If you live in an area where power cuts are frequent then you definitely know what an inverter is. And consequently you may have an idea about batteries too. Setting foot into the world of batteries you may have come across a million things about inverter batteries that may or may not be true! In this article we have covered 6 most common myths about Inverter batteries that almost everyone thinks of.
For us newbies let’s start with the first step!
What Is An Inverter Battery?
A battery plays a vital role in the life of an inverter. In the situation of a power cut, we need to have some stored electricity that we can use to run our appliances. A battery is where we can store that extra electricity. This stored electricity is in the form of DC power and an inverter helps us to use this stored power by converting it into AC power.
We can connect two broad types of batteries with inverters. Lead Acid type and Tubular type batteries. There are essentially rechargeable wet batteries. Batteries need maintenance and can create problems if not taken care of and for doing that the first thing would be to know your battery inside out!
Let’s debunk some common myths associated with inverter batteries!
6 Most Common Myths about Inverter Batteries
1. Batteries are to be watered like Plants
Absolutely not! Batteries are known to be cumbersome and high maintenance because it is largely felt that wet batteries (the most commonly used inverter batteries) need frequent water topping! While water topping is very much required but you’ll be surprised it is not as much as you think it is. One 150AH, 12V tubular battery would need water topping once every 2 months at the maximum! That too when it’s used frequently!
2. I can put Tap Water into my Battery
It is surprisingly common but people often think that water topping in batteries means adding literally ‘water’ into it! Please do not do that! Tap water can drastically reduce your battery life. Wet batteries need frequent topping of ‘distilled water’. Some ions and naturally dissolved salts available in tap water are removed to make distilled water!
3. Outside Temperature Does Not Affect Battery Life
Did you know that any extreme temperature be it hot or cold can make your battery perform slower. Much slower! And reduce its life substantially. Your battery will give less back up even after you keep charging it. Can you imagine how much that would shoot up your electricity bills!
For that matter temperature, altitude, and even humidity can have adverse effects on your battery. This happens because the internal components of a battery expand as a result of extreme weather conditions causing the battery to behave differently than its usual working condition.
Focused on finding a solution for this problem, modern inverters work on ATC technology. This automatic temperature compensation present in your inverter is essentially a temperature sensor which would sense the temperature around your battery and would set a boost voltage (the voltage at which the battery gets fully charged which is approximately 14.4V for a tubular wet battery) according to the temperature. At a high temperature it would set a low boost voltage to avoid overcharging and at cold temperatures it would set a high boost voltage to avoid undercharging.
This would charge your batteries perfectly and keep them healthy!
4. I should discharge my battery completely before charging it again
One could not go more wrong with this one! Discharging your battery completely is never recommended. In fact if you discharge your battery every single time till the last drop thou shalt get no back up! Eventually of course! Let me explain it with a small example.
Suppose you have a 12V tubular wet battery and its lower cut off voltage is 10.5V and if you use up all of the charge till the battery voltage touches 10.5V, then after a while your battery will find it difficult to get fully charged and it will consume more electricity to get ‘pulled up’.
Eventually you battery will lose its ability to ‘hold charge’. This would decrease your battery life and also waste excess electricity to get charged!
Well in that case the next question would be how to ensure my battery doesn’t get discharged till 10.5V. Should I hold a multimeter and stand over the battery to measure the battery voltage every single time? Not at all.
Modern inverters has a solution here too! Companies have provided a dip switch at the back panel of their inverters from where you can set the lower cut off voltage of your battery at 11V. This way your battery will never discharge completely and also if you need some extra back up in emergency then you can select the lower cut off voltage at 10.5V and get that extra reserve! Classy feature right?
5. Premature battery breakdown
We have all been there at least once that our battery just prematurely breaks down and there is nothing much that we can do about it. There are many reasons that we speculate for this condition to occur for example over charging, under charging, self-discharge etc.
Another very important reason that causes this condition that most people are not aware of is ‘sulphation of battery plates’. Over a period of time there is sulphate crystal formation on the plates inside the battery which hampers in the chemical process happening inside the battery. To make sure the battery plates are free of sulphate crystals, Companies introduced a new battery charging stage called ‘desulphation’ in its inverters. In this stage sulphate crystals are effectively removed from the battery plates every time the battery is charged with a new cycle!
6. Battery charger does not matter
We have been talking about batteries all this time but do we give a thought about the inverter that is charging it? Believe it or not an inverter actually decides how your battery will turn out in the long run! Will it survive or die a slow death! And that’s why before you buy your battery make sure you also take the best available inverter to charge it.
Historically speaking inverters had a 2 stage battery charging protocol. The first stage being bulk charge and the second was float stage. Then as we advanced in technology inverters with 3 stage battery charging technology was introduced which proved to be quite beneficial.
Few companies now-a-days introduced a 6 stage battery charging technology that ensured that your battery would live longer and give a higher backup. This multi stage charging – desulphation, soft start, bulk charge, absorption stage, equalization stage, float stage made sure your batteries are never undercharged or overcharged and their life is always maintained!
We hope that you would never follow these 6 most common myths about Inverter Batteries anymore.
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