Battery Power - November/December 2013 - (Page 12)

Feature Battery Demands for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Gale Kimbrough, Technical Services Manager Interstate Batteries Many years ago, a vehicle's cranking cycle demanded a longer duration (five to 30 seconds) due to non-electronic ignition systems and carbureted engines. Some carbureted engines required multiple accelerator hits prior to cranking, while others required only one depression. Some of the air-flaps on the carburetor would not close while others would always close. Once the vehicle started, there were minimal electrical/electronic accessories to operate, and virtually no key-off drain to discharge the battery overnight. Under-hood temperatures were lower, and the battery didn't operate as hot (in high-heat areas) compared with many of today's vehicles. Depending on the amount of years we go back, the engine oils could have been straight weights like 30 WT, and when it got cold, the engine oil lubricated much slower due to thickness. We were dealing with engines that were known by the cubic inch displacement (CID) such as 283, 302, 327, 289, 402, 427 and 454. The battery, of which there were only a handful of choices, under the hood was a lead-acid battery, and in the early 1980s, most V/8 Chevy engines had an OE CCA requirement of 350 CCA, so the battery didn't require many plates per cell. Most of the auto batteries came with lead antimony positive and negative plates. The vehicle's charging systems were typically regulated to or around 13.8 V to 14.0 V, which was consistent with the lead antimony charging needs of the battery. Battery manufacturing processes at that time were dedicated to a lot more manual labor, and the lead plates were typically overbuilt for the application. If the alternator belt broke or the charging system encountered a malfunction, the reserve capacity minute rating would allow the vehicle's engine to continue running until the lights started to dim. In that era, we primarily lived in a "do-it-myself" world of maintenance necessary for our vehicles, which included batteries. As previously mentioned, the batteries were primarily lead antimony, and a significant amount of gas evolution was present around the battery. Some were coming on the scene with lead calcium positive and negatives that reduced the gassing level. Battery maintenance was necessary to keep the cable connections clean, as well as to reimburse the evaporated water in the battery. The BCI manual offered us information stating that 2.11 volts per cell (12.66 V) and 1.265 specific gravity was a fully charged battery. It was also noted that there was only one sanctioned method of testing, which included applying a load of half of battery-rated CCA for 15 seconds only after ensuring the battery was 75 percent or more charged prior to load testing. What about those other lead-acid batteries like Gell and AGM? Obviously, they were around but primarily used in applications other than automotive starting. Batteries for almost all applications underwent a lot of 12 Battery Power * November/December 2013 changes in the middle to late 1980s, 1990s and now the first few years of the 2000s. Many in auto/commercial starting applications transitioned from antimony (high percent) to low percent on the positive and lead calcium negative to a lead calcium for both positive and negative plates. Along the way, we saw variances or nuances like lead calcium with silver on the positive, additions of sodium sulfate, heat-related changes to the negative plates, as well as expanded metals for one or both plates. The processes continue to evolve to different manufacturing processes, like using a continuous roll of lead material and a high-speed stamping process along with rolling methods to gain strict and precise thickness levels. Today's Vehicle and Battery So many changes have evolved in a few decades. Many of today's engines start in 750 milliseconds to two seconds due to precise electronic fuel injection processes. The OE CCA amp requirement for starting vehicles has generally climbed to 100 to 150 more than in 1980, but for a much shorter duration. The charging system voltage regulation on many vehicles still hovers around 14.0 V to 14.5 V for 12-volt systems. However, electrical/electronic demands have multiplied. Under-hood temperatures have skyrocketed in recent years, and the under-hood battery reflects the temperature increase. Recent data collection illustrates that in extreme hot climate situations, the battery is placed into an under-hood environment of 140°F (60°C) to 195 (90°+C), slightly different circumstances than in the 1980s. Battery key-off drains (parasitic draw in milli-amps) have also increased due to the number of computer processors keep-alive parasitics per vehicle, as well as the many add-on electronic accessories used. With these parasitics and the increased heat, under-hood has changed how the battery fails and why.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Battery Power - November/December 2013

Solid-State Battery Developed at CU-Boulder Could Double the Range of Electric Cars
GS Yuasa Batteries Help Power Orbital Science’s Cygnus Spacecraft on Mission to ISS
Li-Ion Battery Technology Delivers High Power for Data Center UPS Installations
Battery Demands for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Understanding When and Why You Need UPS Battery Replacement
Charging Forward: A Resurgence of the EV Movement and the Role Charging Infrastructure Plays in Continuing the Momentum
Charging Systems
Testing & Monitoring
ICs & Semiconductors
Industry News

Battery Power - November/December 2013