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Don't forget the batteries ! Battery Maintenance in Winter

2021-01-12
Don't forget the batteries ! Battery Maintenance in Winter

More and more types of machines are powered by batteries, or rather rechargeable batteries. Whether it's lawnmowers, e-bikes, electric scooters, ATVs and other equipment, it's important to take proper care of the battery in winter. Most of the equipment is turned off in the winter, and as is sometimes said: "What goes out of sight, goes out of mind".. However, forgetting the battery can be quite expensive. Materials (such as lead or lithium) are used in the production of virtually all types of commonly used batteries, which are not among the cheapest, so the price of batteries is a significant part of the cost of purchasing the entire machine. Therefore, it certainly pays not to neglect anything and thus prevent damage to the battery.

To understand why battery care is so important, it is useful to know at least the basics of the battery principle. The battery itself collects (stores) electrical energy based on an electrochemical process. During charging, electrical energy is converted into chemical energy, and then the chemical energy is converted back into electrical energy during discharging. However, the battery does not have unlimited life. Different types of batteries have a differently limited number of charging cycles (from hundreds to thousands), and with each charging and discharging, the capacity of the battery also decreases. This means that each time you charge it again, the battery will store a little less energy. However, the number of charge cycles can be significantly affected by how the battery is charged, discharged and stored.

Never leave a discharged battery for a long time. Quite often at the end of the season the user discharges the battery with the last use of the machine, hides the machine for the winter, and in the spring is surprised to find that the battery can no longer be recharged. Drivers are well aware that a car battery that remains discharged for a long time is irreparably damaged. They also know that frost can accelerate the wear and tear of a car battery. In extreme cases, even a discharged car battery can freeze and the electrolyte can rip the battery apart. A car battery is actually a similar type of lead-acid battery that is also used to start or power some electric machines, such as lawnmowers, electric scooters, ATVs, etc. From this it follows that the lead-acid battery must be stored fully charged, preferably in a heated place. If it is stored for a long time, it is recommended to check it at least once every 3-4 weeks and recharge as needed.

Many modern machines and equipment are powered by lithium batteries. Although low temperatures don't bother them so much during operation, they should also be stored in a heated room. Lithium batteries are mainly harmed by high temperatures, so never store them in direct sunlight or near a heater. Store the lithium battery at about 70-80% charge. However, the lithium battery is very sensitive to discharge. If you discharge a lithium cell below a certain limit, it will no longer be charged. Therefore, lithium batteries contain electronics that prevent discharge just below the set limit. However, if you leave them discharged for a long time, the voltage on one of the cells in the battery may drop below the critical level due to self-discharge, and this will irreparably damage the cell.

Proper storage of batteries will significantly extend their lifespan. Conversely, poor storage can destroy them.

At the beginning of the season, fully charge the batteries before the first use and charge them after each use. Always use chargers supplied or recommended by the manufacturer for charging. When charging with an inadequate charger, the battery can heat up, which at best only shortens its life, at worst there is a risk of fire or explosion of the battery.

Therefore, it is very important to regularly and properly maintain batteries. With proper care, the battery can last for several years. If you neglect it, it will probably be useless after one season.

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