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.
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.
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.
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
County Battery Services have started to rebuild the Gardena Lithium Battery as you are probably aware lithium rebuilding can cause some difficulties however as you can see in the picture Stuart at our Nuthall Depot is an expert. If you need help with one of these or any other lithium battery pack please let me know. I can be contacted at County Battery Services
County Battery Services use Panasonic cells for their power tool rebuilds the quality is second to none!
BMW are now fitting Li-ion starter batteries in the place of AGM on some of their more prestigious marks. Li-ion is probably half the weight of the AGM and I would expect it to outlast the AGM. We at County Battery Services supply Lithium Battery for motorcycle starting which is useful for racing bikes weight, but I see no real advantage for the car battery especially as the majority will be supplied for road use. BMW are saying that the product will enable better starting in cold weather I don’t know what the price is I guess it will be £1000 or more to replace.
Another issue is the charging if you get a car with one of these batteries please make sure you have the correct charger it will kill the battery if you do not and could quite easily explode!
Have you ever noticed when there is a power cut numerous burglar alarms start sounding? When the power goes out the battery cuts in just in case someone has cut the power to the premises to disable the alarm. As soon as the power is restored the alarm resets and no problem
The reason that alarms ring when there has been a power outage is normally because the battery is no longer working. The design life on these batteries is 5 years County Battery Services Ltd recommend they are replaced every 3 years although offer full testing services in any of their stores in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nuthall, or Ilkeston.
Firstly we need to categorise into different products;
- SLI (Starter lighting and ignition) Flooded Traction Semi traction, and leisure
- VRLA (Valve regulated lead acid) Which comprises of AGM (absorbed glass mat) and Gel (electrolyte held in a thixotropic gel)
- Pure Lead (Odyssey)
SLI Flooded Traction and leisure
Recommended charging at 10% of the Ampere hour rate e.g. 100 Ampere Hour battery would require 10 amps. If one assumes the battery was 80% discharged it would need 80 amps plus possibly (depends on the battery) another 10% for inefficiency to regain full charge. It makes sense to assume that 10 amps for 8.8 hours would be sufficient for a full charge. This is not the case as the voltage of the battery increases so the amperage will fall (Ohms Law) The normal “rule of thumb” that is applied in this case is 8(amps) x 10 (hours) gives 80% charge and the amount of time take to get to 80% should be added on (in this case a further 10 hours) for battery to regain a full state of charge.
VRLA batteries require a minimum of 10% and a maximum of 25% charge obviously charge quicker and tend to be more efficient so 100 Ah battery 25 amp charge rate will charge for 4 hours to 80% + 4 hours.
Pure Lead even better requiring 40% at minimum and theoretically almost no upper limit so 100 Ah battery charged at 40 amps will be at 80% in two and a half hours and fully charged in five hours. It is possible with Odyssey to take a 100ah battery charge it at 200amps and have the battery back in service in 1 hour!
It may be useful to point out that the batteries listed do tend to have different charging algorithms and advice should always be taken on the correct battery charger contact us at www.countybattery.co.uk
Here is an interesting way to use a product that is no longer of serviceable use in the product that it was designed for then recycled to do another job The question is will it work?
Part of my work at County Battery Services Ltd is to look at new and innovative products that the Company can bring to Market some time ago we launched the Powerbank a device that captures the solar energy from photovoltaic cells and stores it to be used when the sun goes down.
Old batteries and solar I think this all sound a great idea, but in reality is it feasible? If the battery has come from a crashed damaged car that is an insurance total loss then I could see it working, but the suggestion is that you take a battery that is no longer of use in a car and expect it to perform in a solar application.
I am aware that studies are being carried out no one talks about the battery life after is has left the car, It would need to be reconditioned in some way or the correct voltage could not be maintained. When ever we have swapped cells in fork truck batteries the others soon start to fail not long after and they are of low voltage with typically no more than 24 cells
The battery could be dismantled and any faulty cells could be replaced but that is a time consuming and dangerous job (400V DC). As there are lots of cells in one of these packs It would be easy to miss some, or have others fail within days of the others being replaced. It is possibly cheaper to buy a new battery and definitely more reliable.
The quest to find a cheap way to store energy I think must carry on maybe a water tower and an Archimedes Screw would be better?