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Technology evolves all the time. We see cars, phones, tablets, televisions, among other electronic devices and gadgets. They are all being improved and performing better than they used to do. So are the batteries.
The traditional lead-acid batteries have evolved as well. Now the most modern battery is called a deep cycle battery, and has been built to discharge most of its capacity at all times. In other words, it provides full power over a sustained period of time.
Let’s have a look at where you can use these batteries, the different types available, how they work and how long they should last.
Deep-cycle lead-acid batteries come in different types. We are not going to cover in depth the technical details of these different types of batteries, as this is not the goal of this article. Instead, we are going to mention the different types available in the market today, and briefly describe the difference between them.
Flooded lead acid batteries - This is the traditional lead acid battery. The level of electrolyte fluid in this battery covers the plates, therefore they are “flooded” constantly. This is why it has been named this way. It is the most basic type of deep cycle battery. This battery will lose water from the electrolyte during charging, so regular inspection of the electrolyte level and top up of water is recommended.
Gel batteries - The principal of this type of battery is similar to the flooded one. However, the electrolyte is in the form of a gel due to the addition of silica, instead of liquid form. Because the gel is a viscous solution, this battery is ideal for high level of vibration applications. The gel also makes this battery leak proof. In general, this battery required very little, or even no maintenance at all.
AGM batteries - AGM stands for Absorbent Glass Mat. This battery is liquid free as the electrolyte is bound in a glass fiber mat. Therefore the battery is also leak proof, so it is also ideal for high level of vibration applications. AGM batteries are the most popular ones in boats, motorcycles and 4WDs.
Lead acid batteries have a higher internal resistance, so they take longer to charge and overall will have an inferior performance compared to AGM batteries. With a low discharge rate, the AGM battery will certainly last longer than the lead acid one. Although it may vary, the typical lifespan of an AGM battery is 7 years, compared to 5 years of the lead acid version of it.
Bear in mind that you pay for what you get. A lead acid battery usually costs a third of the price of its AGM version. This is a very reliable starter for vehicles, so if all you want is a battery to keep the car going, the lead acid battery might be an economical option for you.
Bear in mind the AGM deep cycle battery is an enhanced version of a lead acid battery. With that in mind, if you have been using the traditional version of lead acid battery and it has been serving you well, there is no reason to change. However, if the battery you have does not meet your needs, or you feel like you can benefit from using a better battery, the AGM deep cycle battery might be the one for you.
Performance wise, the AGM deep cycle battery generates constant power throughout the time, regardless of its charge levels. In other words, you can expect the same output if it is fully charged or just 10% charged.
If you are camping you need to power a microwave oven, light up the camp, or charge your tablet/phone. Or if you are on a caravan and need to power it up for hours in a roll. These are two typical applications of AGM deep cycle batteries.Just be mindful that if using the battery to power up devices, you will need a battery box. A battery box A battery box is a sealed container used to keep the battery inside. It protects the battery and also provides ports, so you can connect the devices to it. So you do not need to connect the devices straight to the battery. It is much safer doing so in a battery box.