The Gel batteries are very different type of batteries. The gel batteries are though filled with acid, but the liquid is mixed with fumed silica gel, which makes the liquid semi-solid, like a gelled stuff and the electrolyte becomes immobile. Due to the gel quality, the battery can even be inverted, unlike the normal flooded lead-acid batteries. The gel batteries contain plates made of calcium or alloys, instead of the lead plates and can give more power and output. These batteries are easy to maintain, which make the batteries a good choice.
There are certain important features and benefits that the best gel batteries consist. One should always compare the brands and what special treatments and substances the brands use in manufacturing the gel batteries and finally one must make a note about the certain factors before choosing a gel battery;
Seal or valve of the battery
Seal or the valve is a very important part in a gel battery. The valve keeps the battery from being exposed to the atmosphere, but along with that the valve must keep the battery pressurized and release the excess gas that is produced by the battery due to overcharging. If the battery contains are contaminated with the atmosphere or most importantly with oxygen, the gel battery will discharge immediately and will be dead and destroyed automatically. So, before choosing a gel battery, one must check if the gel battery brand has 100 percent good quality of sealing valve and is a recognized product.
Formula of the gel
The formula of the gel of a particular gel battery is one important factor. Along with sulfuric acid and silica as the primary and compulsory elements, many more ingredients are mixed. The acids and substances used in the making of the gel are very important. The gel quality decides the amount of cycles a particular battery will deliver. The gelled electrolytes are manufactured differently in different brands, making the gel batteries different from each other. Some gel batteries are able to have longer cycles and some gel batteries give very low and short cycles depending on the formula of the electrolyte. So it is necessary to know the chemistry of the electrolyte of the gelled battery.
Mixing and filling of the gel
Mixing and filling of the gel mixture is a factor to note. If the gel electrolyte mixture is processed with a computerized system and advance process, with perfect temperature controls, the battery’s life is to be perfectly last for a satisfactory long period, as the life and performance of the gel battery indirectly depend on the elements of the gel battery and also assure a great consistency of the gel. The filling must be done carefully, like the technology of vacuum processing, as in this process, the dead spots are removed from the gel and processed in each cell of the gel battery, which gives the battery more power and better performance. So one must look for a gel battery in which the mixing and filling is done in an advanced manner.
Type of plates
The plates of the gel battery are different from the standard lead- acid batteries. The plates are made of calcium, where as in the wet cell batteries, the plates are made of lead. In some advanced gel batteries, the plates are made with alloy of calcium and copper lead. The plates are strong and give the battery a longer life span, as the sulfate formation around the plates will be low. The plates must have more thickness. Many brands have the plates of the battery formed or manufactured in a unique tank system, to make sure the plates are perfect and of high quality and then the ready plates are set into the battery. This process is good for the formation of best plates that are a lot superior to the normal plates. One should choose the gel battery which has the most advanced plates.
Leak and spill proof
All the gel batteries are however leaking and spilling proof, but some low quality gel batteries are not really the batteries that one can rely on for being spill proof. During the processing of the gel electrolyte, some of the mixture is not gelled perfectly and hence, the electrolyte is left in half liquid state due to some miss in the processing, because of which there might be leaking of gas as well as electrolyte spilling. One must be very concerned about this matter and must cross check the battery if the battery is leaking already, or if the sealing is perfectly done and the electrolyte is gelled and settled.
Self destruction protection
Many deep cycle gel batteries are designed to take deep charging and discharging for various purposes like giving power to house hold appliances or other recreational appliances. In the deep cycle process, many batteries are prone to being over discharged or high self discharging, that may damage the battery and make the plates of the battery shed making the gel battery self destructive. Many gel battery brands are also producing the type of gel batteries that have protection to too much self discharging and condition of self destructiveness. Always this type of gel battery with advanced feature must be bought.
All gel batteries are almost vibration proof, but not all the gel batteries are 100 percent reliable. It is not that those batteries cannot bear vibrations, but in some gel batteries, the valve might crack if the valve is not too strong enough to bear heavy vibrations. Due to the cracking, the electrolyte would not flow out as the gelled electrolyte is immobile, but the crack allows the atmosphere to rush in the valve and the pressure that the valve used to produce is reduced. Due to contamination of the outer atmosphere, the battery loses its life span and the battery also gets over discharged. So one must get a gel battery that can bear heavy vibrations and the valve would not break or crake even if the battery is exposed to immense vibrations.
Ratings of the gel battery
Ratings of the gel battery are also necessary factors. The CCA, the RC and the amp-hour ratings are the most important ratings that one must keep in mind and check in a gel battery.
- CCA is the cold cranking amp; which indicates the power bursts in a 30 second time period in a zero degree Fahrenheit. Many gel batteries are mostly manufactured for taking deep cycles and not for starting use. So if the battery is required only for deep cycle purpose, then CCA would not really matter. But in case the gel battery is to be used as starting battery, then the CCA is must to seek for. A gel battery with more CCA will give more power burst.
- RC or the Reserve Capacity rating; which is defined as the time in minutes, a charged battery can last at 25 amps. This RC rating is the main point to be checked in the gel battery. The battery which is good will always last for longer minutes.
- Amp-hour or the amperage hour rating; which is calculated by the multiplication of the amperage with the time in hours. This rating is a notable factor to be considered in a deep cycle gel battery. With the more amp-hour rating batteries, come more power and durability.
Depth of discharge depends on the Amp-hours and the life of the gel battery depends on the discharge depth of the battery. A battery made to be discharged 50 percent will have longer life in comparison to the batteries that are made to discharge till 80 percent. So, the exact amount of amp-hour needed should be first calculated and then, the battery with amp-hour, double the exact amp-hour required, to run the appliances must be bought. For example, if 60AH is needed all total to run the appliances, then a gel battery with 120AH should be purchased. One should always look for the gel battery that has more CCA, RC and amp-hour ratings.
Overall, some of the most important factors to be known in order to get the best gel battery are;
- Valve of the gel battery should be flexible, strong and recognized.
- Gel formula of the gel battery must be unique and best.
- Computerized manner of mixing and filling of the gel.
- Unique quality plates and specialized formation of plates in tank system.
- Leak and spill proof and should be cross checked.
- The gel battery should be able to bear highest vibrations.
- High CCA, RC rating and more Amp-hour.
As the gel batteries are different and unique type of batteries, the technologies used are also unique which make each gel battery different from the other gel battery. Select the best Brand that uses the best techniques while manufacturing the gel batteries and indirectly, one will automatically be able to find the best one.