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IEEE Recommended Practice

for Installation and Maintenance


of Lead-Acid Batteries
for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21


Sponsored by the
IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 on
Fuel Cells, Photovoltaics, Dispersed Generation, and Energy Storage

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IEEE Std 937™-2007
(Revision of
IEEE Std 937-2000)

IEEE Recommended Practice


for Installation and Maintenance
of Lead-Acid Batteries
for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Sponsored by the

IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 on


Fuel Cells, Photovoltaics, Dispersed Generation, and Energy Storage

Approved 8 March 2007


IEEE-SA Standards Board

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Abstract: Design considerations and procedures for storage, location, mounting, ventilation,
assembly, and maintenance of lead-acid secondary batteries for photovoltaic (PV) power systems
are provided. Safety precautions and instrumentation considerations are also included. Even
though general recommended practices are covered, battery manufacturers may provide specific
instructions for battery installation and maintenance.
Keywords: battery, battery installation, battery maintenance, photovoltaic power system

_________________________

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.


3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5997, USA

Copyright © 2007 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.


All rights reserved. Published 13 June 2007. Printed in the United States of America.

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Print: ISBN 0-7381-5591-8 SH95681


PDF: ISBN 0-7381-5592-6 SS95681

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, in an electronic retrieval system or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the publisher.

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Introduction

This introduction is not part of IEEE Std 937-2007, IEEE Recommended Practice for Installation and Maintenance
of Lead-Acid Batteries for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems.

This recommended practice provides design considerations and procedures for storage, location, mounting,
ventilation, assembly and maintenance of lead-acid secondary batteries for photovoltaic (PV) power
systems. Safety precautions and instrumentation considerations are also included. While this document
gives general recommended practices, battery manufacturers may provide specific instructions for battery
installation and maintenance.

While there are other IEEE standards that cover lead-acid battery installation and maintenance, they are
generally designed for other types of applications, such as float-service or utility grid-tied applications.
This document provides information for installation and maintenance of lead-acid batteries in PV
applications that are generally characterized by non-grid connected, cycling service. These procedures also
reflect consideration of the typically remote nature of PV applications.

Notice to users

Errata
Errata, if any, for this and all other standards can be accessed at the following URL: http://
standards.ieee.org/reading/ieee/updates/errata/index.html. Users are encouraged to check this URL for
errata periodically.

Interpretations
Current interpretations can be accessed at the following URL: http://standards.ieee.org/reading/ieee/interp/
index.html.

Patents
Attention is called to the possibility that implementation of this recommended practice may require use of
subject matter covered by patent rights. By publication of this recommended practice, no position is taken
with respect to the existence or validity of any patent rights in connection therewith. The IEEE shall not be
responsible for identifying patents or patent applications for which a license may be required to implement
an IEEE standard or for conducting inquiries into the legal validity or scope of those patents that are
brought to its attention.

iv
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Participants
At the time this recommended practice was completed, the Energy Storage Subsystems Working Group had
the following membership:

Jay L. Chamberlin, Chair


Kenneth S. Sanders, Secretary
Peter McNutt, Task Leader

Howard Barikmo Liang Ji Carl Parker


Charles Finin Haissam Nasrat Robert F. Rallo
Lauren Giles Michael T. Nispel Steve Vechy
Tom D. Hund John Wiles

At the time this recommended practice was approved, IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 on Fuel
Cells, Photovoltaics, Dispersed Generation, and Energy Storage had the following membership:

Richard DeBlasio, Chair


Stephen Chalmers, Vice-Chair
Thomas Basso, Secretary
William Ash, IEEE SCC21 Liaison

David L. Bassett Douglas C. Dawson Benjamin Kroposki


John J. Bzura Frank Goodman Robert Saint
Jay L. Chamberlin Kelvin Hecht Mallur N. Satyanarayan
James M. Daley Joseph Koepfinger Timothy P. Zgonena

The following members of the individual balloting committee voted on this recommended practice.
Balloters may have voted for approval, disapproval, or abstention.

William J. Ackerman Gary R. Engmann Michael S. Newman


Ali al Awazi Randall C. Groves Michael T. Nispel
Kraig E. Bader Ajit K. Gwal Donald M. Parker
Thomas S. Basso David A. Horvath Percy E. Pool
Wallace B. Binder, Jr. Dennis Horwitz Robert F. Rallo
Richard T. Bolgeo Tom D. Hund Michael A. Roberts
Steven R. Brockschink J. L. Koepfinger Charles W. Rogers
Chris Brooks Jim Kulchisky Kenneth S. Sanders
William A. Byrd Saumen K. Kundu Steven Sano
William P. Cantor Scott R. Lacy Bartien Sayogo
Jay L. Chamberlin Chung-Yiu Lam Stephen C. Schwarm
Keith Chow G. L. Luri Devki N. Sharma
Mark S. Clark Keith N. Malmedal Herbert J. Sinnock
Tommy P. Cooper James A. McDowall Joe D. Watson
Garth P. Corey Peter F. McNutt James W. Wilson, Jr.
Randall L. Dotson Jerry R. Murphy Ahmed F. Zobaa

v
Copyright © 2007 IEEE. All rights reserved.

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When the IEEE-SA Standards Board approved this recommended practice on 8 March 2007, it had the
following membership:
Steve M. Mills, Chair
Robert M. Grow, Vice Chair
Donald F. Wright, Past Chair
Judith Gorman, Secretary

Richard DeBlasio Richard H. Hulett Narayanan Ramachandran


Alexander D. Gelman Hermann Koch Greg Ratta
William R. Goldbach Joseph L. Koepfinger* Robby Robson
Arnold M. Greenspan John D. Kulick Anne-Marie Sahazizian
Joanna N. Guenin David J. Law Virginia C. Sulzberger
Julian Forster* Glenn Parsons Malcolm V. Thaden
Kenneth S. Hanus Ronald C. Petersen Richard L. Townsend
William B. Hopf Tom A. Prevost Howard L. Wolfman

*Member Emeritus

Also included are the following nonvoting IEEE-SA Standards Board liaisons:

Satish K. Aggarwal, NRC Representative


Alan H. Cookson, NIST Representative

Jennie Steinhagen
IEEE Standards Program Manager, Document Development

William Ash
IEEE Standards Program Manager, Technical Program Development

vi
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Contents

1. Overview .................................................................................................................................................... 1

1.1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................... 1


1.2 Purpose ................................................................................................................................................ 1

2. Definitions .................................................................................................................................................. 1

3. Precautions ................................................................................................................................................. 2

3.1 Protective equipment ........................................................................................................................... 2


3.2 Procedures ........................................................................................................................................... 2

4. Installation design criteria .......................................................................................................................... 3

4.1 Enclosure ............................................................................................................................................. 3


4.2 Battery support structure...................................................................................................................... 4
4.3 Electrical.............................................................................................................................................. 5
4.4 Seismic ................................................................................................................................................ 5

5. Installation procedures................................................................................................................................ 5

5.1 Receiving and storage.......................................................................................................................... 5


5.2 Battery support structure assembly...................................................................................................... 6
5.3 Battery mounting and connections ...................................................................................................... 6
5.4 Preoperational checks .......................................................................................................................... 7
5.5 Initial charging procedure.................................................................................................................... 8
5.6 Final connections................................................................................................................................. 8

6. Maintenance ............................................................................................................................................... 8

6.1 General ................................................................................................................................................ 8


6.2 Inspections........................................................................................................................................... 9
6.3 Corrective actions .............................................................................................................................. 10
6.4 Battery replacement criteria............................................................................................................... 12

7. Recycling and disposal ............................................................................................................................. 12

Annex A (informative) Battery failure modes.............................................................................................. 13

Annex B (informative) Bibliography............................................................................................................ 14

vii
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IEEE Recommended Practice
for Installation and Maintenance
of Lead-Acid Batteries
for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
1. Overview

1.1 Scope

This recommended practice provides design considerations and procedures for storage, location, mounting,
ventilation, assembly, and maintenance of lead-acid storagesecondary batteries for photovoltaic (PV) power
systems. Safety precautions and instrumentation considerations are also included.

While this document gives general recommended practices, battery manufacturers may provide specific
instructions for battery installation and maintenance.

1.2 Purpose

This recommended practice is meant to assist lead-acid battery users to properly store, install, and maintain
lead-acid batteries used in residential, commercial, and industrial photovoltaicPV systems.

2. Definitions

For the purposes of this recommended practice the following terms and definitions apply. The Authoritative
Dictionary of IEEE Standards [B1] 1 should be referenced for terms not defined in this clause.

2.1 dry-charged cell: A cell that has been assembled without electrolyte, using plates that have been
charged and dried, requiring only to be filled with electrolyte to become an active cell. The cells are sealed
by the manufacturer to prevent oxidation. Typically done for ease of shipping or storage or both.

1
The numbers in brackets correspond to those of the Bibliography in Annex B.

2. References
This should be used in conjunction with Accredited Standards Committee C2-1997, National Electrical
Safety Code® (NESC®).1

1The NESC is available from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 445 Hoes Lane, P.O. Box 1331, Piscataway, NJ
08855-1331, USA (http://standards.ieee.org/).

3.Precautions

Batteries are potentially hazardous, and proper precautions must be observed in their handling and
installation. This recommended practice does not purport to address all of the safety concerns associated
with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this recommended practice to establish appropriate safety
and health practices and to determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. These
instructions assume a certain level of competence by the installer/user. Applicable practices and codes

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contain relevant information and should be consulted for safe handling, installation, testing, and
maintenance of batteries. Applicable state and local codes must be followed. Work on batteries shall only
be performed by knowledgeable personnel with proper, safe tools and protective equipment.

3.1 Protective equipment

The following safety equipment is recommended for safer handling of lead-acid batteries the battery and
protection of personnel shall be available:

a) Safety glasses with side shields, goggles, and face shield, as appropriate
b) Acid-resistant gloves
c) Protective aprons and safety shoes
clothing, including acid-resistant gloves, overshoes. c) Portable or stationary shower and eye-wash
stations.
d) Portable or stationary water facilities for rinsing eyes and skin in case of contact with acid
electrolyte
e) Class C fire extinguisher
f) An acid-neutralizing agent (e.g., bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).mixed with approximately
0.1 kg/L of water) to neutralize any acid spillage
g) Adequately insulated tools
h) Lifting devices of adequate capacity, when required

NOTE 1—Some battery manufacturers do not recommend the use of CO2 fire extinguishers due to the potential for
thermal shock. 2

NOTE 2—The removal and/or neutralization of an acid spill may result in production of a hazardous waste. The user
should comply with appropriate governmental regulations.

NOTE 3—Battery personnel shall conform to local safety requirements.

3.2 Procedures

The following safety procedures shall be followed prior to and during installation:

a) Use caution when working on batteries since they present a shock hazard.
b) Prohibit smoking and open flame, and reduce the potential for arcing in the immediate vicinity
of the battery.
c) Provide adequate ventilation and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations during charging.
d) Ensure unobstructed egress from the battery work area.
e) Avoid the wearing of metallic objects, such as jewelry, while working on the battery.
f) Ensure that the work area is suitably illuminated.

2
Notes in text, tables, and figures of a standard are given for information only and do not contain requirements needed to implement
this recommended practice.
g) Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding cell orientation.
h) Ensure that battery racks and/or cabinets are adequately supported, stable, and secure (see 5.3).
i) Connect support structures to the electrical ground system in accordance with applicable codes.
j) Inspect all flooring and lifting equipment for functional adequacy.

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k) Restrict all unauthorized personnel from the battery area.
l) Keep the battery clear of all tools and other foreign objects.
m) Avoid static buildup by having personnel contact an electrical ground periodically while working
on batteries.
n) The pressure relief valves shall not be removed without the battery manufacturer’s approval.
o) Inspect and test instrumentation for safe working condition.

3. Definitions

The following definitions apply specifically to this recommended practice. For other definitions, see
The IEEE Standards Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms [B6].2

3.1 capacity (C): Generally, the total number

3 equalizing voltage: The voltage, higher than float, applied to a battery to correct inequalities among bat-
tery cells (voltage or specific gravity) that may develop in service.

3.4 freshening charge: The charging of batteries to assure that they are maintained “fresh” in a near-
maximum state of charge, and to assure that there is no deterioration of the battery plates due to self-
discharge and resulting sulfation. Freshening charges are usually performed using the manufacturer’s
recommended equalization or cycle-service charging voltage

5 life: The period during which a fully charged battery is capable of delivering at least a specified
percentage of its capacity, generally 80%.

3.6 pilot cell(s): One or more cells chosen for monitoring the operating parameters, e.g., cell voltage,
specific gravity and temperature, of the entire battery.

3.7 valve-regulated lead-acid cell (VRLA): A lead-acid cell that is sealed, with the exception of a valve
that opens to the atmosphere when the internal gas pressure in the cell exceeds the atmospheric pressure by a
preselected amount. Valve-regulated cells provide a means for recombination of internally generated oxygen
and the suppression of hydrogen gas evolution to limit water consumption.

3.8 vented cell: A cell in which the products of electrolysis and evaporation are allowed to escape to the
atmosphere as they are generated. These batteries are commonly referred to as “flooded.”

4. Installation design criteria


Considerations that should be included in the design of a PV battery installation depend upon the
requirements, function, and size of the system of which the battery is a part. The following subclauses
describe general criteria for all PV battery installations.

4.1 Enclosure

Batteries should be protected by means of a suitable enclosure, which may vary from a box to a room. The
enclosure should be clean, dry, and adequately ventilated, and it should provide and maintain protection
against detrimental environmental conditions and electrical shorts.

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4.1.1 Location

The following should be considered when deciding on the location of the battery enclosure:

a) The battery enclosure should be located as close as practical to the photovoltaicPV array, loads,
and power conditioning equipment., consistent with item d) of 5.3
b) The enclosure location should provide adequate structural support.
c) The battery location should be designed to eliminate the contamination of water supplies and
damage to equipment in the event of electrolyte spillage. Refer to IEEE P1578 3 [B9] for
additional information.

4.1.2 Mechanical considerations

The following mechanical aspects should be considered during the design or selection of the battery
enclosure:

a) The size of enclosure should allow for sufficient clearance around the battery to provide access
for installation and maintenance. Consideration should be given to the space required for safety
and handling equipment (see 3.1).
b) The supporting surface of the enclosure should have adequate structural strength and stability
(for high racks and cabinets) to support the battery weight and its support structure.
3
Numbers preceded by P are IEEE authorized standards projects that were not approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board at the time
this publication went to press. For information about obtaining drafts, contact the IEEE.

c) The enclosure should be resistant to the effects of electrolyte, either by selection of materials
used or by appropriate coatings. Provision should be made for containment of any spilled
electrolyte per appropriate codes and regulations.
d) Any enclosure doors should allow unobstructed egress.
e) The enclosure design should include appropriate means to prevent unauthorized entry.

4.1.3 Environmental considerations

The following environmental aspects should be considered during the design or selection of the battery
enclosure:

a) The enclosure shall be ventilated, either by natural or induced means, to prevent the
accumulation of an explosive hydrogen mixture and to limit the accumulation of other hazardous
gases. Refer to IEEE P1635 [B10] for more information. The hydro- gen concentration shall be
limited to less than 2% by volume. The enclosure design should either avoid creation of
difficult-to-ventilate areas, including false ceilings, or make adequate provision for their
ventilation. Further, the enclosure should be designed so that flammable or hazardous gases
vented from it cannot enter a heating, cooling, or ventilation system serving a habitable area
b) To prevent battery damage, the enclosure should be designed to maintain to assist in
maintaining the electrolyte temperature above its freezing point. Either passive or active means
should be considered. The temperature at which the electrolyte will freeze for a given battery
state of charge (SOC) and operating specific gravity may be obtained from the battery
manufacturer. Extremely high electrolyte temperatures will require temperature compensation of
the charge voltage; otherwise, battery damage may cause excessive water usage and may damage
the battery.result. Battery manufacturers may recommend a maximum operating temperature for
their their batteries. Refer to IEEE P1635 [B10] for more information.
c) A cell electrolyte temperature of 25 °C is normally the basis for rated performance. A location
where this temperature can be maintained should contribute to optimum battery life. Either

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passive or active means to reduce temperature excursions from 25 °C should be considered.
Passive means can include partial burial of enclosures, color of exterior finish, and insulation.
Active means can include forced-air ventilation. Elevated battery temperatures will lead to
shortened life.
NOTE—If the electrolyte temperature varies from optimum, sizing may be affected.

d) Temperature differences between cells within the battery should be limited to 3 °C. Localized
heat sources, including direct sunlight, radiators, steam pipes, and space heaters, should be
avoided.
e) Illumination of enclosures during time of maintenance should be adequate for the safety and
effectiveness of personnel.

4.2 Battery support structure


Battery support structures may consist of racks or other means for supporting the battery within the
enclosure. Battery support structures should have the following design features:

a) Provide suitable strength to support the battery.


b) Minimize temperature differentials [see item c of 4.1.3].
c) Provide space required for maintenance [see item a of 4.1.2].
d) Be resistant to the effects of electrolyte.
e) Provide electrical isolation for the cell case and battery. Any insulating material used should be
rated for full system voltage.
f) Provide space between the cells for air circulation as per the manufacturer’s specifications.
g) Provide appropriate anchor to floor or wall.
h) The battery should be within 2° of level.

4.3 Electrical

Electrical installations shall, when applicable, be in accordance with appropriate electrical codes and
regulations [such as the National Electric Safety Electrical Code® (NEC ®)] [B12].

a) Considerations should be given to insulating bare terminals, lugs, fittings, and other live parts to
reduce the risk of fire, shocks, and burns to personnel.
b) Electrical cabling to the battery should be designed so that it does not obstruct access space
provided for maintenance and safety, nor result in undue stress to battery terminals.
c) All battery systems should be provided with overcurrent protection and disconnecting means.
This also applies to all potential current-carrying instrumentation and control leads connected to
the battery system.
d) Systems that are grounded should be grounded according to appropriate codes.
e) Consideration should be given to providing essential instrumentation and alarm functions, if
not provided by the charging control. These include:
1) Voltmeter
2) Ammeter
3) High- and low-voltage indicators
4) Ground fault detector(s)
5) Temperature sensor(s)

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f) If parallel strings are used, the cables to each string need to safely accommodate the current
from the entire load.

Equipment with arcing contacts should be located to avoid battery enclosure areas where explosive
hydrogen concentrations could occur.

4.4 Seismic

When a photovoltaicPV system is installed in a location subject to a high probability of seismic disturbance
or where applicable codes require seismic protection, the battery shall be designed and installed in a manner
that the batteries should resists damage from seismic events, and in accordance with appropriate codes and
regulations withstands the calculated seismic forces and provides for potential electrolyte leakage. If local
codes are unknown in the U.S., for example, refer to the earthquake zoning map in the Uniform Building
Code [B13].

4. Safety

The safety practices listed herein should be followed during battery installation and maintenance. Work per-
formed on batteries shall be done with the proper tools and protective equipment. Battery installation shall
be performed or supervised by personnel knowledgeable of batteries and the required safety precautions.
Keep unauthorized personnel away from batteries.
2The numbers in brackets correspond to those of the bibliography in Annex B.

f) Tools with appropriately insulated handles.


g) A Class C fire extinguisher (CO2-type extinguishers should not be used because of the potential
thermal shock to batteries).

4.2 Safety procedures

The following are hazards inherent in the use of lead-acid batteries and the recommended related procedures
to help ensure safety.

4.2.1 Electrolyte hazards

The electrolyte is a sulfuric-acid solution that is harmful to the skin and eyes. It is corrosive and electrically
conductive. The following procedures should be followed when handling the battery and electrolyte:

a) Wear full eye protection and protective clothing.


b) If electrolyte contacts the skin, wash it off immediately with water.
c) If electrolyte contacts the eyes, immediately and thoroughly flush with water, then seek medical
attention.
d) Spilled electrolyte should be neutralized. A common practice is to use a solution of approximately
500 g of bicarbonate of soda to approximately 4 L of water. The bicarbonate of soda solution should
be added to the electrolyte until the evidence of reaction (foaming) has ceased.
NOTE—The removal and/or neutralization of an acid spill may result in the production of a hazardous waste.
The user should comply with the appropriate governmental regulations.
e) Properly dispose of unused electrolyte and electrolyte containers. These may be considered
hazardous waste and should be treated accordingly.

4.2.2 Electrical hazards

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A battery can present an electrical shock and short-circuit hazard. The following procedures should be
followed to lessen the risk of electrical hazards:

a) Remove watches, rings, or other metal objects.


b) Wear rubber or plastic gloves and boots.
c) Use tools with insulated handles.
d) Disconnect the charging source and load prior to opening or closing any other battery connections. e)
Determine if the battery is inadvertently grounded and, if so, remove source(s) of ground (e.g.,
electrolyte spillage). Contact with any electrically conductive path of a grounded battery can result
in electrical shock; the likelihood of shock can be reduced if inadvertent grounds are removed.

4.2.3 Fire hazards

Lead-acid batteries can present a fire hazard because they generate hydrogen gas and are capable of produc-
ing high current. The following procedures should be followed to lessen the risk of fire hazards:

a) Provide ventilation in accordance with item a) of 5.1.3.


b) Prohibit smoking in the battery area.
c) Keep the battery area free from open flames and arcs.
d) Discharge static electricity from body before touching batteries by first touching a grounded metal
surface, such as a water pipe.
e) Use flame-arresting vents, if the cell design allows.
f) Maintain battery and connections in accordance with Clause 7.
g) Follow proper installation procedures (see Clause 6).
h) Use of any auxiliary devices, such as hydrogen recombiners or flame arresters, should be in strict
accordance with the battery manufacturer’s recommendations.

4.2.4 Handling
hazards

The following safety procedures should be followed prior to and during installation of a battery:

a) Inspect all lifting devices for functional adequacy, and use properly.
b) In the case of rack mounting, completely assemble and tighten racks before loading cells, or load in
accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.
c) Prevent impact of cells to avoid damage.
d) Ensure that all cell openings are capped.
e) Avoid excessive tilting of vented cells that could result in electrolyte spillage.

4.2.5
General

The following are general safety precautions:

a) Ensure unobstructed egress from the battery area.


b) Prevent unauthorized access to battery area.
c) Keep the top of the battery clear of all tools and other foreign objects at all times.

5. Installation procedures 4

5.1 Receiving and storage

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5.1.1 Receiving inspection

The following should be considered when the battery shipment is received:

a) Upon receipt, inspect the shipment for damage that might have occurred in transit.
b) Take notice of the shipping date. Timely unpacking may be required in order to follow the
manufacturer’s recommendation on the freshening charge.
4
For precautions, refer to Clause 3.

5.1.2 Unpacking

Batteries are typically shipped either securely banded to wood pallets or as modular units. System
accessories may be packed separately. To move pallets or modules, use material handling equipment
adequate for the weight. Do not impact, tip, or drop batteries as damage may result. In addition:

a) Carefully cut the banding and remove protective packaging materials from the top and sides of
the batteries. If additional transportation to a remote location is required, attempt to transport
individual batteries with as much of the original packing material as possible.
b) After unpacking the batteries, inspect for damage. All damaged batteries should be repaired or
replaced.

c) Where possible, for vented cells, check electrolyte levels to determine that the plates are covered.
The battery/cell may require replacement if the electrolyte level is below the top of the plates.
d) Always lift batteries according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

5.1.3 Storage

It is recommended that the site construction allow for scheduling battery installation shortly after receipt. If
battery storage is required, the following practices should be followed:

a) Batteries should be stored indoors in a clean, cool, and dry area. Temperature extremes and
localized heat sources, such as radiators or direct sunlight, should be avoided.
b) Do not double-stack pallets, or store anything on top of the batteries, as damage may result.
c) Batteries should not be stored for more than the time period recommended by the manufacturer
without applying a freshening charge. This charge should be applied in accordance with the
manufacturer’s recommendations.
d) Record dates and battery conditions (as many from 6.2.1 as appropriate) for all charges during
storage.

5.2 Battery support structure assembly

The assembly of the support structure should be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended
procedures.

5.3 Battery mounting and connections

Various methods of interconnecting batteries are used. The following procedures generally apply to all
methods of interconnection, but individual steps may be modified per the manufacturer’s instructions.

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NOTE—Dry-charged batteries may be mounted either before or after the addition of electrolyte. It is recommended
that intercell connectors be installed after addition of electrolyte.

a) For multilevel support structures, it is important to maintain stability during installation. It is


generally recommended that batteries be placed onto the support structure starting at the center
of the lowest level, and working outward and upward while maintaining the recommended
spacing. Do not slide batteries across rough surfaces, nor lubricate the bottom surface of the
battery with any lubricant not recommended by the manufacturer to aid sliding, as case damage
may occur.
b) Unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer, clean all terminal posts and connecting
hardware areas showing evidence of corrosion, dirt, or acid with a nonmetallic brush or pad;
then coat all areas with a thin film of manufacturer’s approved corrosion-inhibiting compound.
b) The battery terminals may be shipped with a coating of corrosion-inhibiting grease. Clean any
area showing evidence of corrosion, dirt, or acid. Use only cleaning agents recommended by the
manufacturer. Recoat the cleaned area with a thin film
c) Installation of flame-arresting vent assemblies on vented batteries may reduce the risk of
explosion.
d) Measure the voltage of each cell/battery and correct discrepancies as required.
e) If battery cables need to be replaced, only cable, terminals, and lugs that have been specifically
identified for use with such cables shall be used.

e) Connector surfaces should be cleaned by rubbing them gently with a brass suede brush. Care
should be exercised in cleaning to prevent removal of the lead plating. If recommended, apply a thin
film of the corrosion-inhibiting grease to all contacting surfaces.
f) If a fuse or circuit breaker needs to be replaced, only one rated and sized to carry the full-load
dc current of the entire battery bank while still responding to ground faults shall be used.
g) The intercell connector contact surfaces should be cleaned by rubbing gently with a nonmetallic
brush or pad; care should be exercised in cleaning to prevent removal of the lead plating. Apply
a thin film of manufacturer’s approved corrosion-inhibiting compound to all contact surfaces.
h) Interconnect batteries so as to make series, parallel, or series-parallel connections in accordance
with the following considerations:
1) When more than one connector per terminal is required, mount the connectors on opposite
sides of each terminal for maximum surface contact. In the absence of manufacturer
instructions, refer to IEEE Std 450™-2002 [B2] for details on interconnecting cells.
2) Cables should be prebent prior to connection to reduce stress on terminals.
3) In general, all series connections should be made prior to parallel connections.
4) Verify the correct polarity of each cell/battery by measuring the overall string voltage. This
should be equal to the voltage of each unit multiplied by the number of units.
i) With the batteries properly aligned, tighten connections (including factory-made connections) to
the battery manufacturer’s recommended torque value.
j) Where required, install any auxiliary components.
k) For future identification, apply individual cell numbers in sequence (beginning with number one)
at the positive end of the battery). Also add any required operating identification.
l) Vented batteries: If applicable, remove shipping plugs and install the ones for operation.

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5.4 Preoperational checks

The following preoperational checks should be performed during battery installation:

a) Depending on the criticality of the application, it may be advisable to measure and record
interbattery connection resistances to determine the adequacy of the initial installation and as a
reference for future maintenance requirements. Refer to IEEE Std 450-2002 [B2] for details on
measurement techniques. Remake and remeasure any connection that has a resistance
significantlymore than 20% above the average.
b) Clean all cell covers and containers as necessary. To remove dust and dirt, use a water-
moistened clean wipe. To clean electrolyte spillage, use a wipe moistened with a solution of
bicarbonate of soda and water. All wipes should be free of oil distillates or solvents that may
cause damage to the container or contaminate the electrolyte.
c) Perform a visual inspection of the completed battery installation to verify the following:
1) Correct assembly in accordance with electrical and mechanical specifications.
2) Integrity of all components.
3) Cleanliness and performance of all work in accordance with good workmanship practices.
d) Verify that the charge controller’s voltage set points are adjusted to the correct values for the
battery and application IEEE Std 1361™-2003 [B7].

5.5 Initial charging procedure

Prior to placing the battery in service, it is essential that the entire battery be fully charged so that all cells
are at an equal state of charge. Dry-charged batteries should be activated in accordance to the
manufacturer’s instructions prior to performing this procedure.

It is desirable to perform an initial charge to bring the battery to a fully charged condition, and to ensure all
cells are equally charged. (see Annex A).

NOTE 1—Field conditions may prevent strict adherence to the following procedure.

NOTE 2—The system load should not be connected at this time.

The preferred method is to charge the battery at a constant voltage that is current-limited and temperature-
compensated. This should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation. The charging
current should not exceed the limit as specified by the manufacturer or as limited by auxiliary devices, such
as hydrogen recombiners or flame arresters. Unless otherwise specified, if any cell temperature exceeds the
battery manufacturer’s recommendation, interrupt or reduce the charge until the temperature has dropped to
the battery manufacturer’s recommendation, at which time charging may be resumed. See the battery
manufacturer’s recommendations for more information.

The charge is complete and the battery is fully charged when the cell voltages and the charging current
have not changed in three consecutive hours. The state of charge can be estimated by taking measurements
of the terminal voltages and charging current, and by using charging curves available from the
manufacturer. The specific gravity of vented cells may be used to estimate the cell’s state of charge;
however, this method depends on additional factors. If the specific gravity is out of the manufacturer’s
recommended range after stable cell voltages and currents have been achieved, refer to the manufacturer’s
instructions for corrective actions.

If necessary for vented cells, add water of the quality and quantity specified by the manufacturer at the
completion of the initial charging procedure. An equalizing charge may be needed to properly mix the
electrolyte.

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NOTE—Electrolyte levels in cells that are shipped dry-charged should be adjusted using electrolyte of the specified
specific gravity.

5.6 Final connections

When all installation procedures have been satisfied, complete the system connections including those to
the system’s loads.

6. Maintenance

6.1 General

Proper maintenance should prolong the life of a battery and help assure that it is capable of satisfying
design requirements. A good battery maintenance program should serve as a valuable aid in determining
the need for battery replacement. Only qualified personnel should be permitted in the battery area. The
precautions of Clause 3 should be followed. who are familiar with battery installation, charging, and
maintenance procedures.
The frequency of battery maintenance and inspection depends upon the application and may be more
frequent than suggested herein.

6.2 Inspections

The results of all inspections should be recorded. Adequate battery records (previous maintenance proce-
dures, environmental problems, system failures, and any corrective actions taken in the past) are invaluable
aids in determining battery conditions.

All inspections should be made on a fully charged battery with all charging sources disconnected (unless
otherwise specified). The following inspection schedule is recommended for good maintenance; however,
certain cell designs may preclude performance of some of the inspections listed.

The frequency of the battery inspections should be based upon the criticality of the loads that the battery
must supply.

6.2.1 Initial readings

The initial readings are those readings taken at the time the battery is placed in service. The following
readings should be taken and recorded on a fully charged battery with no load on the system:

a) Battery terminal voltage and cell voltages (preferably these voltages should be taken with the
battery on charge; charging current should also be recorded).
b) Cell electrolyte levels, where appropriate.
c) Internal temperatures of at least 10% of the cells (for valve-regulated batteries, the temperature
of the negative terminal post should be read).

d) Ambient temperature.
e) Specific gravity reading of each cell corrected to 25 C, where applicable. It is important that these
initial readings be retained for future comparison.

f) Cell/module internal ohmic values for valve-regulated battery installations. Refer to


IEEE Std 1188™-2005 [B6] for measurement details.
g) Charge controller’s set-point voltages.

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NOTE 1—In cycling applications, specific gravity measurements, where accessible, may be valuable as a comparative
tool to indicate potential problems.
NOTE 2—There are several approaches to measuring the internal ohmic values of cell/modules. A baseline test should
be performed. The method, including its specific instrumentation, used for the initial measurements should be used for
all subsequent measurements. This is particularly important to making informed corrective-action decisions. Refer to
IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6] for detailed information on these diagnostic tools.

It is important that these initial readings be retained for future comparison.

6.2.2 Quarterly

Perform the following inspections on a quarterly basis. These inspections should be performed on a fully
charged battery:

a) General appearance and cleanliness of the battery and battery area.


b) Battery terminal voltage and charging current (whenever possible).

c) Electrolyte levels, plate appearance and sediment levels, where applicable.


d) Cracks in battery cases or leakage of electrolyte.

e) Evidence of corrosion at connections.


f) Evidence of battery case bulging (where applicable).
g) Ambient temperature.
h) Condition of ventilation system.
i) Pilot-cell (if used) voltage, specific gravity, and electrolyte temperature (whenever possible).
j) Evidence of current leakage to ground.
k) The charge control equipment should be checked and tested for proper operation per the
manufacturer’s recommendations. This includes verification of its set point voltages.
NOTE—In cycling applications, specific gravity measurements, where accessible, may be valuable as a comparative
tool to indicate potential problems.

6.2.3 Semiannual

In addition to the quarterly items, inspect the following twice a year. These inspections should be
performed on a fully charged battery:

a) Battery terminal voltage and cell/module voltages. If possible, these measurements should be
made when the battery is fully charged.
b) Specific gravity of each cell , corrected to 25 C (whenever possible). , of each cell that exceeds
the manufacturer’s full-charge voltage limits.
c) Cell/module internal ohmic values for valve-regulated battery installations. Refer to
IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6] for measurement details.
d) Internal temperature of at least 10% of the cells.
e) Measure and record interbattery connection resistances to determine cell-to-cell and terminal
connections integrity. Refer to IEEE Std 450-2002 [B2] for details on measurement techniques.
Retorque and retest any connection that has a resistance more than 20% above the average.

f) Integrity of the battery support structure and enclosure.

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6.2.4 Special inspections

If the battery has experienced an abnormal condition as defined by the manufacturer’s documentation (such
as a severe discharge, overcharge, or unanticipated temperature excursion), an inspection should be made to
determine if the battery has been damaged. This inspection should include the requirements of 6.2.3, plus a
detailed visual inspection of each cell. Refer to IEEE Std 450-2002 [B2] or IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6] for
more details.

6.3 Corrective actions

The following items are conditions that, if discovered, should be corrected at the time of inspection:
a) For vented cells, correct low electrolyte levels and record the amount of water added. Enough
water should be added to bring all cells to the high-level line. Water quality should be in
accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. To avoid electrolyte overflow, water should be
added only when it has been determined that the cells are in a fully charged condition.

NOTE—The addition of water will alter the specific gravity of the electrolyte, and additional charging will be required
for mixing.

b) For VRLA cells, replace any cell/module where its internal ohmic value differs by more than the
appropriate amount to the method used for the measurement. Refer to IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6] for
detailed information on interpreting internal ohmic measurements.
c) If connection resistance readings are more than 20% above the installation value or above a
ceiling value established by the manufacturer, or if loose connections are noted, retorque and
retest. If terminal corrosion is noted, clean the corrosion and remeasure.
b) Clean corroded connections (high-connection resistances) by disassembling, cleaning, and
reassem- bling them. Then tighten all bolted connections to the torque specified by manufacturer.
c) When cell temperatures deviate more than to
d) When cell temperatures deviate more than 3 °C from each other during a single inspection, deter-
mine the cause and correct, if practical.
e) If a battery temperature outside the system design limits is noted, determine the cause and
correct, if practical.
f) Remove excessive dirt or spilled electrolyte in accordance with item b of 5.4.
g) When the fully charged battery voltage is outside the manufacturer’s recommended range, the
cause should be determined and corrected.
h) Any other abnormal condition should be corrected per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
For vented cells, the corrective action of an equalizing charge, performed in accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions, is indicated whenever any of the following conditions are found. These
conditions, if allowed to persist for extended periods, can reduce battery life. They do not necessarily
indicate a loss of capacity. Refer to the manufacturer's recommendations for cycling applications. In the
absence of such information, the following guidelines are provided.

 The specific gravity, corrected for temperature and electrolyte level, of an individual cell is more
than 15 points (0.015) below the average of all cells at the time of inspection.
 The average specific gravity, corrected for temperature and electrolyte levels, of all cells drops
more than 15 points (0.015) from the average installation value (see 6.2.1) when the bat- tery
is fully charged.
 After the battery has been fully charged, the cell voltage differs by more than 0.1 V from the
manufacturer’s recommended end-of-charge cell voltage relative to the measured average cell
voltage.

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CAUTION
The equalizing voltage may present a hazard to other connected equipment.
Verify the load will not be damaged by the equalization voltage.

Consult with the manufacturer before equalizing VRLA batteries.

For vented cells, if the equalizing charge does not bring the specific gravity corrected for temperature back
within the 10 point limit, replacement of the cell/module should be considered.

For all cells/batteries, if the equalizing charge does not bring the cell voltage to within 0.1 V of
the recommended end-of-charge cell voltage, replacement of the cell/battery should be
considered.

Replacement of cells or the battery should be considered based on the age and type of battery, the critical
nature of the load, and the percentage of cells to be replaced. Consult the manufacturer for more
information.

6.4 Battery replacement criteria

The battery should be considered for replacement if it is unable to support the load (a low-voltage
disconnect has occurred or the load fails to operate due to a low battery state of charge). Before replacing a
suspected failed battery, it is important to verify the battery’s failure was not due to improper system
design, a failure in the PV system, or inappropriate system operation. The PV system may have failed for
several reasons. For example: the present load is greater than the load that was used for designing;
inclement weather; the PV array has been undersized; the battery has been undersized; or a system
component may have failed.

If the load fails to operate, the cause of the failure should be determined. The load’s power consumption
should be measured to confirm it is less than or equal to the original design. If the present load is greater
than the design load, the load needs to be decreased or the PV system’s array, battery, or both should be
resized. If the failure was due to unusual inclement weather, the system size can be increased or this can be
accepted as a performance risk. If no system components have failed, a battery capacity test should be
performed to determine the health of the battery. If the PV system design allows, a battery capacity test
may be performed, as found in IEEE Std 450-2002 [B2] or IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6]. If the battery is
within the end-of-life capacity used for its sizing, the battery may have been undersized for the application.
If the battery falls below this end-of-life capacity, the battery should be replaced.

If the battery is less than 2 years old, the battery charge-controller set points should be verified, the PV
array electrical output should be measured, and the battery type should be checked for the correct
application. If the battery is more than 5 years old, it may be nearing the end of its service life. Replacement
of individual cells versus the entire battery will depend on the number and age of the failed cells.

When replacing the battery, if the system was performing well, a battery of the same type and capacity
should replace the existing battery. If the system has not performed well, the system sizing, controller, and
battery capacity and type should be checked before installing a new battery. Refer to IEEE Std 1013™-2000
[B4] for information on battery sizing. Refer to IEEE Std 1361-2003 [B7] for testing batteries in stand-
alone PV systems. Refer to IEEE P1661 [B11] for testing batteries in hybrid PV systems.

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7. Recycling and disposal
All lead-acid batteries have a useful service life and eventually should be recycled. Seek advice from the
battery manufacturer on how to proceed with battery recycling. If a battery needs to be disposed,
governmental regulations for such disposal shall be followed. The local hazardous waste management
agency can give information on how to proceed with respect to applicable regulations.

7.2.2
Monthly

Perform the following inspections on a monthly basis:

a) General appearance and cleanliness of the battery and battery area.


b) Battery terminal voltage and charging current (whenever possible). If possible, these measurements
should be made when the battery is fully charged.

7.2.3 Quarterly

In addition to the monthly items, inspect the following every three months:

7.2.4 Annually

In addition to the quarterly items, inspect the following once a year:

a) Tightness of all bolted connections (torque specified by manufacturer). b)

8. Recycling and disposal

All batteries have a useful life and eventually must be either disposed of or recycled.

Recycling

Lead-acid batteries can be fully recycled. Seek advice from the battery manufacturer on how to proceed with
battery recycling.

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Annex A

(informative)

Battery failure modes

Battery failure modes typically fall into three categories: individual cell failure, battery overcharging, and
battery undercharging. This list cannot cover all possible failure modes and is not intended to be a
substitute for a trained operator who is familiar with the system and skilled in troubleshooting techniques.

Cell failure. A single cell failure might be detected on the basis of monitoring system voltages but will
generally only be revealed upon monitoring individual cell voltages. For this reason, cell voltages should be
measured at least once a year. A cell which is much lower in voltage than the other cells in a series string is
probably faulty. The battery manual should be consulted for normal cell voltage readings and for
procedures for determining faulty cells. The remedy for cell failure involves replacing the faulty cell. Refer
to IEEE Std 1188-2005 [B6] for other VRLA cell test methods.

Overcharging. Overcharging is the result of incorrect charge regulation and can lead to long-term loss of
battery capacity. Check the battery charge controller to verify the correct voltage settings. Faulty charge
regulation can be detected by monitoring the system voltage. Battery voltage should remain within the set
points. If the voltage is outside the range (after compensating for temperature) the charge controller or array
disconnect relay is probably at fault. Another possible cause of overcharging could be a high series
resistance path in the controller sense circuit causing the controller to receive a lower battery voltage than is
correct. If this is suspected, check and compare the voltage readings at the battery connections and at the
controller to make sure that a faulty connection is not causing increased voltage drop.

Undercharging. Battery undercharging can result from a variety of factors including but not limited to
inadequate solar insolation, poor array performance, higher than anticipated load use, and improper
controller charging set points. Undercharging is a chronic deficiency and all areas of system performance
should be examined to find the root cause. Since battery undercharging will be accompanied by the drifting
of individual cell voltages over time, one way to detect this failure mode is through the monitoring of
individual cell voltages. If the voltage of one portion of the battery bank varies significantly from another,
the charge controller may not be able to maintain a consistent overall SOC and the condition of
undercharging may actually worsen. A battery undercharging problem requires close system monitoring to
examine system behavior over several charging cycles. Check all charging subsystems before considering
adjustment of charge controller set points.

Individual cell voltages in a battery should not vary by more than 0.1 V from the average voltage of all
cells. If this is the case, the instructions for equalization in the battery manual should be followed.
Equalization should be followed up by cell voltage measurements to ensure that equalization has corrected
cell drift.

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Activation of dry-charged cells
Dry-charged cells should be activated (filled with electrolyte and charged) when they are ready to be placed
in service.

When the battery charging source is fully functional, remove the shipping plug/caps from the cells and fill
batteries to be activated to the low-level line, or to the level specified by the manufacturer, with the
supplied or approved grade of electrolyte. Electrolyte should be agitated to eliminate stratification prior to
introduction into cells.

NOTE—It is the responsibility of the user to neutralize and dispose of any excess electrolyte. It is strongly
recommended that the user neutralize and render useless all containers in which the acid was supplied so as to preclude
the possibility of accidental poisoning or injury through the use of the containers for food or liquid. Follow appropriate
governmental regulations.

Allow the battery to stand a minimum of 4 h after filling, then add sufficient electrolyte to bring the
electrolyte level up to the manufacturer’s recommended level. The initial charge should be started within
16 h of initial battery filling, and in accordance with the charging rate and duration specified by the
manufacturer.

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Annex B

(informative)

Bibliography

[B1] IEEE 100, The Authoritative Dictionary of IEEE Standards Terms, Seventh Edition, New York,
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. 5 , 6

[B2] IEEE Std 450-1995™-2002, IEEE Recommended Practice for Maintenance, Testing, and
Replacement of Vented Lead-Acid Batteries for Stationary Applications.

[B3] IEEE Std 484-1996™-2002, IEEE Recommended Practice for Installation Design and Installation
of Vented Lead-Acid Batteries for Stationary Applications.

[B4] IEEE Std 1013™-2000, IEEE Recommended Practice for Sizing Lead-Acid Batteries for
Photovoltaic (PV) Systems.

[B5] IEEE Std 1187-1996™-2002, IEEE Recommended Practice for Installation Design and
Installation of Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid Storage Batteries for Stationary Applications.

[B6] IEEE Std 1188-1996™-2005, IEEE Recommended Practice for Maintenance, Testing, and
Replacement of Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) Batteries for Stationary Applications.

[B5] Illuminating Engineering Society Handbook, New York: Illuminating Engineering Society, 1984.

[B6] The IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms, Sixth Edition.

[B7] IEEE Std 1361™-2003, IEEE Guide for Selection, Charging, Test, and Evaluation of Lead-Acid
Batteries Used in Stand-Alone Photovoltaic (PV) Systems.

[B8] IEEE Std 1375™-1998, IEEE Guide for the Protection of Stationary Battery Systems.

[B9] IEEE P1578 (Draft 14, 1 June 2006), IEEE Draft Recommended Practice for Stationary Battery
Electrolyte Spill Containment and Management. 7

[B10] IEEE P1635 (Draft 0, 22 June 2006), IEEE/ASHRAE Draft Guide for the Ventilation and Thermal
Management of Stationary Battery Installations.

[B11] IEEE P1661 (Draft 10, 10 December 2006), IEEE Draft Guide for Test and Evaluation of Lead-Acid
Batteries Used in Photovoltaic (PV) Hybrid Power Systems.

[B12] NFPA 70, 2005 Edition, National Electrical Code® (NEC®). 8

[B13] Uniform Building Code, 1997 Edition. 9

5
IEEE publications are available from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ
08855-1331, USA (http://standards.ieee.org/).
6
The IEEE standards or products referred to in this clause are trademarks of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
7
Numbers preceded by P are IEEE authorized standards projects that were not approved by the IEEE-SA Standards Board at the time
this publication went to press. For information about obtaining drafts, contact the IEEE.
8
NFPA publications are available from Publications Sales, National Fire Protection Association, 1 Batterymarch Park,
P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101, USA (http://nfpa.org).
9
The Uniform Building Code is available from the International Code Council, Country Club Hills, IL (http://iccsafe.org).

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