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Performance & Hotrod Business - January '15

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56 n Performance & Hotrod Business n January 2015 HOTROD By John F. Katz T oday's automotive batteries are bet- ter than ever. They have to be. "Ten years ago you had a clock radio in your vehicle," notes Matt Ingram, sales & marketing manager for battery-charger company CTEK, Twinsburg, Ohio. "Now you have touchscreen just-about-every- thing. All of that parasitic load discharges the battery while your car is just sitting." So much so that "in a week or two the battery could be depleted to a point where it is doing damage to itself." Or at the very least, to a point where your car won't start. "As more lights, computers, electric motors, power-assist components and A/C systems have been added to modern and restored vehicles, the demands on the elec- trical systems have increased," agrees John Catalano, product manager for the Stinger Electronics Division of AAMP of America in Clearwater, Florida. "Twenty years ago it wasn't uncommon for a factory alterna- tor to be rated 40-60 amps. Now the norm is 120-140 amps—or more than double." Greg Pauken, product manager for Exide Technologies in Milton, Georgia, offers this table (below), listing the average current draw of some typical automotive electrical components, and the accom- panying graph showing how dramati- cally ignition-off current drain increased between 1985 and 2009. And since then, Pauken notes, automak- ers have begun to provide in-cabin power ports for "all the electronics that consum- ers bring with them into the vehicle." High performance extracts its own toll. "Vehicles that have been modified from stock may need to have the battery upgraded," says Roy Hellmund, engineer- ing & tech specialist for Interstate Batteries in Dallas. "Larger displacements, higher compression ratios and aftermarket igni- tion systems all require more instant crank- ing power." Hence, this look into the latest develop- ments in batteries—from old-standby lead to high-glamor lithium. We think you'll get a charge out of it. Leading With Lead "People think that lead-acid batteries are the same as they've always been," says Hellmund, "while in fact lead-acid tech- nology has evolved tremendously along with the rest of the automotive industry." Interstate offers reproduction batter- ies for vehicles dating back to 1929—so it should know. Back then, battery grids were mostly lead-antimony. The subse- quent switch to lead-calcium reduced water loss by 80 percent. Hellmund also cites improvements in short-duration power output, and the ability to stabilize both AC and DC power surges. "From 1930 to 1960, as the automak- ers focused on larger and more powerful engines, battery suppliers emphasized cold cranking amps," adds Bruce Essig, Odyssey National Program Manager for EnerSys in Reading, Pennsylvania—where CCA is defined as the current a battery can deliver at 0 degrees F for 30 seconds with- out falling below 7.2 volts. Since then, even simple electrical conveniences such as power windows and door locks have forced battery manufacturers to consider deep-cycle capability (DCC) as well—often at the expense of cold cranking power. Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries, which first appeared in military aircraft in the mid-1980s, use fiberglass mat to immobilize the acid while keeping it in chemical contact with the plates. According to Scottie Johnson, president of XS Power in Knoxville, Tennessee, "a good- quality AGM battery can help to handle larger loads and can more easily withstand deep discharges that would typically kill Source: BATTERY Service Manual, Thirteenth Edition, Battery, 2008 Battery Council International. Pg 7.; External internal reference Getting Started The latest advancements in aftermarket batteries. Amperes Ignition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-9 Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5-5 Windshield Wipers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.5 Headlamps (Low Beam, Dim) . . . . . . . . . 17-18 Headlamps (High Beam, Bright) . . . . . . . 19-20 Parking Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-10 Fog Lamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Brake Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-11 Interior Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-4 Hood Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5-1.0 Horn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Power Window (one window) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 ABS Brakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 max Trunk Light . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5-1.0 Blower (Heater, Air Conditioner) . . . . . . . 10-14 Heated Rear Window Defogger . . . . . . . . 13-28 Heated Seat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4-5 Power Seat Motor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-13 Summer Starting (Gas) . . . . . . . . . . . . 150-200 (Diesel) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450-550 Winter Starting (Gas) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250-350 (Diesel) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 700-800

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