Frequently asked questions

Automotive Batteries

What does an automotive battery do?

A traditional automotive battery supplies power to start the car, keeps it running temporarily in case of alternator failure, provides power to the electrical system when the engine is off, and as vehicles become more advanced, it needs to deliver power to additional gadgets; however, start/stop batteries are specifically designed to meet the higher demands and cycling requirements of start/stop applications.

What are the most common causes for battery failure?

The most common causes for battery failure include old age, extreme temperatures, electrical system faults, leaving lights or accessories on, and insufficient charging.

How does a battery work?

An automotive battery works by converting chemical energy into electrical energy through a chemical reaction between lead plates and an electrolyte solution, producing a flow of electrons that can be harnessed for powering the vehicle..

How do I charge my battery?

You can charge your battery using a battery charger connected to a power source, following the manufacturer’s instructions. It is essential to use a compatible charger and to observe safety precautions.

Can a battery really explode?

While rare, a battery can potentially explode if mishandled, damaged, or subjected to extreme conditions. Factors such as overcharging, short circuits, or a faulty battery can increase the risk. Proper precautions should be taken to minimize the chances of an explosion.

What sort of maintenance should I perform on my battery?

Regular maintenance for your battery includes keeping the terminals clean and free of corrosion, checking the fluid levels (if applicable), ensuring secure connections, and periodically inspecting for signs of damage or wear.

How do I install a new battery?

To install a new battery, you typically disconnect the negative (black) cable first, followed by the positive (red) cable. Then, remove any brackets or fasteners holding the battery in place, replace the old battery with the new one, and reconnect the cables, starting with the positive cable followed by the negative cable.

How do I know when to replace my battery?

Signs that indicate it may be time to replace your battery include difficulty starting the vehicle, dim headlights, a bloated or leaking battery case, a battery that is more than 3-5 years old, and repeated jump-starts.

What safety precautions do I have to take while handling a battery?

When handling a battery, it is important to wear protective gloves and eye goggles, avoid smoking or creating sparks, keep the area well-ventilated, and handle the battery with care to prevent dropping or tipping it.

How long can I leave my battery unused?

The length of time a battery can remain unused without losing its charge depends on various factors such as battery type, condition, temperature, and power consumption of the vehicle’s electrical system. Generally, a fully charged battery can be left unused for several weeks to a few months before requiring a recharge.

Why does my battery start the car sometimes but not at other times?

Intermittent starting issues can be caused by a weak or dying battery, loose or corroded battery connections, a faulty starter motor or solenoid, a malfunctioning ignition switch, or issues with the vehicle’s electrical system. It is recommended to have a professional diagnose the problem to determine the exact cause.

Leisure Batteries

What is a leisure battery?

A leisure battery is a deep-cycle battery specifically designed to provide a steady and reliable source of power for recreational vehicles (RVs), caravans, boats, and other leisure applications. It is used to supply electricity for lighting, appliances, electronics, and other devices when an external power source is not available.

How does a leisure battery differ from a car battery?

Leisure batteries and car batteries differ in their design and purpose. A leisure battery is designed for deep cycling, which means it can discharge a significant portion of its capacity before being recharged. Car batteries, on the other hand, are designed for short bursts of high power to start the engine. Leisure batteries have thicker plates and are built to provide a more sustained output of power over a longer period.

What are the common uses for a leisure battery?

Common uses for a leisure battery include powering lights, refrigerators, televisions, sound systems, water pumps, and other electrical appliances and devices in recreational vehicles, caravans, boats, motorhomes, and camping setups.

Can I use a car battery as a leisure battery?

While it is possible to use a car battery as a temporary solution for leisure applications, it is not recommended. Car batteries are not designed for deep cycling and prolonged discharge, which can significantly shorten their lifespan. It is best to use a dedicated leisure battery specifically designed for the demands of leisure applications.

How do I charge a leisure battery?

Leisure batteries can be charged using various methods, including a dedicated leisure battery charger, a vehicle’s alternator while driving, or solar panels. When charging, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a charger suitable for leisure batteries. It’s important to avoid overcharging or undercharging the battery to maintain its performance and longevity.

How do I maintain a leisure battery?

Regular maintenance of a leisure battery includes keeping the terminals clean and free of corrosion, checking the electrolyte level (if applicable), ensuring proper ventilation around the battery, and avoiding deep discharges that can harm the battery’s capacity. It’s also important to store the battery in a cool and dry place when not in use.

How often should I recharge my leisure battery?

The frequency of recharging a leisure battery depends on its usage and discharge level. It is generally recommended to recharge the battery before it reaches a discharged state or when its capacity drops to around

Surface Motive Power Batteries

What is a surface motive power battery?

A surface motive power battery is a type of battery designed to provide power for electrically driven vehicles and equipment used on surfaces, such as forklifts, electric pallet jacks, aerial lifts, golf carts, and industrial cleaning machines.

What are surface motive power batteries used for?

Surface motive power batteries are used to power electric vehicles and equipment in various industries, including warehousing, manufacturing, logistics, construction, and transportation. They provide a clean and efficient alternative to internal combustion engines, enabling quiet operation and zero-emission performance.

How do surface motive power batteries differ from other types of batteries?

Surface motive power batteries are specifically designed to deliver high-capacity, deep-cycle power for continuous operation over extended periods. They are built to withstand frequent charging and discharging cycles and are optimized for the demanding requirements of electric vehicles and equipment.

What are the common types of surface motive power batteries?

The common types of surface motive power batteries include lead-acid batteries (such as flooded lead-acid and valve-regulated lead-acid batteries), lithium-ion batteries, and nickel-based batteries (such as nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries).

How long do surface motive power batteries typically last?

The lifespan of surface motive power batteries varies depending on factors such as battery type, usage patterns, charging practices, and maintenance. Generally, lead-acid batteries can last between 3 to 5 years, while lithium-ion batteries can have a longer lifespan of 8 to 10 years or more.

How do I choose the right surface motive power battery for my application?

To choose the right surface motive power battery, consider factors such as the voltage and capacity requirements of your equipment, the physical size and weight limitations, the expected runtime needed, and the charging infrastructure available. Consult with battery manufacturers or experts to select the battery that best matches your specific application needs.

What maintenance is required for surface motive power batteries?

Maintenance requirements for surface motive power batteries typically include regular cleaning and inspection of battery terminals and connections, ensuring proper electrolyte levels (for flooded lead-acid batteries), and monitoring battery performance. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and consider periodic battery testing and professional maintenance services.

Can I use a surface motive power battery in any type of equipment?

Surface motive power batteries are designed for specific voltage and capacity requirements. It is important to select a battery that matches the specifications of your equipment. Some equipment may require additional modifications or adaptations to accommodate the battery, so it is advisable to consult equipment manuals or manufacturers for compatibility information.

Renewable Energy

What are solar power cells and what are they used for?

The solar power cell is designed specifically for solar power installations, particularly those in which it is desirable that maintenance be kept to a minimum. These cells are capable of high cycling – in excess of 1 500 cycles to a 50% depth of discharge.

As most solar power installations are designed to cope with four to five days without sunshine, the cell design provides for a longer discharge period and a lower discharge rate than that of cells in conventional applications.
This cell is also suitable for other renewable energy installations such as wind or water drive generators.

Solar power cells can be used for the following applications:

  • Microwave stations
  • Radio repeaters
  • Any remote or hard to reach installation
  • Any renewable energy installation.

Standby Batteries

What are valve regulated lead-acid batteries used for?

This development in battery technology originated in the late 1960’s. Here the gases that are produced during operation are recombined which minimises water loss. These batteries have been used extensively in Telecoms and UPS applications.

What are tubular cells and for what are they used?

The tubular plate is only used as a positive electrode. Its principal use is for motive power applications, but it is also used for standby applications. It has a very good cycle life which means it can be discharged up to 1 500 times or even more depending on depth of discharge and other operating conditions. In standby applications it offers a small footprint and has a float life of 10 to 12 years.

Tubular cells are used for:

  • Emergency lighting
  • Telecommunications
  • Railway signalling
  • DC emergency systems.
What are Planté cells and for what are they used?

The Planté plate is only used as a positive electrode and is principally used for standby applications, including power stations, telephone exchanges, switchgear operation, telecommunications and emergency lighting.

It benefits from being extremely reliable with 25 years or more life. The Planté uses pure lead cast plates and has moderate to good energy density. Positive plates are 8mm thick pure lead grids for longer life.

Negative plates are of industrial pasted grid construction, for balanced performance and life. . It has the unique ability to provide a minimum of 100% capacity for its entire life. Normally, the end of life is determined when less than 80% capacity is available.

What does a standby battery do?
  • Supplies electrical power to critical systems in the event of a power outage
  • Acts as a voltage stabiliser to smooth out fluctuations in the electrical generation systems
  • Temporarily holds large electrical loads as electric utilities switch from one generation system to another.


How do you measure a battery’s performance?

There are two parameters that measure battery performance: voltage and capacity. In very simple terms, the voltage is the force propelling each of the electrons coming out of a battery and the capacity is the number of electrons that can be obtained from a battery.

The voltage of a battery cell is determined by the materials used in it. The typical open circuit voltage of commercial lead-acid cells is around 2.13V but the cell is said to have a nominal voltage of 2.00V. This means lead-acid batteries with nominal voltages of 2V, 4V, 6V, etc. are possible.

The capacity of a cell is essentially the number of electrons that can be obtained from it. Since current is the number of electrons per unit time, cell capacity is the current supplied by a cell over time and is normally measured in ampere hours.

How do batteries play a role in our lives?


Without lead-acid batteries virtually everything but muscle powered transportation would stop. Lead-acid batteries either start or power cars, trucks, buses, trains, rapid rail systems, recreational vehicles and electric wheelchairs. Lead-acid batteries power electric forklift trucks used in warehouses factories, mines and ships. They also power escalators and travelators in airports as well as golf carts used on courses all over the world. On the road, lead-acid batteries power electric law enforcement vehicles, buses, shuttles at amusement parks and mail carrier vans.

Power control

Thomas Edison’s first central electric generating station built in New York City in 1882, suffered many mechanical failures from sudden fluctuations of the load on the generating machines. Lead acid batteries came to the rescue then, delivering large amounts of electricity for short periods of time. They are still used for the same purpose today by electric utilities all over the world.


When the electricity goes out, your telephones stay on. This is because every major telephone company in the world uses lead-acid batteries as backup power to keep telephones systems working during storms, earthquakes and power. The same batteries also backup mobile phone and two way radio systems.

Backup systems

During power outages, lead-acid batteries provide quiet, pollution-free emergency power for critical operations in facilities such as air traffic control towers, hospitals, railroad crossings, military installations, submarines and weapons systems. In environmentally sensitive manufacturing operations, lead-acid batteries keep the pollution control system operating during blackouts and brownouts until the plant can be shut down.

Standby systems

Lead-acid batteries power cable TV systems, marine buoys and lighthouses. In remote locations they power railroad crossing signals and instruments that measure seismic disturbances for earthquake research and they store electricity generated by solar panels or windmills

What are the health hazards associated with lead-acid?

Lead in the body is measured by the amount of lead in the blood and sometimes in the bone. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the level of concern for children is 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood. Parents should look at the child’s environment to see if there are any sources of lead, such as old leaded paint. If a child has a level of 15 micrograms of lead or more per deciliter of blood, parents should look at the child’s home, school and play environments and their own jobs, hobbies or other situations that could expose the child to lead.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) threshold for adult workers in battery plants is 50 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood. A worker who tests at a 50 will be moved to a different job in the facility until his or her blood lead level falls. The employee will be counselled and monitored to keep the blood level below the OSHA threshold.

Battery manufacturers and recyclers have education programs and health maintenance programs for their employees, backed up by regular blood lead testing efforts. Regular monitoring of blood lead levels allows a physician to track the success of lead reduction programs. Test results are a critical tool in the employees’ health management programs.

How is environmental pollution controlled at the First Battery plant?
  1. Air filters and scrubbers
    To keep microscopic particles of airborne lead emissions to a minimum, manufacturers and recyclers use high efficiency air filters and wet scrubbers to filter plant air before it is released to the atmosphere. The filters are re-inspected and replaced regularly. The filters are also equipped with alarms, and the process is shut down or re-routed should a filter tear or break.
  2. Clean water
    Manufacturers and recyclers capture and treat process water to keep lead out of streams and rivers. The water is tested before it is released to ensure it meets clean water standards.
  3. Clean air
    At recycling plants, air monitors are installed at the perimeter of each property to ensure any lead in the air is below the regulated limit of 1.5 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air, averaged on a quarterly basis.
  4. Work practices
    Children can be exposed to lead when a parent who works at a lead plant carries dust home on shoes or work clothes, or in the worker’s hair. OSHA regulations require workers in high lead exposure areas of the plant to leave work clothes and shoes at the plant and to shower and wash their hair before going home. They also require workers in high lead areas to wear a respirator that filters lead particles out of the air a worker breathes. Education programs train workers to wash thoroughly before eating or smoking during breaks and to practice other habits to safeguard their health.
  5. Fugitive emissions
    A regular program of exterior vacuuming or washing down paved areas and capturing and treating rainwater runoff to further reduce emissions. Vehicles that transport lead products typically are hosed down before leaving a facility so that any dust on tyres or the vehicle body is not carried to public roads.

Collectively, all of these practices add up to a very responsible effort to keep even small amounts of lead out of the environment, making a measurable difference.


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