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Scrubber & Cleaning Equipment Batteries Basics

This section contains basic information on batteries for scrubbers, burnishers, etc.

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Battery packs are often created by stringing batteries in series connecting the negative of on battery to the positive of the adjacent battery until the voltage the manufacturer designed the system for is obtained.  For example a 24V DC system can be created from 4 each 6V DC batteries or 2 each 12V DC batteries.  36V systems can be created from 3 each 12V or 6 each 6V batteries.

What determines the battery pack's running time?  It sort of works like this:  # of batteries x Ah rating of each battery, then take 80% of that total which equals the useable total Ah's of power.  Then take the useable Ah's of power and divide that by the power draw of the machine measured in Ah's.  This will roughly tell you the number of hours of run time from a full battery pack you can expect from the machine.  Many factors determine run time beyond this basic calculation.  Other factors will effect the run time: temperature, age, electrolyte levels, charge state, corrosion, internal plate condition, etc.

How to determine which battery to use?  Determine voltage from one of the batteries, select the battery voltage 6V, 8V, or 12V.  Then measure the dimensions of the existing battery WITHOUT the terminals in the measurement.  Select the battery which is equal to or smaller that the existing battery.  After you determine which battery cases will fit, then select the Ah rating you want for the battery pack. 

DO NOT MIX OLD WITH NEW BATTERIES, IT IS NOT A RECOMMENDED CONFIGURATION.

What size batteries should I get then?  Manufacturers have different targets for run time.  Smaller machines generally are designed for about 2-2.5 hours of run time and typically can get by with two 12V batteries.  Larger machines will have 4 each 6V batteries with more Ah's available and can run longer 3-4 hours.  Larger machines are typically designed for a full 8 hour shift and have 6 each 6V of the larger Ah batteries.  If the machine has been running for the period of time you need it, purchase the closest Ah battery to the size you have.  You can upgrade the Ah's of a machine as long as the batteries will physically fit in the battery compartment.  Many of the batteries have the same case size, but can have different Ah ratings.  If you upgrade the Ah rating, expect the charging cycle to take longer.

Battery burnishers, and rider scrubbers should not be modified from their original design.  These machines demand high amp delivery and require larger batteries to deliver the power.

Batteries loose about 1% of their power per day while not being used.  Modern chargers will not activate unless the charger is hooked up to the pack and it can deliver about 90% of the pack's voltage.  When the pack is below the threshold, the charger will not activate.  In this case you can charge the battery(ies) using a automotive charger provided you only charge them in 12V groups (IE 2 each 6V, or 12V single battery).  Do not use marine grade batteries for scrubber batteries.  Marine grade batteries are not generally designed for large number of charging cycles and delivering large amp loads continuously.  Do not use automotive batteries, use only Deep Cycle Commercial grade batteries.

What's an Ah?  Ah stands for Amp Hour.  An amp hour is a measure of current.  It is defined as one amp over 60 minutes at a specific battery temperature.  For example, take a battery rated at 300 Ah.  This means that a load of 1 amp would take 300 hours to totally drain the battery, or a 100 amp load would drain the battery in 3 hours.  These are laboratory conditions and are never actually seen in production equipment.  Batteries typically have a massive drop in current delivery at about 80% of capacity. As batteries deliver high amp loads, they generate heat.  As the battery heats up the efficiency diminishes dramatically.  All of these factors result in the 80% factor in the calculation stated before.

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