Working With the Car Battery

The battery is one of the most intricate chemical instruments in a motor vehicle. It has numerous gears that range from grids, active material, cover, and posts, and any of these gears can fail at the most inopportune times. Often, low charge and acid stratification are the prime causes of battery failure. This problem frequently occurs with large luxury cars, in which the demand for the auxiliary option is high. Additionally, in order to reduce the possibility of battery failure in your car, you must do a state-of-charge, or SOC, testing by means of a SOC battery tester in order to avoid having car problems when you least expect it.

The State of Charge

The state of charge, or SOC, is also called the gas gauge or fuel gauge function. It allows the owner to know the amount of energy that is left in a battery and compare it to the energy that the battery has when it is full. It also gives the owner an understanding of how long the battery can still perform before it needs to be recharged. Understanding the SOC is particularly important in large lithium batteries. It keeps the battery in a safe operating window and ensures that the battery has a long life cycle. Moreover, in electronic vehicle applications, the SOC is used to determine the range, while in hybrid electronics vehicle, the SOC resolves the time when the engine is switched on and off. However, errors in SOC readout can occur due to polarization. To avoid it, the battery must rest for at least four hours after charging or discharging before SOC testing can be administered.

The Hydrometer

The hydrometer handles the SOC battery cell testing. It is a glass barrel or plastic container that has a hose on one end and a soft rubber bulb on the other side. Within the hydrometer’s container, there is a float and calibrated graduations that are used for specific gravity measurement of the electrolyte. The higher the concentration of sulfuric acid, the denser the electrolyte will turn out to be. Additionally, the state of charge will follow the rate of density, which means that the higher the density is, the higher the state of charge will be.

State of Charge of Flooded Batteries

The flooded or the wet cell battery is the most common type of battery for deep cycle applications. The main difference with these batteries, over the ones of the sealed variety, is that the owner has the ability to replace the water that is lost through gassing. The SOC of a flooded battery can be measured by determining the specific gravity. Specific gravity is the ration of the weight of the solution to the weight of an equal volume of water. The testing is typically done with the help of a hydrometer. Another way to measure the specific gravity is by looking at the open circuit voltage of the battery.

State of Charge of Sealed Batteries

The only means to measure the SOC of a sealed battery is by determining the open circuit voltage across the battery terminals. In this note, the owner can use a voltmeter to get a clear picture on the battery’s depth of discharge and the time when it needs to be recharged. Moreover, some batteries have built in hydrometers that can measure the SOC in one of the battery’s six cells. In the event that the SOC readout is below 75 percent, the battery needs to be recharged. However, if the battery does not indicate higher than 65 percent after recharging, the owner must buy a new battery at once to eliminate the chances of battery issues occurring while the car is being driven.

Good battery performance is important. If properly maintained, a battery can give an owner an average of five years of service. To allow the battery to work at its full potential and reach its full life span, it would help if the owner has proper knowledge on SOC battery tester methods. A periodic SOC test is essential to ensure that the battery’s electrolyte is at proper levels. This way, the owner can determine when the battery is overcharged or not. Just remember, in order to obtain an accurate SOC measurement, the owner must repeat the process in the same cell several times.