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5 Tips to Prolong the Life of Your SLA Battery
SLA batteries are known to combine low maintenance with good performance both of which helps to contribute to their popularity. Their typical lifespan is between 3-5 years and often the difference can be due to how users handle them. Setting up and maintaining your SLA battery properly can help to maximize their longevity and dependability.
If you're looking for ways to get the most out of your SLA battery, here are some useful tips to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible.
Ensure Correct Connection & Installation
When installing or connecting an SLA Battery, it is critical that proper care is taken during the connection and installation process to ensure its long-term usage.
- Check Connections – If you’re replacing an existing battery, make sure to match the connections accurately, also make sure they are tight especially on machinery that has intense movement and vibration.
- Careful Handling – While SLA batteries are very hardy, excessive abuse can prove costly. Certainly, try to avoid dropping them or putting them in a location where they will move and bump regularly and as mentioned before, limit extreme temperature exposure. Longer periods of unrestrained movement could potentially loosen connections at terminals resulting in malfunctions further down the line.
- Installation Preparation – Make sure before setup, especially with more complicated connections, that you have an appropriate plan in place. In some cases, incorrect installation can damage not only the batteries but also the equipment that they are powering.
Once the initial plan is put in place, start preparing the material necessary following the exact measurements provided against the current setup that is going to be part of it.
Double check each detail of the layout to ensure everything complies with the manufacturer sheet and advice given accordingly on a timely basis to mitigate damage risks arising from unexpected circumstances while the process itself is taking place within the confined environment created.
- Utilize Quality Products – A key point to look into when purchasing new replacement parts and accessories is obtaining the highest quality products on the market.
In some instances, you might not have experience with a certain brand but there are plenty of resources available online to help review overall quality. Online review websites can be a useful guide and while they may not be all 100% positive, they will give you an idea of overall performance. The occasional 1 star review will of course exist often due to a variety of factors not even necessarily related to the quality of product, but an excessive number of 1 stars or an overall low score should give you pause. Check several review websites to help you determine the quality of the product.
2. Avoid Overcharging the Battery
One of the major concerns regarding extended life expectancy of SLAs is overcharging them; doing so may decrease their life by more than 50% due to maximized sulfation build-up inside each cell which results in increased internal resistance and reduced capacity growth rate through premature aging processes such as self-discharge.
SLA batteries are used in a variety of applications, from automotive to industrial and even medical equipment. Ensuring you are on top of the charging process can really help to keep them running smoothly and prolong its life.
Here are some tips:
- Understand Charging Levels – Keeping an eye on the voltage levels when you’re charging your SLA battery can help prevent discharged cells or overheating which can reduce the lifespan of your battery.
Too much current will cause excessive heat leading to premature aging while too little current won't fully charge the cells resulting in poor performance down the road.
Aim for slow but steady charges based on manufacturer guidelines whenever possible, with no more than 14 volts during bulk charging and 13–13⅔ V with float/trickle mode enabled at all times.
- Monitor Temperature - Excessive temperatures generated during the charging process can also lead to reduced longevity as well as decreased capacity due to oxidation buildup inside cell plates that results from heated electrolyte fluid boiling off slowly, damaging internal components prematurely over time.
A good rule of thumb is not to exceed 140°F (60°C) internal temperature depending on the type/model variation being used.
This should be kept track of via a thermometer if available (some chargers have these built in), in order to ensure adequate cooling mechanisms remain operational at all times.
- Recharge Frequently – Recharging often keeps overall capacities topped up, prevents sulfation from occurring by minimizing resting periods between use cycles, and potentially reconditions any remaining power still sitting idly within each respective cell groupings, currently allowing them to stay active and extend the useful life span dramatically compared to low-activity standby currents regularly experienced otherwise.
- Avoid Deep Cycling – Deep cycling means draining power levels below 10% before recharging. This will often shorten the lifespan significantly as fewer discharging sessions equals less stress imposed upon these devices gradually through successive charges.
- Balance Requirements - Maintaining balance amongst multiple similar powered configurations requires careful monitoring when combined in series or parallel arrangements, strengthening the entire setup exponentially, requiring appropriate balancing techniques applied with special attention focusing primarily on areas becoming depleted fastest, provided energy flow is supported freely, unlatching tightly locked resistors preventing further overloads once limits are reached.
3. Reduce Extreme Temperature Exposure
SLA batteries are incredibly durable but extreme temperatures can be a factor in reducing its overall lifespan. There are certain steps you can take to reduce heat exposure and keep your batteries functioning optimally for longer.
First, it's important to understand how temperature affects the chemistry inside the cells of your SLA battery. Heat causes the molecules that make up their electrolytes—the liquid that supplies power between two terminals—to break down faster than if kept at optimum operating temperature levels; this accelerated breakdown results in shorter lifespan and reduced overall performance from your battery over time.
Consequently, it's important to ensure that proper cooling measures are taken when using or storing these devices so they remain functional for extended periods of time.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure any venting slots present on either side of the device stay unobstructed whenever possible. Never stack anything on top or place near combustible materials like wood or paper products, as this could result in overheating issues due to restricted airflow.
- In extremely hot climates (over 80°F/27°C), try not to leave exposed outdoors for more than one hour at a time; minimize direct sunlight by putting under shade where available.
- During charging cycles, monitor closely with thermometer readings – aim always below 130ºF/54ºC.
- Coolers with gel packs will help maintain lower internal temperatures even during long drives.
- Avoid stacking multiple appliances directly on top of one another, since heated components generate additional warmth which will further add additional thermal stress against any underlying objects.
4. Ensure Proper Maintenance Practices
Proper maintenance practices are key in prolonging the life of an SLA (sealed lead-acid) battery.
With just a few simple tips, you can maximize use and longevity with these types of batteries over time.
- Ensure that all connections are secure – A common cause of reduced performance or failure for any type of battery is loose connection points from either the device it powers, or between cells within the unit itself.
Visually inspect plugs, terminals and leads for any corrosion or dirt build-up which may impede current flow; regular cleaning often helps improve overall function significantly.
- Recharge regularly - Properly stored SLAs must still receive periodic recharges depending on how frequently they have been used during that time period; recharge whenever possible once their charge has dropped below 20% otherwise risk damaging their lifespan prematurely due to infrequent usage over prolonged periods leading towards degraded capacity as well complete loss eventually if ignored continuously.
- Charge properly - When charging them back up again there's important distinctions based upon what stage it currently sits within: 'fill state' refers directly to inputting energy into the cell until full while 'float state' is a steady trickle maintaining preconfigured voltage.
Remember some devices require specific rate criteria ensuring maximum cycle life expectancy so consult documents prior to making changes externally to prevent potential trouble down the line.
- Balance output accordingly - Battery materials don't correct themselves under overload/discharge meaning the only way to prevent further damage caused by one cell having more juice than the rest sharing the same pack is to rely on balancing out evenly going forward, allowing electrical charges to remain together. When done correctly, taking these steps right away will go a long way toward increasing the value and usefulness you get out of an SLA battery investment by optimizing efficiency via maximized lifetime span.
5. Choose Suitable Accessories
The equipment that you have around your battery can also influence its overall lifespan. Some of those accessories include:
- Quality Chargers – Not all chargers are created equal. When selecting a charger, make sure it is not only appropriate for your specific type of equipment but also for your type of SLA battery.
Look for one that can provide optimal charging levels with minimal variation in voltage or amperage when supplying power to the battery over time – ‘steady state’ charging mode is ideal.
- Charger Types - Check all details outlined by manufacturers carefully as different chargers may vary in their capacity, safety mechanisms, current options (measured in amps), waveforms used by the charger etc. There are several different types of chargers so make sure to check the compatibility. Some of these include Fast Chargers, Simple Chargers, Smart Chargers, Induction-powered, three-state, Pulse Chargers, Trickle Chargers, Timer Chargers…all serving different purposes. Incorrect charger type may certainly influence the overall lifespan of your battery.
- Ensure Quality Components – other elements like cabling and terminals can also be a significant factor. Low quality cables can cause current leaks, cause loose connections, overall poor performance, sulfation, short circuits and will most certainly reduce the overall life of your battery.
Overall, following best practices, while not a guarantee of longevity should increase your chances of keeping your SLA battery as long as possible. Setting your replacement battery up correctly is important. Avoiding extreme conditions can be critical, not only dropping or damaging them but prolonged hot and cold temperatures can certainly have an impact. The charging process is a key influence of longevity including the quality and type of charger but also the rate and charge timing. Ongoing maintenance helps to reduce chances of issues occurring, seeing excessive build-up at terminals can be an indicator of a poor connection or bad quality wire and catching it earlier than later can keep a battery performing longer. SLA batteries do have a shelf life and naturally look up BatteryClerk when you eventually need to find a replacement.