Power Sports Battery FAQ
Following are a few of our most asked questions regarding our Power Sports batteries. If you have questions that are not covered here, Feel free to call our tech line.
- 1. I was told I should upgrade to, or use, a Gel battery. But I see only AGM Power Sports batteries on your site. Why is that?
Gel battery technology was developed prior to AGM or Absorbed Glass Matt battery technology and the term “Gel” is now often used generically, albeit incorrectly, to described sealed batteries. Gel batteries are a specific type of sealed battery as are AGM batteries. AGM battery technology has all the positive attributes of the Gel Battery but does not require the special charge profile that its elder cousin requires thus allowing for easier integration without the added cost of purchasing a special charger.
- 2. What is the warranty period on my new battery, and how does it work?
Most of our Power Sport Batteries include a one year limited warranty and may require the customer to return the defective battery at their expense for failure analysis. If a returned battery shows signs of physical damage, misuse, or overcharging the warranty will be void. Batteries less than 30 days old will be replaced at no charge, for batteries over 30 days, the customer must pay for the shipping of the new replacement battery.
- 3. What can cause a new battery to fail shortly after installation?
If a battery does not perform to the published standards shortly after installation it may be in response to one or more of the following issues:
- a. There may be a faulty charging system
- b. The electrical system may have short circuited
- c. The terminals on the battery are dirty or not properly connected
- d. High parasitic drains or excessive ignition off drains
- e. The electrical capacity of the battery is insufficient for the size of the vehicle
- 4. How should a new battery be maintained?
Proper lead-acid battery maintenance involves periodic mechanical inspection and cleaning, and proper charge maintenance. Flooded (wet) batteries should have water levels checked routinely, particularly in hot weather or high charge/discharge cyclic applications, and topped with distilled water if necessary. Terminal connections should be checked routinely, and any corrosion should be neutralized with baking soda and water, and removed. Battery post cleaners or small wire brushes can help with this process.
The sealed batteries, AGM and true Gel, all but eliminate the mechanical maintenance issues. Lead-acid batteries including the sealed types like to be kept fully charged when not actually being cycled. There is NO benefit to fully discharging lead acid batteries as part of maintenance or use, and this includes the true Gels. The newer microprocessor chargers allow long term maintenance with a float mode, which will not overcharge batteries. Batteries used infrequently and not on a float charger should be topped off about once a month if possible. This helps prevent sulfation build up (see next question).
- 5. What exactly is sulfation?
Sulfation, the number one cause of early battery failure, is simply crystals of lead sulfate (PbS04) which have formed on the lead storage plates in a lead-acid type battery. When a battery is improperly charged (over/under) or allowed to self discharge as occurs during storage/non-use, these crystals build up on the battery’s storage plates and can harden, preventing the battery from ever being fully charged and therefore able to deliver their full power/capacity. Routine charging or maintaining with a floating charger helps reduce/eliminate this process. Batteries that sit unattended for extended periods are subject to internal discharge and the degradation/destruction of capacity that sulfation introduces. There are electronic devices and battery chargers that address sulfation issues, but the best practice is proper battery management with a microprocessor controlled charger to prevent it in the first place.
- 6. Can my AGM battery be installed in any position?
The AGM and Gel batteries can be mounted on their sides with no problems, but should not be mounted upside down.
- 7. What should the standing voltage of my charged battery be?
Standing voltage, or resting voltage, is measured when a fully charged battery is allowed to set until the surface voltage acquired during a charge cycle has dissipated. This takes about 12 hours. At this point, a fully charged lead-acid type battery would measure 12.7 to 12.8 volts for a 12 volt battery, and 6.3 volts for a 6 volt battery. Some high performance AGM batteries may measure even higher.
- 8. How do I know my charger is working properly?
This is a tough one to nail down, as there are many different manufacturers of chargers. I will focus on the newer style smart chargers. These newer fully automatic chargers need to be hooked up to a battery before they will output any voltage. This is primarily a safety feature that prevents spark when hooked up, and protects the charger against reverse polarity hookup. Some chargers need to ‘see’ as much as 5.5 volts before they recognize that they are attached to a battery. Once the charger is hooked up, it will begin putting out about 14.2-14.7 volts to a battery that needs to be charged. If your charger does not do this, you may want to contact the manufacturer for further troubleshooting tips.
- 9. How often should I charge my battery?
Any type of lead acid battery should always be left in a fully charged condition. Having done that, you should either charge your battery every 30 days or so, or consider getting a smart charger to maintain your battery all the time. These new ‘smart’ chargers will hold the voltage at its prime voltage, while reducing the current to almost nil, thus preventing overcharge even when left on for months at a time. A battery will self discharge over time, even while not in use or connected to anything, thus the benefit of constant maintenance charger.
- 10. Is it OK to store a battery on a concrete floor?
This one is an often heard ‘old wives tale’. It used to be that battery cases were made of inferior material such as hard rubber, or even tar. This material would develop micro cracks over time and become porous, and left on wet ground or damp concrete would begin to self discharge. Nowadays, battery cases are made of plastic that does not leak and can be stored on nearly any surface, even left in standing water with no ill effects.
- 11. What is specific gravity, and why does it matter?
Sulfuric acid is no more than chemicals dissolved into a water based solution. Pure distilled water has a specific gravity, or weight of 1.000. When we dissolve chemicals in that water, the solution becomes heavier. Battery electrolyte is a solution of water and sulfuric acid with a specific gravity of 1.265 for flooded batteries and around 1.310 for sealed (absorbed glass mat) batteries. Which means that with AGM batteries, the acid solution is 1.310 times heaver than water alone. The specific gravity can be easily measured with the use of a battery hydrometer, nothing more than a tube with a calibrated float inside. The higher the specific gravity of the solution in the tube, the higher the float will ride in the solution. Just as you are more buoyant in salt water than fresh, the salt being like the dissolved chemical in the water. With that said, as a battery becomes discharged, the dissolved chemical clings to the lead plates. When the battery is charged, it returns to the water. When this becomes hardened on the plates, it is called sulfation.
- 12. Which is better for my powersports application, GEL or AGM?
Recently, certain retailers have been offering a gel alternative to AGM power sports batteries. We encourage you to stay away from them. Gel batteries require a slightly lower charge voltage than what your stock power sports equipment regulator allows for. This means that every time you ride, your battery is getting overcharged, which will lead to shorter battery life.
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