What is AGM battery and the selection guide
For centuries, battery technology has been used to store energy. The technology encountered several innovations and technology advancements from time to time. In late 1970s and early 1980s, Absorbed Glass Mat battery, commonly known as AGM battery, emerged as an alternative to conventional batteries. This article will focus on the question of what is AGM battery and introduce related things about it.
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What is an AGM battery
What is AGM battery? AGM battery is an advanced type of lead acid battery that contains a glass mat separator between the plates to hold the battery acid and makes it spill-free and safe to handle since it saves the leakage pertaining to hazardous caustic fluids.
Similarly, polymer lithium battery is not easy to leak electrolyte, because its electrolyte is colloidal, so the possibility of leakage is ruled out. The comparison will help us to understand what is AGM battery.
How AGM batteries work
To further understand what is AGM battery, it is necessary to know the working of it. In AGM batteries, a spongy glass mat is present between each plate to hold the electrolyte in suspended form as opposed to a flooded battery in which electrolyte is present in the free liquid state.
There is no need to refill the batteries like the traditional lead acid batteries as the spongy glass mat carries electrolyte in enough quantity to deliver the optimum designed capacity. This innovative design also prevents the risk of spillage in case the installed orientation is disturbed or even if the battery case damages.
Except that AGM batteries do not need to add electrolyte, lithium batteries most commonly used in the market do not need to add additional electrolyte. In addition, the electrolyte of AGM battery is sulfuric acid solution, which is dangerous and corrosive. In comparison, lithium battery does not contain toxic elements, and is more environmentally friendly.
How do you tell if a battery is an AGM
Another problem related to what is AGM battery is how to tell if a battery is AGM battery. The first thing to do while choosing battery types is to look for the label. Additionally, the physical inspection can also reveal massive information.
A flooded battery has a cap opening from where the acid is added whereas an AGM battery has a flat top. Furthermore, if you shake the battery, an AGM battery would be silent as the liquid is soaked in the glass mat.
What is an AGM battery used for
What is an AGM battery used for is a way to help us make clear of the problem of what is AGM battery. There is a wide range of applications pertaining to AGM batteries. The most common application of AGM batteries is in heavy-duty electric vehicles. Other than that, an AGM battery is used to provide backup power in UPS.
Moreover, AGM battery is also used in alarm systems, emergency lighting systems, and even in toys. However, now more and more people prefer lithium ion batteries with lighter weight, longer cycle life and higher energy density.
The pros and cons of AGM battery
AGM batteries gained a lot of popularity in the 1980s being more reliable than flooded batteries. At first, the AGM battery is leak-proof and spill-proof due to its ability to hold the electrolyte in the spongy glass mat. It can be installed at any orientation and does not require any periodic maintenance.
An AGM battery is more durable and reliable as compared to the flooded battery and its self-discharge is also low in idle state. But its self-discharge rate is still higher than that of lithium-ion batteries, which have the lowest self-discharge rate of any common battery type at just 3.5% per month.
Now knowing the pros of AGM battery, it is also needed to learn the cons of it in order to further understand what is AGM battery. There are some cons associated with AGM battery. The main disadvantage is the upfront cost as it is slightly expensive than flooded battery.
Moreover, it is sensitive to overcharging and high voltages and require monitoring of voltage, current, and ambient temperature. Lithium ion battery can not only meet the requirements of low voltage but also high voltage.
How long will AGM battery last
Battery life varies from technology. How long will AGM battery last is an important topic for us to know what is AGM battery. Typically, the life of an AGM battery is 4 to 6 years if properly maintained.
Comparatively, an AGM battery can last twice as long as a flooded battery. However, the type of battery that has the longest life span is the Lithium battery and it can serve up to 10 years and is often regarded as the best choice if people are looking for a more durable option.
What is the difference between an AGM battery and a standard battery
Now it turns to learn the difference between AGM and standard battery so we can the have a stronger impression of what is AGM battery. It is easy to transport an AGM battery as it is lighter than a standard battery.
Moreover, installation of an AGM battery is comparatively quite convenient. Although an AGM battery cost 2-3 times a standard battery, but in the long run, the former lasts longer and turns out to be more cost-effective. However, the longest life span is associated with Lithium-ion batteries.
What is better-AGM or Lithium battery
By comparing agm battery with lithium battery, we can further understand what is AGM battery. Lithium-ion battery is relatively new in the field of battery technology. Its manufacturing cost is relatively higher than an AGM battery.
However, the lifespan of Lithium-ion battery is quite high as compared to AGM battery. As a result, the average daily cost of lithium-ion batteries over long time periods is even lower.
Furthermore, as a Lithium ion battery does not contain heavy lead acid, its weight is only about one-third the weight of an AGM battery. In terms of energy density, Lithium-ion battery is again superior and delivers more power than AGM battery. Thus, in totality, Lithium-ion battery has a clear advantage over an AGM battery.
What is the best way to charge an AGM battery
The charging way is also important for learning what is AGM battery. Charging an AGM battery appropriately extends its life to a great extent. Improper charging may overheat the battery and reduces the battery capacity.
Additionally, the battery should be recharged before discharging beyond 80% of its rated capacity. Furthermore, temperature also plays a significant role. The recommended temperature range for charging is between 0 to 40 degrees Celsius.
AGM vs Lithium-which is the best battery for energy storage
The comparison is also significant for learning what is AGM battery. The significance of the AGM battery cannot be overlooked. However, Lithium-ion battery has considerably better storage capability and higher energy density than the former one.
Other than that, the charging time of lithium battery is also shorter than AGM. Although, the upfront capital cost is higher for Lithium battery but the overall charge cycles that ultimately translates into the lifespan of the battery are far more than AGM battery. Consequently, Lithium-ion battery turns out to be the best battery for energy storage.
What causes AGM battery to fail
After understanding what is AGM battery, we also need to know what will cause a AGM battery to fail. The causes of AGM battery failure are generally as follows:
● The battery shell bursts
● Battery end post pollution
● Excessive discharge
● Sulfation of battery plate
● Internal short circuit of battery
Innovations and technological advancements are the main influencing factors that cause the failure of existing old technology. AGM battery has gained a lot of popularity in early 80s. However, with the time going, gradual advancements in battery technology observed.
Today, we can have a better storage and a higher energy density with higher life span in terms of Lithium-ion batteries and they will soon replace AGM batteries in all types of applications Including Powerwall, portable power station, medical devices, marine applications, golf carts and so on.
FAQs about AGM batteries
Can you overcharge an AGM battery
No. Overcharging an AGM battery may potentially affect the performance and life of the battery.
How long does it take to charge an AGM battery
The charging rate of an AGM battery is 0.1-0.3C, so it can be fully charged in 4-10 hours.
Are AGM battery better in cold weather
Yes, the AGM battery is safe to operate in extreme cold weather, and capable to withstand about -50 degrees Celsius.
Can you run lithium batteries with AGM batteries
Yes, but not recommended too often as it will cause an imbalance in capacities.