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Battery Monitoring Systems: Set Appropriate Expectations

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Batteries are an amazing creation that perform a thankless but crucial task.  They provide power when needed.  At least they are expected to.  That is their sole function, after all.  So, when they work, they were supposed to.  But, oh my, when they don’t, they relegate themselves to the nickname “badderies”.

Batteries sit quietly in the corner, many times neglected, until the lights go out.  What happens next, is literally anyone’s guess.

Why?  Because batteries do not possess the function of telling us their state of health…unless they are asked.    Unless, of course, the occasional crack, leak, or explosion is somehow considered sufficient for a technician to react to an apparent poor state of health.  I mean, even if you monitor batteries, a tech still has to look at them every once in a while.  How burdensome is that?  Is a physical inspection over the top?

The answer to those questions, and so many more like them, depends on how battery monitoring is viewed. In order to gain some perspective, let’s explore the expectations of owning and maintaining batteries through the lens of everyday life.

The mechanic said your car diagnostics checked out fine.  Should you expect it to start and drive well tomorrow?  Absolutely.  Next week?  Sure.  After next month?  Probably.  Beyond that?  Anyone’s guess.  And, everyone accepts that reality.

Well, you might say, I don’t monitor my car every day, why should I continuously monitor my batteries?  Ah, but you do, if you drive it.  You continuously monitor the gas, temperature, and battery voltage.  Additionally, you use your senses to monitor and evaluate things like tire pressure and wear, exhaust, smells, and noises.

Now, what if, after your car diagnostics were run, instead of driving it every day, you parked it in your driveway for months and months.  Would you be at all concerned when you put the key in the ignition for an emergency? That is a rhetoric question.  Of course you would…and should.

One final expectation comparison using a car as the example.  If your car is rated for 120,000 miles and you have driven 50,000, you may expect to get at least 70,000 more miles.  But, should you expect that type of performance if you neglect service, drive it harshly, use it for functions beyond its capacity, or leave it in bad climate conditions? Of course not.

And, any mechanic that tells you the remaining life left in your car would be wise to ask you about all of those factors before offering his opinion.  Even after gathering all the facts, his opinion is still simply an educated guess.  But, if your treat your car right, you should expect certain performance.

The same expectation can be assigned to batteries.  No, monitoring won’t improve the reliability of a battery string, that is the responsibility of the manufacturer.  But it will warn of issues that will affect performance.  From there, treatment can be administered, providing tremendous confidence they will work when needed.

Oh, and if your solution to ensuring your have transportation when you need it most is redundancy, you can always just buy two cars.  The chances are pretty good one will start when you need them most, right? Maybe, but I submit it would still depend on how they are treated and used.

Or, you could just buy a more expensive car.  That always works.  Sorry, no it doesn’t.

The same type of comparison can be made for any electronic, or mechanical product, ever made.  It can also be made for living creatures.  Everyone agrees, expected performance is predicated on expected care.  If you neglect proper care, performance is anyone’s guess.

Therefore, by all means and measures, the same accepted logic must also apply to batteries.

Let us know your thoughts and expectations.  We want to connect with you.