The Low Down on Sulfation
Who has not parked their bike, ATV, personal water craft or snowmobile and thought “I’m tired, I need a drink, l’ll hook up the charger later ….” and then forgotten? Some of us even forget the ignition key on which drains that battery within 24 hours.
If a battery is kept fully charged (at the correct voltage for that battery type) sulfation is prevented and the battery’s life is extended. A good smart charger dialed in to deliver the correct voltage for your battery type (like TecMate's AccuMate range of chargers) can do this job well….......that is, if you always remember to keep it hooked up!
A battery left unattended for weeks / months could discharge below 12V & then sulfation starts developing. The more it discharges the more it ‘sulfates’ and vice versa, until a point is reached where it cannot accept charge. What actually happens? The sulfuric acid separates into free floating sulfates and water. Sulfates are attracted to lead! Sulfate crystals start packing onto the lead plates which decreases conductance (ability for current to flow). The greater the sulfate build-up the lower the conductance becomes. If this is not ‘stopped’ & reversed in time it can become so severe that mechanical damage occurs (plates are bent & buckled). More bad news: In temperatures below freezing water turns into ice. Ice expands which buckles the plates and even cracks the casing.
Here’s the good news: A battery that has only suffered ‘chemical’ damage (sulfation build-up) and has even the lowest possible conductance left (usually indicated by a battery measuring at least 2V), can be recovered! Many smart charger & battery companies say this is not possible, obviously because battery companies want to sell more batteries and some charger companies cannot recover such batteries.
Some smart chargers tend to display “STORAGE” or “BATTERY READY” within minutes, even seconds, but of course the battery remains as ‘dead’ as it was before hook-up up.
Since we brought ‘sulfation’ as the main reason for battery failure to the attention of the market one of OptiMate's main North American competitors now claim to be "The world's best 'anti-sulfation' chargers!" and that without making any changes to their basic charging program for over 10 years. I reiterate, it tends to work if you NEVER EVER forget to hook up the charger every time you store the vehicle.
Fact is, none of them can bring back a neglected, sulfated / deeply discharged battery! Only OptiMate can!
This is not a claim TecMate makes, this is a fact proven & accepted (even promoted) by many power sport OE’s world-wide. And ask about a million or so happy OptiMate owners what it does for them.
Is it magic? No, it is simple, practical science and it works!
Here’s a tip: If your battery is deeply discharged & quite possible sulfated, remove it from the vehicle, or at least disconnect one of the leads from the battery before hooking up your OptiMate desulfater-charger. Otherwise OptiMate will sense the vehicle wiring as part of the battery and then not go into desulfation mode.