Battery Buying Guide - How to buy the best battery for your Home and Office
Battery plays a crucial role in determining the performance of your power backup equipment. So, you must check the battery specifications properly when deciding to purchase a new battery or when your old battery becomes unusable.
Generally, the size of a battery is determined by its wattage load and projected runtime. Using a battery which is not strong enough will be unable to power up your UPS or inverter and may lead to some discharging issues that could permanently damage the battery. The below mentioned formula can be used to calculate the size of the battery:
Battery size = Inverter rating (watts) ÷ input voltage x usage time (hours)
The electrical capacity is measured in Ampere Hour (AH) which is the amount of energy the battery can store. Electrical current is multiplied by time in hours which will be equal to ampere-hours. This is an important measure to see while choosing a battery for a UPS or inverter. AH ratings of a battery will vary with temperature and also with the rate of discharge.
Battery Discharge Rate
When the battery is discharged over 10 hours, the rate is C10. C20 is for 20Hrs and so on. These rates indicate how many amperes the battery can supply for 10 and 20 hours without falling below a certain voltage. So, lower will be the discharge rate, lesser will be the electricity you will be able to draw for a designated period.
Types of battery
Lead-acid batteries are the common type of rechargeable batteries. Most of the inverters and UPS have lead acid batteries of different types.
These type of batteries need maintenance and distilled water has to be filled once in a while. This traction style battery has a traditional engine start. Liquid electrolyte moves freely in the cell compartment. Users can access the individual cells and add distilled water when the battery dries out. Popular applications are engine starting, deep cycle designs, etc.
Deep cycle battery
The deep cycle batteries have been designed to be less susceptible to any sort of degradation due to cycling and are required for applications where batteries get regularly discharged such as uninterruptible power supplies. These kind of batteries have thicker plates which deliver less peak current, but are able to withstand frequent discharging.
They are also called traction batteries or golf cart batteries. They are mainly used to handle repeated discharge/charge cycles.
These batteries are usually maintenance-free. Although you do not have access to the cell compartments, the internal structure is basically the same as a flooded battery. The one and only difference is that the manufacturer ensures a sufficient amount of acid in the sealed battery to sustain the chemical reaction under the normal usage throughout its warranty period.
VRLA or Valve Regulated Lead Acid battery is a type of sealed battery. It has a valve regulating mechanism which allows a safe escape of hydrogen and oxygen gases during charging and therefore no separate room is needed to keep this battery.
1. AGM or Absorbed Glass Matt battery is also a sealed battery.
2. These batteries boast all the benefits of gelled batteries, but are more rugged and durable.
These are also known as starved electrolyte or dry battery because the glass mat is just 95% saturated which means that it do not leak acid even if its casing is broken.
The gel battery is similar to the AGM style because the electrolytes in the battery are suspended but different. The electrolyte in this cell has silica additive which makes it hard. The recharge voltage on this gel battery is lower than the other styles of lead acid battery. It is the most sensitive cell in terms of adverse reactions and over-voltage charging. Gel Batteries are used in very deep cycle applications and have the capacity to last a bit longer in hot weather applications. If inappropriate battery charger is used on this gel battery then poor performance and premature failure will be certain.
Battery based on Design
- a.) Pure Plante : The type of batteries have a long life but at a relatively high expense than the flat plate or tubular batteries. Hence, they find less use these days.
- b.) Flat Plate : The positive plate of this battery is a rugged lead alloy grid that is is filled with a specially compounded paste of active material.
- c.) Tubular batteries : The positive plate of this battery is composed of a series of parallel polyester tubes which are filled with lead oxide to prevent 'Shedding'. They are mainly recommended for UPS back up power and inverters where the environmental conditions are very tough. They provide long hours of backup.
Checking the efficiency of battery
To determine if a battery system is experiencing any problem, you can fully charge the batteries then shut off the battery charger and remove all the connected loads. Allow each battery to stand on an open-circuit for up to one hour. Measure the voltage of the battery. If the battery voltage spread rises above .30 volts for a 12 volt battery then a problem is indicated. Only battery voltage cannot confirm a problem. When the voltage spread indicates some problem, confirmation can be done by taking some electrolyte specific gravity readings with the help of a hydrometer. If the readings show a spread greater than .030, it will show slow constant current charge.
Top Battery Brands
- SF Sonic
Maintenance of battery
Maintenance of the battery is important for proper functioning of your power backup equipment. There are several dangers which a battery may pose including:
- Short circuit of the battery terminals
- Fire hazard due to battery gases
- Severe acid burns from wet lead-acid batteries
Here are some tips for battery maintenance:
- The battery terminals must be clean regularly
- The electrolyte levels in the battery should be maintained over the minimum levels. Only distilled water should be used to fill the electrolyte.
- The inverter batteries must be equalized in every two months. The deposits on battery must be knocked down by controlled overcharge. It will help in extending the battery life.
- The battery tops must be cleaned with rags dipped in solution of baking soda. This solution should never enter the batteries through any of the vent holes.
- The battery terminals must be checked regularly for corrosion which will be indicated by green coloured deposits.
- Always keep your battery in a cool and ventilated place. Heat must be avoided as it will harm the battery and reduce its life.
Buying batteries can be a daunting and time-consuming task because of the fact that you have to compare different batteries and several battery suppliers before finalizing the right one. This results in wastage of your valuable time and incurs additional costs in going from store to store. So, look no further than Sulekha where you can find the best battery dealers at one place who can provide you top quality batteries from leading brands like Exide, Amaron, Okaya, MtekPower, SF Sonic, Luminous and DigiPower, etc. at very reasonable rates.