Technically Speaking

TS (Jul/Aug14) – Lyte-Lock Battery Covers

By: Matt Vallez

This originally appeared in May 2012 Golf Car News Magazine and has been fact checked and up dated for this issue

As I am sure you are aware, electric golf carts are powered by rechargeable, lead acid batteries. These deep cycle batteries are designed to give the cart a steady discharge of power over a long period of time as compared to a short-term high amperage discharge used for cranking with automotive batteries. Different golf carts use between 36-72 volts as a power supply by using 6 volt, 8 volt or 12 volt batteries.

By far the most popular battery used to power golf carts are vented, wet cell, lead-acid batteries, sometimes called flooded or traction batteries. Other options are also available; mainly AGM (absorbed glass mat) or gel batteries. The reason the vast majority of golf carts use wet cell batteries are the price. AGM or gel batteries can be 2.5 to 3 times the price of a similar wet cell option. The major golf cart manufacturers use wet cell batteries for most of their markets, although they generally provide AGM or gel cells as an option. AGM and gel batteries are also known as ‘maintenance free’ batteries. This is due to the fact that checking and maintaining water levels is unnecessary. All three battery types do an excellent job delivering power and have similar run time capabilities.

So what is the down side of using the more economical wet cell batteries? There are a couple of things to consider. First, wet cell batteries require regular maintenance mostly in the form of maintaining the water level inside the battery. Second, these batteries are vented for a reason. During the charging cycle, hydrogen and oxygen gases are created and must be discharged into the atmosphere. If not released, the battery case would rupture due to the increased pressure. If you look, you can see the holes located on the vent caps. Unfortunately, water containing sulfuric acid (battery acid) can also be released through these same holes if the water level is not maintained properly or if the battery is overcharged.

The result – The water/battery acid discharge will permanently damage most flooring. This may not be an issue in a cart barn at your local golf course, but a personal golf cart is most likely charged in someone’s garage…well, see for yourself. At this point, the concrete itself has been damaged, so cleaning it will not be an option. Left unchecked, sulfuric acid has been known to eat completely through concrete exposing the dirt underneath.

Lyte-Lock is an easy to install battery cover that absorbs and neutralizes battery acid at the source. Lyte-Lock covers are available to fit most 6v, 8v, and 12v vented, lead-acid batteries. To install, simply remove the vent cap, place the appropriate fitted cover around the vent holes (label/white side facing up), and then replace the cap. That’s it. It is not necessary to remove the batteries or terminal cables. Installation only takes a couple of minutes. Please refer to the safety instructions on the part and listed at www.Lyte-Lock.com before you begin.

The cover has an orange strip across the top which will change to red as its neutralizing potential diminishes. The average life expectancy of the Lyte-Lock cover is 6 months to a year, but this can vary between the individual batteries.

How does it work? Once acid drips on the Lyte-Lock cover either through the vent holes or from around the O-ring, it is absorbed into the glass matrix and distributed across the surface of the cover. The chemical reaction that neutralizes the battery acid creates water, salt and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide dissipates in the air, the water evaporates, and the salt is contained inside the Lyte-Lock cover. Since battery acid that comes into contact with the terminals can also cause them to corrode, Lyte-Lock covers can minimize this issue as well.

Every couple of months, you should check the water level in your batteries. Make sure to reference the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions and safety guidelines. This is a good time to make note of the orange indicator strip on the cover. Generally, each battery will vent at different rates, so you may notice that your set of Lyte-Lock covers will not all have the same amount of wear. Once the strip changes to red, it is time to replace the covers. Simply remove the cover and discard. Gloves and safety glasses are recommended any time you work with lead acid batteries.

When the time comes to replace your batteries, you will also notice a difference. It is not uncommon for acid and corrosion to build up around the base of the batteries and on the battery racks. Often, this corrosion has to be removed with a hammer and chisel in order to properly seat the new batteries. This should no longer be an issue if you have been using Lyte-Lock.

Lyte-Lock is simple and safe. Don’t let battery acid leave its mark on your investment. Visit www.nivelparts.com or call 1-800-959-0852 and order a set today.

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