Contributed by Jeff Barron, Interstate Batteries, Dallas, TX
Interstate Batteries, Inc. has been helping GreenpowerUSA power their electric vehicles using the DCM0035 battery. This battery really delivers the power they need to keep going. We understand that these batteries have helped propel cars to the winner’s circle on several occasions. At Interstate Batteries, we believe this is a great accomplishment.
I want to take a few moments and give you a little information about the batteries including the chemical make-up internally that allow these batteries perform. Internally we start out with a lead grid which will then receive a paste material makeup of lead-dioxide (PBO2) on the positive grid and sponge-lead (PB) on the negative grid (see fig.1). These two different chemicals are what will give you the chemical reaction for power to run the different application components.
The 12v battery consist of six individual cells that are total separated from each other within the container. The individual cells are constructed of several positive and negative plates with the absorbent material between them. These plates will be pressure inserted into the individual cells and once all 6 have been inserted, they will be welded together in a series connection. Each cell will produce 2.14v so having 6 connected, a fully charged battery will be 12.84v. The way we get this total is basic math; 6 (cells) X 2.14 (volts) = 12.84 total volts.
The chemical process cannot take place until we add the liquid electrolyte solution into the battery. The electrolyte solution is a combination of sulfuric acid and water. This combination is approximately 75% water and 25% sulfuric acid and measuring the specific gravities of this electrolyte solution would be around 1.320. This electrolyte solution is pressure inserted into the six individual ports on the top of the batteries. Once in the individual cells, the electrolyte will get absorbed into the mat material that is placed in between the positive and negative plates (see fig 2). The AGM (absorbed glass mat) have no free electrolyte moving around so they can be mounted in any position and will have no leaks. If the batteries are dropped and happen to crack, there will be no fluid leaking from the case.
These batteries have a total of 35 ampere-hours that will give you great runtimes during your different segments of competition. The key to making these batteries last is making sure they receive a complete and thorough charge once they have been discharged.
I would like to say “Thank You” for using our batteries and we appreciate you reaching out to Interstate Batteries, Inc. to let us know how we are doing. That really means a lot to our team hear.
Spoke Staff – Questions for the smartest battery man in America.
Spoke: How do you maintain a battery from week to week?
Jeff: These batteries will require a specific battery charger that charges AGM batteries. A charger that has at least 3 amps would be the best to get the batteries charged completely and then go into float (maintenance) mode. There are chargers out there that have 5-10 banks with lower amperage and work well.
Spoke: How do you select the best batteries from the inventory you have?
Jeff: This is typically done by looking at the date codes that are imbedded into the top of the plastic and then deciphering those numbers. It is really hard to tell how good they are until you start running them on the different pieces of equipment. Once they get 30-50 cycles under their belt they usually take off and run better than the specified ratings.
Spoke: Is overcharging an issue with this battery?
Jeff: Yes, overcharging these batteries can damage the overall cycle life and, if too much amperage and voltage, can cause what we call a “Rapid-Disassembly” of the battery.