Strike a Balance
Strike a Balance

Strike a Balance

Workshops need to aim for greater battery balance to improve vehicle reliability and extend battery life, according to Henk Lubberts, Professional Business Unit Manager at CTEK.

We estimate that as many as one in three commercial vehicles entering the workshop has a battery requiring attention, with this figure rising to nearly 50% for those that make frequent stops, such as buses and delivery trucks. For vehicles operating a 24V system, one of the main reasons for this is battery ‘balance’. A 24V system is actually two 12V batteries joined together in series.

Over time, the two batteries become ‘out of balance’, with one battery at the front of the circuit absorbing all the loads placed on it (starter motor, accessories etc.), so the second battery has a slightly easier life. This leads to an imbalance between the two batteries, reducing battery capacity, performance and life.

Through our work with truck and bus manufacturers, as well as commercial vehicle workshops and fleets, we have identified that by regularly maintaining batteries in a 24V series and charging each 12V battery individually, workshops will significantly reduce breakdowns due to battery failure, and fleets can extend battery life by up to three times.

We have a quick and easy solution that will enable workshops to regularly charge batteries across their fleet, without having to take the vehicle off the road for long periods of time or remove the battery from the vehicle. A battery management programme can actually work within the parameters of an existing maintenance programme and will:

■ Maintain the balance of 24V battery sets
■ Identify any faulty batteries early, to protect against battery failure
■ Ensure that each 12V battery in the 24V ‘set’ is kept above 12.4V at all times, to protect against the risk of sulphation – the biggest battery killer

The process

1. Workshop should test the battery using the CTEK Battery Analyzer when vehicle arrives – there is no need to take the batteries out of the 24V ‘set’, each battery can be tested individually. A simple to use unit, like the CTEK 12V PRO Battery Tester will accurately test the condition of all types of 12V leadacid batteries and provide an immediate indication of any action that is required.

2. The PRO Battery Tester will indicate whether the battery needs a charge or a replacement.

3. If batteries require charging, simply connect up to two CTEK 25A extended lead 12V chargers while other work is completed without interruption – there is no need to take the batteries out of the 24V ‘set’, simply connect a charger to each battery.

4. The vehicle batteries will be charged and conditioned by the charger.

By implementing a battery management programme, workshops will:

■ Improve the reliability of the fleet
■ Reduce vehicle downtime
■ Identify battery problems early
■ Reduce battery failures and non-starts in cold weather
■ Reduce the number of batteries being replaced
■ Reduce non-recoverable costs associated with administration of battery warranty
■ Ensure a balanced set of batteries deliver a consistent performance over a greater period of time
■ Increase workshop efficiency and minimise costs

CTEK chargers are powerful, fully automatic, switched mode battery chargers designed to offer reliability, safety and efficiency for workshops. The fully automatic charging cycle includes features to ensure that batteries are not only charged correctly, but that they are maintained in peak condition – extending battery life, reducing downtime and saving on costs.

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