Deep Cycle Battery Maintenance guideDeep cycle battery maintenance guide: There are so many types of battery that it can be very confusing to know which is which, what it should be used for, and how to look after it!  

A deep cycle battery is often used in renewable energy applications, such as storage for power produced by solar panels and wind generators. They can also be used as traction batteries to power golf carts, milk floats and other highway vehicles; they are useful in industry to power forklifts and floorsweepers; and in trolling motors for recreational fishing boats. 

Maintain your Batteries with the Recondition Battery Guide

A deep cycle battery is designed to regularly discharge of most of its capacity-in contrast to most automotive batteries, which deliver a sporadic high current to fire up an engine and are designed to often be discharged of only some of their full capacity. 

There are also structural differences, the deep cycle battery being defined by having thicker active plates with higher density active paste material and better separators. The battery is filled with electrolyte to protect the plates, and the capacity of a deep cycle battery is designed to be limited by this. 

The thicker lead plates of deep cycle batteries means that they are much stronger and more robust. They should never be discharged to below 20% of their capacity, as internal resistance can cause heat and damage when they are recharged. To prevent this, a low voltage warning light can be installed so that the power will be cut off if the battery reaches a point where it could be damaged.  A standard deep cycle battery, if left to its own devices on a shelf somewhere, will destroy itself and give up holding a good charge, as it will discharge itself over time. So don’t lock it in a shed and never use it! 

To improve the shelf life of your deep cycle battery, store it in cool temperatures where the chemical reactions will be slower. (However, refrigeration is not recommended-the battery must be at room temperature before being used. Also, you might squash the butter.) 

There are a few dangers to watch out for with any battery, and deep cycle batteries are no different. Explosions can be caused when a short circuit generates very high currents, and if this is not enough to scare you, deep cycle batteries can also release hydrogen when overcharged, and the smallest spark can turn into a big inferno. Overcharging can also damage components in which the battery is used. You have been warned! 

Check your battery for swollen sides, or being hot to the touch, as this can indicate a failed or blocked valve-any short circuit igniting the hydrogen/oxygen mixture can cause battery acid to spray out through the casing of the battery. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. 

To work out whether your deep cycle battery will be a worthwhile investment and will last for what you want it to, use the cycle rating-this is the amount of times the battery can be charged and discharged. A good benchmark is the IEC 896-2. Although this recommends a 100% discharge (and remember, don’t discharge your deep cycle battery completely!) it is still a good yardstick for measuring batteries and making comparisons between different batteries to determine which is the best for you. 

As long as you take care of your deep cycle battery and use a little common sense, it will last you for years. 

Recondition your deep cycle batteries the easy way