Spotlight on Odyessy

Odyssey BatteryOur Odyssey Batteries are currently on the spot light! All Odyssey Powersports Batteries, ranging from the PC310 to the PC925, will have a coupon available to use. You claim your code, click on the Coupon Code “Get” button under the add to cart button. Each code is unique to the product, so don’t miss it before you check out. Not only will you get a great battery, but at a great price!

The coupons are only available for the smaller powersports batteries, not the large automotive and truck batteries. Now’s a great time  pull the covers off the bike in the garage. There’s still plenty of time to have the ride of your life!

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Your Input Requested

NotepadWe have recently added a product review option for each of the products we carry. This setup will allow you to tell us and others what you think about the products you purchase. Please take advantage of this.

It will not only act as a user based help tool, but will help us continue to improve our service and concentrate only on quality products and product services. We also are taking suggestions on new tutorials ideas. If there is something about batteries or charging them that you do not fully grasp, and believe an illustrative tutorial would help, please send that request/suggestion directly to James.

He is just chomping at the bit to be tasked on this…

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Tested and Passed

I know we all love paying the bills, and I admit that sells products to pay the bills. If we were only playing the short game we could probably sell more product by following market fads and quickie fixes, but has a deeper commitment to our customers than that. Sure we want to be here tomorrow, but we also want to be here 10 years from now. The short version of that is we want to provide only quality products that do what they say they will do, and will stand up over the long haul. With that in mind, we have a couple new items to report on. First, we have been conducting a long term test on the new Shorai lithium Iron PowerSports batteries.

Shorai BatteryIn December we installed 3 Shorai Batteries in 3 different motorcycles: A 7ah in a KTM SXF350, a 9Ah in a Supermoto version Husaberg 450FE, and a 14Ah in a new generation Husaberg offroad Race bike. So far, all three are performing flawlessly, providing starts all thru the cold winter and hot summer. There are now 3 larger versions available for high performance auto applications that so far are also looking pretty good. If you have an application where saving a few pounds is important, these little gems are worth checking out.

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Seasons Come and Seasons Go

Wow, with fall weather knocking on our door (pounding on some?) it looks like we have just about wrapped up another summer season. And what a summer it was! Some of you had a real blistering summer, while others have got off way too easy. For sure, the weather here is Southern Oregon was absolutely fantastic, with a grand total of 0 days breaking the 100F mark. That is the first time I remember this happening in the 30+ years I have lived here. At the same time, I know some locales have seen record strings of hot weather. I guess it all balances out in the end. So, being a battery related post, you may be wondering what the tie in is to batteries? Actually, the weather plays a very important role in the lifespan of our batteries

First, let’s start with the hot: If you are using flooded, liquid acid batteries (they type with removable caps), now would be a very good time to make sure that the acid levels are topped up to the full level. Even for the not so technically minded, this is about as easy as it gets. Simply get some distilled water from a local grocery store, pop the caps off with a screwdriver and fill ‘em up. Remember, when a battery dries out, it is only the water that evaporates. All the chemicals needed to make your battery do what it does are still in there so there is no need to add more sulfuric acid. Replenish the water, and you will be good to go. A quick note on that: Do not add mineral water, tap water, or regular bottled water. Distilled Water is the way to go as the natural elements that can ‘plug up’ your battery have been removed and only pure H20 remains

Secondly, now that it looks like our weather will be cooling off soon, it is just as important to keep your batteries fully charged during any lapse in use. We recommend a good quality battery tender. We have quite a selection to choose from, so feel free to email or call our tech department for help selecting one for your specific application. What this will do is keep your battery at an optimal rate of charge between uses. Doing this will provide two benefits. Because your battery will be fully charged all the time, you can bet that your application will be ready to go whenever you are. There is nothing more disappointing than planning a ride or drive only to find out that you cannot get started due to a flat battery. Another important point is what happens to a battery when it is not kept fully charged. In simple terms the acid in your battery is composed of water and chemical. When a battery is charged, the chemical migrates off the lead plates, into the water solution. When it is discharged, the chemical migrates out of the water, and on to the lead plates. If the chemical is allowed to stay on the plates for Battery Tutorial too long it will harden and form a barrier that prevents the cycle from happening as efficiently as it did before. For more on that, I highly recommend this short video tutorial for more info on how that works.

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Solar Panels on Sale!

Summer is almost over and the kids have gone back to school. But the Sun is still shining and the weather is still warm. Now’s a great time to think about solar power! It’s becoming  more popular and more affordable than ever before. We have our BatteryStuff Solar Panels on Sale! We have panels as small as 3 Watts all the way up to 127 Watts.

5 Watt Solar Panel SaleOur small solar panels are recommended for long-term car, power-sports, and marine starting battery maintenance. The 5 Watt panel, now only $35, is designed to maintain mid-size batteries and are recommended for use in electric gate openers, fence chargers, dual battery starting systems, and industrial equipment.

The mid-sized panels, such as our 45 Watt Panel, now $181, are good for maintenance of larger batteries. They are also prime candidates for remote battery bank systems, when used in multiples, and for charging trolling motor batteries. With panels this large, we highly recommend the use of a charge controller.

112 Watt panel KitStep it up with our large panels, ranging from 68 Watts  up to 127 Watts, which are able to re-charge large batteries and keep backup electrical systems running successfully. The RV and Marine Kits we offer, such as the 112 Watt Kit, are a combination of our largest panels with the necessary hardware, controller, wire and connectors that allow you to mount them on an RV or Marine deck.

Our panels are made of high quality Poly-Crystalline solar cells. The modules have a 20-year, 80% power output warranty. For more information about our solar panels, check out our selection, or download our Instructional Manual.

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NiCd Battery Tutorial

If this is not your first stop in the NiCd information trail I am sure the information that you have read, heard, or found on the internet is just about overwhelming. In this tutorial we will do our best at keeping is simple, accurate, and to the point. If you have questions that are not addressed, please let us know and we hopefully be able to help.

What NiCad batteries are
NiCd Battery‘NiCd’ is the chemical abbreviation for the composition of Nickel-Cadmium batteries, which are a type of secondary (rechargeable) batteries. Nickel-Cadmium batteries contain the chemicals Nickel (Ni) and Cadmium (Cd), in various forms and compositions. Typically the positive electrode is made of Nickel hydroxide (Ni (OH) 2) and the negative electrode is composed of Cadmium hydroxide (Cd (OH) 2), with the electrolyte itself being Potassium hydroxide (KOH).

How NiCd Batteries are Unique
NiCad batteries are different from typical alkaline batteries or lead-acid batteries in several key ways. One of the main key differences is in cell voltage. A typical alkaline or lead-acid battery has a cell voltage of approximately 1.5 V, which then steadily drops off as it is depleted. NiCad batteries are unique in that they will maintain a steady voltage of 1.2v per cell up until it is almost completely depleted. This causes the NiCad batteries to have the ability to deliver full power output up until the end of its discharge cycle. So, while they have a lower voltage per cell, they have a more powerful delivery throughout the entirety of the application. Some manufacturers make up the voltage difference by adding an extra cell to the battery pack. This allows for the voltage to be the same as the traditional type batteries, while still retaining the constant voltage that is so unique of NiCads. Another reason the NiCad batteries can deliver such high power output, is they have very low internal resistance. Because their internal resistance is so low, they are capable of discharging a lot of power very quickly, as well as accepting a lot of power very quickly. Having such a low internal resistance keeps the internal temperature low as well, allowing for quick charge and discharge times. This feature, combined with the constant voltage of the cells, allows them to put out a high amount of amperage, at a consistently higher voltage than comparable alkaline batteries.

Power Tool Applications
Power Tool NiCd Battery PackOne of the most practical applications for NiCad batteries is in cordless power tools. Power tools demand a high amount of power delivery throughout the entire time of use, and do not function as well with dropping voltages as a typical battery would deliver. With NiCad technology, power tools are able to operate at full capacity for the entire time of use, not only the first few minutes of operation. With a Lithium-ion, alkaline, or even a lead-acid battery, the power tool will perform extremely well from the start, with a steady decline in power, until the power tool barely works at all. NiCads, on the other hand, will cause the power tool to stay at full power up until the very end of the charge. Not only that, but then NiCads can be safely charged in as little as 1-2 hours! We recommend PremiumGold NiCad replacement power tool batteries.

Charging NiCd batteries
NiCd ChargerAnother unique feature of NiCad batteries lies in the way they charge. Unlike a lead-acid battery which can take large variations in amperage and voltage while charging, the NiCad batteries require steady amperage and only very slight variations in voltage. The charge rate for a NiCad is right between 1.2 V and 1.45 V per cell. When charging NiCad batteries, a charge rate of c/10 (10% of capacity) is normally used, with the exceptions being speed chargers, which charge at either c/1 (100% capacity) or c/2 (50% capacity). NiCad’s have the ability to receive a much higher rate of charge up to 115% of their total capacity, with minimal reduction in life span, which makes NiCad batteries the ideal battery for power tools. If you notice the battery heating up while it is charging, cool it down, and then complete the charge. The chemical reaction in a NiCad while charging is heat absorbing, instead of heat producing, so higher power absorption is possible while charging, allowing for the quick recharge times.

Storing NiCd Batteries
When storing NiCad batteries, be sure to pick a cool, dry place. The temperature range for storing batteries is between −20 °C and 45 °C. When preparing to store NiCad batteries, be sure to discharge the batteries fairly deeply. The range in recommendations is between 40% and 0% charged when going into storage. NEVER short circuit a NiCad to drain as this causes excessive heat and can cause hydrogen gas to be released…AKA-Boom! The self-discharge rate for NiCad’s is right around 10% at 20 °C, and rising up to 20% at higher temperatures. It is recommended not to store NiCads for an extended amount of time without occasionally using the batteries. Over long periods of storage the cadmium in the NiCad can form dendrites (thin, conductive crystals), which can bridge the gap between contacts and short out the cell. Once this happens, there is really nothing that can be done to fix it long term. The best way to prevent this from happening is frequent use.

The Memory Effect
One of the most discussed topics about NiCad’s is whether or not they have a ‘memory’. The idea of a charge memory came when they started using NiCad batteries in satellites where they were typically charging for twelve hours out of twenty-four for several years.1After several years it was noticed that the battery capacity has seemed to have declined severely, and while still operable, they would only discharge to the point that the charger would typically kick in, and then would drop off as if they were completely discharged. For the typical consumer this does not have a large effect, however, we do recommend fully discharging the NiCad you are using before recharging. Occasionally completely draining (but NEVER short circuiting) a NiCad can prevent the on setting of this mysterious battery ‘memory’. An effect with similar symptoms to the memory effect is what is called the voltage depression or lazy battery effect. This is caused by frequent overcharging of the NiCad. You can tell this is happening when the battery appears to be fully charged but discharges quickly after only a brief period use. This is not the ëmemoryí effect, which is limited to NiCad batteries alone, but is something that can happen to any battery, and is almost always from overcharging. Occasionally this can be fixed by running the battery through a few very deep discharge cycles, but doing so can reduce the overall life of the battery. NiCad batteries are the only battery chemistry that benefit from completely discharging before recharging.

Proper Disposal
NiCad batteries contain Cadmium, a highly toxic ‘heavy’ metal. Never burn NiCads, and never throw them in the trash or break them open. Always recycle NiCad’s at an official NiCad recycle place. As long as NiCads are kept sealed, and never short circuited or severely over charged, NiCad batteries are perfectly safe to use, and do not vent toxic material. If a NiCad battery is treated well, it should last to the 1000 cycle mark. Speed charging NiCads can slightly shorten their life span, as can extended improper storage.

NiCd BatteriesSummary
While limited in application, NiCad batteries are an exceptional choice for all of you cordless power tool requirements. There are other chemistry batteries coming online as technology marches on, however the best bang for your buck, insofar as Power Tool replacement batteries, still lies with this tried and tested battery type.

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Back to School

Labor Day Weekend is upon us. The last bit of summer vacation seems to be one of the most important, and most stressful time of the year. There will be many families traveling to visit family, go camping, or go sight seeing. If you ride, enjoy this time before the weather starts to get cooler. When fall comes around, and kids go back to school, don’t forget to properly store your “big boy” toys so that they’re ready for you next Spring.

September is synonymous with the start of the new school year. Kids need school supplies, clothes, and to learn how to wake up early in the morning again. Supplies these days are getting more technical and electrical every year. It wouldn’t surprise me if pencils will someday soon require the use of batteries. But for those who use calculators, cameras, flashlights, and other hand-held devices, you might be interested in our selection of AA, AAA, C, D, or 9 volt batteries.

The Ray-o-vac Hybrid batteries are rechargeable. With the purchase of a charger, these batteries will eventually pay for themselves. Ray-o-vac batteries deliver the same durability, quality and power output of other name-brand batteries without the cost.

Have a great weekend everyone, and ride safe!

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