The benefit of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Waiter Rule allegedly penned by Dave Berry refers to the belief that someone’s character can be judged by how they treat the waiter or someone that they feel is their subordinate. At County Battery Services the policy for corporate social responsibility is to try and work with the young as they are our future. To strive for the good of the locality that contains our customers. If our customers prosper then so may we. Finally we try to help those less fortunate than ourselves if you can be humble and show compassion to anyone then it follows that you should be able to deliver excellent customer service.

There are many other reasons why CSR is of great benefit to all involved

  • Feel good factor
  • Publicity
  • Networking
  • Staff team building
  • Giving is great
  • Tax deductible

There are two ways of giving; time, or money. County Battery Services don’t like to do both. If you do both then you may be in danger of having too much control in a cause and getting too involved.

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Do you have a car with Stop/Start technology? Can you use any battery charger?

The answer is no!

First what is Start/Stop technology? Motor manufactures have been put under pressure  from governments to make vehicles more efficient. To achieve this a number of different methods have been adapted. There are many and this blog does not set out to list them all. Obviously the first is when stopping at a road junction or waiting in traffic the engine turns off. When the accelerator is pressed the engine starts and the car pulls away. Hence Start/Stop Technology.

The alternator takes about 10% of the engines power so when the battery is charged the ECU (engine control unit) turns off the alternator saving power and fuel. When braking some of the power developed from that braking is used to boost the battery.

Because of the way the battery is discharged it is necessary to recharge the battery quickly to keep up with the demands of the electrical system on the vehicle for this reason  a new generation of batteries have been developed for Stop/Start technology

Lead acid starter batteries are a series of lead grids known as plates. Onto these plates is pasted a lead compound which is the active material, as pure lead is very pliant it is difficult to form a grid so the lead has been alloyed to give the grid its rigidity. When County Battery Service Ltd started in 1974 almost all the starter batteries were of lead antimony construction. There are advantages but  the disadvantage with antimony is that the battery gassed at a relatively low voltage so used a lot of water. Over the years this method of construction  has been largely replaced with a lead calcium alloy which allows a greater rate of charge before gassing making these batteries almost maintenance free.

 

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The AGM battery has been strong in the marketplace since the 1970’s but generally for use in emergency power and telecom systems. These batteries have now been developed using high purity lead with a calcium grid allowing a faster higher voltage and amperage charge rate but with virtually no maintenance for use in Start/Stop vehicles.

An AGM battery needs a different charging algorithm than a standard flooded  battery.With traditional battery chargers, as the battery becomes more charged the battery voltage increases as that voltage increases the amperage going into the battery will fall. You may have noticed that as the battery becomes more charged the amperage needle on the charger falls, if left on the battery starts to get hot and the electrolyte in the battery starts to bubble. This would be fatal for an AGM battery if this much gassing occurred the vents in the battery would open (to prevent explosion) and the gases would escape rendering the battery unserviceable.

With a new generation of batteries has sprung a new generation of chargers. These chargers are normally electronic with lights indicating state of charge rather than a needle. These chargers have fixed charging algorithms which peg voltage and amperage  to prevent overcharging.

 

 

BMW i3 What I like most!

I think I will tell you the thing I least first! The first is  the looks! The i3 is not the best looking car on the road in fact I think it looks a little like some small Korean run around, but perhaps it will start a change in car design.

As the car is built using large swathes of carbon fibre the car does not need door pillars hence the back doors open the opposite way to conventional ones which does give a lot more space for getting into the back but I worry about my passengers shutting them the wrong way around and damaging something. As there is no door pillar the seat belt are connected to the door so if someone wants to get out of the back the seat belt has to be unfastened.

The car is a 3 platform and is deceptively spacious,. The boot is very small and this would cause some problems if you had the vehicle with four adults that all had large suitcases.

img_2368The instruments are all very clear and of good quality the information provided is good with useful information like if there is enough charge in the battery to reach the destination (assuming you have used the satnav). The look of the inside is very pleasant  modern and comfortable. There is a great heating system which appears to work very well and has been perfect in the freezing weather in January (when this was written)

There are no gears and it is I suppose it is not classed as an automatic as there is no gears to change only forward and backwards. This is  mounted on the steering column at about 2 o’clock in the picture. The central column has therefore no gearstick. ThIMG_2370.JPGere is a circular dial which works as a mouse. The other is the travel mode three different types Comfort Economy and Economy plus. The use of these gives different mileage options which are displayed on the dash board in front of the wheel.

Whilst running in economy plus mode the milage is at the optimum the speed is restricted to 56 miles per hour and the heating does not work at full the car does not seem so lively.

Driving the car is brilliant it covers 0-60 in 7 seconds and you dont need to be the Stig to get that kind of performance just have a heavy foot! The steering and handling are very positive. It is possible to turn off the traction control but if you do the car will still not allow itself to drift, so with all the speed and handling perhaps not one for boy racers

The car can be controlled from an app there are a number of remote functions, setting the time that the vehicle charges ( to get the most from Economy 7) The app will also show the state of charge of the battery and the distance in Comfort Mode available. There is a tracking system so the car can be found should if have been parked and that place be forgotten. The app will integrate with the diary allowing meeting and address’ to be planned so that the meeting will be added to the satnav.

The battery performs better at the correct temperature the best thing on this car is within the app there is a setting to allow you to warm or cool the battery and the car before you leave for a journey. I live about five miles away from our offices http://www.countybattery.co.uk . When it was frosty in the mornimg_2372ing it used to take me about five minutes to defrost the car with a scraper and the car was just about warm when I got to Kirkby in Ashfield. That is not the case now I get into the car and it is warmed up to the temperature that is specified as it is warmed there is no ice on the vehicle there is no condensation on the windows and when I get in it is as warm as toast.

If you are interested in the other blogs on the car please follow the links

https://fullerbattery.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/bmw-i3-the-electric-highway/

https://fullerbattery.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/the-charge-of-the-bmw-i3/

No Procedure at BMW

When I booked my i3 in to a local dealer for a factory recall I was offered a courtesy car which was helpful. When I went to collect it from the dealer I was told I would have to pay £14 for the insurance when I questioned the courtesy I was told that it had to be paid.

The lady fetched the car (which is electric) and said “whoops the battery is flat not sure why”

“I think I do” I said. The car has a range extender( petrol powered) so it was not a complete disaster.

The next day someone called to ask about the service I had been given I mentioned the battery was flat and said I wasn’t particularly worried and had coped with out it. The lady asked “what would you like me to do then?”

“Nothing I was answering your question” was the answer

Don’t waste your time worrying

Yesterday I was at a business meeting and the subject of Brexit was bought up. Lots of people had opinions what should happen what there was to do. I listened with amusement because actually there is nothing I can do about it!

We watch the news all negative Korea are testing nuclear weapons Donald Trump is not happy Again there is very little I can do to influence Mr Trumps mood or Korea’s show of strength.

I have stopped watching and listening to the news because I don’t want to fill my life with negativity if there is anything really important people come and tell me although Korea Trump and Brexit don’t impress me too much!

There is a newspaper in my home town of Mansfield that only prints good news called The News Journal why can’t more papers spread more positives so the little fat guy from Mansfield can keep on smiling

The War on Waste

As you are probably aware we at County Battery Services are practitioners of 2 Second Lean which is a type of Kaizen (Japanese for continuous improvement).

Paul Akers has taken the principles of Kaizen and moulded them into a very useable system that can be implemented by any company. The benefits include

  • Increased efficiency
  • Staff Development
  • Increased staff morale
  • Clean and tidy workplace
  • Staff empowerment
  • Procedures
  • Reduced Waste
  • Less Stock
  • Shorter lead times
  • Greater Profit

So why don’t more companies read the book and implement the system? Firstly it probably goes against all the principles that you would normally expect from a business leader

  • Stop working on the job and work on improvements (there is no time the job come first)
  • I will never be able to get my staff to do this
  • Everyone to clean and tidy (the staff can but it’s below me)
  • Staff expected to make improvements to their job (they can’t be trusted)
  • Daily staff meetings (what every day?)
  • We already have systems for staff development (how can this work it’s too cheap)

From the staff

  • We are wasting time (get someone else else to do the cleaning standardising and sorting)
  • Why should I clean, and sort things in a semblance of order?
  • Cleaning is below me
  • I’m not paid to do to this

In the words of Jeff Olson in his book the Slight Edge “it’s easy to do and easy not to do.”

Please believe me when I say if you take on 2 Second Lean you business will be a better place I even practice it at home

Fake Batteries

County Battery Services are continuously investing in their testing laboratories, not only because they need to ensure that the quality of products they supply to their customers, but also a number of customers have a specification for a piece of electrical equipment and it is useful to measure the battery to that particular product.
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measuring an AA cell for fast discharge

 

During the testing process it has come to light that there are a lot of “bogus” batteries on the market especially in the 18650 with products boasting huge capacities. There are also many branded products that appear to be so cheap it arouses suspicion. It does not take much hunting on the web to find evidence of this If you want fake Ultra Fire cells click here
How can you tell if it is not the correct capacity?
Generally the major brands Panasonic Samsung etc set the standards for capacity if it is more power than the companies that have spent the most in R&D then that raises suspicion and perhaps it is worth further investigation.
To test battery the accurately then professional equipment is needed to get a real capacity reading,  for the general public it is impractical  to purchase such equipment. You can take the battery to a local  battery expert such as County Battery Services Ltd or you could use a branded product from a source that you trust put them into the same equipment and time the use! Beware that with lithium based technology battery if the battery management system or the cells are not up to standard you have a potential incendiary bomb!
One of the highest capacity 18650 cells on the market is the Panasonic NCR18650B with 3400mAh  if you come across a product with greater capacity it may be useful to be cautious. As can be seen in the link to the Ultrafire battery above cells and batteries can be faked. It is the author’s opinion that you would be better to buy from a reputable source that can authenticate the products they sell