Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy your batteries from?
If you do not have a distributor closeby, it's so easy to order using our new Online Shop. Payments can be made by visacard, mastercard, paypal or direct deposit. Please see our Online Shop.
How can I stock your batteries?
Just call us to discuss on 1300 366 598 or use our enquiry form
What is Absorbed Glass Matt?
The latest type of sealed non-spillable, maintenance free battery uses "Absorbed Glass Mats", or AGM separators between the plates. This is a very fine fibre Boron-Silicate glass mat. This type of battery has all the advantages of gelled, but can take much more abuse. These are also called "starved electrolyte.” Just like the Gel batteries, the AGM battery will not leak acid if broken.
What are the advantages of the AGM battery?
The advantages of AGM batteries are no maintenance, sealed against fumes, hydrogen, leakage, or non-spilling even if they are broken, and can survive most freezes. AGM batteries are "recombinant" – which means the Oxygen and Hydrogen recombine inside the battery. These use gas phase transfer of oxygen to the negative plates to recombine them back into water while charging and preventing the loss of water through electrolysis. The recombining is typically 99+% efficient, so almost no water is lost.
Charging voltages for most AGM batteries are the same as for a standard type battery so there is no need for special charging adjustments or problems with incompatible chargers or charge controls. Since the internal resistance is extremely low, there is almost no heating of the battery even under heavy charge and discharge currents. AGM batteries have a very low self-discharge rate (from 1% to 3% per month) so they can sit in storage for much longer periods without charging.
The plates in AGM's are tightly packed and rigidly mounted, and will withstand shock and vibration better than any standard battery. Because of their design integrity, AGM batteries can be recharged up to 5 times faster than a regular wet cell battery. AGM batteries are compatible with all types of car, 4WD, caravan, camper, motor home, truck and marine applications as well as many stationary or standby uses.
Why should you use an AGM battery?
- They are totally sealed against any type of leakage and classed as spill proof.
- Never need to check fluid level, ever! as previously stated they are recombinant.
- They can be mounted on their side or end to suit space or environment.
- They can be mounted inside your car, 4WD, caravan, camper or motor home, truck or marine vessel.
- They do not need to be in a sealed box vented to the outside.
- Because they have low internal resistance, they can be fully recharged at a lower voltage and accept a larger current (amps).
- From a standard car, 4WD or truck alternator they will recharge quickly from full use in about 2 to 3 hours. A deep cycle wet cell battery can take 8-12 hours to achieve only 70% to 80% of its potential charge.
- They can be drained (discharged) much deeper than conventional deep cycle batteries without any major damage.
- An AGM battery when left unattended will only discharge at a rate of up to 3% per month and even after 12 months sitting idle can be recharged and put back into full service with no ill side effects. A normal wet cell battery discharges at a rate of up to 4% per week.
- AGM batteries were originally developed for the military. They are designed and built tough, and will take an enormous pounding
The reasons we do not recommend wet cell and AGM Batteries together are:
1. When charging, the AGM will reach full charge before the wet cell. This means that the charge system will do one of two things. It will keep charging until the wet cell is fully charged and may over-charge the AGM or it will switch off when the AGM is fully charged which means the wet cell is only partially charged.
2. The wet cell will try to draw power from the AGM and this will reduce the life of both batteries because of under-charging then draining
them will naturally damage both batteries but will kill the wet cell quickly.
If both batteries are charged separately, like in most dual battery set ups you can use the two together. With a voltage sensitive regulator or blockout diode (used in most dual battery systems) the start battery is charged first then it switches over to the 2nd or house battery.
The advantage of having 2 AGM batteries is that both can be used for starting or house use in an emergency and quicker charging means less drag on the alternator.
Do AGM’s hold memory?
Lead-acid batteries do not have a memory; however, continuous undercharging will lower the capacity of the battery over time and will shorten their service lives.
Are AGM's dangerous to jump start?
Jump starting from your regular wet cell battery creates gases and sparks which can ignite, making them dangerous. Jump starting from an AGM battery is safe as there are no gases created from the drag on the battery. This makes them the safest battery to jump start from. Please refer to your vehicle owners manual for preferred method of jump starting.
Charging your AGM battery
Float or Stand By
This charging method is used for back-up applications. The battery is continuously on charge and consequently the recommended voltages are slightly lower than cyclic charging so as not to damage the battery. Float voltage for these batteries are about 2.25-2.3 volts/cell or 13.2-13.7 volts. These figures may vary.
Cyclic charging is used in applications where the battery is repeatedly discharged then charged. A higher charging voltage is used but should only be done from an alternator or a 2 or 3 stage automatic charger. NEVER leave your AGM battery on charge indefinitely since it will overcharge and destroy the battery. The voltage is about 2.4-2.5 volts/ cell, or up to 14.7 volts. However you will get longer service life if you use 14.1 – 14.2 volts.
Each battery suited to cyclic use will have a prescribed quantity of cycles to end of life and is dependent on the depth of discharge. Near the end-of-life standby capacity of the battery will reduce. When this reduction becomes persistently regular, this indication can also be used for the time of replacement.
Please refer to your owners manual to ensure that the voltages are correctly set for AGM batteries.
Solar chargers are fine but there are 2 things to look out for:
- Make sure your solar panels are of sufficient size to charge/recharge the size of the battery you are using; and
- Please make sure any solar charging system is regulated. Failure to regulate the charge from your panel will result in over charging and subsequent damage of your AGM battery.
Petrol or diesel generators can be used to recharge your AGM battery, However, it is not recommended to recharge from the charge outlet (if fitted to your generator). As most generators have none or insufficient regulators. This will damage your battery and also void your warranty. It is recommended that you use an automatic charger with a generator that is capable of delivering up to more than 4 or 5 amps, otherwise the battery can not successfully be quickly or fully charged. Please refer to generator owners manual for specifications.
Please remember, FirstStart AGM batteries are charged deeply and speedily by 14.2-14.4 volts from a standard alternator or automatic charging system.
For optimum performance always recharge a battery immediately after discharging.
What to do before storing my battery
- When storing an AGM battery in your boat, caravan or 4WD, it is not necessary to leave it on charge. Simply disconnect the negative terminal. This will prevent discharging or draining from any systems that may still be running.
- Make sure your FirstStart AGM battery is fully charged before being stored.
- Make sure to charge your FirstStart AGM battery every 4-6 months as a precaution.