How to confirm your deep cycle battery is bad. By CHUKWUEMEKA ONWUKA

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The deep cycle battery constitutes the main soul of your solar power system. The battery stores energy that you will make use in the night when there is no sunlight.

Most times, when you complain that your solar power system is not working well, it is actually your battery that is bad and not the entire solar power system.

In just a few steps, you can actually ascertain if your deep cycle battery is good or bad.

The steps are given below:

1. PHYSICAL EXAMINATION

You need to look closely at the battery to know if the terminals are broken, this can make your battery not to work as required.

Also check to see if your battery is swollen. This is usually caused by over charging or as a result of the drying up of acid in the battery.

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Cracks on the battery is not also good. This is also a bad sign.

2. VOLTAGE TEST

This involves using a battery meter to test the voltage of the battery. If the battery has very low voltage, it implies the battery has bad cells. Remember to check battery voltage when the battery is fully charged.

3. ABILITY TO POWER LOAD FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.

Many times you battery will indicate that it is fully charged. Unfortunately, when it powers your load, the battery goes flat. The battery voltage drops drastically in no time. This is a clear indication that the battery is not good.

4. INTERNAL DEFECTS

Use a battery meter to confirm if the battery has any internal defects. It has to be changed if the reading from the battery meter indicates that there is a defect.

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5. SULFATION

Sulfation is the natural byproduct when the battery discharges. Naturally, re-charging the battery should reverse the sulfation crystals and turn it back into electrolyte, ready to produce power again. But if a battery sat, uncharged, severely discharged, and/or drained for extended periods of time, the sulfation will increase in size and harden onto the plates. This covers the surface area of the plates, removing the chemicals needed to produce power.

Sulfation decreases the potential to reach a full charge, and it self-discharges the battery quicker than normal. Charging a sulfated battery is like trying to wash your hands while wearing gloves. At this point, charging alone will not restore the battery to a healthy condition. The majority of replacement battery purchases occur when the original battery has reached this point.

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SOME FINAL SUGGESTIONS
Although you can easily troubleshoot any different battery issue yourself, accurately testing a deep cycle battery’s capacity requires a ‘deep discharge’ test USING a battery testing equipment or meter.

When troubleshooting a battery bank set up with a series or parallel circuit and one of the batteries is faulty, it will pull all the other batteries down. For example, if one of your batteries has dropped down to 8V, you may notice that the other batteries within this bank will have low voltage ratings as well. To troubleshoot this, you’ll need to disconnect and perform a full test on each battery individually. The battery with the lowest rating will be the faulty battery that needs to be replaced.

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