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Glossary

Industrial Battery Information

Below is a list of definitions of various types of technologies used in industry batteries, the components they are made of and other useful definitions you may come across when browsing this website or other sources on industrial batteries.

Absorbed glass mat (AGM)

Type of lead acid battery in which the electrolyte is absorbed into a fiberglass mat. The plates in an AGM Battery may be flat or, more exceptionally, wound in a tight spiral. In cylindrical AGMs, the plates are thin and wound, like most consumer disposable and rechargeable cells, into spirals so they are also sometimes referred to as spiral wound.

Ampere, or Amp

The unit of measurement of current flow. One volt placed across a one ohm resistance will cause a current of one Amp to flow. One amp for one hour is called an "amp-hour" or AH.

Ampere-hour or AH

The unit of electrical capacity - this tells you how much power the battery will store. Current multiplied by time in hours equals ampere-hours. A current of one amp for one hour would be one amp-hour; a current of 3 amps for 5 hours would be 15 AH.

Battery

A battery is an electric device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, consisting of a group of electric cells that are connected to act as a source of direct current. Batteries are made of connected cells encased in a container and fitted with terminals to provide a source of direct electric current at a given voltage. A battery is characterized by its chemical composition (combination of metal(s) and electrolyte used), voltage, size, terminal arrangements, capacity and rate of capability or more cells.

Battery pack

Set of any number of (preferably) identical batteries or individual battery cells. They may be configured in a series, parallel or a mixture of both to deliver the desired voltage, capacity, or power density.

Cell

Basic functional unit providing a source of electrical energy by direct conversion of chemical energy. A cell consists of two dissimilar substances, a positive electrode and a negative electrode, that conduct electricity, and a third substance, an electrolyte, that acts chemically on the electrodes. The two electrodes are connected by an external circuit. The electrolyte functions as an ionic conductor for the transfer of the electrons between the electrodes.

Cell (Flooded)

The basic unit that converts chemical energy directly into electric energy. Typically consists of a set of positive (+) plates, negative (-) plates, liquid electrolyte, separators and casing. A 12-volt battery has six cells.

Cycle

A "cycle" is a somewhat arbitrary term used to describe the process of discharging a fully charged battery down to a particular state of discharge. The term "deep cycle" refers to batteries in which the cycle is from full charge to 80% discharge. A cycle for an automotive battery is about 5%, and for telephone batteries is usually 10%.

Deep-Cycle Battery

A battery that is designed to withstand repetitive discharges to a 20% depth of discharge or more and to continue providing its rated capacity after hundreds of cycles. Deep-cycle batteries are often used in marine/RV and industrial applications.

Electrolyte

Conductive chemical (such as acid), usually liquid, solid or gel, in which the flow of electricity takes place within the battery, and which supports the chemical reactions required.

Flooded Battery

A type of liquid, lead-acid battery.

Gel Cell Battery

Gelled Industry batteries, or "Gel Cells" battery contain acid that has been "gelled" by the addition of Silica Gel, turning the acid into a solid mass that looks like gooey Jell-O. The advantage of these batteries is that it is impossible to spill acid even if they are broken. However, there are several disadvantages. One is that they must be charged at a slower rate (C/20) to prevent excess gas from damaging the cells. They cannot be fast charged on a conventional automotive charger or they may be permanently damaged. This is not usually a battery problem with solar electric systems, but if an auxiliary generator or inverter bulk charger is used, current must be limited to the manufacturers specifications. The most better inverters commonly used in solar electric systems can be set to limit charging current to the industrial batteries. Gel cells industrial battery is that they must be charged at a lower voltage (2/10th's less) than flooded or AGM batteries. If overcharged, voids can develop in the cell gel, which will never heal, causing a loss in industry batteries capacity. In hot climates, water loss can be enough over 2-4 years to cause premature battery death. It is for this and other reasons that we no longer sell any of the gelled cells except for replacement use. The newer AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries have all the advantages (and then some) of gelled, with none of the disadvantages.

Lead acid battery

Lead-acid batteries are the most commonly used rechargeable batteries today. Their power-to-weight ratio is often quite good. Also, the energy-to-volume ratio is good compared to other types of batteries. They are cheap and can supply high surge currents needed to start engines. Every car uses a lead-acid battery for this purpose.

Lithium ion batteries

Sometimes abbreviated Li-Ion, Lithium ion batteries are a type of rechargeable battery commonly used in consumer electronics. They are currently one of the most popular types of battery for portable devices, with one of the best energy-to-weight ratios, no memory effect and a slow loss of charge when not in use.

Nickel-cadmium battery (commonly abbreviated NiCd or NiCad)

Common type of rechargeable battery for portable electronics and toys using the metals nickel and cadmium as the active chemicals. They are sometimes used as a replacement for so called primary batteries, such as alkaline batteries, being available in many of the same sizes. In addition, specialty NiCd batteries have a niche market in the area of cordless and wireless phones, emergency lighting, as well as power tools.

Nickel metal hydride (or NiMH) battery

Type of rechargeable battery similar to a nickel-cadmium (NiCad) battery but where the cadmium is replaced by other metals. They are used in hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius. NiMH batteries perform better with high drain electronic devices like digital cameras and other common electronic devices. For high torque power tools and other devices that require fast discharge rates, NiCd can outperform NiMH.

Primary cell

Any kind of electrolytic cell that is not rechargeable.

Rechargeable batteries

Batteries that can be restored to full charge by the application of electrical energy. They come in many different designs using different chemistry. They are also called storage batteries or secondary cells.

Secondary cell

Cell in which the electrochemical reaction of interest is reversible. Widespread examples are rechargeable batteries (such as Ni-Cd ("nicad") batteries in portable consumer electronics, and lead-acid batteries in automobile ignition systems).

Separator

Material with an ion permeable structure that provides electrical insulation between plates of opposite polarity in a cell.

Storage battery

A storage battery consists of several cells connected to each other. Each cell contains a number of alternately positive and negative plates, a separator and an electrolyte. The positive plates of the cell are connected to form the positive electrode; similarly, the negative plates form the negative electrode. In the process of charging, the cell is made to operate in reverse of its discharging operation; i.e., current is forced through the cell in the opposite direction, causing the reverse of the chemical reaction that ordinarily takes place during discharge, so that electrical energy is converted into stored chemical energy.

Valve-regulated sealed battery

Battery in which cells are closed, but have an arrangement (valve) which allows the escape of gas, if the internal pressure exceeds a predetermined value.

Vented cell

Cell with a cover having an opening through which products of electrolysis and evaporation are allowed to escape freely from the cell in order to avoid excessive pressure inside the cell.

Vent valve

Part of certain types of batteries which permits the escape of gas in the case of excess internal pressure but which does not allow the entry of air.

Volt

The unit of measurement of electrical potential or "pressure". Most batteries come in 6, 12, & 24 volt. A single cell is 2 volts.

Watt

A term used to measure total power. It is amps multiplied by volts. 120 volts at 1 amp is the same as 12 volts at 10 amps. It is also amps x amps x resistance. One horsepower is about 750 watts. A battery that can supply 220 AH at 12 volts is equal to 2640 watts. Watt-hours or kilowatt-hours (kwh) is how many watts times the number of hours.

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