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What Is an AGM Battery Type-Comparison, Meaning，and Standard Alternator
Today we live in an era where it is just impossible for people to lead a life that doesn’t include batteries. Be it electric toys, remotes, digital cameras, laptops, mobile phones, etc., everything works on batteries, and in a way, it is a blessing only it is not feasible to take chargers everywhere. Due to the increasing demands for batteries, you can different battery types in the market.
Depending on your electronic device's need, you can purchase lithium batteries, lead-acid batteries, and many others. AGM or absorbed glass mat technology was very popular in the 1980s as a sealed lead-acid battery. It was used for military aircraft, vehicles, and UPS in order to minimize weight and maximize reliability. But with time, the different batteries came, and now things are changed completely.
What is wet, gel, or AGM battery type?
All the gel batteries, wet batteries (also known as flooded batteries), and AGM batteries consist of lead-acid, but due to the internal construction of these batteries, they are divided into three different types. Let us see of three of them in brief to understand the basic differences:
Absorbed Glass Mat, i.e., AGM batteries:
It won’t be wrong here to mention that these batteries are great lead-acid batteries because of their construction. It uses a separator of fiberglass between the wrappers and the plate in order to hold the electrolyte of the battery in its actual place with the capillary action. Along with the electrolyte, lead plates, and fiberglass separators in a restricted space, absorbed glass mat batteries make a physical bond by using the capillary action. Due to capillary action, the liquid inside the glass becomes spill proof in the AGM battery.
Since there is no issue of liquid leakage in AGM batteries, they are known as impact resistance and offer minimum internal resistance. It is imperative here to highlight that the lesser the internal resistance will be, the more will be the output of voltage. It results in decreasing the charging time of the battery, and it also minimizes losses to heat because power flows via the system only.
AGM batteries are maintenance-free as well as they recombine the gases that are produced inside the battery in the liquid again. This feature makes absorbed glass mat batteries free-maintenance. The best thing about AGM batteries is that there is no issue of acid leaks, corrosion, and spillage during the charging process. You can put the batteries for charging without worrying about anything.
Wet cell or flooded batteries:
Wet batteries are widely used because they are available in different shapes and sizes as they are used in various industries for different applications. In flooded batteries, there are lead plates, plate separators, and a sulfuric acid electrolyte. Usually, wet cell batteries are not sealed, and as compared to AGM batteries, they do not recombine gases produces internally to liquid. It is because the gases are emitted externally, internally produces gases are vented in the environment directly.
When it comes to maintenance, wet cell batteries do require proper maintenance in the way that they require watering. All the lead plate starts degrading when they come in contact with the environment, therefore, if you are not able to maintain wet cell batteries in a proper way then, they will start failing, and corrosion might take place. There is no point of denying in the fact that wet cell batteries have a very good rate of charge, but they do require maintenance. Because of the battery's internal construction, wet batteries have weak internal construction and high internal resistance.
Gel Cell Battery:
Gel batteries are also sealed batteries; it uses the silica, i.e., sand in order to turn the sulfuric acid into a jelly-like component. This component is used as the electrolyte in the battery. It is important here to mention that gel batteries require care, and they should not be exposed to high amperage conditions as they can puncture the jelly component inside the gel battery. If they are exposed in high amperage situations, a pocket-like area can be created due to the puncture; it can lead to corrosion on the plates and permanent failure as well. These batteries should not be used for the purpose of fast charging and discharging.
What does the AGM battery type mean?
An AGM battery comes with a unique glass mat separator that absorbs the battery plates' electrolyte solution. Due to the material, the design of the battery allows the fiberglass to remain saturated with the electrolyte solution. It also helps in storing the electrolyte in a suspended or dry form rather than in a liquid state. When the AGM battery is put for work, the electrolyte is moved from the glass mat to the battery plates according to the requirement. Following are some of the advantages of absorbed glass mat battery:
Spill-proof because the acid is encapsulated
High specific power
Low internal resistance
Charges five times faster than other flooded batteries
Extended cycle life
Not prone to sulfating
Suits well to cold temperature
Does the AGM battery charge with a standard alternator?
It is significant to highlight that you cannot use a standard alternator in order to charge absorbed glass mat batteries. It is because AGM batteries are charged slowly due to different internal resistance. There are many AGM battery chargers available that have a microprocessor; it collects information from the battery and controls the voltage and current accordingly.
On the other side, some of AGM battery chargers have different settings when it comes to charging an AGM battery. It is crucial here to remember that overcharging can damage these batteries. Since alternators are not chargers, it is suggested that you should not use an alternator for the purpose of charging. However, if the AGM battery is discharged fully and is unable to work, make sure that you are using a charger to fully charge the battery.