There is no getting away from the fact that rechargeable batteries have a finite lifespan. Over time their performance will decrease, until ultimately they no longer hold enough charge to be useful. The sealed lead-acid battery is one type of rechargeable battery, also known as the valve regulated lead-acid (VRLA).
Normal lead-acid batteries produce hydrogen gas when charged. The sealed version has a valve to allow this gas to escape. To reduce loss of fluid or potential damage from too much gas being produced, sealed batteries are designed never to get fully charged. Due to this they can be prone to sulfation, this is a build up of sulfur which ultimately means they can no longer hold a sufficient charge.
There are methods you can employ to make sure your battery achieves its maximum operational life. Plus if you learn how to recondition a sealed lead-acid battery you can extend this life considerably.
1. Always store fully charged.
If your battery is not going to be used for a period of time it will eventually lose its charge due to its natural charge depletion. If you allow the battery to become fully discharged it will greatly shorten its life, because the build up of sulfur will be accelerated.
For this reason if you are storing a lead-acid battery, every so often, usually at 6 month periods, you should apply a topping charge to keep it from going flat and being damaged.
2. Avoid repeated deep discharges.
A deep discharge is when the battery is run almost to it's flat or depleted state. It is much better for the battery to be charged from a semi used state each time, rather than a repeated full charge. This puts less stress on the battery, and reduces the rate at which the battery killing sulfur deposits form. So you should charge them little and often. If under normal usage this proves to be impossible, then you should consider using a larger battery.
3. Prevent sulfation.
Paying attention to how you charge your battery can go a long way to minimizing sulfation. Using a good quality battery charger should help to achieve this. Many modern chargers have software that helps maintain optimum charge, prevent over charging, and the associated problems this brings.
4. Recondition by removing sulfur build up.
Using a specialized battery charger that produces a high current pulse will break down the sulfur crystals on the battery plate. This will convert the plates back into the original lead and lead oxide mix, and the battery fluid into sulfuric acid again. This will restore a failing battery back to a usable state.
Following these usage tips, and learning how to recondition a sealed lead-acid battery, will make your battery give great service over a longer period of time. The longer you use it, the longer it stays out of landfill. This is good for the environment and your bank balance.
If you want to to discover more about how to restore or recondition old batteries that you thought were dead, and were going to throw away. Go to the recondition old batteries guide. Take a look at www.reconditionoldbatteries.blogspot.com for more information.
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