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What You Need to Know About Storing Your Batteries

Posted On: November 30, 2015 by ClubProcure in: Agronomy

Winter is upon us. As courses north of the Mason Dixon Line prepare for the next few months, we here at VGM Club, along with valued supplier partner Interstate Battery, want to refresh your memory on some basic battery maintenance this winter season.

What do I need to know about winterizing my batteries?

One of the biggest mistakes a course can make is storing batteries in a discharged state. A discharged battery exposed to extremely cold temperatures can cause the electrolyte within the battery to freeze. This process can cause the case to expand and break. When a battery's case breaks, it can cause a leak or complete battery failure. Remembering to charge batteries, and periodically check those charge levels is important to avoid any of these issues come springtime when golfers are itching to get out on the course.

What kind of safety precautions must I take?

  • Always wear proper eye, face and hand protection. Also keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from the battery.
  • Never try to open a battery with non-removable vents, and keep removable vents tight and level except when servicing electrolyte.
  • Keep work area well ventilated.
  • Never lean over battery while boosting, testing or charging.
  • Exercise caution when working with metallic tools or conductors to prevent short circuits and sparks.

What types of recommendations for inspection and servicing are there?

  • Keep the battery clean.

Make sure the terminal connections are clean and tight. Use a mixture of baking soda and water to remove corrosion from the top of the battery terminals and posts.  A wire brush may be necessary to completely clean the terminal connections.

  • Make sure that battery electrolyte is at the correct level.

The maximum level should be about an eighth of an inch (1/8") below the vent well tube. The minimum electrolyte level is one half inch (1/2") above the plates. Do not add water if the electrolyte level is between ½" above the plates to 1/8" below the vent well. Over filled batteries which raise the water level up into the vent well can result in excessive water loss when recharged and seepage during normal usage. It is recommended to use distilled water to refill the battery when possible.

  • Check battery state of charge.

A graduated hydrometer is the most accurate and sometimes the only way to accurately assess the battery's state of charge. Voltage readings can sometime mislead you immediately after a recharge because of the battery's surface charge. Surface charge is an artificially high voltage reading caused by a high concentration of acid near the plates during and immediately after charging.

What is the Approximate State of Charge vs. OCV and Specific Gravity Chart?

SOC OCV Sp. Gravity
Full charge 12.84 1.300
90% 12.73 1.282
80% 12.65 1.268
70% 12.57 1.255
60% 12.49 1.242
50% 12.41 1.228
40% 12.33 1.215
30% 12.25 1.202
20% 12.17 1.188
10% 12.09 1.175
0% 12.01 1.162  

How should I properly charge my batteries?

Proper battery charging is one of the most important factors to a battery's performance and service life.

  • Never attempt to charge a battery without first reviewing the instructions for the use of charger.
  • Always wear proper eye, face and hand protection.
  • Always charge batteries in a well-ventilated area.
  • Batteries stored in a discharged condition for extended periods can permanently sulfate and suffer significant capacity loss in the process.

How should I properly store my batteries?

  • Clean the battery case and terminals with baking soda and water.
  • Check the water level and add water if needed.
  • Test your battery with a hydrometer and/or a voltmeter to ensure the battery is fully charged.
  • If needed, charge your battery. Batteries stored in a discharged state are susceptible to freezing, sulfation and an increased rate of discharge. A fully charged battery will not freeze unless the temperature reaches approximately 80°F below zero. But if discharged, it can freeze at 32°F.
  • Store your battery in a dry, cool, well-ventilated area (the cooler the better without going below 32°F) and out of the reach of children and pets. Check the water level and state of charge every 45-60 days. If needed, add distilled water and charge.

Proper battery maintenance, charging, and storage is vital to the battery's performance, and following these guidelines is important. VGM Club and Interstate Batteries are proud partners in providing your club with affordable solutions to your battery needs. For more information on this program contact your VGM Club rep.