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Everything you need to know about batteries (battery)

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Everything you need to know about batteries (battery)
A bit of history
All batteries resemble each other like siblings: a large jar of acid from which two lead tokovods stick. The principle of operation of all modern batteries is the same. It has not changed in the last 147 years since Gaston Plante donated the first battery to the French Academy of Sciences for the first time in 1860. Its active area occupied 10 square meters and such an accumulator required months or even years for recharging.
Everything you need to know about batteries (battery)

Surprisingly, despite all the talk of scientists that we are on the verge of a revolution in current accumulators, their basic design remains unchanged. Fully despising newfangled cadmium-nickel systems and mysterious "fuel cells" motorists around the world use the same acid and the same lead.
Nevertheless, the differences between modern batteries and those used by Gaston Plante are almost as great as the difference between low-cost designs, in which there is really only a can of acid and nothing more and complex systems that have absorbed the technical experience of the past 147 years. Improvements to batteries occurred in the field of plate material, the overall design and, in particular, the issue of collecting and returning evaporating water (air conditioning system).
Battery Plate Material
Pure lead, from which plates and paste were originally made, is practically unsuitable with modern in-line battery manufacturing technology. For the manufacture of a lattice structure (usually cast) and the subsequent application of the paste, a material with higher mechanical properties is needed. To achieve them, lead was added antimony.
The doping of lead with antimony, usually from 6 to 12%, leads to the fact that the hydrolysis of water (electrolytic decomposition into hydrogen and oxygen) occurs already at 12 V. This means that even with the normal condition of the car’s electrical system, water is constantly consumed, volatilizing into the air in the form of gas.You do not need to be an expert to understand that in case of faults in the car’s electrical system, leading to increases and surges in it, this process is multiplied.
Everything you need to know about batteries (battery)

It was familiar and understandable and the battery of the Soviet motorists was strongly associated with the need to unscrew the caps and check the water level at least once a year. If it was not enough and the upper edges of the lattice showed up on its surface, it was necessary to search for distilled water, ask a friend or neighbor in the garage for a strange object called a densimeter (similar to an enema with a built-in float) and start home chemical experiments. Now attention, try to remember! In no case can you pour water into the gray acid, just the opposite. Otherwise, a mini-explosion can occur and not only your jeans will be burned with acid (it is quite normal, it was at least once with each), you are almost guaranteed serious injuries and burns.
Laziness and self-preservation of motorists in the West forced them to solve the problem of water evaporation. If the amount of antimony is minimized or replaced with another element, then the battery can be made virtually maintenance-free.The Americans from Delco Remy and GNB firms in the 50s realized the so-called calcium lead, and the Europeans - low-antimony (Baren, Varta, Bosch). The resulting structures provided resistance to hydrolysis at voltages up to 16 V and higher, and thus with a normally working electrical system (voltage within 14 V), the water practically does not evaporate and the battery can be made hermetically closed for the entire time of its operation.
Thus, today there are four main types of batteries - the "classic" serviced (antimony lead), low antimony, calcium and hybrid (combined). In the latter, negative plates are made of calcium lead, and positive ones of low antimony. This choice, as you guess, is not accidental. With all the advantages of calcium batteries (they are a panacea for almost any kind of trouble, according to the advertising of manufacturing companies), they still have a "fatal" drawback. With long-term deep discharge, their positive plates are coated with calcium sulfate, which blocks electrochemical reactions. This process, unlike the formation of the famous lead sulfate, is irreversible.
What do batteries die from?
"Two things in life are inevitable - death and taxes" - one famous American used to say. The Russians successfully contested the second part of this statement, but from the first situation the situation is more complicated. Like people, batteries die. Everything, no matter how much they cost in life.
The main cause of battery death is the physics of the electrochemical process of charging and discharging.
Receiving and giving current, the plates with paste applied on them expand and contract. This occurs cyclically many hundreds and thousands of times and as a result, the mechanical destruction of their structure occurs. Paste applied to the grid plates falls from them, accumulating at the bottom. As a result, even before the working surfaces become bare and lose the ability to hold a charge, the accumulated sludge will close the positive and negative plates.
A temporary solution exists. Initially, additional settling tanks were made at the bottom of the accumulators, blocked by the fins into which the sludge was collected. Further works of designers and developers led to the emergence of envelopes-separators. Separators, as the name implies, separate the negative and positive plates.Made of porous material (polyethylene recently), they are like a sponge soaked with electrolyte and allow the plates to be located almost close to each other.
This significantly reduces the size of batteries and increases their resistance to mechanical loads, because now inside them are tightly packed "bags", and not dangling lattices. Further, if the separators are closed from three sides, they turn into original envelopes, in which the spent lead paste that falls from the surface of each plate accumulates. As a result, the need for a settling tank disappears, plate packs can be fixed directly on the bottom, which further increases durability and resistance to vibrations and shocks. Extra height space is also released. It is used to create additional reserves of electrolyte (increases the total battery life) and the system of condensation and collection of evaporating water (see the previous bracket).
Batteries are equally afraid of overcharging and deep discharge.
In the first case, intense oxidation, destruction and scattering of the material of the positive plates occurs, and in the second case, the paste begins to melt from the negative lattices.Recharging can occur both on a running car in the event of an electrical system malfunction, and during stationary battery charging, when you get distracted, forget, generally missed the moment when it began to boil, intensively decomposing water. Calcium and hybrid batteries are much less susceptible to this threat because the composition of their lead provides the properties of a kind of "self-switchable" - they no longer accept the current when they are 95-97% charged.
Deep discharge occurs most often due to the fault of the electrical system (faulty generator), due to a weakened generator belt, oxidation of numerous contacts, as well as short circuits to the housing when current flows not to the battery, but to heat the surrounding air with the entire vehicle mass. The arisen malfunctions are easy for noticing on unexpected problems of start-up of the engine. They are eliminated by stationary charging, as well as finding and eliminating the actual cause of the current loss.
When discharging, not only long-term consequences are dangerous here (destruction of negative plates). It is quite possible to go beyond the "non-recoverable limit" - 2 V, when the battery can no longer be charged with any of the smartest chargers.Another situation is more simple, but no less dangerous. The electrolyte of a discharged battery rapidly tends to turn into ordinary water, and, as you know, it freezes at minus temperatures. So, if a charged battery tolerates frost quite tolerably because sulfuric acid does not freeze, then in a discharged version it can easily “jerk”, not having sustained another frosty night.
Battery selection
The main criterion when choosing a battery is its capacity.
Car makers carefully select all components of the electrical system, including the generator and battery, for compatibility with each other so as to obtain a balance. The initial parameter here is the engine - its volume and number of mounted units, including the air conditioning compressor, which together determine what force it will need to be scrolled at start. On the other hand, the generator should also charge this battery and supply enough current to the others, including auxiliary systems - heaters, window raisers, etc.
Everything you need to know about batteries (battery)

"small" in capacity, compared with the current generator. At the same time, the battery will constantly receive more current than it needs for normal charging.In the opposite case, when buying a “tank” battery for your Zhiguli, it will certainly “starve” and be in a state of insufficient charge. The dangers and destructive effects of over-and undercharging are described in detail in the previous part of this article. The conclusion is simple: if your car manufacturer has identified a 36, ​​54 or 72 ampere-hour battery for him, try to find a replacement that repeats the original as accurately as possible.
Three and a half standard batteries are common in the world: European, Japanese, North American and South American, the latter, however, made on the basis of the first and practically repeats it. The differences here relate to the form, not the content, developed historically as well, for example, the “left hand drive” in Japan and also defies logical explanation.
The American standard assumes tokovody, located not on the top cover of the battery, but on the side and, moreover, having a "thread in-inside" design. Thus, having bought a Jeep Cherokee or Chevrolet Suburban and left it far from civilization (from normal parts stores), you may encounter a situation when the batteries sold in stores are incompatible with the electrical wires of the car.We strongly recommend not to cut the last ones and not to invent self-made adapters - the electrical system does not like such rough intrusions. We'll have to look for a real "American" battery.
The situation is similar with Japanese cars. Creating tiny vehicles, the Japanese designers filled the engine compartment so tightly that the battery became their European and American counterparts. When buying a “real” (non-European assembly) Japanese or Korean car, you need to be prepared for the fact that only the “brand” unit will take its place. The alternative is to defeat and restructure the engine compartment, which is easier and cheaper - you decide.
When choosing a battery, it is necessary to correctly read its parameters recorded on its label. There are, for example, such symbols and abbreviations:
12V, 55Ah, R.C. 90 min, LOAD TEST 200 A, CCA (-18 C): BCI 400, IEC 275, DIN 255
12V- rated voltage of 12 volts;
55 Ah- battery capacity, in this case 55 amperes / hour.
Capacity, by definition, is how much electricity is “placed” in the battery. Moreover, the dimensions (length-width-height) are not as important here as the design features and, therefore, the internal capacity to accumulate energy.For comparison, this can be represented as a box in which you can put a 3-liter jar and then the capacity will be from 0 to 3 liters, or 1 liter, and then the same figure will be limited to 1.
To determine the battery capacity, a fully charged battery is discharged with low current (in the case of the 55th battery, about 2.75 A) at an electrolyte temperature of 25 ° C for 20 hours, and at the end of such a discharge the voltage at the battery poles should not be lower than 10, 5 volts. Thus, a 100-amp battery should “give out” a current of 5A for 20 hours so that after discharge by this current its voltage does not fall below 10.5 Volts.
R.C. 90 min.- Reserve Capacity - 90 minutes.
Backup capacity is the time (in minutes) during which the battery is able to maintain a voltage of at least 10.5 volts at a discharge current of 25A.
The physical value of the reserve capacity is the time that can be driven at night with the minimum electrical load of the vehicle with the battery inoperative.
LOAD TEST 200 A- Load test 200 A.
The load test shows whether the battery is working and whether it can hold the load necessary to start the engine.To check the tokovodam connect the resistance corresponding to the resistance of the electrical system when starting the car. In household and garage conditions it is a probe (device N E108, not to be confused with E107!). After about 15 seconds under load, the battery should give a voltage of not less than 9.5 volts at a temperature of 21 C. About the energy that the battery released during those seconds is indicated by the resistance of the probe red-hot. The smaller (in capacity) the battery, the smaller the engine should twist and, accordingly, less stress test. Its exact value (in our case - 200 A) is indicated on the label.
CCA (-18 C): BCI 400, IEC 275, DIN 255- Cold start current (Cold Cranking Amperes).
The most important indicator, speaking about how powerful current will issue the battery in winter start conditions. To determine it, the battery is kept for several hours at -18 ° C (0 F) and the current is measured, which it then gives for 30 seconds.
Cold start current is measured using three different methods: BCI (Battery Council International), IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission and DIN (Deutche Industri Normen). They differ in details (30, 60 or 150 seconds, 7.2, 8.4 or 6, 0 volts final voltage) and, as a result, determine the different totals, the way battery manufacturers apply them to labels and is the latest test of battery quality.Serious firms indicate all three values, and dubious companies indicate only one, of course, the largest, and, as a rule, without decoding it.

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