Lead acid batteries were invented in 1859 by a French scientist named Gaston Plante. Without Plante’s developments in battery power, life as we know it in the 21st century would be impossible. Lead acid batteries are commonly used in vehicles, boats, golf carts and renewable energy applications. Lead acid batteries are either configured as starting batteries or deep-cycle batteries. Battery maintenance for both types of battery are similar, but this guidebook focuses on deep-cycle batteries.
A lead acid battery consists of five primary components:
- A plastic shell, or case.
- Internal lead plates
- Synthetic plate separators
- Electrolyte solution (Battery Acid)
- Lead Connecting Terminals
Lead acid batteries store electricity and voltage is generated when a chemical reaction occurs as the result of the positive and negative plates are immersed in the electrolyte. When a circuit is created between the positive and negative terminals, electricity begins to flow.
Batteries are either in a state of charge or discharge. If they are being used or being stored, they will discharge. When they are connected to a charger, or an alternator, they are being charged. There is no neutral state for a lead acid battery. When a battery is discharging, the lead plates become more chemically similar, causing the acid to respond more weakly, which results in a drop in voltage. Current flow is created by ions moving around in the electrolyte, but when the battery discharges, the number of ions decreases. When a battery is being charged, the electrical current is being fed back into the battery, which causes the positive and negative plates to become chemically different again, restoring the battery to full power. This process is referred to as deep cycling, or the ability of the battery to be deeply discharged and then fully restored.
Advantages of Lead Acid Batteries:
- The science is over 140 years old.
- They have the longest life cycle for the price range.
- They are mass produced, allowing for price reduction.
- 97% of the lead is recycled and reused, providing an environmental advantage.
- When maintained correctly, they can provide up to 500 cycles.
- Lead is heavy.
- The charging cycles are finite.
- Lead Acid batteries self discharge.
- They are affected by temperature.
There are many circumstances that can cause a lead acid battery to fail, but with this guidebook, you will have the tools to create the environment necessary to ensure that your battery enjoys a long, productive life. And you know what that means: