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Lead Acid

 Lead Acid Batteries

Click for Full-size ImageLead Acid battery cells consist of a lead (Pb) electrode and a lead oxide (PbO2) electrode immersed in a solution of water and sulfuric acid (H2SO4). When the battery is connected to a load, the lead combines with the sulfuric acid to create lead sulfate (PbSO4), and the lead oxide combines with hydrogen and sulfuric acid to create lead sulfate and water (H2O). As the battery discharges, the lead sulfate builds up on the electrodes, and the water builds up in the sulfuric acid solution. When the battery is charged, the process reverses, with the lead sulfate combining with water to build up lead and lead oxide on the electrodes.

Common examples of lead acid batteries are car batteries, alarm system backup batteries, and camcorder batteries. Lead acid batteries should never be fully discharged; this will effectively kill the battery, making it impossible to charge.

Lead Acid Battery Characteristics

Type Secondary
Chemical Reaction (Charged = Discharged)
PbO2 + SO4 + 4H = PbSO4 + 2H2O
Operating Temperature -85║ F to 149║ F ( -65║ C to 65║ C)
Recommended for Camcorders, alarm systems, cellular telephones, and deer feeders.
Initial Voltage Varies
Capacity Varies
Discharge Rate Flat
Recharge Life -40║ F to 149║ F ( -65║ C to 65║ C)
Charging Temperature 50║ F to 75║ F (10║ C to 24║ C)
Storage Life No more than six months, varies by temperature (longer at non-freezing low temperatures, shorter at high temperatures).
Storage Temperature Maximum: -85║ F to 149║ F ( -65║ C to 65║ C)
Ideal: 50║ F to 75║ F (10║ C to 24║ C).
Disposal Lead-acid batteries (up to 2 lbs. / 1 kg per battery) should be recycled through your local RadioShack store. For more information, see Recycling Batteries. For larger lead-acid batteries, check with your local authority (city/county/parish) for proper disposal.
Other Notes
  • Excellent for short term use.
  • They must not be completely discharged and should be charged immediately after use, or the life will be shortened considerably.
  • When stored, the battery should periodically be recharged to prevent full discharge.
  • They do not develop memory.
  • These batteries pose a significant danger should leakage occur, as the electrolyte used in lead-acid batteries is sulfuric acid.
  • Lead-acid batteries (wet and sealed) can produce oxygen and hydrogen gas during charging. Charging should be done in a well-ventilated area, being careful to avoid an electrical discharge that could ignite the oxygen or hydrogen gas.

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