Deep-Cycle Battery Maintenance
I received the following from Johnson Controls.
DEEP-CYCLE BATTERY MAINTENANCE
Always wear safety glasses when working near or with batteries!
Deep-cycle batteries supply the motive and accessory power for the application in which they are used. The rate of discharge varies with the type service. The depth of discharge varies with the length of time it is used before being recharged. The life of a cycling battery is determined not only by the number of cycles (a discharge and a recharge) it receives, but also by the depth of each cycle and the degree of overcharge. Once the battery is discharged, it needs to be charged since it is not usually being maintained by a generator or alternator during use.
MAINTAINING A DEEP-CYCLE BATTERY FOR OPTIMUM LIFE
- Do not completely discharge a battery if it can be avoided. The deeper the discharge, the less life you will ultimately obtain from the battery.
- A cycling battery should be fully charged every day it is used, even if it is only discharged 25%.
- Frequently check the electrolyte levels before charging the battery. Never allow the electrolyte to drop below the tops of the plates because the exposed portion of the plates may become permanently inactive due to sulfation. This will reduce battery life.
- Use caution when filling a battery with water. Overfilling a discharged battery can easily result in an overflow of electrolyte from the cells when the battery is placed on charge. Add water, if necessary, to bring the electrolyte levels to the level indicator after charging.
- Most users of cycling batteries have purchased chargers for recharging their batteries. This equipment is designed to put back the charge that was removed from the battery. Follow the battery charger manufacturer’s charging instructions.
- Do not overcharge your battery. Overcharging causes excessive electrolyte loss and grid corrosion, which reduces battery life. Do not extend the charge time. Once the battery is charged, disconnect it from the charger.
- Always read the safety precautions and warnings found on the battery before working with a battery.
- Batteries should be fully charged, clean and dry if they are to be stored for any length of time. Store the battery in a cool, dry place. The cooler the environment, the slower the self-discharge rate. DO NOT store the battery where the temperature will consistently go below 32ºF. To preserve optimum battery performance charge the battery when the open circuit voltage drops to 12.4 volts or the specific gravity of the acid reaches 1.225.
Follow these instructions and you will get the optimum life from your battery.