Probe – know your battery
The battery is the heart of any vehicle. A chemical reaction powers your vehicle as the battery converts chemical energy into the electrical energy necessary to deliver voltage (cranking Amps) to the starter, which starts the engine and powers all of the electrical components in the vehicle. The battery not only provides the energy to start your car, it also stabilises the voltage to keep your engine running.
Here’s the lowdown on battery lingo to help you understand, choose and maintain the best powerhouse for your wheels.
TYPES OF BATTERIES:
Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, also known as Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries, are perfect for modern vehicles with stop-start technology, or vehicles that must handle the demands of complex electrical systems, additional devices and accessories. They offer both high performance and reliability. Probe has an excellent range that offers the best amp-hour rating in the market.
An Enhanced Flooded (EFB) battery is an enhanced version of a conventional sealed maintenance-free (SMF) battery. Still classified as wet or flooded batteries, these batteries are better suited for vehicles with entry-level start stop systems. The EFB has a high CCA (cold cranking capacity) even at a lower voltage, an improved charge acceptance due to improved active material in its grid structure, and the grid integrity to provide greater cyclic durability. These features are all available in our new Probe Carbon EFB battery range.
This type of battery is designed to be deeply discharged over and over again. It provides a steady amount of current over a long period of time and can provide a extra surge when required.
LEAD ACID BATTERY
These batteries are suitable for most standard vehicles. A lead acid battery is made up of a box full of water, sulphuric acid, elements and lead plates. The mixture of water and sulphuric acid (electrolyte) facilitates the storage of electrical power.
Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries are valve-regulated, maintenance-free and leak-proof. They can be operated in any position, even upside down.
A battery that does not require the addition of distilled water under normal driving conditions; also referred to as a maintenance-free battery. All Probe batteries are maintenance-free batteries.
SILVER CALCIUM BATTERY
The special silver calcium coating of internal parts reduces electrolyte loss through evaporation, provides better starting power (CCA) and greater resistance to corrosion, resulting in longer battery life.
A battery designed with plenty of CCA for improved start-up.
STARTING, LIGHTING, IGNITION (SLI) BATTERY
Rechargeable battery that supplies electric energy to an automobile to power the starter motor, the lights and the ignition system of a vehicle’s engine.
AMPERE-HOUR (AMP-HRS, AH)
A unit of measure for a battery’s electrical storage capacity, obtained by multiplying the current in amperes by the time in hours of discharge. (5 amperes x 20 hours = 100 amp-hrs of capacity)
Usually a three digit number, Cold Cranking Amps is a rating used to define a battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. The rating refers to the number of amps that can be removed from a fully charged battery at 0°F for 30 seconds, while maintaining a voltage of at least 7.2 volts (for a 12-volt battery).The higher the CCA rating, the greater the starting power of the battery. A new battery with more CCA will often improve starting on cold winter mornings.
Standard lead acid batteries are charged through usage, with power stored in the battery being topped up by the alternator, normally between 13,8V and 14,2V.
Even the performance of new batteries can quickly degrade when not kept fully charged, as we experienced in lockdown when cars were being used less often and on short trips. A charger can maintain electricity supply to “top up” the charge and get you mobile again. But if your battery is older that three years, using a battery charger might only temporarily solve the problem.
When the power of a car battery is discharged or drained, and then recharged, it has gone through one complete cycle.
The capacity of a battery is specified as the number of amp-hrs that the battery will deliver at a specific discharge rate and temperature. It is not a constant value and is affected by a number of factors, including the active material weight, density of the active material, adhesion of the active material to the grid, number, design and dimensions of plates, plate spacing, design of separators, specific gravity and quantity of available electrolyte, grid alloys, final limiting voltage, discharge rate, temperature, internal and external resistance, age and life history of the battery.
A cell is the electrochemical current-producing unit in a battery, consisting of a set of positive plates, negative plates, electrolyte, separators and casing. In a lead-acid battery, the cell has an open-circuit voltage of approximately 2.1 volts. There are six cells in a 12-volt lead-acid battery.
A circuit that provides more than one path for the flow of current. A parallel arrangement of batteries has all positive terminals connected to a conductor and all negative terminals connected to another conductor. If two 12-volt batteries of 50 ampere-hour capacity each are connected in parallel, the circuit voltage is 12 volts, and the ampere-hour capacity of the combination is 100 ampere-hours.
A circuit that has only one path for the flow of current. Batteries arranged in series are connected with negative of the first to positive of the second, negative of the second to positive of the third, etc. If two 12-volt batteries of 50 ampere-hours capacity each are connected in series, the circuit voltage is equal to the sum of the two battery voltages, or 24 volts, and the ampere-hour capacity of the combination is 50 ampere-hours.
State in which a cell is fully discharged using low current, so that the voltage falls below the final discharging voltage.
Electrolyte contains electrically charged particles called ions. A standard lead acid battery contains a mixture of water and sulphuric acid (electrolyte) that facilitates the storage of electrical power.
Each element/ plate within a car battery is separated from the next using envelope separators. Envelope separators are micro-porous and regulate the efficiency of energy conversion. Batteries with built in envelope separation provide improved performance and a longer lifecycle.
Probe batteries include a Magic Eye with a hydrometer. This device measures the concentration of sulfuric acid in the electrolyte through gravity, indicating the state of charge of the battery.
An instrument that draws current (discharges) from a battery using an electrical load while measuring voltage. It determines the battery’s ability to perform under actual discharge conditions.
RESERVE CAPACITY RATING
The time in minutes that a new, fully charged battery will deliver 25 amperes at 27°C (80°F) and maintain a terminal voltage equal to, or higher than, 1.75 volts per cell. This rating represents the time the battery will continue to operate essential accessories if the alternator or generator of a vehicle fails.
An unintended current-bypass in an electric device or wiring. Outside the battery, a short circuit is established when a conductive path is established between the two terminals of a battery. Inside a battery, a cell short circuit is the result of contact between the positive and negative plates and will cause a cell to discharge and render the battery useless.
STATE OF CHARGE (OR STATE OF HEALTH)
The amount of deliverable low-rate electrical energy stored in a battery at a given time expressed as a percentage of the energy when fully charged and measured under the same discharge conditions. If the battery is fully charged, the state of charge is said to be 100 percent.
The unequal concentration of electrolyte due to density gradients from the bottom to the top of a cell. This condition is encountered most often in batteries recharged from a deep discharge at constant voltage without a great deal of gassing. Continued deep cycling of a stratified battery will soften the bottoms of the positive plates. Equalization charging is a way to avoid acid stratification.
Batteries should always be stored in a fully charged state. Sulphation is the cause of many battery failures. It can happen when a partially charged battery is left unused for a period of time. When a battery’s open circuit voltage drops under 12,5 V it should be top-up charged immediately.
The electrical structures on the battery to which the external circuit is connected. Typically, batteries have either top terminals (posts) or side terminals. Some batteries have both types of terminals (dual terminal).
Mechanisms that allow gases to escape from the battery while retaining the electrolyte within the case. Flame-arresting vents typically contain porous disks that reduce the probability of an internal explosion as a result of an external spark. Vents come in both permanently fixed and removable designs.
An electronic device used to measure voltage, normally in a digital format.
The unit for measuring electrical power, i.e., the rate of doing work, in moving electrons by, or against, an electrical potential. Formula: watts = amperes x volts. Watt-Hour (Watt-Hrs, WH)
The unit of measure for electrical energy expressed as watts x hours.