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Car Batteries 

Car Batteries: specifications, types


Starter. Batteries designed to start internal combustion engines — namely, to crank the starter, hence the name. The currents when starting the engine with a starter are quite high; accordingly, batteries of this type are designed with the expectation of being able to deliver a large discharge current. However, some models can also be used as traction (see below)

Traction. Batteries designed primarily to provide propulsion for electric motors in electric vehicles and hybrids. In addition, such batteries can also be used as a backup power source in home lighting and other similar systems. Unlike the starter battery, the traction battery operates constantly and at relatively low currents, which is taken into account in the design. Therefore, such batteries cannot be used as starter batteries — this can lead to an accident and even fire.


— Motorbike. Batteries designed for use on motorcycles. They have small dimensions, which is due, on the one hand, to a relatively small amount of space for their placement and more stringent weight requirements than cars, and on the other hand, less stress when starting motorcycle engines, less on-board electronics and, accordingly, more soft requirements for capacity and a number of other characteristics. Also , motorcycle batteries are made as resistant to shaking and coups as possible. They can have a voltage of 6 V or 12 V.

Auto. Batteries designed for use in passenger cars and light trucks. They have medium dimensions and a standard voltage of 12 V, but the capacity can vary significantly; see "Battery capacity" for details

— Truck (bus). Batteries designed for use in buses, heavy trucks, tractors, harvesters and other vehicles of the same weight category. They have a large capacity (usually at least 100 Ah, for more details see “Battery Capacity”), because this class of transport carries rather “gluttonous” on-board electronics, and starting the engine is associated with heavy loads and requires significant energy consumption. The voltage in this class can reach 24 V, but today such models are almost out of use, and most truck batteries produce traditional 12 V.

Water transport. Batteries designed for use...in water transport — mainly boats and heavy motor boats. They are distinguished primarily by increased protection against moisture ingress, as well as other negative effects associated with staying on water transport — in particular, strong vibrations that can reset the terminal or damage the battery, as well as slopes (up to the fact that some models normally allow installation "on the side", at an angle of 90 °). The terminals themselves, in fact, are often made in a special “boat” format (see below), although there are options with more traditional contacts.


Serviced. Serviceable are only classic lead-acid batteries (see "Type"): they are easy to distinguish even externally — by the presence of removable plugs that give access to internal containers with electrolyte. The latter is a mixture of sulfuric acid and water, and with each charge, some of this water "boils away" (decomposes into oxygen and hydrogen and volatilizes). This is especially intense when overcharging or charging at high voltage. Battery maintenance consists in periodically replenishing the water in the electrolyte — without this, lowering its level leads to damage to the plates due to contact with air, which irreparably degrades battery performance. On average, maintenance should be carried out 1-2 times a year (15-20K kilometers for a passenger car) and these terms usually coincide with the terms of scheduled maintenance. However, this value may vary depending on the features of both the battery itself and its operation; more detailed information is usually contained in the instructions for specific models. "Refilling" should be done exclusively with distilled water, because. even a relatively small amount of foreign matter can damage the wafers.

Unattended. As the name suggests, these batteries do not require the maintenance described above; this is achieved in a number of ways, in particular by filling the electrolyte with a margin for the entire service life or using a gel (see..."Type"). With clear advantages due to ease of use, maintenance-free batteries at the same time have one drawback: they are much more sensitive to deep discharge (capacity decreases), and, accordingly, they tolerate cold and long periods of inactivity worse.

Form Factor

The form factor describes the general design features of the battery, primarily the way the terminals are installed and their dimensions, as well as the dimensions of the battery itself.

European. A distinctive feature of European batteries are the terminals, somewhat recessed into the case. Due to this, this form factor is considered safer than the Asian form factor — the risk of a short circuit is lower when the battery falls on a conductive surface or when a metal object hits it. In addition, the terminals themselves are usually made in the form of Euro cones (see below for more details). As for the dimensions, European batteries have more depth and less height than Asian ones. As the name implies, this form factor is found in cars of European manufacturers, mainly passenger cars.

Asian. Asian batteries are easy to identify by the terminals protruding from the top of the case; also, these terminals can be noticeably thinner than European ones, because. many models use JAP cones (although not all). If compared in size, then the "Asians" are taller and thinner than the "Europeans" (more precisely, they have less depth). This option is popular with Japanese and Korean automakers, and is also quite widespread among trucks.

— American. A rather rare form factor on our roads — due to the fact that cars from American manufacturers are most often delivered to us in the form of mod...ifications adapted to Europe or Asia; original versions are rare. Lightweight batteries of this form factor have "USA" screw terminals (see "Terminals"), located not on the cover, but on the front wall of the case. At the same time, both “purely American” and combined batteries are produced, which, in addition to a pair of USA terminals on the front wall, also have contacts on the cover that are more familiar to east european drivers. And in cargo batteries of this form factor, the terminals are usually installed on the cover, in the left side location.

When choosing a battery, it makes sense to clarify which form factor is optimal for your car: a discrepancy in this parameter can cause compatibility problems up to the complete impossibility of installing a battery.

Electrolyte type

Car batteries include lead-acid, advanced lead-acid (EFB), calcium (Ca-Ca), hybrid, absorbed electrolyte (AGM), gel, lithium-ion (Li-Ion) and glyium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.. More about them:

— Lead acid. The most popular type today. In a broad sense, all modern car batteries are lead-acid, because. their design is based on a combination of electrodes made of lead compounds and an electrolyte, the role of which is played by sulfuric acid diluted with water. However, in this case, we mean the classic type of batteries that use a conventional liquid electrolyte. Their widespread use is due to their simple design and low cost, combined with good capacity and inrush currents characteristic of all lead-acid batteries (see below), as well as resistance to low temperatures (compared to other types of batteries).

— Calcium (Ca-Ca). A type of rechargeable batteries with lead plates, which are alloyed with calcium in a proportion of not more than 0.1% of the total mass of the electrode. The advantages of calcium batteries over their peers are a long service life, increased strength of the plates and their small thickness, low-maintenance or maintenance-free design. Ca-Ca batteries can easily tolerate increased voltage up to...14.8 V and have a low level of self-discharge. Only a deep discharge of the battery can be fatal for such models, during which the resulting calcium sulfate clogs the pores of the plates and practically does not dissolve in the electrolyte. Once discharged, a calcium battery loses up to 20% of its original capacity, which cannot be restored.

— Hybrid. Batteries with a positive electrode, which is made according to one technology, and negative — according to another. There are the following varieties of "hybrids": argentum-calcium, carbon-calcium, carbon-lead, tin-calcium, etc. Different metals are introduced into the battery structure scheme in order to ensure stable battery performance. In particular, some of them act as guarantors of the stability of the power supply to deep discharge, others are aimed at low self-discharge of the battery. The most widely used calcium "hybrids", designated by the markings Calcium Plus or Ca +. In general, hybrid batteries carry the brand of Hybrid.

— Lead-acid (EFB). An improved subspecies of lead-acid batteries with a longer operating life, a high degree of safety and a practically maintenance-free design. The abbreviation EFB stands for Enhanced Flooded Battery, which means "Enhanced Liquid Electrolyte Battery". A distinctive feature of EFB technology is thick plates made of pure lead without any impurities. The positive plates in the battery design are wrapped in special microfibre “bags” that absorb and hold the liquid electrolyte. As a result, intensive shedding of the active substance is prevented and the sulfation process is significantly slowed down when the battery is deeply discharged. And due to the homogeneous structure of the electrolyte (mixed with the natural movement of the car), the overall service life of EFB lead-acid batteries increases and the charging speed increases.

— Absorbed electrolyte. Another type of lead-acid battery is also known by the abbreviation AGM. The name itself describes the main design feature: in such batteries, the space between the plates is not filled with liquid, but with microporous plastic, which is impregnated with the electrolyte itself (an aqueous solution of sulfuric acid). This design has a number of advantages over the classical one: for example, AGM batteries do not require maintenance (see "Maintenance") and practically do not emit gases during charging (the resulting oxygen and hydrogen recombine inside the battery itself), are resistant to shaking and are well suited for start systems. -stop (see Start-stop support). Their disadvantages are high sensitivity to increased voltage during charging, the need for a special charger (ordinary ones do not fit well), as well as a high price.

— Gel. A type of lead-acid battery in which the electrolyte is not liquid, but condensed to a gel state. This design provides a number of advantages compared to the classic version (see above): more charge-discharge cycles (which means longer service life); minimum leakage of electrolyte and associated gases; no need for maintenance (see "Maintenance"); resistance to deep discharges and temperature fluctuations, etc. On the other hand, such batteries cost significantly more.

— Lithium-ion (Li-Ion). Lithium-ion technology was originally used in batteries for portable gadgets such as mobile phones, but such batteries are being used more and more recently in vehicles. Motorcycles were the first type of transport using Li-Ion technology. Among the advantages of such batteries over more traditional varieties, one can note smaller dimensions and weight, the ability to deliver high starting currents and be charged with high currents (the latter significantly reduces the charging time), as well as numerous charge-discharge cycles and a long shelf life. In addition, such batteries contain a minimum of harmful substances, do not use acids and heavy metals, and some models are even directly positioned as absolutely harmless to the environment. The main disadvantage of lithium-ion models is a very “biting” price.

— Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). Such batteries are actually a modification of lithium-ion batteries (see the relevant paragraph), designed to eliminate some of the shortcomings of the original technology. First of all, they are notable for their high reliability and safety: the probability of an “explosion” of the battery during overload is reduced to almost zero, and in general, LiFePO4 can easily cope with high peak loads. In addition, they are quite resistant to cold and keep the operating voltage almost to the very discharge. The main disadvantage of this type is a somewhat smaller capacity.


Battery terminal design. First of all, compatibility with a particular car model depends on this parameter - different automakers use different battery connection systems. Note that some types of terminals can work with "non-native" wires; however, such a connection has a number of "pitfalls", and therefore it should be used only in extreme cases and only after familiarizing yourself with all the technical nuances.

- Cone (Euro). Contacts in the form of truncated cones that do not have any of their own clips - the role of fasteners when connecting such a battery is played by clamps on the corresponding wires of the on-board electrical network. The cones are usually recessed into the battery cover. They have a standard size: for the upper part of the positive contact it is 19.5 mm, for the negative contact it is 17.9 mm. Euro terminals are used in cars of domestic and European manufacturers.

- Thin cone (JAP). JAP is short for Japan. Accordingly, batteries with such terminals are used mainly in cars from manufacturers from Japan and other Asian countries (therefore, the term Asia is also used for such terminals). Their design is largely similar to the Euro described above, however, the JAP cones protrude above the lid and have a smaller size - 12.7 mm and 11.1 mm for "+" and "-" respectively. Due to this, such batteries are also physically compatible with most cars under Euro, because. cl...amps on wires are often made adjustable; in addition, the simplest adapters are also produced, which are put on the "Asian" terminals and increase their size to the "European" ones. But you can’t put a “eurobattery” on a car with JAP without replacing the mounts or using rather complicated adapters.

— Screw (USA). Unlike cones, these terminals are themselves clamps based, as the name suggests, on the use of screws. The wires under them are equipped with special contact plates (in the shape of a ring or the letter U), which are put on threaded pins; in extreme cases, you can do without such plates at all, clamping the stripped and bent ends of the wires in the mount. Such contacts are used mainly in cars of American manufacturers.

- Under the bolt (moto). Terminals designed to use contacts in the form of bolts: such a bolt, connected to a wire, is threaded into the terminal hole and fixed with a nut. Such a mount can be used in batteries for various purposes (see above), however, in this case, in accordance with the name, only "motorcycle" varieties of such terminals are meant, installed in the corresponding battery models.

- Under the bolt (boat). Bolted terminals, similar in principle to those described above for motorcycles, but used in water transport and batteries for such transport (see "Intended use").

- Petal. They have the shape of a "petal" and are represented by a quick-release connection according to the "father and mother" principle. Such connectors are good because there is no need to additionally clamp and fix the contact with a bolt / nut. As a rule, on the battery itself there is a male plug - an ordinary plate that looks like a petal. The spade-type terminal is easy to put on and take off, while providing a fairly reliable contact. Batteries with spade terminals are highly reliable and durable.

Terminal placement

The location of the terminals on the battery may vary depending on its purpose (see above) and some other features. Today there are such options:

Standard. The standard is the arrangement of the terminals on the top panel of the battery, which is usually a rectangle, along the long side of this rectangle. It is used in all types of batteries (“See “Purpose”), and in batteries for passenger cars it is almost a standard option.

Lateral. In this version, the terminals are usually located on the top cover along the short side of the battery, on the side, if you look at it from the front side — hence the name. Almost all models with a similar arrangement are designed for trucks and buses (see "Purpose").

Diagonal. The terminals are located diagonally on the top cover, i.e. at opposite corners of the rectangle. Such a scheme is very rare today, most often in batteries for heavy equipment (see "Purpose").

Central. As with the standard arrangement described above, the terminals in this case are placed along the long side of the battery top cover. However, they are not located at the edge of the lid, but are shifted to the centre — hence the name. Such models do not have fundamental differences from batteries with standard terminals, however, for a number of reasons they are relatively rare.

— Fr...om the butt. In this case, we mean the installation of terminals on the front wall of the battery, which is typical for the American form factor (see above). Such terminals can be combined with standard ones, on the cover, however, even such combined models are still considered to be "end".


In this case, polarity refers to the location of the terminals on the battery. Traditionally, it is named after the location of the “+” terminal when looking at the battery from the front side (or, in the case of side terminals, from the side closest to which they are located).

+ on the left. With regard to passenger cars, such polarity in the CIS countries is often called “direct” or “ours”, because. the left location of the "plus" is typical for cars of the Soviet and Russian design. At the same time, in trucks (see "Destination") the situation is opposite — the left "plus" is the European standard.

+ on the right. In passenger cars, the right “plus” is typical mainly for European models, for which this polarity in the CIS countries received the unofficial name “euro”, or “reverse” (as opposed to the east european “direct”). The opposite is true for truck batteries.

— + right / + left. This marking means that this battery model is available with both right and left "plus" (see above), and you can choose the option depending on the car model.

Note that the above division into “direct” and “reverse” polarity is not absolute, and anyway, before buying a battery, this parameter in your car should be clarified separately.


The rated voltage of the battery, in fact, is the approximate voltage in volts that the battery will deliver to the load in normal operation.

To date, the most common options are:

6 V. The lightest, least capacious and powerful models installed exclusively on motor vehicles. However, even there they are relatively rare, and some series of motor batteries may include both 6 V and 12 V models.

12 V. The standard battery voltage for all modern passenger cars is also widely used both in motorcycles and heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses.

The actual voltage value usually differs somewhat from the nominal value, but slightly and, usually, in the direction of excess, roughly speaking, "with a margin"; below it can fall only with a very deep discharge.

Battery capacity

The electrical capacity of a battery, in other words, the amount of energy stored by a battery when fully charged. The capacity value is expressed in amp-hours and indicates the number of hours during which a fully charged battery will be discharged to the minimum allowable charge, delivering a current of 1 ampere to the load. For example, a capacity of 40 Ah means that the battery is capable of delivering a current of 1 A for 40 hours, or 2 A for 20 hours, etc. In fact, a more capacious battery gives more attempts to start the engine, and is also able to work longer at a low load (for example, when powering a car audio system).

The capacity requirements for different transport types differ markedly. So, in motorcycle batteries, it rarely exceeds 20 Ah, the average value for passenger cars is 40-80 Ah (but there are options for 100 Ah or more), and for heavy equipment like buses, an acceptable capacity starts somewhere from 100 Ah. The optimal value of the battery capacity is often indicated by the manufacturer in the characteristics of the vehicle, and when choosing a model by capacity, you should focus primarily on these figures.

Starting current EN

Battery starting current measured in accordance with EN (Uniform European Standard). According to this standard, the starting current is the maximum current that a battery at an electrolyte temperature of -18 °C can produce for 30 seconds without a voltage drop below a certain level (for standard 12 V batteries — not lower than 7.2 V). The term "starting" appeared because this mode of operation is similar to starting the engine, when the battery has to supply a high power current to the starter for a short time.

The recommended value of the starting current is generally related to the weight category of the machine: the heavier it is, the more powerful current is usually needed to start. And many manufacturers directly indicate the recommended values \u200b\u200bin the characteristics of a particular model of transport. If the battery is bought as a replacement, then the general rule is that its starting current must be no less than that of its predecessor.

Note that in fact there may be designations of starting current according to 3 more standards: SAE (USA), DIN (Germany) and TU (GOST 959-91, Russia). The first one is practically identical to EN, while DIN and TU are quite easy to convert to EN and vice versa: they are similar to each other, and each of them gives a number approximately 1.7 times less than NE. That is, for example, to replace a battery with 200 A according to specifications, you should look for a model with a current of at least 340 A (...200 * 1.7) according to EN.

Charge indicator

Has a charge indicator on the battery.

Such an indicator displays the current charge level and allows you to generally assess the state of the battery literally at a glance, without additional actions and diagnostic equipment. In some models of serviceable batteries, the indicator can signal not only the need for charging, but also the need to add water to the electrolyte (for more details, see "Maintenance").

Start-stop support

The possibility of using the battery in cars equipped with a start-stop system.

The start-stop system was created to save fuel and reduce harmful emissions in a modern city, when cars are often forced to stop at traffic lights and in traffic jams. In such cars, a simplified procedure for turning off and starting the engine for short stops is provided: for example, standing at a traffic light, the driver turns off the car by pressing a button, and when the green light turns on, he starts the car by simply pressing the clutch pedal. This provides significant fuel savings, but repeated starts significantly increase the load on the battery — conventional batteries can wear out in a matter of days. Start-stop support allows the battery to work effectively in multiple starts, maintaining its characteristics for a long time.

Carrying handle

Due to the use of lead plates, modern car batteries, even the smallest ones, are quite heavy. A special handle on the top of the battery makes it much easier to carry. Usually it is made folding.
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