Sealed lead acid batteries were developed to take advantage of the high current capacity of lead acid batteries without the inherent dangers associated with vented batteries.
Typical lead acid batteries store electrical energy using a combination of lead plates and a sulfuric acid electrolyte. Lead is known to be a health hazard that increases with exposure. Sulfuric acid can cause severe chemical burns and is destructive to just about anything it comes in contact with. While charging, lead acid
batteries produce explosive hydrogen gas and the noxious odor of sulfur. These traits make standard lead acid batteries unsuitable for many applications.
Sealed lead acid battery come in two basic styles, the Gel Cell and the AGM.
Gel Cells are batteries that use an electrolyte suspended in gel instead of liquid. They are used in applications that don’t require an initial high current surge. Instead of a quick surge of current, gel cell batteries deliver a steady supply of current over a longer period. Gel cells are sealed to prevent the release of dangerous gases and the gelled electrolyte guarantees that they will not leak if overturned. This makes them safe to use indoors and around children. The safety and electrical characteristics of gel cell batteries make them the battery of choice for use in applications such as computer backup power supplies and in children’s motorized vehicles.
AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries are sealed wet cell batteries that are quickly replacing gel cell and vented wet cell batteries. Because AGM batteries will not leak acid or release dangerous gases, they are the most appropriate battery for use in sporting vehicles like boats, motorcycles and ATVs. They are becoming quite popular for use in solar electric and other stand-by power applications. AGM batteries are found in standard automotive applications, where they are typically called maintenance free batteries.
Gel cell and AGM batteries are deep-cycle batteries. Deep-cycle means that they can withstand a higher range of discharge without suffering adverse affects. Standard lead acid starting batteries are not designed to be repeatedly discharged and recharged. Doing so will reduce the life of the battery. If your application requires longer discharge cycles before recharging, then a gel cell or AGM battery deep cycle battery is what you need.
Be aware that different battery styles have different charging requirements. Get a charger designed for your battery.
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