Drivers caring for the health of their vehicles strive to buy the best deep cycle battery charger. Happily, the market offers a plethora of high-quality models from reputable brands, so it is not at all challenging to find a suitable option. But the next task you will face is exploiting your device correctly and ensuring its long lifespan.
One of the key things to figure out is how long you can charge your unit and whether overcharge can harm it. Some models have special protection making it possible to leave a device plugged in a power grid 24/7 with no control from a battery owner. However, if your unit does not have such a feature, it is critical for you to be attentive and not allow overcharging.
To understand why this is so important, let’s first clarify how a deep cycle battery works.
While regular starters provide powerful, short bursts of energy and lose only a small part of their charge, deep cycle models are designed to be discharged and recharged multiple times, that is, work in cycles. Electricity is obtained from the voltage that emerges as a result of a chemical reaction.
Such devices function steadily and for long periods of time. This property makes them a great choice for off-grid applications, for example, recreation in rural areas or boating.
Why overcharging is harmful to a deep cycle battery?
The principle “the more the better” does not apply here. After the energy level reaches 100%, excessive current decomposes water in the electrolyte, which shortens the unit’s lifespan. This process, called thermal runaway, develops exponentially. As the temperature grows, a higher current is generated, provoking even greater temperature increase. If you take no measures, your battery can be destroyed in a couple of hours.
Much depends on a battery type. For example, flooded and AGM models are less sensitive to overcharge than gel options. In the latter case, low-voltage charging is recommended since it allows to prevent the formation of voids. It is impossible to eliminate them, so you risk shortening the lifespan of your battery. Severe overcharge can kill a gelled unit in one day, while an AGM device can last one year.
Negligent charging can result in much more serious consequences than battery loss. If the process flows in an airtight enclosure, explosive gases are generated. Shorting or overcharge can provoke their ignition. Even though most devices have ventilation preventing such problems, you should not forget about the risks.
If you use a series of batteries, it is not recommended to include more than twenty 6V or ten 12V units in a chain. All they should be connected to a constant voltage charger and have the same capacity. If devices have different capacity, some of them can be overcharged, while others – undercharged. Premature aging is possible in both cases.
We hope the material above proves instructive, helps you avoid common charging mistakes, and make the most of your battery.