Watering batteries is a necessary maintenance procedure to keep flooded lead-acid batteries performing at their best. But for those that dread the procedure because the batteries are difficult to get to or if they require removing the batteries simply to peer into the cells and check the water level, there’s a much easier way.
Many people are familiar with Single Point Watering Systems (SPWS). These can be a time and labor saver that makes it much easier to add water to flooded lead-acid batteries. These systems simply replace the battery cell caps with small valves that allow water to pour into each cell when they need it, and shut off when the level is correct.
While the process sounds simple enough, the types and kinds of systems can be confusing. For battery manufacturers like U.S. Battery, one of the leading manufacturers of flooded lead-acid batteries in the United States, they are big promoters of using SPWS. For those not knowing which type of SPWS to get, they offer some guidelines to help to make the right decision.
The company works with two major SPWS manufacturers, Battery Watering Technologies (BWT) and Flow-Rite. Both systems are excellent in providing easy ways to keep batteries and battery packs watered correctly, but they differ in their construction. the BTW system utilizes flexible hoses that are easily attached to the battery or battery pack and can be used with a gravity-feed water tank or siphon hose to direct water into the batteries. The BWT system is perfect for tight compartments where reaching the batteries may be difficult but because of the flexible tubing, it can accommodate changes to your batteries and system. For example, if you had an SPWS on a 48-volt system that uses eight 6V batteries, the BWT system could easily be used on a system that was switched out to which could be changed later to using four 12V batteries.
The Flow-Rite system is similar in that it attaches to the batteries in the same way, but it uses more durable-harder water manifolds that are made for specific applications and the number of batteries used in that application. Converting from eight to four batteries would require a new system of hoses, but because the Flow-Rite hoses are more durable, they have the advantage of being able to withstand more abuse in rugged or high-vibration applications. For vehicles and machinery that have very tight compartments and limited space where changing battery types is not an option, the Flow-Rite system could be a good long-term solution.
View images of step by step installations of both systems here: http://usbattery.com/products/watering-systems/
The best system will depend on your specific application but both systems can also benefit from an electrolyte sensor, which will indicate when it’s time to add water to your batteries. U.S. Battery offers its Sense Smart Valve, which fits into one of the battery pack’s cells, and features a sensor that indicates via an LED light that changes from green to red if your battery pack needs water. Because the sensor is built into an SPWS valve, it works with BWT systems and also has an available dashboard mountable indicator.
No matter which type of system is best for your application, using an SPWS is definitely a much easier way to water batteries, and in doing so, you’ll also prolong the life and performance of your battery pack, which will save you money in the long run. For more information on SPWS systems and flooded lead-acid batteries for your particular application, visit www.usbattery.com.