Recharging deep-cycle batteries with a charger using a constant voltage or a fixed charge algorithm can, over time, lead to a condition called stratification. Stratification occurs when the acid in the electrolyte separates from the water and settles to the bottom of the battery causing damage to the bottom area of the battery plates.
To prevent stratification, it’s important to regularly perform an equalizing procedure to your batteries. Equalizing adds an extended charge at the end of the normal charging process necessary to promote gassing of the electrolyte in order to “re-mix” the acid and water.
THE EQUALIZING PROCESS
The method used to properly equalize batteries is as easy as using a high-quality battery charger that features an automatic equalizing mode, or has the capability to extend or restart the charging process as needed. Follow these procedures to properly equalize charge your batteries.
Make Sure The Battery Is A Flooded Lead-Acid Type.
All Electrical Loads To The Battery Must Be Removed.
Connect Your Charger And Charge The Batteries Until The Charger Terminates A Normal Charge Cycle.
a.) If the charger is equipped with an automatic equalizing mode, make sure the charger is connected and powered up long enough to complete equalization.
b.) If the charger is not equipped with an automatic equalization mode, assure the charger completes a full, automatic charge, and then restart the charger by disconnecting AC power and reconnecting. The charger should restart and extend the charge time by 1-3 hours
4. Correct Equalizing Will Cause Gassing And Bubbling Of The Electrolyte.
5. Take Specific Gravity Readings Every Hour.
6. You Will Know That The Equalization Process Is Complete: When the specific gravity values no longer increase during the gassing stage. If the charger terminates the charge automatically, before the hourly specific gravity readings are constant, restart the charger and continue the process until specific gravity readings are constant.
7. Make Sure To Replace Any Water Lost During The Process.
Equalizing your deep-cycle batteries is a great way to extend battery life and lower operational costs over time. It will also help to remove a buildup of lead sulfate crystals on the battery’s plates, a condition called sulfation. This condition lowers the battery’s ability to take a full-charge and diminishes its full power. Equalizing is just one of several procedures you should be adding to your maintenance schedule every time you service the batteries. This regular service, including watering, should be performed at least once a month, or more frequently during periods of heavy use.