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The Real Difference Between a Normal Car Battery and a Deep Cycle Battery

Somi Massoud

The global battery industry is estimated to be worth $120 billion dollars. It powers everything from spacecraft to golf carts to the mobile phone in your hand. 

Choosing the right battery is crucial. The wrong battery could provide insufficient power. It could even fail in extreme temperatures. This could result in large financial costs and delays to production.

Two popular battery types are the regular battery and the Deep-Cycle battery. They may appear very similar. Yet, their internal design and functionality are actually very different.

Everyone wants to be better informed and choose the right battery for their needs. Check out our guide to the difference between deep cycle and regular batteries. We will learn: 

  • What is the difference between a regular battery and a deep cycle battery?

  • Which is more powerful?

  • Do they have different maintenance programs?

  • Are they interchangeable?

  • How can I choose the right battery?

What Is the Difference Between a Regular Battery and a Deep Cycle Battery?

A normal car battery is also known as a " lead-acid" battery. The science involved in producing batteries may seem to be complex. Most batteries have the same basic elements. They have a positive terminal, a negative terminal, and an electrolyte fluid, usually acid. This fluid allows the current to flow between the positive and the negative connections.  

Each battery type has a slightly different design. The size of the metallic elements and the amount of electrolyte liquid may be greater or smaller. This will influence the strength of the electricity that the battery will create. It will also influence how long it will take the battery to drain.

A regular battery, such as a car battery, creates electricity in shorter bursts. These bursts of electricity are then used to "crank" start a motor, for example, a car engine. Many motors will have an Alternator, which will then recharge the battery.

A deep cycle battery functions differently. Have you ever driven an electric car or an electric bike? Were you impressed by the silent running of the car? This is because of it's using deep cycle batteries.

Deep cycle batteries are different from regular batteries. Regular car batteries produce a shorter burst of electricity. Deep cycle batteries produce ongoing, lower yet consistent, levels of power. This electricity is enough to power a vehicle without a motor.

Interestingly, the technology behind the deep cycle and lead acid batteries are almost identical. The difference is evident in how the battery harnesses the power.

Deep cycle batteries have thicker metallic elements. Thicker metal plates allow the battery to release electricity more consistently. Regular car batteries have thinner plates. These have a larger surface area. This helps them to create a larger, electrical charge in a shorter time.

Which Is More Powerful?

Each battery has a different purpose. There are separate industry measurements for each battery.

Engineers measure the power created by a typical car battery in "Cold Cranking Amps". Cold Cranking Amps is the measurement of how much current a charged battery can provide. Usually, they measure the current over a period of 30 seconds. The battery should maintain a voltage of 7.2 volts (12-volt battery) under conditions of -18°C for the test. 

Cold Cranking Amps measure short bursts of electricity. Yet it does not record power consistency over a long period of time.

A measurement used for deep cycle batteries is it's Reserve Capacity. It is a measure of minutes that a battery can deliver 25 amps at 80ºF and maintain a terminal voltage of 1.75+ volts per cell.

A deep cycle battery may produce only one half of the Cold Cranking Amps that a car battery will. Whereas it will have 2-3 times the Reserve Capacity.

Each is powerful but apply its electrical charge in a different way according to its purpose.

Maintenance of Batteries

The charging method of a regular battery and a deep cycle battery are very different.

A deep cycle battery should run until all the electricity is completely discharged. The user then simply connects it to a power source to recharge the battery. The user can repeat this hundreds of times.

A regular car battery only discharges the battery by about 1-3% each time. The vehicle's alternator then recharges the battery. In fact, it may never lose more than 20% of its charge during its lifespan. Users of this type of battery should not regularly manually recharge it. This could, in fact, damage the battery.

Are These Batteries Interchangeable?

As they have the same elements, technically a user could interchange these batteries. Yet, this is not recommended. The design of the regular car battery is more suited to shorter use. its metal platings are not designed for ongoing use. In fact, they can warp after a short time at such high power.

The design of Deep-cycle batteries, as the name suggests, is more suited to deeper more regular use. Often users will run the battery to exhaustion.

In the year 2019 is there a battery that can act as both a deep cycle and normal car battery? Yes. Inventors have created a dual-purpose battery. This can provide both short term bursts of power and longer lower-level power. 

Does this spell the end of these types of battery? Not soon. The physical design of the two battery types is too different. A single design that is able to function efficiently in both batteries is not possible.

It is still recommended to buy either a regular battery or deep cycle battery type. This way you are purchasing a battery that will provide the power you need

How to Choose the Right Battery for Your Needs?

Whether deep cycle or a regular type, a well-chosen battery is crucial to your business. It can mean the difference between success and failure. The longevity of your machinery or its quick degradation due to incorrect powering.

RBbattery has been helping businesses to choose correct batteries for over 25 years. These batteries support their mechanical needs even in extreme conditions.

Check out our full blog or contact us directly by telephone at +662 6439865 to see how we can help you do the same.