Intro to Car Batteries
The basic purpose of car batteries is to store electrical energy to provide to a motor vehicle, to feed to the electrical energy to the starter that then starts the car’s engine. This is why you can’t even start the car when the battery’s worn out. So in fact, you only need the battery to start the car. Once the engine’s running, it no longer needs the battery.
The main ingredients of a car battery are lead and acid. Despite the hazardous nature, these are the two chemicals that give the car, the power. Without these, there will be no Car batteries Dubbo or the head lights or any other electrical component in the car. Some of the important systems in a car that utilise electrical energy are, Ignition and Fuel system, transmission controls, audio and climate control, etc.. However, a car’s battery is not designed to supply constant energy to all these electrical devices. Once the engine starts running, the generator takes over and supplies the power to these systems, while the battery remains charged.
To get an idea of a world without batteries, engines back in 1860s would be a good example since back then, there were no batteries to supply the initial current so hand crank was used to give enough compression to fire off a cylinder. This was an exhausting task which is now replaced by a simple push-start button or an ignition switch.
The two types of Batteries
There are two kinds of batteries that are generally available. The rechargeable ones and the ones that you dispose of once they are worn out. Both of these types are easily available in Dubbo, Australia. The batteries that are disposed of are called priming batteries. These batteries are capable of producing electrical current from the base components. The rechargeable batteries, the car batteries, on the other hand, follow a different mechanism. They can be charged, discharged and then charged again. These are called Secondary batteries. These batteries operate on the reversible chemical reaction that enables them to be charged again.
How Car Batteries store Energy
The first lead and acid battery was invented back in 1850s. To your surprise, the batteries that your car operates on, works on the very same principles that the first battery operated on. The design and the material may have evolved over the time, but the basic mechanism is still the same.
So, when a car battery is discharging, the electrolyte changes into a dilute solution of sulphuric acid. The lead plates absorb the sulphuric acid to become lead sulphate. When the electrical current is supplied, this process reverses. The lead sulphate turns back to lead and the solution which was dilute solution of sulphuric acid becomes concentrated solution of sulphuric acid. This reversible process is the foundation of the working mechanism of lead-acid battery.
To explain in simpler words, the lead plates that are immersed in the mixture of sulphuric acid and distilled water, take away the sulphuric acid from the mixture when battery is working and when the generator comes into action, the sulphuric acid goes back into the solution.
Is the Lead-acid battery the most reliable?
The lead-acid car battery isn’t the most reliable and efficient way to produce energy but, there are 2 main reasons for why this method has been in use since centuries.
- It’s more affordable than any other source of saving electrical energy. Lead-acid batteries are manufactured at a significantly lower cost than other options available to provide energy.
- Secondly, the amount of current that can be drawn from a lead-acid battery is not limited so it can give a tremendous amount of current as per the requirement of the car. This option is not available in the case of other options to create power for the car.
Selecting the right Battery
Although the basic mechanism of operation is the same as it was back in 1850s, there have been significant changes the material and design of the batteries, till date. A number of options are available to choose from. In these options, there are different variations for example, a deep cycle battery uses a different plate configuration than a Valve-regulated lead-acid battery. The selection of the right battery for your vehicle depends on a number of different factors including the vehicle’s power demands, the appropriate size of the battery for the vehicle, reserve capacity (RC) and lastly, the Cold Cranking Amps which is the measure of the battery’s ability to start an engine in cold temperatures. For areas like Dubbo, where the temperature drops to around 3°C, this is an important factor to consider.