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Power On! Getting Back to Basics With Different AGM Battery Types and More

Somi Massoud

The global battery market is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2025.

The rise in sustainability concerns around the world has led to more people making the switch from fuel vehicles to electric-powered ones along with e-bikes.

Additionally, the growth of the industry has led to the use of more battery-powered machines like forklifts in factories.

The combined result of all these trends is that new battery consumers are coming on board. But how much do you know about batteries?

Here is a guide on the AGM battery among others that will help make the right choice.

Types of Batteries

Whenever you are looking to classify batteries there are two ways to approach it. You can categorize them depending on what they are used for (application) or how they are designed (construction).

Classification by Application

There are three main types of battery applications. These are automotive, deep-cycle, and marine.

RB Battery Sealed MF Automotive Battery

RB Battery Sealed MF Automotive Battery

1. Automotive

Starting batteries, also known as SLI, are used to start and run an engine.

Typically, an engine starter requires a large amount of current for a short period.

Starting batteries used in automotive applications have a large number of thin plates to maximize the surface area. These plates are made from a lead ‘sponge.’

Automotive batteries will usually last for thousands of cycles when you use them in a normal application.

However, if you do deep cycle them, they will fail after 30-150 deep cycles. The rapid rate of failure is due to the fact that the sponge gets used up quickly and falls to the bottom of the cell.

2. Deep-Cycle

Deep-cycle batteries are manufactured such that you can use as much as 80% of the charge time and again.

They have thicker plates which are also made of lead. A critical distinction in the plates is that they are solid and not sponge-like.

As a result, there is less surface area which leads to their not having high ‘instant’ charge like starting batteries do.

It is essential to note that just because you can discharge deep-cycle batteries up to 80% doesn’t mean you should. To get the longest lifespan out of them, you should keep the average cycle at the 50% level.

You may want to use a deep-cycle battery for starting purposes. That should not be a problem.

The only thing you ought to ensure is that you get a 20% bigger battery compared to a starting one. That will deliver the same cranking amps as a traditional starting battery.

RB Marine & Leisure Battery

RB Marine & Leisure Battery

3. Marine

Marine batteries are a cross between deep-cycle and starting ones. The plates are made of lead sponges just as with starting batteries. However, the sponges in marine batteries are heavier and coarser.

Classification by Construction

There are three main types of battery construction varieties. These are flooded (also known as wet cell), gelled and Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM). All three construction types contain lead acid and only vary in their internal design.

Differences Between a Flooded, Gel and AGM Battery

The differences between flooded, gel, and AGM batteries makes them all suited to different uses. The maintenance routine will also vary across the three types.

1. Flooded Batteries

Flooded batteries use lead plates, plate separators, and a sulfuric acid electrolyte. These batteries do not recombine the gases into liquids, but instead, they vent them out.

Flooded batteries aren’t sealed meaning that steam, acid, and condensation flow through these same vents and into the environment.

Thus, you will need to maintain them via adding water to top up the electrolyte they lose through the vents.

Failure to properly maintain them will result in corrosion of the lead plates as they come into contact with the atmosphere.

Flooded batteries are cost-effective as they hold excellent rates of charge for their price. However, they have high resistance and also feature the weakest internal construction.

2. Gel Batteries

Gel batteries contain sulfuric acid that has Silica Gel added to it, which turns it into a jelly-like solid mass.

As a result, the acid can’t spill in case the battery breaks, which is a significant advantage.

When charging a gel battery, you need to take extra care, or you might damage it. As a precautionary measure, do not charge these batteries at a slow rate.

One AGM vs. flooded battery charging difference is that the former needs lower voltage charge.

If you use excess voltage, you will cause voids to develop in the gel, which will never heal and lead to diminished battery capacity.

Compared to flooded batteries, gel batteries have stronger internal construction but are still weaker than AGM batteries.

3. AGM Batteries

AGM batteries, just like gel batteries, are sealed. They use an extra fine fibre Boron-Silicate glass mat.

The mat isn’t fully soaked. Rather, it is 95% saturated earning this battery its ‘starved electrolyte’ moniker. The advantage this delivers is that the acid can’t leak even when the battery breaks.

Since AGM batteries are so tightly packed they happen to be the most impact resistant and have the least internal resistance.

Less internal resistance means that it takes less time to charge it. The output is also increased due to the low resistance levels along with reducing its heat loss while power flows through.

The most striking feature of AGM batteries is that they are maintenance-free. Since most of them recombine the internally generated gases back into liquid form, you don’t have to keep topping them up with water.

However, while AGM batteries don't require traditional maintenance, it is is wise to still check up on them from time to time.

Another advantage of AGM batteries is that they don’t need special charging care. You can use the same charging voltage as any standard battery.

Pick the Right Battery for the Job

The global demand for batteries such as the AGM battery is growing. As people transition more to electric vehicles, there is a corresponding demand for batteries.

Furthermore, as companies expand their industrial operations, they stimulate battery demand for their new battery-powered equipment. Before you choose a battery, it is imperative that you seek to understand its pros and cons.

RB Batteries is a leading supplier of deep-cycle and automotive batteries with 25 years of experience.

Check out our information page today for reliable and innovative power solutions that will fully meet your needs.