MAINTENANCE OF BATTERIES
Maintenance of Auto Crane unit batteries differs very little from the generally prescribed maintenance of any lead acid battery. All batteries must be kept properly charged, properly filled with water, and relatively clean.
Keep Properly Charged
Many things affect the proper charge to a battery, such as:
Proper tightness of belts on the alternator or generator.
Good, clean connections of all cables and wires at the following places:
Alternator or generator.
Ground connections (most important).
It is of extreme importance to keep the battery as fully charged as possible without overcharging, especially when vehicles are left outside for extended periods in extremely cold climates. A battery can freeze. Freezing points for various specific gravities of acid are as follows:
Specific Gravity (Corrected to 80ºF)
Freezing Temp. Degrees F.
As shown, a half-charged battery (about 1.100 specific gravity) cannot stand for any length of time at 20ºF or it will freeze.
The main reason for keeping the battery as fully charged as possible without over-charging is to insure that power is available even though the vehicle has been standing for some time.
Keep Properly Filled with Water
The battery should always be properly filled with water. If the electrolyte level is allowed to fall below the top of the plates, the results become threefold:
The exposed portion of the plate will become sulfated.
The portion of the plate exposed is not usable.
That portion of the acid remaining becomes more concentrated and may cause more rapid
deterioration of the remaining parts of the battery.
Keep A Relatively Clean Battery
The battery should be kept clean. Batteries filled with acid and which are not in use self-discharge to a limited degree because of the nature of the materials within the battery. If dirt is allowed to collect on the top of the battery (and this dirt absorbs moisture) and electrical path can be set up between the various terminals of the battery and the ground. Once such a path has been established, the self- discharge of the battery is accelerated. This also accelerates corrosion of the battery cables at the terminals.
Periodic Maintenance is Needed
A definite program of periodic maintenance of all batteries should be conducted on a regular basis. Periodic maintenance includes:
1. Checking belts for tightness on the charging equipment.
Checking battery electrolyte levels.
Checking cables for good connections.
Cleaning where corrosion is apparent.
When corrosion is cleaned off, the cable terminals and battery terminals should be coated with a light coating of petroleum jelly before they are replaced. When terminals are cleaned, the top of the battery should be cleaned with a mild solution of soda water.
Low Maintenance Batteries (Maintenance Free)
Low maintenance batteries should not be used on AutoCrane Cranes or trucks equipped with AutoCrane Cranes. The batteries are not designed for "deep" discharge.
Testing Your Battery
If the condition of the battery is in question, it should be removed from the vehicle, taken to the shop, and allowed to reach room temperature. It should then be recharged until specific gravity readings taken at one-half hour intervals. If the specific gravity readings are fairly uniform, the battery should be checked with a high rate tester. Use the tester in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The high rate tester is the best method to test a questionable battery.