Just about everyone has had the experience of turning the key in their car and nothing happens. There are only a handful of reasons why your car won’t start, including the starter, a starter solenoid or the battery. But in the majority of cases, this is usually a good indicator it needs a new battery.
When it comes time to pick a new battery, in order to identify the best option, it is important to have an understanding of how batteries work and the different battery chemistries available on the market today.
AGM vs. Conventional Flooded Lead Acid Batteries
Today’s Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries are a popular choice for automotive enthusiasts as they offer several substantial advantages over previous battery technologies. Compared to a conventional “flooded” lead acid battery or wet-cell battery, AGM batteries do not require the monitoring and addition of water to the electrolyte in the battery. The design features a sponge-like mat that keeps the electrolyte contained between the positive and negative plates and has the added benefit of resisting vibration. These advances enable AGM batteries to be mounted in almost any position without leaking acid, making them an ideal power solution for not only cars but heavy duty trucks, motorcycles and off-road powersports vehicles.
The ODYSSEY® AGM battery by EnerSys® takes the AGM design one step further with the addition of advanced Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology. Most standard AGM batteries utilize recycled lead in the design and require additives to stiffen the lead plates. The ODYSSEY® battery TPPL design begins with 99 percent pure lead, which enables the plates to be made thinner, allowing more plates to be included in the battery. With more plates in the battery, there is increased surface area for electrolyte reactions, which means more power is produced.
Pure lead also has a slower discharge rate, which means the ODYSSEY® battery has a shelf life of up to two years before requiring recharging. The battery’s unique design offers additional protection against high impact shock and vibration and it is capable of being completely recharged in four to six hours.
All ODYSSEY® batteries provide enormous cranking power, deep cycle reserve power and engine cranking pulses of up to 2,700 amps for 5 seconds, which is double to triple that of conventional flooded lead acid batteries of similar sizes. They can handle 400 charge/discharge cycles to 80 percent Depth of Discharge (DoD). The deep cycle capabilities enable the ODYSSEY® battery to power accessories and systems such as winches, auxiliary lights, navigation and A/C compressors when needed.
Why Battery Sizing Matters
In the United States, battery manufacturers have adopted the Battery Council International (BCI) Group Size Number system. These specifications are used to identify a battery’s physical size, terminal placement and polarity, as well as the type of battery. The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) battery number is a good indication to determine the replacement battery size a vehicle requires. EnerSys® provides a specification chart for both the ODYSSEY® Performance SeriesTM battery and the ODYSSEY® Extreme SeriesTM battery.
Over the years, the traditional car battery has evolved to meet the needs of car manufacturers who seek to develop innovative vehicles with characteristics and power capabilities that will allure buyers. The power requirements for a subcompact car are very different than those of a full-size Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). When you consider the power needs of in-vehicle entertainment systems, more powerful stereos and other accessories that can be constantly running, it becomes important to have a solid understanding of how batteries work and what they do in order to deliver superior performance.