Storing a battery not in use

Submitted: Monday, May 02, 2005 at 19:33
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Any suggestions as to the best way to store a battery not being used? How long until they die idle?
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Reply By: Exploder - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 19:45

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 19:45
Gday Brew69

You can by a solar powered charge holder from auto shops, or just put it on a charger every month.
AnswerID: 109280

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 19:52

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 19:52
G'day Brew,
Just my opinion, but if it's a 'normal' lead-acid battery, I would suggest you don't store it on concrete (place it on a piece of timber etc) and preferrably keep something attached to it light a cheap flouro light etc. Also attach a DSE cheap voltmeter and keep your battery charger handy, giving a trickle charge every now and then. As an alternative to the voltmeter, get a multimeter (lots of other uses too) and periodically check the status of the battery. I believe you would also need to use a hydrometer periodically too.

However, if its a sealed battery (I have one on my work bench from the bank which was for the alarm back up system), they are capable of holding an excellent state of charge for several years. I've had this one on my bench for over 5 years and just use it to power a small drill/power tool (similar to a Dremel) and my old ARB compressor when the kids bike tyres need pumping up. An occasional hit with the battery charger every 6 months or so for about 24 hours and she's back up to peak level. I don't think it's be built well-enough inside to be able to cope with the rigors of corrogations etc.

Just my opinion....there are heaps of better informed blokes around than me.

Cya mate

Roachie
AnswerID: 109284

Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:08

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:08
Roachie, why not a concrete floor? How does that do anything ? I've been dying to ask that :))
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Follow Up By: TheUndertaker - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:48

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:48
Roachie ,what a load of dribble,,the MYTH of storing a batt on concrete being bad for the batt stems from when battery cases were made of timber and tar which invariably leaked acid. check www.uuhome.de/williamdarden/carfaq
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:24

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:24
Happy to be corrected Undertaker....... I did say that there were heaps of blokes who were better informed than me.....and it looks like you're one of them.
Thankyou for setting me straight....I won't bother making sure I always keep my stored batteries off the concrete any longer.
Cheers mate
Roachie
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:43

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:43
I'm going to be much more subtle than them other buggers Bill.
He's what I found:-

"Storing batteries under 250 AH on concrete floors will not cause them to naturally self discharge faster."

So you are in fact partially correct in your knowledge mate.

Bill


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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:49

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:49
I'm going to be much more subtle than them other buggers Bill.
He's what I found:-

"Storing batteries under 250 AH on concrete floors will not cause them to naturally self discharge faster."

So you are in fact partially correct in your knowledge mate.

Apart from that, a trickle charge is recommended to stop sulfation of battery plates. This can be via "float" charge from a 3 stage charger, or a small solar panel of at least 5 watts. (for car batteries)

Bill


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Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:56

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:56
I knew that I was opening a can of worms, that's why I added the :))) with my question.
From my training days, temperature does of course affect batteries and their effeciency. All we old timers think that it's "common wisdom" that a battery on concrete will shorten battery life, although I've never seen any emperical evidence to prove this.
I wonder if the "evidence" actually comes from Europe and the States where the temperature differences are more severe in winter ?
I've left working batteries on concrete and wood with no observed difference in performance or oseable life. But I haven't measured them in any way in an effort to prove or disprove the advice.
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Reply By: Peter 2 - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:25

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:25
a concrete floor will discharge the battery, buggered if I know why but it does, I've tried it several times over the years.
sitting the battery on a piece of steel will discharge it too, that's why there is a plastic tray under the battery in the car apart from catching acid overflows, if you put a battery in a steel battery carrier without a piece of ply or rubber under the battery it will slowly discharge.
Peter
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Follow Up By: Diamond (Vic) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:34

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:34
thats just an urban myth.
leaving it on concrete or leaving it on steel dosnt matter if you dont use it it will bugga up.
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Follow Up By: Peter 2 - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:57

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:57
Actually it isn't, try it yourself, over a period of time the battery will flatten noticeably quicker if sitting straight on a concrete or steel surface rather than a bit of timber, I know I've tried it, same battery charged to the same SG and regular measurements at preset intervals, it DOES make a difference.
Peter
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Follow Up By: TheUndertaker - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:19

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:19
Funny that every battery shop stores its batts on oh no ,STEEL shelves ,every Kmart tyre and mechanical w/shop stores its exide batts on an exide supplied oh no steel shelving/display unit ,,, old , very old myth lol.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:06

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:06
Urban myth,

See the post and link below from Brian.
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Reply By: TheUndertaker - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:59

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:59
A normal 12v wet cell batt self discharges at 10/15% per mth ,,battery world /supa cheap/dick smith/tandy/ jaycar /ect all sell a small battery maintenance charger called "Battery Fighter Junior" ,costs round $40 ,,takes batt to 14.2v then trickle charge to keep at 13.2v in maintenance mode indefinitly ,,, also checkout
www.uuhome.de/williamdarden/carfaq.
AnswerID: 109299

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:31

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:31
Okay fella's, let's call the....MYTH BUSTERS!!!!

"Okay Jamie, today we're going to discharge a battery."

"Um, Adam, like through a cannon?"

"Duh, no Jamie, were going to do it the Aussie way...... with concrete!"

"What' like drop a concrete slab on it?"

"That sounds like a plan.........."Wolfie
AnswerID: 109314

Reply By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:01

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:01
I'll try and explain this as best I can.

The theory of batteries losing voltage on concrete goes back about a hundred years. It was when batteries were lead and acid inside a wooden box sealed with pitch (tar). If the pitch leaked the acid made contact with the concrete and the charge was thus siphoned out out into the concrete.

It simply doesn't happen anymore. Batteries are now sealed at the bottom of them and do not lose charge this way.

As Jim (diamond) said, it is urban myth.

Cheers,

Jim.
AnswerID: 109324

Follow Up By: Exploder - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:40

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:40
Gday all

I think the battery loosing charge when sitting on concrete could be caused by the concrete getting colder over night than say a piece of wood and thus affecting the battery that way.

Does this sound plausible

Any electrical engineers out there!

Wouldn’t worry me anyway if it goes flat charge it. Why r we storing battery’s on shed floors anyway just a place for them to be damaged.

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Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:56

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:56
Fair call exploder,

Batteries will hold lower voltage when cold, however do not lose charge(other than normal loss whilst standing). A batt when cold will show a given voltage which will increase when it gets warm without adding any charge.

As for why worry if it goes flat? Flattening a battery seriously shortens its life. Keeping them fully charged is the best way to prolong their life.

Cheers,

Jim.
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FollowupID: 366118

Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 01:23

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 01:23
Jimbo has said it correctly, concrete or cotton wool, it does not matter what the battery sits on.....
(Quote)The theory of batteries losing voltage on concrete goes back about a hundred years. It was when batteries were lead and acid inside a wooden box sealed with pitch (tar). If the pitch leaked the acid made contact with the concrete and the charge was thus siphoned out into the concrete.
It simply doesn't happen anymore.
Batteries are now sealed at the bottom of them and do not lose charge this way.
As Jim (diamond) said, it is urban myth. (end quote)

Charge the battery and leave it on a regulated battery charger permanently, if you believe the concrete myth, then you can place it on timber or an old lounge chair, just for added comfort.
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FollowupID: 366316

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:21

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:21
Brew,

I had a neighbour a few years back who was heavily into touring wiht his 4wd and camper trailer. Once a year he would hook up and head off for a couple of months.

On his return his routine was amazing. One day I cought him polishing his car. He had stripped everything ou of it seats carpet etc and was polishing the floor in the drivers footwell. It would have been a great car to pick up when he was upgrading.

What he did with his battery from his camper which was about 1000 years old was drain the acid and only refill it about a week berfore he set off on the next trip. HTen he would put it in the trailer and hook the charger to it for long slow charge.

My camper battery gets a little solar charger and has been going for about two years now and looks good for a bit more.

Duncs
AnswerID: 109329

Follow Up By: Member - Ross H (QLD) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:58

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:58
duncs
you are right on the money that is how i was shown to long store a battery.
remember motor bike batteries are dry when you buy them and you have to fill them with the bottle supplied

regards ross
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FollowupID: 366141

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 07:13

Thursday, May 05, 2005 at 07:13
Duncs,

This method is correct but you have to make sure that you fully charge the battery before you drain it.
The reason for this is that the plates absorb the particles in the electrolyte as a battery is used. If you drain it when discharged and then later add new acid, you end up with not much capacity left in the plates to absorb any of the new electrolyte and you battery will have a very small range between fully charged and fully discharged.

I hope this makes sense.

Cheers,
Brett
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FollowupID: 366322

Reply By: Big Woody - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:37

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:37
Hi All,

I worked in a battery shop for 5 years and I think you will find that storing a battery directly on concrete (or thick steel) will shorten it's usable life purely from the fact that the concrete is cold.
Batteries in Cairns last longer than batteries in Tasmania.
Temerature plays a big part in the life of a battery and storing it in a place where it is in contact with constant cold temperatures can destroy a new battery in 6 months.
Most battery shops will have the batteries stored on conveyor belt rubber for this reason.
I have 4 batteries stored in my shed - A spare Supercharge calcium for the 4WD, A Delkor Marine for the Yacht, and 2 Delkor deep cycles for the yacht. These are all stored on a shelf with insulation rubber under them.

Cheers,
Brett
AnswerID: 109332

Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:04

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:04
Brett,

i lived in Townsville for 8 years. Heat certainly does influence battery life. A batt that is under a car bonnet in hot conditions will die very quickly as it it always too hot.

I had more battery failures in Townsville (under car bonnets) than I have ever had in Melbourne.

Cheers,

Jim.
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FollowupID: 366120

Reply By: Bilbo - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:02

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:02
Hmmmm, ya learn something every day!!

Bilbo
AnswerID: 109343

Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:16

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:16
This page answers the questions about concrete floors and colder weather
AnswerID: 109375

Follow Up By: Member - Jimbo (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:59

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:59
Brian,

That pretty much sums it up.

Cheers,

Jim.
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FollowupID: 366119

Reply By: Max - Sydney - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 17:51

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 17:51
Hey Brew - sorry to offer concrete information when you've had so much expertise offered, but I bought a little battery charger from Bunnings for $50 or so. I hook up the caravan battery to it when we have to be off the road for more than a month, and it gives it a trickle when it drops below about 13v or so.

Great excitement going into the shed and seeing the red light come on about once a month to charge it up. That makes me think that a month is about the longest you should go without doing something. Might put it on the concrete floor to see if it has to chrge more often. LOL

Max
AnswerID: 109485

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