Quantcast Section II -Flood Lead -Acid Battery Maintenance

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TM 5-684/NAVFAC M O - 2 0 0 / A F J M A N 32-1082
more frequent inspection of batteries may be neces-
past data. Data collected during maintenance must
sary. Routine inspection should include the check-
always be corrected to the standard temperature
ing and recording of all pertinent information, such
reference, so that meaningful data comparisons can
as voltage, specific gravity, level of electrolyte,
be made. Maintenance forms used to record data
charging rate, internal and ambient temperatures,
should be straightforward and must include provi-
ventilation, and cleanliness.
sions for making all corrections to standard values.
c. Understanding requirements. In the following
(3) Inspection requirements. Maintenance of a
sections, general information on basic battery main-
battery begins at the time of installation. The test
tenance is presented for flooded lead-cell batteries.
data recorded at the installation acceptance test
Flooded lead-acid batteries are discussed, since
form the base set of values for the battery to which
these are most often encountered. Valve-regulated
all later test data must be referenced. Storage bat-
lead-acid batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries
teries should be completely checked monthly (see
are discussed in separate sections to the extent that
section VI). Where experience indicates that sched-
their maintenance differs from that of flooded lead-
uled inspections are insufficient to ensure battery
acid cells. Periodic maintenance tasks are summa-
reliability, the frequency of inspection should be in-
rized in a following section.
creased as necessary. In cold weather conditions,
14-5. Visual inspections of batteries.
connecting plates to the post), and posts for obvious
abnormalities. In areas of high seismic activity, con-
Visual inspections will indicate when cleaning is
nections sometimes fail if seismic acceptance test-
necessary and afford the opportunity to check cells
ing was not properly performed.
for damage or evidence of improper charging or
(3) Battery terminals. Battery terminals may
other mishandling. A flashlight or other localized
be inspected using a current/resistance (IR) probe. A
unsparking light source is essential for inspecting
connection carrying current with resistance will
cell components and connections and for checking
heat up. Retorquing cell connections without justifi-
for evidence of excessive gassing, mossing, sedi-
cation will lead to failure. If connection is loose or
ment, and low electrolyte levels. Check that there is
has high resistance (heating) it must be disas-
no battery vibration. Under abnormal operating
sembled, cleaned and reassembled, including torqu-
conditions, hydration and frozen electrolytes can oc-
ing. If the nut does not turn on the bolt freely, the
cur and if not recognized could cause irreparable
bolt and nut must be replaced. A connection carry-
ing current without heating does not need to be
a. Cell and connection inspections. The jars,
retorqued. A connection which is heating needs to be
plates, and connections should be closely inspected
on each cell.
(4) Other checks. Check for electrolyte spillage,
(1) Jars. Jars, covers, and cover-to-jar and
evidence of corrosion, and vent cap damage, and
correct any problems. Examine cables connecting
cover-to-post seals should be checked for cracks or
the battery to the battery charger and those cables
other structural damage. Failure of any seal will
cause the electrolyte to seep out. A light source can
used as intercell or intertier connectors, to ensure
there is no strain on the cell posts, and to check that
be directed through clear jars to locate cracks or
structural damage to the jar, cover, and seals. Such
terminal posts and connections are clean.
defects should be noted and the manufacturer
b. Excessive gassing. Although some gassing on
should be consulted for remedial action.
recharge is normal, excessive gassing can indicate
overcharging, and should always be noted. A lead-
(2) Plates. Unwrapped plates in a clear jar
acid battery begins to gas when the cell voltage
should be examined, as they show the battery's con-
reaches approximately 2.30 volts. Outgassing, when
dition. The color of the positive plate of the lead-acid
a cell is on open circuit or on float charge, may be an
cell will vary from light- to deep-chocolate brown.
indication of high local action and undercharging.
The darker the color the most likely the battery has
The gas coming from the negative plate is not gen-
been overcharged. The negative plate will be gray in
erated, but is squeezed out of the expanding active
color, with a tendency to darken with age. Check
plate material by the sulphate formed as the cell
and note any buckling, warping, scaling, swelling,
discharges. Most local action takes place at the
or cracking of plates. Sulphation may be detected by
negative plates, and the positive plates may remain
shining a light source on the plates, which will re-
well charged. As uniformly discharged positive and
flect light from any sulphate crystals on the plate
negative plates will not have a large drop in
edges. If sulphation is visible, inspect the connec-
specific-gravity; a specific-gravity check may not de-
tions between the plates, straps (that is, the bus bar


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