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What is a AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat)Battery?

The newer type of sealed, nonspillable, maintenance free valve regulated battery.Uses "Absorbed Glass Mats", or AGM separators between the plates. These are very fine fiber Boron-Silicate glass mats. This type of the battery has all the advantages of Gel batteries but can take much more abuse. These batteries are also called "starved" electrolyte batteries.Just like the Gel batteries the AGM Battery will not leak acid if broken.

What are the advantages of the AGM battery?

The advantages of AGM batteries are: no maintenance, non-spilling even if they are broken, sealed against fumes, hydrogen, leakage, and can survive most freezes. AGM batteries are "recombinant" which means the Oxygen and Hydrogen recombine inside the battery. These use gas phase transfer of oxygen to the negative plates to recombine them back into water while charging and prevent the loss of water through electrolysis. The recombining is typically 99+% efficient, so almost no water is lost. Charging voltages for most AGM batteries are the same as for a standard type battery so there is no need for special charging adjustments or problems with incompatible chargers or charge controls. Since the internal resistance is extremely low, there is almost no heating of the battery even under heavy charge and discharge currents. AGM batteries have a very low self-discharge rate (from 1% to 3% per month). So they can sit in storage for much longer periods without charging. The plates in AGM's are tightly packed and rigidly mounted and will withstand shock and vibration better than any standard battery.

What is the shelf life of a VRLA battery?

All sealed lead acid batteries self-discharge. If the capacity loss due to self-discharge is not compensated for by recharging, the battery capacity may become unrecoverable. Temperature also plays a role in determining the shelf life of a battery. Batteries are best stored at 20℃. When batteries are stored in areas where the ambient temperature varies, self-discharge can be greatly increased. Check the batteries every three months or so and charge if necessary.

What is a Gel Cell Battery?

A Gel battery design is typically a modification of the standard lead acid automotive or marine battery. A gelling agent is added to the electrolyte to reduce movement inside the battery case. Many gel batteries also use one way valves in place of open vents.This helps the normal internal gasses to recombine back into water in the battery, reducing gassing. "Gel Cell" batteries are non-spillable even if they are broken. Gel cells must be charged at a lower voltage (C/20) than flooded or AGM to prevent excess gas from damaging the cells. Fast charging them on a conventional automotive charger may be permanently damage a Gel Battery.

What are the differences between gel batteries and absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries?

In a gel battery, the electrolyte does not flow like a normal liquid. In AGM batteries all liquid electrolyte is trapped in a sponge-like matted glass fiber separator material.The "acid-starved" condition of gel and AGM batteries protects the plates during heavy deep-discharges. The gel battery is more starved, giving more protection to the plate; therefore, it is better suited for super-deep discharge applications.In high temperature condition, Gel batteries are losing less water than AGM batteries, so Gel batteries more suit high temperature application.

What is the difference between VRLA (Gel or AGM) batteries and traditional wet or flooded batteries?

Wet batteries contain liquid electrolyte that can spill and cause corrosion if tipped or punctured. Therefore, they are not air transportable without special containers. They can only be installed "upright."  AGM or Gel batteries do not have any liquid to spill, and even under severe overcharge conditions hydrogen emission is far below the 4% max specified for aircraft and enclosed spaces. The plates in AGM or Gel batteries are tightly packed and rigidly mounted, and will withstand shock and vibration better than any standard battery.