How can you charge a lead-acid battery yourself?
Before we tell you in detail how to charge a lead-acid battery, we would first like to give you some background information about the lead-acid battery.
The principle of a lead-acid battery.
Electrical energy is stored in a lead-acid battery so that it can be used at any time. For this, the battery must of course be charged with electricity.
A lead-acid battery consists of a number of equal cells. There are positive and negative lead plates in these cells that are immersed in a solution of distilled, diluted sulfuric acid. This sulfuric acid is called the electrolyte.
When a cell discharges, the acid connects to the lead of the plates and current is created. By linking the acid to the lead, lead sulfate is formed on the plates.
When a cell recharges, the reverse process takes place. Because electrical current is supplied in the opposite direction, a chemical reaction takes place again. Sulfuric acid is then again formed from the lead sulfate of the plates.
To put it in simple words: the more a lead-acid battery is discharged, the more it will be charged again. It is precisely for this reason that the batteries of cars that drive long and long distances give up less quickly than those of cars that often stand still or make short distances.
Charge a lead-acid battery with a special charger
A lead-acid battery is therefore automatically charged if you use it a lot.
A battery that is not used for a long time, in other words if you do not drive your car for a long time, can fail and in this case you will have to charge your lead-acid battery yourself. It is generally recommended to do this once a month if you do not drive a lot with the car.
You can charge a lead-acid battery with a special charger. Make sure you purchase the correct charger for the battery to be charged. If the charger is not powerful enough, the battery will not charge, no matter how long you wait. If the charger is too powerful, you can inflate your battery. The loading capacity of the charger is also important. This may amount to a maximum of 10% of the battery.
10 steps for charging a lead-acid battery
- If necessary, remove the battery from the car. With some chargers this is no longer necessary.
- Clean the poles of the battery. If the poles are clean, they can make better contact with the terminals of the charger. The easiest way to do this is with a damp cloth or a sponge with baking soda.
- Place the charger as far away as possible from the battery. Do this in a well-ventilated area.
- Add distilled water to the cells of the battery if necessary.
- Remove the covers from the cells so that gases can escape during the entire charging process.
- Insert the plug of the charger into the wall socket and place the clamps of the charger on the battery terminals. The positive terminal is red and must be placed on the positive pole, the negative terminal is black and is attached to the negative battery terminal.
- Set the battery charger to the desired voltage.
- Keep an eye on the entire process for a long time. If you notice nothing strange such as smoke development or escape of gases, the battery will be charged properly.
- If the battery is fully charged, which can take quite a while, switch off the charger.
- First remove the plug from the socket, then remove the clamps and finally place the battery back in the car when you have removed it.
Recharging a lead-acid battery is actually not that difficult. With a little dexterity and with attention to all precautions, you can now safely charge the lead acid battery of your car.
Do you want to extend the life of your lead batteries?
You can do much more to extend the life of your lead batteries. We cover this and many other ways to guarantee the life of your batteries in our Battery Reconditioning Program .
In this program you will also learn how to bring your batteries back to life. It goes without saying that you can save a lot with this.
You can even put together a completely new storage system with used batteries that you can obtain for free or at a bargain price. You can read here how you can best tackle this .