Batteries are important for vehicles, appliances, and gadgets. These power sources come in different forms, packing different amounts of power, and are available in different types. One of the most popular type of battery is sealed lead acid battery or SLA battery. You may know this more as maintenance-free battery. And if you are into more sophisticated terms, you will call an SLA battery as valve-regulated lead acid battery or VRLA. Regardless of how you want to call it, having a good understanding of what an SLA battery is will help you get the most out of this power source.
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What is an SLA Battery?
An SLA battery is a type of lead-acid battery whereby the battery case does not provide access to the individual cell compartments. In a traditional lead-acid battery, each cell compartment has an opening. These openings allow users to refill the cells with an electrolyte solution to maintain the chemical reaction needed to deliver a charge. You will not see any form of opening in a sealed lead-acid battery. Manufacturers of SLA batteries make sure that there is enough electrolyte solution in the cells to last the service life of the battery. SLA batteries can come in several forms.
6V SLA Battery
People refer to this type of battery as lantern battery. The basic configuration involves 4 cells, each having 1.5 volts. Some of the advantages of 6V SLA batteries include slower discharge rates, longer usability, and higher voltage capacity. These characteristics make 6V SLA batteries a more efficient power source for 12V systems. This is because one can set two 6V batteries in a series to provide a more efficient power source than having a single 12V unit. 6V SLA batteries are often used in activities that require electricity for extended periods of time and projects that require high amounts of power.
6V 2.5Ah SLA Battery
This 6-volt SLA battery delivers 2.5 amperes in an hour. This type of battery is often used in exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, and other gym equipment that run on batteries. It is also used to power global positioning systems, telecommunications devices, and certain pieces of medical equipment. Some electronic devices and appliances also require a 6V 2.5Ah SLA battery to run. It can also be used in powering emergency lighting, solar projects, and UPS. This battery is compact, lightweight, and is easy to mount. One must check the physical dimensions, so that it fits in the device’s battery compartment.
6V 4.5Ah SLA Battery
There are many objects that run on a 6-volt SLA battery with a 4.5Ah capacity. Many motorcycles require such batteries to run the different electronics in the vehicle. Some portable power tools and advanced control devices also run on this type of SLA battery. A very common use of this battery type is to power electric vehicles, such as electric lawn mowers, medical mobility vehicles, and golf carts. Some devices in power sports also use such a type of SLA battery. Other uses include emergency lighting, solar projects, consumer electronics, hobbies and toys, and as engine starters for certain vehicles.
12V SLA Battery
A 12-volt battery is the quintessential car battery. Whether it is the traditional flooded lead-acid type or the sealed lead-acid form, a 12V battery is a very important part of a modern vehicle. Its principal function in automotive applications is to start the engine. A 12-volt battery also has other applications outside the world of transportation. Many people use this type of battery in various applications. This can range from storing power generated by a solar system to providing power to other electrical devices when an electric outlet is not available. A 12V SLA battery is available in different capacities.
12V 7Ah SLA Battery
A 12-volt sealed lead acid battery with a 7Ah capacity is perfect for many automotive devices and electric appliances for vehicles. For example, there are beverage coolers that run on a 12-volt battery system. The digital compass, ice alert device, and voltage meter in your car can also benefit from this type of battery. A 12V 7Ah SLA battery also works with small electric vehicles, commercial emergency lighting systems, camp lighting, and many portable medical equipment. You can also use this type of battery in motor scooters as well as a backup power supply for your security and alarm systems.
12V 10Ah SLA Battery
If you want a longer-lasting 12-volt battery system, then you should pick one with a 10Ah capacity. This type of battery is one of the most common on the market and can be useful in different applications. For example, anglers use this SLA battery to power up their fish locators and flashers. This battery also has its uses in the medical field. It can power up both portable and semi-portable medical equipment. Patients who rely on this equipment will feel more secure with a constant power supply running their equipment. Other uses can include security systems and in solar projects.
12V 12Ah SLA Battery
With a 12Ah capacity, this type of 12-volt SLA battery should be enough to power different items. It can provide power to your uninterruptible power supply systems as well as small- to medium- sized electric vehicles. In hospitals and other health care institutions, this battery can run wheelchairs and other equipment. You can also operate your computer drawing only the power coming from this SLA battery. Some businesses also use such a type of battery to operate their industrial and commercial equipment. And if it works with different commercial and industrial applications, it should also work nicely in the home.
12V 18Ah SLA Battery
Motorcycle owners often put a 12V 18Ah SLA battery in their system. This is especially true for powerful motorbikes that require tremendous amounts of energy with each run. The same is true for jet skis and other high-performance sports vehicles and equipment. This type of SLA battery is often applied in emergency systems, whether it is for lighting the different fixtures or retaining the function of critical fans. Home improvement tools and equipment can also use an 18Ah 12V battery. There are also consumer electronics, gardening tools and equipment, and medical equipment that can benefit from a high-capacity sealed lead-acid battery.
12V 22Ah SLA Battery
One of the most remarkable uses of a 12V 22Ah SLA battery is providing power for highly-advanced, large-scale remote-controlled airplanes. It is quite easy to appreciate the power of this battery. With a large capacity, you can use this for many applications. Some people also put such a battery in their cars, boats, RVs, and other vehicles. Data centers can also use a 22Ah SLA battery as backup power systems. The same is true for hospital, fire service, emergency, and military installations. This battery can provide the much-needed power for different electronics, gadgets, and equipment to ensure uninterrupted operations.
12V 35Ah SLA Battery
People who want a powerful battery that they can use to run power-hungry devices can pick a 12V 35Ah SLA battery. The maintenance-free nature of the battery is perfect for such applications. Its high capacity allows it to run multiple appliances at the same time. And if you decide to use this battery for a single device, then you can expect it to run for a much longer time. For example, if you own a device that requires 2 amps to run, then you can expect the 12V 35Ah battery to keep the device running for at least 17 hours.
18V SLA Battery
An 18-volt SLA battery is not as common as a 12-volt battery system. There are some people who use an 18V battery to power their 12V devices. Unfortunately, the load of the battery can be too much for the capacity of the device. You can address this by using a device that can ‘reduce’ the battery voltage to match that of the device’s voltage rating. In general, an 18V SLA battery is perfect for storing energy generated from clean energy systems. People often connect solar panels, water wheels, or wind turbines to several 18-volt SLA batteries to store energy generated.
24V SLA Battery
The main advantage of using a 24V SLA battery over a 12V battery system is that it is more cost-effective in terms of the cost spent on wiring. This is especially true for systems that require high current. The higher the ampere rating of a device, the larger is the diameter of the wiring needed for that device. You will also need circuit protection components that have a higher rating. Both are expensive. You can double the power output of the battery by doubling its voltage without affecting the current. Trucks and heavy machinery typically use 12V batteries.
SLA Battery Sizes
Sealed lead-acid batteries come in different sizes, depending on the manufacturer and the voltage rating of the unit. For example, one brand of 6V battery can have a size of 2.0×2.01×1.65 inches. Another brand of the same voltage may have a different dimension: 5.28×2.36×1.34 inches. This might be almost the same dimensions as a brand of 12V battery that has a size of 5.28×2.36×2.64 inches. It is important to check the size of the SLA battery that you want to buy. Make sure that it fits into the compartment of the item you are going to use the battery in.
SLA Battery Charger
There are two important points when picking a charger for an SLA battery. First, the charger should match the battery voltage. It is technically possible to use a charger with a higher voltage rating than the battery. However, this can lead to battery overheating, damage, and other problems. Second, make sure that the charger has an amperage rating that is not higher than 20 percent that of the battery. The recommended charger amperage rating for SLA batteries is 10 percent. For example, if your SLA battery has a capacity of 10 Ah, then a 1.0 Ah charger would be ideal.
SLA, AGM, SLA Deep Cycle Battery: Is There a Difference?
It is important to understand that sealed-lead acid battery is a general classification, meant to differentiate it from flooded batteries. The term ‘sealed’ already implies the inaccessibility of the battery’s internal components. As such, SLA batteries are nothing more than ordinary power sources with a sealed enclosure. These batteries have several characteristics that set them apart from other types. SLA batteries require zero maintenance. One can also mount these batteries in any position because of their exceptional leakproof capabilities. Two of the most common examples of SLA batteries are AGM and SLA Deep Cycle batteries. These differ in several ways.
SLA Deep Cycle Battery
The fundamental design of an SLA/DCB allows it to provide sustained power in a reliable manner until it reaches a discharge level of at least 80 percent. One can use a deep-cycle battery for extended periods without ever worrying about its charge. It is this ability to continuously provide power even when the battery has already been >80% discharged that it is called ‘deep cycle’. While deep-cycle batteries can be discharged up to 80 percent before recharging, manufacturers recommend recharging a deep cycle battery the moment its discharge level has already reached 45 percent. This helps extend the deep-cycle battery’s life.
Read more: Deep Cycle RV Battery
AGM SLA Battery
This is a battery technology that consists of absorbed glass mats in between the plates of the SLA battery. Traditional flooded or wet lead acid batteries use a liquid electrolyte solution. An AGM battery still has an electrolyte solution. The only difference is that the electrolytes get absorbed into the ‘glass mat’. This suspends the electrolyte solution in the glass mats; hence, the term ‘absorbed glass mat’ or AGM. The glass mats release electrolytes into the battery plates when needed. The design of the battery allows it to retain the electrolyte solution in the glass mats without danger of spilling.
How to Charge SLA Battery
It is important to use a battery charger that is designed for the type of SLA battery that you have. We recommend a 3-stage charger. The first stage of charging (Bulk) will get your battery up to 80% recharged. The second stage (Absorption) will get the battery 100% charged. The third stage (Float) will maintain the charge of the SLA battery so you can use it any time. Plug the charger into an electrical outlet, but do not turn it on yet. Connect the charger to the battery. Determine the charging voltage. Turn on the charger and charge the battery.
How Many Times Can an SLA Battery Be Recharged?
There are many factors that can affect the number of times that an SLA battery can be recharged. These factors can include the method of charging, the operating temperature of the battery, and how the battery is used. The consensus, however, is that an SLA battery can be recharged anywhere between 300 and 500 times. It is important to always charge your SLA battery to 100% before storing it. Sealed lead acid batteries tend to lose 3 percent of their charge every month. It is important to recharge this type of battery every 3 months to maintain its integrity.