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Testing of Stationary



Conventional battery test methods measure the stored energy through a

full discharge.

There is a move towards methods that take only seconds instead of hours

Public safety, medical and defense organizations still depend on tests

involving periodic full discharge/charge cycles.

Reasons And Types of Tests

Periodic testing and maintenance of battery banks is imperative to ensure

reliable delivery of power when they are called upon.

There are a number of different tests like: visual inspections, capacity test,
impedance test, float voltage and current measurements, discharge test,
individual cell condition, inter-cell resistance etc. We will be going to
discuss three of above.

The discharge test (also known as load test or capacity test) is the only test
that can accurately measure the true capacity of a battery system and in
turn determine the state of health of batteries.

Capacity Test : Introduction

A controlled constant-current or constant-power discharge of a battery to

a specified terminal voltage.

This test is preformed regularly for tracking the batterys health and actual
capacity and estimating remaining life of the battery. When the battery is
new its capacity might be slightly lower than specified.

During the test it is measured how much capacity (current x time

expressed in Ah) the battery can deliver before the terminal voltage
drops to the end of discharge voltage times the number of cells.

Capacity Test : Observation

It is recommended to select a test time that is approximately the same as

the batterys duty cycle. Common test times are 5 or 8 hours and
common end of discharge voltage for a lead acid cell is 1.75 or 1.80 V.

It is recommended to use the same testing time during the batterys

lifetime. This will improve accuracy when trending how batterys capacity

Capacity Test : Conclusions

Impedance test : Introduction

Its an internal ohmic test, generally performed to indicate conditions of


Since it tests the condition of the entire electrical path of a battery from
terminal plate to terminal plate, impedance can find weaknesses in cells
and intercell connectors easily and reliably.

Impedance test : Observation

Determined by applying an AC current signal, measuring the AC voltage

drop across the cell or inter cell connector and calculating the
impedance using Ohms Law. In practice, not only is the AC voltage drop
measured but so is the AC current.

Impedance test : Conclusion

Float Current Testing : Introduction

There are two types of DC current on a battery: recharge current which is

the current applied to recharge a battery after a discharge and float
current which is the current used to maintain a battery in a fully charged

When there is a large voltage difference such as after a discharge the

current is high and is limited by the charger until the voltage difference
becomes less. When the current is on the plateau in the graph below, this
is called current limit. When the voltage differential becomes less, the
charge current is reduced as depicted on the downward sloping charge
current line on the graph shown in figure

Float Current Testing : Observation

Float Current Testing : Conclusion

Float current can increase for a couple of reasons as ground faults on

floating battery systems and internal battery faults.

As a batterys internal impedance increases, it takes more current to pass

through that higher impedance. The increase in float current can be an
indicator of battery faults.

Float current is main cause of Thermal Runaway, Some of the causes that
can lead to thermal runaway are shorted cells, ground faults, dry-out,
excessive charging and insufficient heat removal.

By measuring float current, it may be possible to avoid catastrophic failure

of the battery and damage to connected and nearby equipment.

Other Tests:

Acceptance Test : A constant-current or constant-power capacity test

made on a new battery to determine if it meets specifications or
manufacturers ratings.

Critical period test: Analyzing portion of the duty cycle that is the most
severe, or the specified time period of the battery duty cycle that is most

Modified performance test: A test of battery capacity and the ability of

the battery to satisfy the duty cycle.

Other tests

Service test: A test of a batterys capability, to satisfy the battery duty


Performance test: A constant-current or constant-power capacity test

made on a battery after it has been in service, to detect any change in
the capacity.


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