physical dimensions, terminal locations, and battery type. Its typically based on a vehicles make, model, and engine type.
D. Reserve Capacity
The battery Reserve Capacity is a measure of minutes that a 12V battery can deliver a 25A current before its voltage drops to 10.5V.
It generally indicates how much reserve power youll have if the vehicles alternator fails.
E. Amp Hour Capacity
Amp Hour defines the total amount of power that a 12V battery will deliver for 20 hours before its fully discharged .
For example, a 100Ah battery will supply 5A of current for 20 hours.
F. Warranty Coverage
Battery Light Or Check Engine Light
Indicator lights on your dashboard can often be pretty vague, but when your battery is failing, you’re likely to get a warning light that pops up on your dashboard to let you know. Some cars may just throw up that check engine light first, while others will give you the battery light to let you know that there’s a problem. If you get that along with some of these other symptoms, then it’s a good bet your battery has a problem and you may need to replace it.
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Set Up The Capacity Test Rig
Most inverters have an automatic low-voltage disconnect feature.It makes a beeping sound and stops putting out 110AC when the battery voltage drops below 11 volts or so. You’ve encountered this feature if you’ve played with inverters much.The plug-in electric clock tells us how long it takes to discharge the battery that far.The hands stop moving when the inverter turns off. We’ll start the clock at 12:00:00, some time later when the light turns off, look at the time on the clock to see how long it took. An old 24hour electric clock with numbered flaps for a display would be perfect for this. Or an hour-meter from a stationary engine. Or a timeclock from a factory.This 60 watt lightbulb makes the inverter draw about 5 amps from the battery. Watts = Volts * Amps.60 watts = 12 volts * 5 Amps.5 Amps = 60Watts/ 12VoltsIf you want to be totally sure, check the current with an ammeter.
Testing Of A Conventional Wet Cell Battery:
A measuring device which can only measure the state of charge of the battery is suitable to test a conventional car battery. In an ideal case, an open circuit voltage of about 12.8 V is measured with a Multimeter. If the voltage falls below 12.4 V, the battery should be recharged as soon as possible. A continuous low charge damages the battery due to sulfation.
As the main load on a conventional starter battery is due to the starting process and after charging by the generator there is no further discharge, the cold start current is decisive in this case. Due to aging and wear the capacity of the battery to deliver high currents gradually decreases. In addition, the lower the charge , the lower the possible current which can be deliverd during the starting process.
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Testing Your Car Battery Voltage
The simplest and best way to perform a car battery check is to use a car battery tester. These are available from any good car accessory retailer and are very simple to use.
They range from basic types that simply give a green light if the battery is charged, to models with a display that shows the exact voltage of the battery.
A car battery tester should come with straightforward instructions. The red lead will need to be attached to the positive charging terminal and the black lead will need to be attached or held against the negative terminal as indicated in your cars owners manual.
If the battery tester has a voltage read-out, youre looking for a figure of more than 12.4v with the engine switched off. Around 12.7v is a good indicator of a fully charged battery.
Below 12.4 volts, the battery will need to be charged. If the engine starts, it may be worth going for a short drive and checking the battery voltage again on your return.
When the engine is running, the battery is constantly being charged by the cars alternator, so if the car has been sitting for a while, it may just be a case of putting the car back into regular use to maintain proper battery voltage.
This test can also be conducted with a multimeter or voltmeter. If youre going to use one of these, make sure that the 0-15v DC range is selected.
What Do I Do If The Car Battery Is Repeatedly Going Flat
If the battery is continually going flat, it could be because of a ‘parasitic loss’. This is where something electrical – a light or a motor for example – is draining the battery, even with the engine turned off. Apart from doing the obvious , you can either remove the leads from the battery, or remove it from the car entirely.
Then, fully charge the battery, leave it for 12 hours and test it. If the battery holds a charge when it’s not connected to the car, it’s not faulty.
TOP TIP: Before you disconnect your battery make sure you know the code for your stereo otherwise you may find it won’t work when you reconnect it!
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What Are Leisure Batteries
Leisure batteries are used to power electrical appliances within caravans and motorhomes. They differ from car batteries as leisure batteries are designed to provide power at a steady level over an extended period whereas a car battery would provide a quick burst of energy to the cars engine. Car batteries can be used to power caravans and motorhomes however this is only a short term solution as car batteries are not designed to release the power over an extended period. To read more about Leisure Batteries please click on the following blog article: The complete guide to Leisure Batteries.
What Car Battery Do I Need
If you need a replacement battery then choosing the right one is essential if your vehicle is to perform as it should.
Just because a battery fits into the vehicles battery holding tray doesnt mean its the correct one. Along with battery size you also need to check where the terminals are located, what type of terminal you need, the voltage, ampage & number of cells.
If that sounds complicated then youll be relieved to know that our technicians can do all the hard work for you. Simply contact your local branch and theyll be able to find the battery for your vehicle using your registration number.
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Where Can I Get Advice On Battery Replacement
If youre unsure about which car battery is right for your vehicle, the next best step is to consult a reliable mechanic.
And youre in luck because theres RepairSmith!
RepairSmith is a convenient mobile auto maintenance and repair solution.
Heres what they offer:
- Battery repairs and replacements that can be conducted right in your driveway
- Only expert, ASE-certified technicians execute vehicle inspection and servicing
- Online booking is convenient and easy
- Competitive, upfront pricing
- All maintenance and repairs are completed with high-quality equipment and replacement parts
- RepairSmith offers a 12-month | 12,000-mile warranty for all repairs
For a quick and accurate cost estimate of battery-related repairs, fill this online form.
How To Charge A Car Battery
Your local stockist will be able to advise on which charger is suitable for your car and its battery some cars have larger batteries that require a more powerful charger. It’s also worth carrying a portable jump start pack in your car for emergencies, or at least some standard jump leads.
We recommend you use an automatic battery charger. These have built-in systems that stop delivering power once the battery has reached optimum voltage. They then switch to a maintenance or trickle mode that keeps the battery topped up. Some chargers also have a built-in battery tester.
Your battery charger will come with instructions from its supplier and you should follow those as well as the instructions in your cars owners manual.
Always ensure the cars battery leads are attached to the battery throughout the charging process.
Unless the instructions for the charger specifically say otherwise, do not switch the charger on until the clamps are correctly secured to the charging terminals. These are the same charging terminals that youd earlier attached the battery tester to.
With the battery tester removed, connect the black clamp to the negative terminal and the red clamp to the positive terminal.
Check the clamps on the charging leads are securely attached to the terminals and only the terminals. They must not contact any other part of the car, or a short circuit could occur.
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Car Batteries At Kwik Fit
If you require a new car battery, Kwik Fit provides a full car battery replacement service and can dispose of your old one for you. Your car battery is at the heart of all your vehicle’s electrical systems, it is the only source of power to get your car started so it’s important that you check yours regularly. Flat batteries are one of the main reasons for breakdown calls in the UK, especially on cold mornings, and you’ll only really know something is wrong when your car doesn’t start.
If you are at all concerned about the age or charging capability of your car battery, don’t leave it until your car won’t start, call into your local Kwik Fit and we will carry out a free and thorough check. Find out more about our free car battery testing service.
What Is Cold Cranking Amps
Cold Cranking Amps is a rating used in the battery industry to define a batterys ability to crank an engine in cold temperatures.
It measures how much current a new, fully charged 12V battery could deliver for 30 seconds while maintaining 7.2V at 0°F .
So, how many Cold Cranking Amps does an internal combustion engine need?
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Why Did The Old Battery Go Bad
You might be wondering why did the old battery go bad? Heres my example: Im pretty confident the reason why is because I didnt have this car on a trickle charger, and all winter long it was basically sitting there. I had it in storage. Theres no electricity. I forgot to disconnect the battery. So over time, that 70 milliamps draw that you saw when we did the parasitic draw test, that is going to drain the battery. Batteries dont like getting drained and not recharged. When a battery sits and its drained, you decrease the life span of the battery. The reason why is because lead sulfate crystals bond to the grid of the battery, and that wont let the chemical reaction inside the battery happen efficiently. The lead sulfate crystals block the electrolyte from contacting the grid, and you lose cranking amps and your battery degrades. So you always want to make sure you keep your battery fully charged.
If you dont want your new battery to go bad, I suggest you to read this article: tips to extend your batterys life or at least once a week start your car and go for a ride.
Not only is it good for the battery, but its good for the car too, cars are meant to be driven. Dont just start it and then shut it off in a few minutes. You actually want to go for a ride and have that battery charge up.
How To Test The Alternator
Its really simple to test. We need to start the car to test the alternator. On a multimeter or on the cars dashboard you can have about 14.3, 14.4 volts, thats perfect. You want to be anywhere between 13.6 and 14.6 volts, that means your alternator is outputting the correct voltage. If its higher than 14.6, lets just say its 15 volts, it could be a bad voltage regulator in your alternator, so you might have to replace that. You dont want to have too many volts, more voltage isnt good. Over 14.6 volts could damage your battery. So if you see that, thats one problem.
Lets just say you see the opposite problem. You see something below the 13.6 volt threshold. Well, were testing the voltage at the battery. So that doesnt mean your alternator is bad necessarily, it could mean that between the positive post and the alternator, theres a bad cable or a bad connection. So how do we verify that its actually the alternator thats bad? If you see low voltage, you test the voltage at the actual alternator.
Be careful with your test, and dont get any of the wires wrapped up in the belt thats spinning, that would be very bad. The positive wire will help you to find your positive alternator connector. Your alternator case is your negative, thats your ground. Connect the multimeters positive probe to the positive alternators connector. Negative probe to alternator case, scrape it a little bit to get a good connection.
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Physical Inspection Of The Battery
A physical examination of the car battery is essential to detect any cracks. To do this, you must first disconnect the battery terminals and then remove the battery from the car. Place the battery on a flat surface and check that no bulge has formed on the surface of the battery. Doming of the battery is the result of overcharging. Next, inspect the battery terminals and look at the insulation. If the battery has cracks, you must replace it.Before you put the battery back in the battery carrier, you must clean it. Cleaning the battery is easy. All you need is some baking soda, water and a soft brush. Pour the ingredients into a container and wash the top and side of the battery with the soft brush. Wipe off excess liquid with a dry cloth. Repeat the procedure with the connectors.Check the battery carrier for signs of corrosion and make sure there are no mixing screws. Place the cleaned battery on the battery compartment and screw it in place. Make sure that the battery does not rock sideways. Replace the terminals, starting with the positive terminals. Apply some Vaseline or grease to the poles before closing the cover to prevent corrosion.
What Is A Load Test And How Do I Perform One
A battery load test is a kind of battery test that involves measuring the amperes produced by a charged battery. Cold cranking amps is the term used to describe the batterys power.
Performing a load test helps determine if your battery is capable of powering the starter motor.
To perform a successful load test, youre going to need a battery load tester.
You can pick a load tester up for about $20.
Heres how you use it:
- Step 1 Begin by fully charging the battery. You need to do this to ensure you get an accurate result. You can use a battery charger if you have one on hand. Use your multimeter to check if your battery voltage is the same as whats indicated on the battery label.
- Step 2 Then, make sure your multimeter is set to measure voltage and connect it to the battery. If the voltage reading is lower than 10% of whats on the label, youll need to charge the battery before doing a load test.
- Step 3 Now, you need to disconnect the multimeter from the battery.
- Step 4 Examine the battery label again, this time looking for its ampere rating. You should notice a CCA followed by a number. This number indicates the cold cranking amps. Take that number and halve it to get to the figure for your load test. For example, if your CCA is 500, then 250 is the figure youll need.
- Step 5 Connect the load testers sensors to each battery terminal, making sure to connect positive to the batterys positive terminal and negative to the negative battery terminal.
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