Why are Fullriver Batteries the Go-to for Floor Scraping?

Floor Scraping equipment is one of the most challenging applications in floor-care. It requires a squat, heavy, ride-on type vehicle to rip up tile, wood, carpet, and other floor coverings. Typically, floor scraping is done on a big scale in some sort of commercial venue. Being almost exclusively performed in indoor settings, an electric vehicle is the more desirable for the work to keep down noise levels and eliminate harmful fumes from a gas engine.  For decades now Fullriver batteries have excelled in these applications, and our ability to meet the challenges is why Fullriver is chosen by most OEMs for this application. So, what is it about Fullriver DC Series batteries that complement this application so well?

Floor scraping often takes place in large spaces, whether it’s a mall, a conference center, school gym, or a retirement home, they usually must cover a lot of ground. This in turn means the batteries must be equipped to handle true deep cycle usage every time they show up to a job site. The equipment needs to run until every scrap of tile or fiber of carpet has been eliminated.  And don’t count on time for the batteries to be recharged, not if the operator wants to be profitable. Fortunately, Fullriver DC Series batteries are all designed for true deep-cycle applications. Built with some of the thickest plates with a proprietary active material formulation, and the longest curing process in the industry, these batteries can take a full-discharge and come back for more again and again.

Of course, removing hard flooring materials like tile ensures a fair amount of vibration, not to mention on the way to and from the job site in a trailer. Every battery that Fullriver produces accounts for vibration rich environments. Every battery cell is packed under compression for a snug fit, it’s one of the inherent benefits of AGM design. Fullriver takes this a step further when making the internal cell connections by going over the cell partitions instead of going through them. This is where most internal shorts occur in batteries because the cell group is constricted from floating in unison as it inevitably bangs into the partition.

These aforementioned features contribute to one of the most critical features of a any battery, long cycle life, but we don’t stop there. In addition to thick plates, a special paste formulation, and an industry leading curing process, Fullriver uses virgin lead with a high level of purity. Because of this, our batteries have very low internal resistance which reduces heat buildup during charging. Our final terminations are made with brass components, further reducing resistance and heat buildup, one of the biggest factors in early failures. Fullriver DC Series batteries typically have 20-25% longer cycle life than any of the major lead-acid battery manufacturers.

Finally, being maintenance free is a huge plus to this application, but really to any application. Being maintenance free means almost no upkeep to the machine, no deterioration from acid fumes, no cabling to replace, of course no watering to hassle with, and no spilled or overflowing acid during charging. Nobody wants a part time job maintaining flooded batteries, especially when you already have a full-time job doing flooring.

When we asked Brad Carlson, Engineer from National Flooring Equipment what he thought about Fullriver Batteries he said:

Fullriver Batteries are the batteries we trust in our equipment at National Flooring Equipment. Exceptional performance, durability, and longevity. They’re used in some of the harshest building and remodeling jobs and keep functioning at their best. They’re great at withstanding vibration and shock and are used in various climate extremes throughout the world. You get what you pay for and with Fullriver Battery that means excellence.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

What is a True Deep Cycle Battery?

Having briefly touched on the topic of deep-cycle batteries in our article on dual-purpose batteries last month, now seems like a good time for a more in depth look at these often-unsung heroes of work and play.  Sort of like a janitor, you only notice them if they’re doing a poor job. These days deep-cycle batteries are used in so many applications, it’s no wonder the industry registers in the multi-billion-dollar range. From recreation like golf carts and RVs to heavy industry like forklifts and UPS systems, deep-cycle batteries are everywhere, keeping the world running. At this point, it’s safe to say we could not live without them.

The simplest definition of a deep-cycle battery is a battery that can be discharged constantly until it reaches the maximum depth of discharge recommended by the manufacturer and then recharged before the process is repeated again and again. A car battery could never be subjected to this type of application and last very long. But why?

Served on a Plate, or by a Plate

A true deep-cycle battery will differ greatly from most standard automotive batteries due to the composition of the individual plates inside the battery. Automotive batteries utilize sponge lead, lead that has gone through a special process so that it becomes like a sponge. Sponge lead has a lot more surface area which allows for energy to flow out of the battery more readily for cranking an engine. The downside of the material is that it’s weak and subject to rapid sulfation.

Most deep-cycle batteries are made with flat plates, or in some cases cylindrical tubes. If the battery is well made, these plates, thick with ample active material, are well cured so they’re neither brittle nor mushy. Curing time is critical to ensure long-life and resilience. Some manufacturers cut corners and the curing process is rushed which can lead to early failures. Remember Murphy’s Law. Fullriver plates undergo a 10-day curing period, one of the longest in the industry where the standard is 1-3 days.

A Tight Fit

After the plates are finished, they are ready to be installed in the battery case. For a typical flooded cell battery, they are simply set into place. But for an AGM battery, the glass mat material is intentionally bulky and must be compressed to fit into the case. Once the electrolyte is added to the cells, the glass mat expands, further wedging the plates into the cell housing. This greatly mitigates against the inherent vibration of applications like electric vehicles, or a pallet jack going down the road in the back of a semi-truck.

Connections

The next step in assembly is to connect each of the individual 2-volt cells in the battery together to whatever nominal voltage the battery is supposed to be. 3, 2-volt cells for 12 volts, 4 for 8 volts, 6 for 12 volts, and so on, ad infinitum. Most manufacturers accomplish this inter-cell connection by punching a hole between the plastic separators (partitions) that divide these cells, and basically bolting the cells together. This method has one serious short-coming, upward movement of the cell pack. If a battery bounces up and down, the cell connection is subjected to stress where the partition inhibits this movement, and a dropped cell is common. Instead of a 12-volt battery, you’re left with a 10- volt.   

Fullriver uses a method of cell interconnection called over-the-partition (OTP). Instead of punching through the plastic partition, the cell connections go over each partition. By linking each cell with OTP welds, if the cell pack wants to move upward, the inter-cell connections are not stressed by slamming into the plastic partition. That’s not to say the pack is free-floating, it’s just allowed some wiggle at these critical connection points.

The thing about battery cases…

The case of the battery is the next critical component we shall examine. It doesn’t sound very exciting, but you can be sure it matters more than you might first imagine. Have you ever been told not to put a battery on concrete? That’s not true anymore unless you have a battery that’s really old but was related to the type of case batteries used to be made with, rubber. Today, battery cases are made from a few different materials.

Many automotive and some deep-cycle batteries use polypropylene cases. To begin, PPO is not very puncture resistant. The lid on a PPO case is heat sealed to the top of the battery. Heat-sealing is problematic because it is vulnerable to failure when in hot environments. In the case (pun intended) of a valve-regulated battery this weakness effects the overall operation of the battery. The psi rating of the valves on top of the battery, which allow air and moisture to escape the battery, cannot be too high or there’s a risk of case failure, either by rupture or deformation. In turn, the lower psi setting of the valves allow them to open more often, which allows for more moisture to escape from the battery. When a sealed battery dries out, it’s game over.

Fullriver battery cases are made with ABS plastic. While that may not sound very sexy, ABS solves a lot of the problems inherent in PPO. First, the lid can be epoxy sealed to the case, which is much stronger. If you want to take the lid off an ABS case, get out your angle grinder, because it’s not going anywhere otherwise. This allows for, you guessed it, higher psi settings on the valves. The valves open less frequently and thereby retain more water for the life of the battery. Oh, yeah, and ABS is incredibly resistant to drops and punctures.

DoD: Dispatching Myths

It is all too common today to be reading on some forum or in the marketing literature of a “new battery technology” that deep-cycle batteries cannot be discharged more than 50% of their rated capacity. In other words, they would have you believe that a 100Ah battery is really only a 50Ah battery because one must never discharge below 50% (Gasp!) If you happen to own a battery and the manufacturer has stated not to discharge below 50%, by all means follow their advice. Generally, with most respectable manufacturers, they allow for discharging to at least 80%. Every Fullriver battery is life cycle tested to 100% DoD. Meaning, every battery Fullriver makes, is tested from day one to its full rated capacity, 100% DoD, until it finally gives up and quits.

Shotgun

We’ve examined some of the more critical parts to a true deep-cycle battery. However, there are so many other things that Fullriver does to ensure the highest quality, longest lasting deep-cycle battery that it’s just not practical to examine every one of them in fine detail. In passing, here’s a few of the other details worthy of mention. All Fullriver batteries in our DC Series have a 10-year design life. All our terminals in the DC Series are made of highly conductive brass to reduce heat/resistance.  Our batteries offer some of the highest cycle life in the industry. For longer life, and faster charging, we use 99.994% pure lead in every battery we make.

And that, in our experience, is what make a true deep-cycle battery. Attention to design details, rigorous manufacturing standards, and the best components. It’s not any one thing by itself, but the sum of its parts that makes it great. 

What is a dual-purpose Battery? 

What’s a Dual-Purpose Battery, and Why Should I Care?

What’s a dual-purpose battery you say? Well, it’s only one of the most important types of batteries in existence! A dual-purpose battery fills a very important application niche, without it, life for boaters, off-roaders, car audio enthusiasts, and many others would just be a lot less fun. And of course, emergency services and first responders would be sad too, when they can’t rely on their equipment, the results can potentially be tragic. But it isn’t just boats and firetrucks that need a resilient battery, today even standard cars with multiple computers need a more robust battery to keep up.   

It all ‘Started’ with an Engine

Visualize the earliest automobiles, more closely related to a horse-drawn carriage than a modern automobile.  The earliest automobiles had to be cranked by hand to start them, and often used kerosene lanterns for light (sort of scary). As the story goes, technology advanced quickly to incorporate a starting motor and electric lights, which of course required a battery. This battery only needed to get the car started and handle the lighting for a short amount of time before it could simply be recharged. The starting battery was born and is still relied on by gazillions of vehicles around the world. It is well suited to do its simple task, start the engine.

As time went on, technology has been added to our technology. Our vehicles, whether on water or land, whether for pleasure or commercial purpose, have become something much more than engine-based propulsion. Extra lighting, computers, comfort controls, visual displays, accessory charging, the power demands have made it so the starting battery is no longer enough, not nearly. Ok, so we have large electrical loads, why not just use a deep-cycle battery like a golf cart would use? That is possible, but not ideal as we’ll see.

Go with a deep-cycle and call it good.

Ah, yes, now we’re getting into the weeds, the really special side to our beloved Dual-Service battery comes out when we compare it to a true deep cycle battery. A deep-cycle battery’s core competency is running electrical loads for long periods of time. It is less capable when it comes to starting an engine, because it wasn’t designed with this purpose in mind. The thick plates inside a deep cycle battery don’t have the surface area to provide the large amp draw that cranking requires as efficiently as a starting battery. And there’s another drawback to using a deep-cycle battery, the thick plates take much longer to recharge. Once the engine is fired up and sending current to the battery, the uptake of energy is slower because of those thick plates.      

Solution: Full Throttle

At this point the direction we’re headed in should be more obvious. The battery needs to be a hybrid of sorts. The sponge lead starting battery is out, it just can’t take the cycling or keep up with higher power demands. The thick plates in a deep-cycle battery are great for a golf cart or solar, but they’re also out, they aren’t great for cranking and take too long to charge. Fullriver’s solution to the problem is Full Throttle. Bear in mind, not all dual-purpose batteries are created equal. Many manufacturers’ solution to the problem is simply a stripped down deep-cycle battery. Full Throttle is built for beast level cranking, outdoing most standard starting batteries, while offering resilient cyclic capability, and excellent charge acceptance. Of course, like all Fullriver batteries, Full Throttle is also built to handle the rigors of outdoor environs.   

Brass Tacks

What makes a superior dual-purpose battery? Of course, any battery should be purpose built for the application it’s serving. In the case of Full Throttle, we accomplish the needs of a dual-purpose battery (cranking and cycling) by using specially designed plates, and the materials they are constructed with, and top it all off with a tough ABS case, cells packed under compression, and over-the-partition cell connections to mitigate vibration.

Cranking

Full Throttle batteries use TPPL (Thin-Plate, Pure Lead) plates, picture lots of strands of the purest lead running through the whole battery. This allows huge amounts of current to flow easily out from the battery. Unlike a deep-cycle battery, with its thick plates, which can take quite a bit longer to charge, TPPL allows for ease of charge acceptance due its very low resistance.

Cycling

In addition to plates constructed of 99.994% pure lead, Full Throttle uses a proprietary blend of metals it applies to the grids inside the battery that allow it to stand up to deep discharges without being compromised the way a typical starting battery would be by the wear and tear of taking more energy out of the battery before recharging it. This “plating” process comes with added cost but assures longer life for the battery. The final product is a battery that performs both of its functions with ease.  

And that is what makes a true dual-purpose battery. A reliable battery that can keep up with the workload and abuse, whether it’s being used for a fire engine, police cruiser, or in a UTV for a weekend of shredding at the dunes. 

Do I need a special charger for an AGM battery? 

Special: noun: one that is used for a special service or occasion. Adjective: designed for a particular purpose or occasion.

Going by Meriam Webster’s definition, a special charger is called for when charging any battery type. In the early days of AGM batteries, when almost all the existing chargers ran on hand wound timers, and could go on charging indefinitely, you very much needed a special charger. When you plugged a battery into one of those dinosaurs, it was constant current, constant voltage, until the electrolyte had a good boil!


Fortunately, there’s a huge offering of various types of chargers in the marketplace today, some better, some worse. We’ll do a quick review of what to look for when choosing the right charger.

AGM Charge Profile (Algorithm)

First, look for a charger that has a specific setting for AGM.  It’s best to avoid chargers that claim to charge any battery with one algorithm.  Most “one size fits all” products typically only do a mediocre job at best when they try to account for everything under one umbrella.

Amp Output

Second, you need to right-size the charger to go with the capacity of your battery bank. The rule here is a minimum of 10%, but Fullriver recommends 25% of rated capacity in amps for circuits in parallel.  For example, if you’re using our DC55-12, this battery has a capacity of 55Ah.  You will want to find a charger that puts out at least 5.5 amps, but ideally 13-14 amps. If you have 2, DC55-12’s in a parallel string (12V, 110Ah) you’ll need at least 11 amps, but better if you have 22 amps. Conversely, you don’t want to throw too many amps at the battery, or you’ll run the risk of an early failure. While 25% of rated capacity is ideal, we don’t recommend more than 30% if you need to charge a bit faster. Why? It has a lot to do with surface area.  Imagine trying to fill a tea pot with a fire hose.      

Phased Charging

Third, if it’s a reputable charger, it will charge the battery in phases to ensure the battery is fully and efficiently charged every time.  A prominent example of a single-phase charger would be the alternator in car or truck.  An alternator was primarily designed to top-off the vehicle battery after it fulfilled its primary task of starting the vehicle.  A car’s alternator lacks the distinctive phases of absorb and finish/float that ensure a battery is balanced and fully charged, especially important in charging a deep-cycle battery.  The charger should have at least 3 phases of charging, Bulk, Absorb, and Finish/Float.  Some chargers will have a recovery phase in case the battery is inadvertently over-discharged and showing very low voltage. 

Voltage Parameter

Finally, attention should be given to the voltage of a given charger at each phase of the charging cycle.  AGM in general, and Fullriver AGM in particular takes a bit higher voltage range in the first two phases of charging (Bulk and Absorb) than a gel type battery but needs a lower float/finish voltage.  Most charger makers readily share their voltage for each phase of charging.  If you don’t see it anywhere obvious, a simple email to the manufacturer will usually do the trick. 

The table below shows Fullriver’s acceptable voltage range, with the numbers in bold being our recommended voltage:

In summary, we have seen that pairing the right sized charger and battery can make a great difference in charging a battery as

The impact of these voltages will have less of an impact in lighter applications like RV and will be more critical in heavy use applications like golf/ev.

Fullriver Can Help

Fullriver offers a wide range of chargers with verified algorithms to ensure great charging results.  If you’re having trouble finding the right charger for your application, please contact us and we will point you in the right direction.

We want to hear from you.  Tell us your charging story.  Did you know so much went into charging a battery?

How long does a Fullriver AGM battery last?

Not all AGM batteries are created equal.  The difference between a Fullriver AGM and Brand X is often worlds apart.  From the purity of the lead, or the thickness of the plates, to the extra time invested in the plate curing process.  So, today we’ll talk about what we know on an intimate level, Fullriver premium AGM batteries. 

Context, Context, Context.

How long?  A question that humans have been asking seemingly since the beginning of time.  How long will I live?  How long until I can retire? And of course, the ubiquitous, “How long until we get there?” Questions like these are best answered by looking at the specifics of each situation.  How long will I live?  This largely depends on where and how you live and some good luck with your genetics.  How long does an AGM battery last?  While Fullriver batteries have a 10-year design life, this must be put into context with several factors.

Usage

First, let’s talk about usage of the battery.  Any battery has a finite amount of energy it can give over its lifetime. If every time the battery is used it is drained completely, the amount of time the battery will last is less than if the battery was used moderately and then recharged. 

Golf is a good example application to better understand the concept.  Batteries used to play two to three rounds of golf before being recharged will not last nearly as long as a set of batteries used to play one round of golf before being recharged. The amount of energy removed from a battery is known as Depth of Discharge (DoD).  Fullriver’s Cycle Life vs. DoD chart is a great reference for understanding the impact of battery usage:   

Graph Pictured for Fullriver DC Series Batteries

We can see from the above chart how widely cycle life can vary based on usage.  If every time the battery pack is used, it is discharged fully to 100%, we can expect ~450-500 cycles.  Conversely, if only half of the usable energy is discharged, the cycle life will be somewhere around 1000 cyc

We could further discuss the impact that the rate of discharge has on the batteries (i.e., how fast the energy is removed from the batteries), but let’s keep this at a 30,000-foot view.  Suffice it to say that the lower the energy demand on the battery, theoretically, the longer the usable life of the battery will be.

Charging

Charging is the fuel of a battery.  Just like automobiles, high quality fuel produces the best performance and longevity.  Charging batteries properly is perhaps the most important aspect of ensuring a set of batteries lasts as long as possible.  A reputable charger should be used that includes an actual AGM setting.  Avoid chargers that claim to charge any battery type using one generic algorithm.  Additionally, the charger should at a minimum put out at least 10% of the battery’s rated capacity in amperage, but ideally the output will be closer to 25% of the rated capacity.  Look for a charger that approximates our recommended voltage for each phase of charging.

A note about PSoC

It is critical that the batteries are not left discharged for long periods of time between usage, commonly referred to Partial State of Charge (PsoC). This does not mean that the second a battery has been discharged it must be recharged immediately, but it does mean that a battery should not sit for days until it is recharged.  If battery usage is light, a complete, uninterrupted charge once a week should be sufficient.  For heavier use applications, a complete charge cycle may be required daily.

Climate

Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.  Of all battery chemistries, AGM batteries are documented to perform the best in the cold. While all chemistries suffer temporary capacity loss in the cold, AGM seems to fair the best when compared to lithium, flooded, or gel batteries.  On the other end of the spectrum is, of course, heat.  For any lead-acid battery, heat degrades cycle life.  Specifically, every 12°C (22°F) over 25°C (77°F) can reduce battery life by as much as half. The Fullriver cycle life graph is based on cycling at a constant 25°C (77°F). In the real world, temperatures fluctuate by season, and even between night and day. 

The right tool for the right job

Just like using a screwdriver that is one gauge too small or large can create frustration, and a stripped screw head occasionally, batteries are designed to tackle specific needs.  Using an automotive starting battery to power a golf cart would be disastrous. But the design specification is even more tightly focused when it comes to deep-cycle and dual-purpose batteries. 

Deep-cycle batteries like the Fullriver DC or EGL Series are designed to run a purely electrical application until their energy is depleted and then be recharged.  They were designed to do this process on repeat, discharge, recharge, and so on. While they can start an engine reliably, this wasn’t part of their design intent.  Plus, they can be more expensive when the extra cost may not be warranted.

Dual-purpose batteries like Fullriver’s Full Throttle series are a hybrid in that they are very capable when starting an engine, but they have a specialized grid design (Thin-plate, pure-lead) that also allows them to do some cycling. Full Throttle excels in applications like marine where they serve to start the engine and also need extra capacity to keep instruments running, especially with the engine off for short periods.  For pure cyclic applications like mobility, they just won’t have as long of life as a true deep-cycle battery.

We can see that there are many factors to consider in predicting the life of a battery. Starting with the highest quality battery, and accounting for usage, charging, climate, and the needs of a specific application are all relevant to determining how long a battery is going to last.  With all of these factors optimized, we can expect battery life to go on long after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired.

We want to hear from you! What has your experience with battery life been? How are you maximizing battery life?

How fast can you charge an AGM Battery?

How long does it take to charge an AGM battery? First, the good news, of all lead acid batteries available (Flooded, Gel, AGM), AGM charges faster and more efficiently than the others.  However, there are a few important factors to consider before determining the answer to this question.  Once these questions are answered, then we can estimate the time it will take to charge an AGM battery.

Size Matters?

The old saying “size matters” is very true when it comes to charging batteries.  In AGM the physical size of the battery will typically indicate the amount of energy the battery can store.  The more energy stored; the more energy that will need to be put back into the battery after it’s been used.  For example, one of the smaller batteries from Fullriver is our DC35-12 (U1).  At 420W/35Ah of stored capacity, the DC35-12 is approximately the size of two bricks stacked on top of each other.  On the opposite end is our DC260-12 (8D), this beast holds 3,120W/260Ah, and is comparable in size to some laser jet printers.

The Red Cup

The next factor we must account for is the power output capability of the charger. Imagine it in terms of filling up a swimming pool with water and using a Solo Red Cup. But what if we were talking about a kiddie pool, nay a Barbie pool? Then the Red Cup might even be too big and harm the battery. Because we are returning energy to the battery, a 12V, 2A (24W) charge tender is going to take a lot longer to recharge a battery than a 12V, 25A (300W) charger, while at the same time using this 300W charger on the 420W DC35-12 is like filling the Barbie pool with a garden hose.  Charging is all relative like our Red Cup analogy notes. 

Goldilocks

And there’s one other thing to consider when choosing a charger, the Goldilocks principal.  We don’t want to go too small (undercharge) or too big (overcharge), but we want it to be “just right”.  Fullriver batteries can be charged with more amperage than a typical flooded or gel battery.  We advise at a minimum 10% of rated capacity but recommend 25% in amp output from the charger (e.g., 100Ah battery should be charged with a minimum of 10A, but we recommend using a 25A charger to achieve 25%). 

Are we there yet?

Finally, we can begin to answer the question that we started with using simple math.  To determine how long it will take to charge an AGM battery, simply divide the rated capacity of the battery at the 20hr. rate by the amp output of the charger, and then multiply by 1.33 to account for the balancing phase of the charging and the natural aging of the battery. 

Ah/A*1.33= ~Charge Time (H)

We’ll use our popular DC105-12, 12V, 105Ah battery, and assume it is discharged fully, recharging with a 25A charger:

100/25*1.33= ~5.58 or ~5hrs 30mins Of course, this accounts for a fully discharged battery, and gives a very good picture of how long recharging typically will take.  In the real world you can perform this same exercise and get pretty close to the actual time by referencing the open circuit voltage (OCV) of the battery to our chart below:  

In summary, we have seen that pairing the right sized charger and battery can make a great difference in charging a battery as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Determining how much time recharging will take is just some simple math and a bit of estimation. 

Did you already know this about recharging batteries?  We’d love to hear some of your experiences with recharging batteries!

Sustainability, Reliability, or Both?

Fullriver believes at its core that lead-acid battery technology remains the most sustainable and reliable iteration of energy storage technology. Recently, much acclaim and ardor has surrounded lithium battery technology. At the same time, older battery technology has been dismissed out of hand as dying and irrelevant.  So much so, that one of the largest golf cart manufacturers has switched entirely to lithium for their carts.  According to Plato, knowledge is justified true belief. Today we will examine these technologies in terms of their reliability and sustainability to hopefully add knowledge to our belief.

Ease of Recycling-

Lithium: As it currently stands, lithium batteries are both very difficult to recycle and very expensive, with very few of the residual materials from this process able to be reused.  Current estimates are around 15-20% of a lithium battery is reclaimable.  It doesn’t require much insight to see what this means in the long-term, lots of landfill waste, and a constant quest to mine new materials from the earth.

Lead-Acid: It is well documented that one of the most recycled products is the lead-acid battery. Lead Acid battery recycling is one of the best examples of true circular economy. Very few products/materials outside maybe aluminum / steel are recycled at this level. Even everyday materials like paper, cardboard, and plastics have a long way to go to achieve a similar recycling success as lead batteries. Quite remarkable, as much as 99% of a lead-acid battery is recyclable. And not only is it readily recyclable, but a lead-acid battery is almost always recycled because of its inherent value. Lead-acid recycling is so valuable, a whole industry exists that continually seeks it out.

Consumption of Raw Materials-

Lithium: The raw materials in lithium batteries require intensive mining processes to obtain. Because much of these materials cannot be re-used, this mining will go on and on to satisfy the skyrocketing demand for lithium batteries. 

Lead-Acid: To produce a lead-acid battery still requires mining of raw materials, this demand is held in check by the abundance of recycled materials used to make today’s batteries. Up to 80% of the lead in a new battery can be of recycled origin. It is possible that the lead in new batteries today in some part has been in use for a hundred years.  

Energy Consumption-

Lithium: To produce a lithium battery it requires 450 kWh for every 1 kWh of capacity.

Lead-Acid: In stark contrast, it requires 150 kWh for every 1 kWh of capacity to produce a lead-acid battery.

Reliability-

Lithium: While the individual lithium cells themselves are very reliable, the layers of tiny electronic components like pcb’s, composed of diodes, resistors, and mosfets, are lithium’s pinch point. The failure of any one of these components, and it’s lights out for the battery. This is one reason that many mission-critical applications have not yet adopted lithium.  Even Nasa still uses a very pricey lead-acid type battery to this day (silver-zinc). Murphy’s Law is alive and well.

Lead-Acid: A good analogy to understand the reliability of lead-acid batteries can be borrowed from the appliances of yesteryear. Major appliances like refrigerators and washing machines had much longer lives than their modern counterparts. Even buying a top-tier brand appliance today seems to have only a nominal impact on the reliability. In contrast, a lead-acid battery has no electronic components, it simply does not need them to do its job. 

Life-

Lithium: In general lithium cells are advertised by their manufacturers to be capable of anywhere from 1000-2500 cycles at 100% DOD depending on the producer. While this accounts for individual cell performance, it does not take into account the overall pack reliability.

Lead-Acid: One of the oldest and mostly widely used battery technologies, great advancements are being made to increase the usable life of lead-acid batteries. New designs like the Fullriver EGL Series, cost 35-45% less than lithium batteries of comparable quality, while offering ~1,000 cycles at 100% DOD.

Cost-

Lithium: The cost of a lithium battery was one of its first barriers to adoption. But lithium proponents argued that scale would translate to lowered costs. The opposite is true. With giants like Tesla increasing production by 80% in 2022, the cost for raw materials has increased by 15-20% in January of 2022 alone.

Lead-Acid: While it cannot be said that lead has remained stable, compared to lithium it is relatively stable. A robust recycling sector helps to buffer much of the potential for instability in cost. The cost of a lead-acid battery of reputable quality (cheaper is available, but quality may be sacrificed) is 35-70% less than that of a lithium battery from a reputable producer.

When broken down side-by-side, the truth is, lead-acid batteries may experience some displacement, but they will continue to be a valuable player in the future of energy. Lead-acid batteries exhibit immediate real-world upsides in the here and now. Batteries like the Fullriver EGL Series demonstrate lead-acid's constant improvement, promising at the very least, a multi-pronged approach to meeting the energy demand of the future in a safe, reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective manner.  

A Surprisingly Simple Winterizing Protocol

Ahh, the change of the seasons, leaves turn pretty colors and drop, temperatures begin their gradual slide toward winter, life slows down, and all the relics of fair weather are put away. Engines are stabilized with additives, water lines are filled with anti-freeze, and then there are the batteries. It is this time of year that our support emails and phones usually get an uptick in activity as concerned citizens write/call to make sure they’re doing everything right to protect their investments until spring returns. The usual caveat we add at the beginning of almost every article applies here as well: This advice only applies to Fullriver AGM and Gel batteries.

Spoiler Alert!

While we will talk about some of the factors to consider and delve into the “why” of our winterizing solution, there’s really no need to drag out the answer like some googled recipe that forces you to swipe past 50 ads before the big reveal of the ingredient list is unveiled. Here it is:

To properly store your battery for the winter, after fully charging the battery or set of batteries, remove the main negative cable from the pack, and set aside so that it cannot inadvertently come back into contact with the terminal during storage.

It is really that simple. Go have a pumpkin latte or something.

But, why?

The reason we can unhesitatingly recommend this approach is related to three factors, time, temperature, and internal resistance. Obviously, winter doesn’t last forever, even though it can seem that way in some places.  Even if it was 6-9 months of storage, if it’s cool weather the whole time, no problem. The second reason is related to this, several months spent in temps at or below 25°C/77°F will only have a nominal impact on the battery’s resting voltage. This is all true because of the low internal resistance of Fullriver batteries. Internal resistance is also referred to as self-discharge. Because of the purity of lead in our batteries, the rate of self-discharge at or below 25°C/77°F is very low.

This handy graph should offer more statistical assurance:

Parasites

Just for the sake of thoroughness, some may be wondering if the battery can be stored for so long without charging, why disconnect the negative cable from the battery. This is due to parasitic draw. It would be very rare to find a vehicle in any form that doesn’t have some device, in RV’s it may be a carbon monoxide detector, in other vehicles it may be the vehicle computer, but they all have something that creates the tiniest draw on the battery, even when everything seems like it’s powered down. A long duration of parasitic draw over several months does more than just slowly bring the voltage down. The effect of a parasitic draw over long periods without recharging can permanently damage the plates of the battery, causing a permanent loss of capacity.

Battery Tender

Oh, yes, we get calls and emails about using battery tenders all the time. Unfortunately, we have seen many overcharge scenarios because of using such devices. They are a dime a dozen, and for one reason or other, they can be problematic. Since there is really no need to use them during winter storage, it is better to just forego their use and avoid any potential problems they may create.

What if it’s too cold?

For storing Fullriver batteries, there are very few places on earth, inhabited by people, that actually get cold enough to be a problem. Yes, -70 in Siberia is too cold, but anything above -40C/F should be fine. Fullriver batteries contain very little water, and if they are charged then actually freezing the batteries is a very low probability.  

So, bring on the cold, and don’t worry about your batteries for a few months. Once the temps improve, give the batteries a full charge and resume use as normal.  If you have questions, please leave us a comment below.

Explore the Boundless Waters with Fullriver AGM Batteries

Solace in Preparation

The passion with which a mariner hits the water is the substance of song and legend going back millennia. Such is the simple desire to reinvigorate by leaving the trials of life behind back on dry land. Your passion may lead you to the open sea, the glass of a pre-dawn lake, or flying up and down rivers. No matter your journey, you want the experience to lift you out of daily stresses, not create more. Doing this takes planning, attention to detail, and preparation.

Fullriver batteries stood head and shoulders above competitive products. They lasted longer, provided more power and withstood far greater user abuse than any other battery.

James Hortop, CEO of Merlin Equipment; United Kingdom

Fullriver knows how crucial all your investments are to leaving terra firma in confidence. With our batteries, you can stay out on the water for as long as it takes to catch all the fish, feel the wind on your face, and forget what drove you to seek aquatic solace in the first place.

Wake boarders in the Sand Hollow State Park Reservoir in Hurricane, Utah.

For our part, we want to help you enjoy the journey by providing the only application specific battery lines designed to perform dedicated functions for marine applications. 

The DC Series

The widest range of true deep cycle AGM batteries of any manufacturer. The DC Series battery line provides long lasting power to trolling motors, refrigerators, bubblers, ice makers, and a wide range of accessories that make your passion come to life. View product line

The FT Series

The widest range of thin-plate, pure lead AGM batteries available worldwide. Full Throttle is made to provide superior cranking power in extreme temperatures (-40°F to 125°F). FT Series batteries have the best discharge recovery of any starting battery on the market. This is good for those days where the fish may not be biting. You can stay out on the water just a little bit longer and keep the tunes rocking. View product line

A Take from Across the Pond

From powering medical equipment aboard ambulances to running sensitive electronics in covert surveillance vehicles and complete systems aboard ocean going yachts to front line main battle tanks, UK based Merlin Equipment have been the go-to provider for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on power.

With ever increasing power demands and expectations that everything should be “green,” the requirement for a dependable battery has become increasingly important. After extensive testing and experience, Merlin Equipment selected the Fullriver DC Series and Full Throttle Series as it’s trusted battery for these critical missions.

CEO of Merlin Equipment, James Hortop, commented, “Our testing showed that Fullriver batteries stood head and shoulders above competitive products. They lasted longer, provided more power (whether that was deep cycling ability or CCA) and withstood far greater user abuse than any other battery. As a company that only sells quality product, Fullriver was the only fit for our lead/acid needs”. James also added “As a company who also markets (and has developed its own) Lithium Ion range, when coupled with a quality battery management system, pure-lead AGM is actually our preferred choice over lithium in many cases - it is far more dependable, robust and predictable.”

A Fullriver DC Series battery are installed into a London metropolitan police vehicle.
A DC Series battery in a HM Coastguard vehicle installed by Merlin Equipment.
Mic Harrison, lead engineer for Merlin Equipment is installing Fullriver DC batteries into a Sunseeker yacht.
Mic Harrison, Lead Engineer for Merlin Equipment installs DC Series batteries into a Sunseeker luxury yacht.
A Fullriver DC Series battery are installed into a London metropolitan police vehicle.
A Fullriver DC Series battery is installed, by Merlin Equipment, into a London metropolitan police vehicle.
Merlin Equipment has recently installed four Fullriver DC series batteries in a Volvo police vehicle.

At Fullriver, we want to be the battery that lets you forget your troubles. No more stress of having your batteries die mid-season, or even mid-trip. No more forgetting whether or not your batteries need to be replaced. 

You planned hard to prepare the perfect excursion. You should get to enjoy every hour on the water stress free. Chase that setting sun like mariners of old whose tradition you are carrying on. Don’t just start your adventure. Follow it through to the end with application specific batteries from Fullriver.

Featured photo courtesy of Cameron Hotchkiss (@camhootch). Battery installation photos courtesy of Merlin Equipment.

A New Battery with Double the Cycle Life - EGL Series

The battery world has developed with only small changes over a span of decades. Lead acid batteries have been around pretty much unchanged since 1859. Lithium batteries have been used commercially since 1991 and would be the latest major breakthrough. While we see small innovations in each of these technologies, we haven’t seen the gap close much between the two battery types… Until now.

The Gap Closes

Fullriver Battery has achieved something that is extremely uncommon in the world of battery manufacturing. We created a new battery technology that increases lead acid performance, life cycles, runtime, and reliability. This better matches the characteristics of lithium batteries. Most importantly, we did it without causing consumers to break the bank to get it. Presenting the Fullriver EGL Series Deep Cycle AGM.

The Fullriver EGL Series is the first lead acid battery that performs like lithium. We used a combination of a new plate design, venting system, new proprietary paste materials, and our military grade construction standards. This allows an EGL battery to maintain a run time within 5% of rated capacity for over 850 cycles. To put into perspective, 850 cycles is more than twice the expected life of most AGM batteries on the market today.

Improved Cycle Life, Improved Warranty

Even the best deep cycle lead acid batteries loses runtime as the battery cycles. Water is lost as the battery vents during charging and paste materials breakdown leading to corrosion. This lowers the available plate surface area able to hold charge. Because of these factors, the acid loses specific gravity as the battery ages. 

The good news is that Fullriver Battery addressed all these issues head on with the EGL Series. In perfect conditions, a premium AGM battery can reach up to 32,000 Ah. A perfectly maintained flooded battery can reach up to 41,000 Ah. The EGL Series can reach up to 93,000 Ah.

300-400 cycles and they're still at 100%.

Peter Miller - General Manager, Coast Cart

The EGL Series is a beast that continues to provide consistent run times throughout its life. This is why Fullriver is the only battery manufacturer to offer a 4-year warranty of any cycling battery on the market. Don't just take our word for it. Watch what Peter Miller from Coast Cart had to say about the EGL series below.

The EGL Series represents the first major leap in lead acid battery technology since the introduction of gel electrolyte in the 1930s and the invention of Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) in 1972. This latest breakthrough is available exclusively through Fullriver Battery.

Featured photo courtesy of Cameron Hotchkiss (@camhootch).