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The biggest heavy-duty truck battery killers

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Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 14 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

Fleet Equipment asked Brad Bisaillon, director of strategic accounts, North America and Europe, with Trojan Battery Co. LLC, and Maria Orlando-Krick, marketing manager of specialty products, Americas at EnerSys, brand manufacturer of ODYSSEY batteries, about the biggest battery draining threats. Here’s what they said:

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  • Corrosion at connection: Keep all connections clean and corrosion free at all times, and check them
    regularly.
  • Vibration—Vibration can be a killer so always check that the batteries are properly secured in place and the tie-downs have not worked loose.
  • Incorrect voltage cutoff: While most invertors are fitted with voltage cutoff the exact level can vary, ensure that the voltage cutoff is set to the correct level 11.8V on a 12V system and never allow any battery to be fully discharged.
  • Temperature issues: Temperature is always an issue. Running too hot can cause charging problems and will reduce battery life, while a cold battery has to work harder to provide sufficient power.
  • Charging impact: Some AGM battery chemistries are more charge sensitive: They are not “alternator friendly,” and the alternator cannot deliver the 14.4-14.7 charge voltage that some AGM batteries require. Seek an AGM battery that can accept 14.0 VDC-14.4 VDC, as typical charge voltage at the battery terminals is 14.1-14.2.
  • Battery design: Design features that make the SLI battery more powerful in engine starting applications are the exact same features that make the SLI battery the wrong choice for use with cycling applications. Dual purpose batteries are compromise designs best suited for intermittent use applications requiring 20-25 amps of current for three-hours or less per cycle.

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