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Battery Selection

What is the difference between a deep cycle battery, a starting battery, and a dual-purpose battery?

A deep cycle battery has the ability to be deeply discharged and charged many times during its service life. It is designed specifically for powering electrical equipment for long periods of time. An automotive or starting battery is designed for brief bursts of high current and cannot withstand more than a few deep discharges before failure. This is why it is unable to start your car if you accidentally leave the lights on more than a couple of times. For applications where both engine starting and light deep cycling are required, a dual-purpose battery is often used. This type of battery is neither a starting nor a deep cycle battery but rather a compromise between the two so it performs both functions adequately.

  • Starting batteries are generally designed to start some form of an internal combustion engine (car, truck, boat, etc). In a starting battery, you will find more lead plates, thinner and often made of a lead "sponge" similar looking to a foam sponge. This sort of arrangement means that the plates have much more surface area in the solution than a Deep Cycle battery and allow them to draw larger currents much quicker than a Deep Cycle battery.
  • Deep cycle batteries, on the other hand, have much thicker plates and, they are solid, not sponge. These thicker plates have less surface area and thus less of the instant power that a starting battery needs. They are designed to be discharged down to 20% of their maximum charge repetitively. The thicker lead plates allow for this as they are much sturdier than their sponge counterparts.

Cranking amps are the numbers of amperes a lead-acid battery at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts for a 12 volt battery).

Cold Cranking Amps are the number of amperes a lead-acid battery at 0 degrees F (-17.8 degrees C) can deliver for 30 seconds and maintain at least 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts for a 12-volt battery).

Reserve capacity is the time in minutes that a new, fully charged battery will deliver 25 amperes at 80 degrees F and maintain a terminal voltage equal to, or greater than, 1.75 volts per cell. For example, a 12V battery that has a reserve capacity rating of 100 minutes signifies that it can be discharged at 25 amps for 100 minutes at 80°F before its voltage drops to 10.50 volts.

Amp-hour Capacity

Battery capacity is rated in amp-hours. This is a measure of how much amperage can be drawn from a fully charged battery over time until it is discharged (for a 12 volt battery this is when it reaches 10.5v). The standard and most widely accepted rating period for deep cycle batteries is 20 hours. This means that the battery was discharged down to 10.5 volts over 20 hours while measuring the total amp hours it supplies. Sometimes, however, the time period can differ, in some circumstances knowing the 6 hour amp rating may be more useful and in others the 100 amp hour rating may be used. Due to something called the Peukert effect a battery gives higher amp hours when it is discharged over a longer time period. 

What Are AGM Batteries


Series and Parallel Connections

In the SERIES CONNECTION, batteries of like voltage and Amp-Hour capacity are connected to increase the Voltage of the bank. The positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the negative terminal of the second battery and so on, until the desired voltage is reached. The final Voltage is the sum of all battery voltages added together while the final Amp-Hours remains unchanged. The bank's Voltage increases while its Amp-Hours, Cranking Performance and Reserve Capacity remain unchanged.

In the PARALLEL CONNECTION, batteries of like voltages and capacities are connected to increase the capacity of the bank. The positive terminals of all batteries are connected together, or to a common conductor, and all negative terminals are connected in the same manner. The final voltage remains unchanged while the capacity of the bank is the sum of the capacities of the individual batteries of this connection. Amp-Hours Cranking Performance and Reserve Capacity increases while Voltage does not.

Battery Care

 Maximize Battery Performance

• Add water as needed – do not overfill.
• Always keep electrolyte level above separator protectors.
• Keep vent caps tightly in place.
• Charge battery on properly matched charger.
• Allow battery to cool down before placing it back into service.
• Keep battery top clean, dry and free of foreign objects.
• Keep battery and truck cover open during charging.
• Batteries produce explosive gases. Keep flame and sparks away from battery.
• Do not discharge beyond 80% 

Across all battery types, there are several things that you can do to ensure the maximum production from your battery: Always store batteries in a cool and dry place, fully charged, before storing for longer periods of time. Never leave your battery on its charger for more than 24 hours, doing so will shorten the life of your battery. Keep your batteries clean.  A clean battery will ensure a good connection. Keep your batteries dry. Moisture can corrode contact points and limit charge/discharge performance. Do not leave your battery dormant.


Self-discharge is the loss of useful capacity within a battery due to internal chemical reactions. Self- discharge will occur within all battery chemistries and will be influenced by temperature. Self-discharge will occur regardless of whether the battery is connected or not.

How To Jump Start a Vehicle

 Jump Start My Car Battery Using Booster Cables

Warning: Batteries produce explosive gases. These instructions are designed to minimize the explosion hazard. Keep sparks, flames, and cigarettes away from batteries at all times. Both batteries should have the same voltage (6, 12, etc.).

When jump starting, always wear proper eye protection and never lean over the battery. Do not jump start a damaged battery; inspect both batteries before connecting booster cables. Be sure vent caps are tight and level. Be sure that the vehicles are not touching and that both ignition switches are in the "OFF" position. Turn off all electrical equipment (radio, defroster, windshield wipers, lights, etc.)

The following steps should be followed exactly:

  1. Connect positive (+) booster cable to positive (+) terminal of discharged battery.
  2. Connect other end of positive (+) cable to positive (+) terminal of assisting battery.
  3. Connect negative (-) cable to negative (-) terminal of assisting battery.
  5. Be sure that cables are clear of fan blades, belts and other moving parts of both engines.
  6. Start vehicle and remove cables in REVERSE order of connections.

Battery Recycling

Lead acid batteries are 97% recyclable. Lead is the most recycled metal in the world today. The plastic containers and covers of old batteries are neutralized, reground and used in the manufacture of new battery cases. The electrolyte can be processed for recycled wastewater uses. In some cases, the electrolyte is cleaned and reprocessed and sold as battery grade electrolyte. In other instances, the sulfate content is removed as Ammonia Sulfate and used in fertilizers. The separators are often used as a fuel source for the recycling process.

Old batteries may be returned to the battery retailer, automotive service station, a battery manufacturer or other authorized collection centers for recycling. LaBatteries always pays top dollar for  you old batteries. For current scrap battery prices call us at 318-636-3521. For more info on recycling old batteries, see our reycling page.

Date Codes

The code indicates the month and year when the battery was shipped out of the factory. LETTER stands for the month, A to L (A=January, B=February, C=March, and so on); NUMBER is the last digit of the year.

Example: A battery marked with a“D8” date code.

“D8” means that it was shipped from the factory around April of 2018.