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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Acid - This is the solution inside of a battery. It is usually sulphuric acid and is often called electrolyte.

AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) - AGM batteries contain a special absorbent glass mat that wicks the electrolyte solution between the plates, as as such mean that they are maintenance free batteries. They are designed to provide powerful bursts of starting amps and are able to run electronics for longer periods.

Alternating Current (AC) - AC stands for alternating current and is continuously changing the directional flow of charge.

Amp or Ampere - This is a measurement of the electrical current travelling through an electrical circuit.

Battery - Batteries are a collection of one or more cells whose chemical reactions create a flow of electrons in a circuit.

Capacity - Usually specified in Ah this is the amount of energy a battery can supply until it is fully discharged.

Cycle - One complete discharge and recharge of a battery.

Deep Cycle - Deep cycle batteries are designed to be able to be continuously and regularly discharged and recharged.

Direct Current (DC) - DC stands for direct current, and is a one directional flow of charge.

Discharge - When your battery loses energy or voltage this is known as discharge. Essentially this means your battery has lost some of its charge. This discharge of your battery can happen during storage or through active use of the battery.

EFB (Enhanced Flooded Battery) - An enhanced flooded battery is a wet filled battery that has enhanced cycling abilities and can recover quicker, making it great for start-stop applications.

Electrolyte - The battery electrolyte is the solution inside the battery. It helps to conduct and transport the positively charged ions between the cathode and anode terminals.

Forming - Forming a battery is the initial process of charging and discharging a battery. This process happens after a battery has been constructed, filled and sealed. Incorrectly formed batteries can suffer from shorter lifespans and a reduced capacity.

Hydrometer - A hydrometer can be used to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte solution within the battery. This can then allow you to test the state of charge of the battery.

Inverter - An inverter changes DC power into usable AC power. This will enable you to power appliances such as kettles and laptops.

Lithium Ion Battery - A lithium ion (Li-ion) battery has advanced battery technology. During a discharge cycle, lithium atoms in the anode are ionized and separated from their electrons, these lithium ions move from the anode to cathode where they recombine with the electrons.

MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) - MPPT is maximising the amount of energy that can be converted from a power source into usable energy.

Negative Terminal - The electrode from with the electrons emerge is the negative terminal. It is also called the cathode.

Overcharge - Continually charging a battery or a cell after it has already been charged to 100%, results in overcharge of the battery.

Parallel Connection - A parallel connection will increase the capacity of the batteries. You can achieve this by connecting the positive terminals to positive terminals and negative terminals to negative terminals.

Parasitic Drain - When your battery continues to drain above the normal discharge rate, usually caused by a faulty accessory connected to the battery.

Portable Power Stations - A portable power station is essentially a mini generator. It will allow you to keep electronics and appliances running whilst you are off grid. Typically used for laptops, phones, kettles and mini fridges. However some can support whole house emergency power.

Positive Terminal - The terminal of a battery or other voltage source towards which electrons flow through the external circuit. It is also called the anode.

Sealed Lead Acid Battery - With a thickened electrolyte solution that cannot be spilled out, the sealed lead acid battery is a popular choice for vehicle batteries as they are maintenance free.

Self Discharge - Battery self discharge happens to all batteries, whether they are connected or not. Each battery will have different levels of self discharge. It is recommended to monitor and check your batteries so that self discharge doesn't irreversibly damage the battery.

Series Connection - Joining batteries together in a series connection involves connecting positive terminals to the negative terminals of the additional batteries This will increase the voltage, but will not affect the capacity.

Shelf Life - Shelf life is the period of time, when stored at a specific temperature after which the battery retains a specified percentage of its original energy.

Starter Batteries - Starter batteries are designed to provide a large burst of current for a short period of time that will give enough power to start an engine.

State of Charge (SoC) - This is the current level of charge a battery currently has. It is measured as a percentage against the batteries fully charged capacity.

State of Health (SoH) - This is the health of your battery. It is measured as a percentage against the batteries original capacity. Age, wear and tear of the battery will affect the batteries state of health.

Stop-Start - A start-stop system will automatically shut off the engine whilst the vehicle is stationary.

Sulphation(Sulfation) - Sulphation is the build up of lead sulphate crystals within the battery. It happens when batteries are not being charged fully and can result in battery failure.

Supply Batteries - Supply batteries are better known as domestic batteries or leisure batteries. They are designed to store power over a long period of time.

Trickle Charge - A trickle charge is a slow way to charge a fully charged battery. Trickle chargers do not over charge the battery, but instead charge the battery at the same rate as its self discharge rate.

Voltage - Voltage is the force of an electric current and measured in volts.

Watt - A watt is a measurement of electrical flow and is a measurement of power. A 60W lightbulb requires less flow (power) than a 100W lightbulb.

Watt-Hour - The amount of energy that has been used is measured in Watt-hours. A 60W light bulb switched on for 30 minutes would use 30Wh.