Battery composition and construction have changed more in the last 6-8 years than they have in the prior four decades. New battery chemistries, such as AGM and Gel Cell types, are gaining great traction with auto manufacturers and are becoming increasingly present as aftermarket alternatives. In addition, new battery constructions, such as Spiral Wound batteries, are gaining in popularity in a wide number of application areas.
The reasons for the gaining popularity of non-traditional flooded acid battery types are many, but primarily are related to the increased power requirement of today’s vehicles and the quest for greater battery longevity among battery manufacturers.
Today’s vehicles need to be able to support a much higher power demand than vehicles of the past. This includes the need to run such accessories as navigational systems, entertainment systems, backup cameras and personal electronics. As a result of this power demand, vehicle batteries are cycled (drained heavily and recharged) far more than in the past, driving a greater emphasis on battery reserve capacity and the durability needed to stand up to these new usage patterns.
New battery chemistries and constructions are designed to handle the cycling demand of today’s vehicle better than traditional flooded batteries. In addition, they are designed to be smarter, be less prone to shorting and to deliver greater durability. For instance, AGM batteries are much more vibration-resistant, making them great for performance vehicles, off-road vehicles and powersports applications (ATVs, motorcycles, jet skis).
The downside of this proliferation of battery types for vehicle dealerships, repair shops and consumers comes when it is time to maintain batteries. New battery types cannot be properly charged using traditional battery chargers. Doing so will result in poor performance and shortened lifespan.
AGM and Gel Cell batteries, in particular, require a battery charger that is compatible with their specific charging needs. Generally, this means that the charger will charge the battery using a “smart” charging routine that incorporates a constant amperage rate for the majority of the charging process and will precisely control battery voltage throughout the charging process.
A Solution: SOLAR Pro-Logix
A great example of a battery charger that meets the needs of today’s batteries is the SOLAR Pro-Logix line of battery chargers. SOLAR Pro-Logix battery chargers are advanced, fully automatic battery chargers that assess each battery charged to determine the type and condition of the battery and its specific charging needs. The charger then executes the exclusive quad phase charging process to properly charge the battery and, in many cases, the process will result in improved battery reserve capacity.
For technicians and repair facilities, SOLAR Pro-Logix battery chargers offer the peace of mind that batteries are charged correctly, enabling them to service their customer’s vehicle in the best manner possible. In addition, Pro-Logix battery chargers do not require the operator to identify the battery type before charging, which can be difficult when servicing vehicles with older batteries where identifying tags or specifications are no longer present.
For consumers, SOLAR Pro-Logix battery chargers provide amazing versatility, thanks to the ability to properly charge virtually any vehicle in their garage, from cars and trucks to lawn tractors and jet skis. In addition, Pro-Logix battery chargers incorporate a variety of features that make charging easier and safer. These include fully automatic operation, Smart Clamp Technology, Push and Go One-Touch Control and reverse polarity protection.
Whether charging a flooded acid battery or a newer AGM, Gel Cell or Spiral Wound battery, always remember to focus on safety first. This means wearing protective eyewear and clothing, always following all manufacturer’s recommendations, reading and understanding all equipment operator’s manuals and never smoking or lighting a match near a battery. The output cables of any charging or jump starting equipment that you use should be positioned away from any moving engine parts. You should always work in a well ventilated area, and someone should always be within range of your voice or close enough to come to your aid when you work near a lead-acid battery.