Don’t Let This Happen to Your Batteries!
by the Magellan Power Service Department
These badly corroded terminals are a common scenario seen in many industrial switch rooms and substations.
Practicing correct care of Lead Acid batteries can extend their life by months, if not years. Periodically conducting preventative maintenance can identify what to avoid such as loose connections, corrosion, signs of damage or warping to the battery, and most importantly – identify any spoiled batteries before they affect the rest of the bank. Since a battery bank is a significant investment, it is vital to properly maintain batteries to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
Here are some steps on how to properly care and maintain your Lead Acid Batteries.
In order to check the batteries safely, wear Category 2 rated clothing, gloves and a helmet with an Arc Flash visor.
If batteries are new, first inspect the overall condition of the carton. Then, inspect the battery case (exterior) for signs of damage, leakage or warping.
Check all battery terminals have boot covers. Inspect the terminals, screws and clamps. They should be tight and free of corrosion. The batteries should be positioned so that they are well ventilated, either in an enclosure with a mechanical fan or a well-ventilated room. The best temperature for prolonging battery life is 25°C. Magellan Power service staff have reported that some batteries on site are kept at temperatures of over 45 °C – this will significantly affect the life of the battery bank, costing thousands of dollars to replace.
If batteries are in enclosures, the enclosure should be fitted with a perspex cover with a danger label attached and an Arc Flash warning label attached to the enclosure.
Safely Relocating batteries
If the batteries are connected to a battery charger, make sure the power is shut off at the charger before connecting or removing the cable clamps. Allow a battery to stand for at least 20 minutes after disconnecting from the charger before moving. If the battery enclosure requires moving. The batteries must be disconnected from the charger and removed before doing so.