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Performance & Hotrod Business - January '15

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58 n Performance & Hotrod Business n January 2015 HOTROD ment down to micro-amps during standby. This is a key advantage when the battery is left unattended for weeks or months at a time." Installation & Maintenance As with any other automotive compo- nent, installing a new battery requires care and attention. "It is always important to check, test, clean and/or when necessary replace any deteriorated components surrounding or working with the battery and electrical system," Hellmund advises. "The first thing we recommend is upgrading the 'Big Three' cables," adds Johnson. "The charge cable between the alternator and the battery, the ground cable from the alternator to the chassis, and the ground cable from the battery to the chas- sis. Over time, these connections can wear, and in most cases, the factory-installed charging cables are not sufficient for added aftermarket electronics. XS Power has made this task very easy and convenient with our Big Three Installation Kit." Catalano also cites "The Big Three upgrade," consisting of "the power wire to the alternator, the ground wire from the battery to the chassis, and the ground from engine block to chassis." "Ground cables need to attach to the frame of the vehicle," says Essig, "and other key components must also be grounded to the frame. There needs to be a common ground throughout. Engines with rubber isolated engine mounts need their own ground to the frame." Hellmund notes how "proper ground- ing is particularly important for electronic components, which often require a 'clean' ground such as the battery negative post." Consider, also, how increased demands on the electrical system may require upgraded battery cables. Allstar bat- tery cables from Allstar Performance in Watervliet, Michigan, are constructed from "finely stranded, rope-lay copper wire," said Curt Spalding, division man- ager, "which allows high flexibility with superior power flow." More current means easier starting. Additionally, "extra-thick insulation allows our wire to withstand extreme tempera- tures—while also looking better than ordi- nary battery cable. High-quality bolt-on or crimp-style ends complete the package." Bennett cautions that lithium-ion batteries "are voltage sensitive," so when selecting a battery, it is important to care- fully match the highest output voltage required by the application. "In the case of Lithium Pros that maxi- mum is 14.4 volts. Amperage is less of a concern, and an existing cable should be adequate if it is in good repair. However, operating temperature should be consid- ered. For the maximum life, lithium-ion batteries should be insulated from high under-hood temperatures and should not be charged below 32 degrees." All of the experts recommend a battery tender for vehicles kept in long-term stor- age. "This will prolong the life of the bat- tery," says Catalano, "and keep it ready for when you want to take that next joyride." "Alternators are not deep-cycle char- gers," adds Essig. "They commonly run at 14.2 volts, while deep-cycle charging requires 14.7 volts. So batteries that are deeply discharged require auxiliary charg- ing at 14.7 volts to return to a full state of charge." Vehicles that are driven only occasion- ally—say, every three weeks or less—need not only "a battery maintainer but a full recharge from an auxiliary charger once every three to five weeks." "If a tender isn't an option," says Catalano, "at the least make sure the bat- tery is charged to 100 percent, and con- sider removing the negative terminal to keep the on-board computers from drain- ing the battery at an accelerated rate." Pauken suggests the following steps when storing a vehicle: 1) Disconnect vehicle cables from the battery. 2) Clean terminals of grease or corro- sion if required. 3) Fully charge the battery. 4) Store between 50 and 80 degrees F. 5) Every 30-60 days, boost the bat- tery for eight hours or trickle charge for 24 hours. Lithium-ion batteries rely on alternating sheets of lithium cobalt oxide and carbon, separated by an ion- permeable polymer and packed in pressurized ether. (Photo courtesy Lithium Pros) The right model smart charger for your application is the one that matches the amp-hour rating of your battery. (Photo courtesy CTEK)

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