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Kopycinski's Brain - Battery Survival

Optima Battery
Jay Kopycinski | Writer
Posted January 1, 2013

An auto battery is a relatively simple device, but it’s vital to our everyday motorsports needs. We use the internal chemical energy to provide electrical energy to run a starter motor, producing mechanical energy. On the flip side, the alternator turns mechanical energy to electrical energy that recharges the battery to restore its chemical energy.

We can be hard on batteries. Some vehicles are driven daily, but short trips aren’t optimal for recharging. Weekend rigs may sit for long periods of time between uses, leaving the battery to slowly discharge. In other cases, we use high-current accessories such as lighting or winches that can place extraordinarily high loads on the battery and electrical system. Each of these scenarios can slowly diminish the capacity of a battery until it is finally too weak to work properly.

However, there are a few practices you can adopt that can help ensure you maximize the life of your battery and have the confidence to know that it’s fully capable when you need it most.

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Batteries are constructed in several ways. There are wet-cell (flooded-acid) batteries, sealed batteries, and Gel-cell and absorbed glass mat (AGM) types. We prefer using non-wet types in off-road vehicles as there is no liquid acid to spill and these batteries are completely safe in a rollover or other accident. When using a Gel or AGM battery, make sure the charger has a setting for Gel or AGM. It’s important to note that using a regular automotive charger on these batteries can cause them to overcharge.

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