Remember those days when you had to refill your car battery with distilled water or when your battery died at an hour of need? Well, those days are long gone because the pages of history have been flipped and now, maintenance free batteries are the way to go. The best thing about these batteries is that they come sealed and ready to go without the need to constantly refill or worry about spill accidents (the acid in the battery burns).
Traditional Batteries Technology
Automotive lead-acid batteries have been in use for 158 years since their invention by French Scientist Gaston Planted in 1859. However, the batteries that we all knew while growing up were the lead-acid batteries. These basically consist of two rods called terminals (where you attach your cables) made of lead. In addition, it contains an electrolyte of sulphuric acid and distilled water whose main aim is to provide a medium for the transfer of ions (electricity is just simply a movement of ions). In the functioning of a battery, water is broken down into hydrogen and oxygen gas and when released, it reduces the amount of the electrolyte in use. Hence, the owner must keep on adding water to make sure that the battery works well.
Maintenance Free Technology
The maintenance free technology, on the other hand, is different in two major ways: one, the lead terminals are made of lead and calcium which offer better resistance to heat and reduces overcharge current (the main cause of hydrogen gas release). It also allows for the recombination of the released hydrogen and oxygen gas back into water in a process called oxygen recombination cycle. Additionally, the new battery is also sealed except for a small vent hole. This means that water loss is very insignificant hence no need to refill. In short, you fix it and forget it.
Comparison of Maintenance Free Batteries and Old Traditional Batteries
Here is a summary table of the old versus new:
We cannot deny that traditional vented batteries are indeed powerful and useful. However, users still must deal with electrolyte spill offs (sulfuric acid and water) that can eat away clothes and skin on contact. The battery terminals also get corroded by leaked acid in the case of overfilling, overcharging or rough battery handling; an expected occurrence for most drivers. Creativity has never lacked amongst Kenyans and many have resorted to making concoctions out of baking soda to clean the terminals. Others are going to the extent of putting copper coins near the lead terminals with the hope of saving them from corrosion (copper is corroded first before lead).
The first MF battery was produced in 1976 and as the name suggests, it does not require extra service when in use. Maintenance free batteries are an improvement over the old technology. They too contain Sulfuric acid and water but are sealed, meaning there’s less evaporation of the electrolyte. Additionally, by incorporating a calcium alloy into the make-up of the battery grid, this modern design is more resistant to corrosion, vibration damage and with a lesser rate of self-discharge. The calcium alloy also has less internal resistance thus delivering higher current to users. MF batteries are completely sealed and do not require any topping up of de-ionized water.
Locally, the maintenance free battery was adopted and implemented by Chloride Exide Limited, the largest battery manufacturer in East and Central Africa. The Chloride Exide Powerlast MF battery was developed to eliminate the pain points experienced by car owners in order to give you a hassle free driving experience. Powerlast MF batteries have minimal loss of water during the service life hence no need of topping up during its entire life. It is made of lead-calcium alloy which drastically reduces water loss.
One of the advantages of the Chloride Exide Powerlast battery is that it is made with the local consumer in mind i.e. factoring in their use e.g. to power their music/sound systems, Wi-Fi, type of vehicle and its engine capacity etc. If you are weighing options, car owners in Kenya now have the privilege to Dial A Battery. This is a premium service open to everyone that allows you to call Chloride Exide Limited through 0719 080000 or 020 4008000 and have your battery delivered and installed right on the spot. If you are not sure about the battery side you can use this battery finder guide.
In summary, if you are thinking of getting a new battery, consider the following advantages of the maintenance free batteries:
- Maintenance free batteries have a longer lifespan due to a lower self-discharge rate over time.
- Cars using maintenance free batteries have a faster starting power in cold temperatures than their traditional counterparts.
- There is less gasification (release of hydrogen gas) due to the calcium technology used and sealing of the battery reduces electrolyte spills-making it very safe for both home and car use.
- Saves time and effort as there is no maintenance needed -neither adding distilled water nor fighting off corrosion with baking soda.
Maintenance free batteries such as Chloride Exide Powerlast are set to revolutionize the way we use batteries in Kenya, both for automobile owners and general users. In the long run, these batteries are also cheaper because they save you time and reduce the inconvenience of having your car stall when you need it. The new popular motto in town is, Fit It Forget It. The long walk to battery maintenance freedom has finally come to an end.