What is a traction battery?
Traction batteries, as opposed to starter batteries, have been designed to supply a certain amount of energy over longer periods of time. This is why traction batteries usually have a much higher capacity than starter batteries.
Traction batteries have thicker plates and the active material has a different composition because of the cyclic charge.
Regular traction battery
Traction batteries are used for applications that regularly require deep discharges and where the battery is recharged almost daily. These batteries were designed in such a way that they can be discharged for up to 80% and be fully recharged afterwards without sustaining any damage. The maximum temperature of a wet traction battery is 50°C.
Traction battery with traction cells
For the large electric machines, a traction battery is used that can be composed of traction cells. There are two types of traction cells.
These types are the DIN cell, where the width of the cell is always 198 mm and the British Standard cell, where the width of the cell is always 158 mm. Every cell has its own specific dimensions. These dimensions have also been fixed and are used as a DIN standard. Cells from different manufacturers with the same dimensions will have the same capacity. This makes it possible to replace cells from one manufacturer by cells from another manufacturer (also see annex 1 type of cells and their dimensions).
Since the weight of this type of battery can be quite high, depending on the voltage and the capacity of the battery, it is also used as a counterweight.
Composition of a traction battery
A battery is composed of different cells with a tension of approximately 2,12 Volts. Higher voltages are obtained when these cells are connected in series. A 6V battery has 3 cells, a 12V battery has 6 cells. To recharge a battery, an external source has to raise the cell voltage above 2,12 Volts.
In traction batteries, chemical energy is stored. When the battery discharges, this chemical energy is converted into electricity. If the battery has been 80% discharged, it must be recharged by a battery charger. This forces energy back into the battery, reversing the chemical process and resulting in chemical energy being stored in the battery again.
Traction batteries can only be charged by means of a charger with specifications stipulated by the battery manufacturer. By using an incorrect charger you can seriously damage your battery, thus reducing its life span.
It is important to know that, in order to use your lead-acid battery optimally, it is best to always discharge it for 80% and then fully recharge it. Intermediate charges are not allowed. Discharging the battery more than 80% will damage it substantially. Repeatedly discharging it less than 80% will shorten the life span of your battery.
Chargers exist in a variety of sizes and colors, but there are two main types of chargers: the conventional and the high-frequency chargers. Certain chargers have extra functions such as an equalization or maintenance charge or other options. A vital option is a temperature sensor! You can often also set a charge curve.