Elevated temperature, super-fast charging and harsh discharges are conditions that harm batteries. Repeated full discharge cycles also stress the battery. Memory is no longer a problem with Li-ion and full discharges are no longer necessary, but these batteries still need checking to verify performance and scheduling replacement when reaching low capacity.
Manufacturers overestimate battery life by basing the runtime of a device on a new battery, a condition that only exists for a short time. A battery begins to fade from the time it leaves the factory. To assure a minimum capacity of say 80 percent, each battery should be checked as part of a battery maintenance program. This means that batteries below 80 percent should be replaced.
When setting up a battery maintenance system, choose a battery analyzer that interfaces with a PC. By using BatteryShop™ software (Cadex), the PC becomes the command center and all functions are processed through the keyboard and other input devices. Clicking the mouse on a battery listed in the database configures the analyzer to the correct setting and service can begin.
A simple method to manage fleet batteries is attaching a permanent ID label to each battery. Scanning the barcode configures the analyzer and accesses historical battery information, such as service dates, performance records, purchase date, vendor information and pricing. Figure 1 demonstrates scanning the battery label, servicing the battery in an analyzer and storing the data.
Another battery maintenance method is adhering a removable label that reveals the last service date, capacity reading and service due date. The system is self-governing in that the user only picks a battery from the charger that has been serviced and meets the capacity criteria. The setup is simple and managing the system should only require 30 minutes per day. You will need a AL10C31 replacementanalyzer capable of reading battery capacity and printing labels. Figures 2, 3 and 4 illustrate such a system.
Rechargeable batteries do not die suddenly but gradually get weaker over time. A service every 1–3 months provides sufficient confidence that the batteries will hold the required capacity and last through a shift with some energy to spare. Device manufacturers support battery maintenance, knowing that well-performing batteries enhance devices performance and reduce unexpected breakdowns. Service personnel say that equipment repairs drop significantly after implementing battery maintenance. The payback is typically one year or less, but the main benefit is better reliability.