Nothing puts a crimp in a technician’s day like a truck that won’t start.
Some producers might experience ongoing downtime due to dead batteries. However, proactive maintenance can prevent the top cause of 12-volt lead-acid battery failure: sulfation buildup. As a battery ages or sits unused, lead sulfate crystals eventually create a physical barrier that prevents the battery from accepting or releasing energy. Sulfation buildup claims the life (usually prematurely) of 80% of batteries worldwide.
Installing solar-powered battery chargers made by PulseTech Products Corp. of Southlake, Texas, results in essentially charging batteries for free every day, as the chargers bring batteries to a like-new state capable of holding a full charge.
The chargers keep sulfates from forming without damaging the battery plate by bombarding the surface with a high-frequency waveform consisting of rise time, pulse-width, frequency, and amplitude of current and voltage pulse. On the other hand, competitive products typically use one of three pulses: sine, square, and negative pulse waves.
Competitors may claim to deliver a “pulse charge,” but the manufacturer holds the only U.S. patent for an independently validated process that prevents and removes the lead-sulfate deposits.
The high-frequency pulse is precisely controlled by microprocessors and is a specific amplitude and frequency. It rapidly rises in less than one microsecond to its maximum amplitude and gradually returns to zero. There are no abrupt stops and battery drain as seen in other chargers.
Put to the test
In 2011, Steve Shultz of TS Products, a commercial and industrial machinery wholesaler in Dundas, Minn., tested PulseTech’s XC100-P smart charger and a competitive brand. He conducted the test for eight months, assuming that 120 test cycles equaled one year of use for an average battery.
Comparable to four years’ use, the resulting 480 test cycles showed battery plates maintained by pulse technology were clean of sulfation buildup and able to hold full charges. Those maintained by the other brand were highly sulfated and couldn’t operate at peach efficiency.
Pulse charging reduces year-to-year battery consumption by 70% or more by improving the battery’s ability to accept and store more energy.
Zena Johnson is marketing manager for PulseTech Products Corp. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.pulsetech.net. This story originally was published in Public Works, TCP’s sister publication.
Battery Management Program Protocol
Initially developed for military fleets, PulseTech Product Corp.’s Mobilization and Training Equipment Site Guide recommends the following maintenance routine to extend lead-acid battery performance and life.
Step 1: Mew batteries stockpiled as replacements can discharge up to 50%. The company’s PRO-12-RP desulfates 12 lead-acid batteries indefinitely.
Step 2: Test each battery to fully understand condition.
Step 3: Recharge batteries.
Step 4: Retest each battery after 24 to 48 hours of recharging. When withing 80% of its rated CCAs, move battery to a maintenance charger.
Step 5: Develop test schedule to ensure each battery remains in peak condition.
Step 6: Install a permanent desulfator to minimize sulfate buildup.