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Minimizing Heavy Duty Vehicle Downtime from No-starts

Heavy duty commercial vehicles require greater capability than light duty vehicles, such as passenger cars. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heavy duty vehicles must meet requirements that have approximately two times the peak power, four times peak torque and more than five times greater per mile fuel consumption than light duty vehicles. They require larger batteries with as much capacity as 4 kWh, compared with 0.5 kWh for light duty vehicles. Batteries in heavy duty vehicles must power starting and take-off, jobsite loads, refrigeration, idling and hotel loads, which include air conditioning, security systems, audio equipment, appliances and electronic devices for communication and navigation. These power demands can drain the battery and compromise reliability.

Virtually maintenance-free Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) ODYSSEY® batteries, manufactured with proprietary Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, are engineered to power the increasing number of onboard devices. TPPL technology features pure lead plates that are thinner than those in conventional batteries, so more fit in the same footprint resulting in greater surface area. This enables more electro-chemical reactions with the electrolyte, and therefore, more power. Due to the deep cycling capabilities of TPPL technology, premium ODYSSEY® batteries can recover from deep discharges that occur when powering onboard devices.

Excessive Heat

Excessive heat is among the culprits that tax a battery’s life. In addition to hot weather, excessive heat can come from the part of the engine where the battery is installed. In this environment, the temperature can exceed 140°F (60°C). Batteries discharge more quickly in excessive heat, and prolonged exposure can reduce service life by half for every 15°F (9.44°C) above 77°F (25°C).

Excessive heat will also cause water in the electrolyte to evaporate, which accelerates the electro-chemical reaction of the electrolyte with the lead plates. The higher heat will also accelerate active material degradation and result in poor performance and life.

The TPPL technology incorporated in ODYSSEY® batteries enables them to tolerate temperatures from -40°F (-40°C) to 140°F (60°C). Besides TPPL technology, ODYSSEY® batteries feature Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) construction and a non-spillable design that resists high-impact shock and mechanical vibration, which are two common causes of battery failure.

Minimize Battery Failure

Proper care and maintenance can minimize battery-related no-starts. If problems with the operation of the engine or hotel loads occur, check the battery’s condition.

Inspection

Safety precautions include proper personal protective equipment for the eyes and hands and insulated tools. Below, find a few useful battery inspection tips that can help to optimize power performance. As always, refer to the owner’s manual to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for battery care and handling and direct all questions to your battery professional.

  • Check the electrolyte level if the battery is a conventional flooded lead acid battery and replenish water if needed. The AGM construction of ODYSSEY®batteries does not require watering, making them virtually maintenance-free.
  • Check case, terminals, cables and clamps for damage from acid and corrosion, which can compromise the battery’s performance and jeopardize the condition of other parts of the vehicle. Replace cables that are fraying or cracked, as they can cause the battery to short circuit. Replace corroded clamps, but if the case is cracked or leaking, or if the terminals are damaged, replace the entire battery.

Cleaning

If dirt, corrosion and acid film accumulate around the case and terminals, current could leak from the battery. It’s important to regularly clean your battery and you can do this on your own by following these easy-to-follow steps:

  • Disconnect the battery before cleaning.
  • Clean dirt away from cables and connectors. Use ammonia or a paste of one part baking soda to three parts water to remove acid accumulation.
  • Clean deposits from terminals with a battery terminal brush.
  • Clean the case and clamps with water.
  • Rinse and dry.
  • Reconnect battery.
  • Coat terminals with dielectric grease or petroleum jelly to minimize further deposits.

Testing 

A digital voltmeter measures the Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) to determine the battery’s State of Charge (SOC). For an accurate reading, wait six to eight hours after the battery has been charged to perform this test so that the chemical reactions in the battery reach an equilibrium and the surface charge is gone. Consult the manufacturer’s specifications for the OCV that corresponds to 100 percent SOC. If a charge is necessary, the battery manufacturer’s specifications will also indicate the proper level of charge.

Charging

The battery should be fully charged to minimize sulfation. Consult the battery manufacturer’s specifications for the proper charger type and current, as each battery chemistry has its own charging requirements. Ensure the current is high enough to fully charge the battery, but not so high that the battery overheats. When a charge for lead acid batteries is needed, ODYSSEY® battery chargers will fully and safely charge ODYSSEY® batteries and other quality brands of 12-volt AGM and flooded lead acid batteries.

Conclusion 

Truck drivers play a vital role in the consistent functioning of the supply chain, which has become more critical with the recent disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the demands for making timely deliveries, no-start delays can cost money, waste time and damage reputations. Using premium ODYSSEY® batteries can provide the driver with the reliability needed to meet delivery commitments.

To follow the latest ODYSSEY® battery news, visit our website at www.odysseybattery.com or connect with us on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook by using the hashtag #MYODYSSEY.

ABOUT ENERSYS®

EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, manufactures and distributes energy systems solutions and motive power batteries, specialty batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide. Energy Systems, which combine enclosures, power conversion, power distribution and energy storage, are used in the telecommunication, broadband and utility industries, uninterruptible power supplies and numerous applications. Motive power batteries and chargers are utilized in electric forklift trucks and other industrial electric powered vehicles requiring stored energy solutions. Specialty batteries are used in aerospace and defense applications, large over-the-road trucks, premium automotive, medical and security systems applications. EnerSys also provides aftermarket and customer support services to its customers in over 100 countries through its sales and manufacturing locations around the world. With the NorthStar acquisition, EnerSys has solidified its position as the market leader for premium Thin Plate Pure Lead batteries, which are sold across all three lines of business. More information regarding EnerSys can be found at www.enersys.com.