Ask the Expert: Why do batteries sometimes not hold a proper charge or discharge faster than they should after a period of discharge?

Q: Why do batteries sometimes not hold a proper charge or discharge faster than they should after a period of discharge?

A: This condition occurs after a period of deep discharge of a battery and is called acid stratification.  This can happen by accident by leaving an electronic load on or by letting a battery sit in storage for an extended period of time.  It can also happen in the case of a deep cycle application such as in a boat or RV due to running the battery down with electronics and charging it back up then continuing this cycle.  

If normal Ca/Ca batteries become discharged by more than 40 to 50 percent, the acid stratifies, which means that the acid and water form separate layers. The battery’s capacity and service life is reduced dramatically. Some battery service equipment products feature the ability to recover deep discharged and flooded batteries using a constant current charge, including CTEK products. Known on CTEK products as the RECOND function, this function mixes the battery acid so that the battery regains an even acid density. An even acid density enables the battery to maintain a better charge and makes the battery feel “revived and fresher," which extends the battery’s service life.

(Infographic: A list of issues that improper battery maintenance can cause.)

Information provided by: CTEK

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