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What Is A Deep Cycle Battery?

A lead-acid battery that is designed to be deeply discharged during use is called a deep cycle battery (DCB). They are re-chargable and meant to be used over and over again.

They differ from starter batteries (CS), like those in an automobile, that are designed to deliver short bursts of high current to crank an engine to start it. They rarely use more than a small portion of their stored capacity. A DCB may be used as a CS, however, with the lower "cranking amps" it puts out, it would generally need to be over-sized.

Deep-cycle batteries are generally 50-80 percent discharged during their normal cycle of use. They may be cycled down to as far as 20 percent but this decreases lifespan and increases cost of replacements. It is not a recommended practice.

As a rule of thumb, 50 percent discharge is the optimum rate to get the best service out of these products. This is linked directly to the number of times they may be charged/discharged over the useful life of the battery.

The main difference between deep cycle and cranking batteries is in the lead plates contained in them. DCB's have thicker plates, high density paste material and thicker separators. These thicker plates resist corrosion through longer periods cycling.

Deep cycle batteries can be found in use just about anywhere. Some common uses include:

* Forklifts
* Marine
* Wheelchairs
* Holding cells for solar panels
* RV's
* ATV's
* Snowmobiles
* Trolling motors

Flooded batteries lose some electrolyte by evaporation during charging. They must be regularly maintained and inspected with water added as needed.

This problem is largely overcome with SAL (sealed acid lead) type batteries. They are virtually maintenance free. These are the more popular and versatile type of DCB's available today.

Most failures of deep-cycle batteries can be attributed to degeneration of the active material of the plates. Another common fault is corrosion of the internal grid that holds active material.

Storage capacity of a deep cycle battery is usually limited by electrolyte capacity and not plate mass. This improves life expectancy.

There is an environmental impact to be considered with the disposition of discarded units. Most DCB's in the marketplace today are lead acid batteries. They are most often recycled and reclaimed.

These units are recycled at very high rates of recovery:

* 98% by volume, 99.5% by weight
* The plastic cases, lead plates, sulfuric acid, solder, and other metals are 100% recovered for reuse.
* The paper separators that wrap the plates are the only thing not recoverable.

Those are pretty phenomenal numbers in our eco-sensitive society. Recovery rate is 97% industry wide on all lead acid batteries sold in the United States. This results in nearly a closed manufacturing cycle in the this industry.


Portable Air Compressor to the Rescue

Last week I decided to help my Dad power wash the cedar siding on his house. It has been about 15 years since it was last done, and it was really showing signs of needing help. The mold and darkened surface was significant. Anyway, I decided to use a regular gasoline power washer to clean the wood. It worked like a charm, and before lone, the job was done and sitting there dry. Since it needs some time to fully dry out before applying stain, I had some time to consider how I wanted to apply it. Of course, brushing is probably the very best way to really get the stain into the wood, but I was also interested in saving a little time. I preferred to just use a sprayer to apply the stain. My search soon revealed that a portable air compressor was something I would "need". Funny how our wants and needs intersect at times, isn't it?

I found a nice air powered air gun at a local hardware store. At first it seemed just perfect. I was about to buy it when I noticed on the little description card that it was not recommended to be used with a compressor smaller than 6 gallons. Dang! The portable air compressor I had was only a small 2 gallon pancake compressor. That just wouldn't cut it. I had to buy a larger unit so that I could get the gun, so that I could finish the house project. See how this goes.

I looked over my options and soon settled on a 20 gallon portable air compressor that would not only adequately run this particular tool, but would also serve my needs going forward. You never know what use you might find for such a great machine. Being able to power up and use tools with pressurized air is clean, efficient, powerful, and fun.

I returned to the job site with my new goodies and soon discovered that I had indeed made the right choice. The compressor started right up and was soon pressurized and ready to go. I hooked up the hose and gun, filled the reservoir with stain, and started systematically applying it to the siding. The portable air compressor was on wheels, and easy to maneuver. I could see the dry wood soaking up the stain and I was happy I'd opted for this method of application. I dreaded the idea of having to brush stain on for hours on end. Once I had the first coat on I let it set for a couple hours while I took a break, then went back out and applied a second coat. This probably would have been sufficient, but I had read that the very best thing to do when applying stain with a sprayer is to go back and brush over the job. Doing this really drove the stain into the wood and allowed it to fill every little pore.

A portable air compressor is what made this job not only possible, but also enjoyable and satisfying as well. Who knows when I might use it again. I am, however, glad that I have what I need now to do all sorts of jobs I couldn't do before.


Assessing the Quality of Storm Doors and Metal Gates

Anyone who wants to protect their home knows the value of installing storm doors and metal gates. While all manufacturers will tout their products as being of the best quality, this is not always true. As such, it is important to know how what to look for when buying storm doors.

It is also important to know that cost is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Some metal doors while not expensive can stand up to the elements and break-in attempts. Conversely, some expensive storm storms will not live up to expectations.

When checking out storm doors you need to think about security, weather protection, or both as these will play a part in any buying decision. If security is the main aim, then look for those that have security grills as part of the design. If weather protection is the prime concern, bear in mind that some types of material such as wood, will not stand up to lots of rain.

What to Look For in Storm Doors

There are many ways to learn what to look for when evaluating the quality of storm doors and metal gates. This information is available online as well as from some manufacturers of these products.

* The Material Used: This is an important, possibly the most important consideration when checking out storm doors. Most are made of metal, wood, fiberglass, plastic, vinyl or a combination of materials. Aluminum clad in vinyl is now a more popular choice than wood as it is much stronger and durable, plus it is inexpensive.

Of course, iron is the strongest and it lasts longer, so it therefore tends to be the material of choice when security is a priority. Of course, this quality comes at a higher price than those made from other materials.

* Types of locks: When it comes to security, the strength and quality of storm doors mean nothing if the locking system is below par. Multi-point locks that feature more than one bolt and latches are worth considering.

Tamper-proof dead bolts are also highly recommended as security locks. These help keep the door sturdy and make them less likely to cave in when under attack from the elements or man.

* The frame used: No matter how good the storm doors are,if the frames used to support them are substandard then security and quality will be compromised. The best quality frames are made from aluminum or fiberglass, although metal-clad wood is also becoming popular. Regular wood frames are not highly rated when security is the main concern.

* The type of finish: If the door is located in an area where it will get a beating from the weather, the finish is important. Wood for example will need to be treated periodically to keep it from becoming warped. It must also be protected from insects like termites that can cause significant damage.

If purchasing in-store, do not be afraid to test them out, looking for defects such as a rough finish or scratched and damaged frames. When shopping this way you can easily compare the look and feel of various brands before deciding. Ask questions of the sales representatives, they should be knowledgeable about the brands they carry.

Once you have purchased your storm doors and metal gates you need to ensure that they serve you for a long time. One way to do this is to get warranties on the items. That means that when doing your comparison-shopping, you select only the dealers that offer this.

It is also important that you follow instructions on maintenance and care for these doors. Good quality storm doors and metal gates should not need a lot of maintenance to keep on doing what they should. The designs of most of these essential fixtures are now quite attractive and it is easy to find a look that suits the decor of your home.


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