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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Battery Maintenance

A battery will still discharge even if you disconnect a cable.
Keep in mind if the computer does not store presets you may have to reprogram saved settings. Make sure you have all security codes available in case you have to reprogram.

Even if you disconnect a cable and the battery is in a cold environment it will slowly discharge the battery over that extended amount of time. Trickle charging it would be the thing to do as long as the battery does not overcharge because it can be destroyed (read below), or every 14 days or so charge the battery to capacity, IMO. You can read the following to help you decide what route you want to take.


Starting and other lead-acid batteries are perishable. During the discharge process, soft lead sulfate crystals are formed in the pores and on the surfaces of the positive and negative plates inside a lead-acid battery. When a battery is left in a discharged condition, is continually under charged, or the electrolyte level is below the top of the plates, some of the soft lead sulfate re-crystallizes into hard lead sulfate. It cannot be reconverted during subsequent recharging. This creation of hard crystals is commonly called "lead sulfation". It accounts for over 80% of the deep cycle lead-acid battery failures. The longer sulfation occurs, the larger and harder the lead sulfate crystals become. The positive plates will be light brown and the negative plates will be dull, off white. These crystals lessen a battery's capacity and ability to be recharged.

Sulfation is a result of lead-acid battery discharge while in storage, which is a consequence of parasitic load and natural self-discharge. Parasitic load is the constant electrical load present on a battery while it is installed in a vehicle even when the ignition switch is turned off. The load is from the continuous operation of electrical appliances, such as, an emissions computer, a clock, security system, maintenance of radio station presets, etc. While disconnecting the negative battery cable will eliminate the parasitic load, it has no affect on the other problem, the natural self-discharge of battery. Thus, sulfation can be a huge problem for lead-acid batteries while sitting on a dealer's shelf, in a basement, or in a parked vehicle, especially in hot temperatures.

How do I prevent sulfation?

The best way to prevent sulfation is to keep a lead-acid battery fully charged because lead sulfate is not formed. This can be accomplished three ways. The best solution is to use a charger that is capable of delivering a continuous "float" charge at the battery manufacturer's recommended float or maintenance voltage for a fully charged battery. 12-volt batteries, depending on the battery type, usually have fixed float voltages between 13.2 VDC and 13.6 VDC, measured at 70° F (21.1° C) with an accurate (.5% or better) digital voltmeter. Charging can best be accomplished with a microprocessor controlled three stage or four stage charger, such as a Battery Tender (Deltran), True-charge (Stat power), Battery Minder, Schumacher, etc., or by voltage regulated float charger set at the correct voltage, such as a ChargeTek, etc. By contrast, a cheap, unregulated "trickle" charger or manual two stage charger can over charge a battery and destroy it.

A second and less desirable method is to periodically recharge the battery when the State-of-Charge drops to 80% or below. At 70° F (21.1° C), a battery with 100% State-of-Charge measures approximately 1.261 Specific Gravity or 12.63 VDC and at 80% State-of-Charge, it measures 1.229 Specific Gravity or 12.47 VDC. Maintaining a high State-of-Charge tends to prevent irreversible sulfation. The recharge frequency is dependent on the parasitic load, temperature, the battery's condition, and plate formulation (battery type). Temperature matters! Lower temperatures slow down electro chemical reactions and higher temperatures speed them up. A battery stored at 95° F (35° C) will self-discharge twice as fast than one stored at 75° F (23.9° C).

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