Batteries and Chargers

Summary
Always treat batteries with care and respect. Be very careful not to create a spark when you are connecting or disconnecting a charger to the battery terminals. Clean the battery terminals and the charger's crocodile clips, and switch off the charger before connecting and disconnecting them from the battery.
Battery

A battery has a big kick!

Motor vehicle batteries can give you a powerful shock – remember, they have to deliver enough power to turn over a cold engine. They produce enough power to melt a metal rod resting across the terminals, so always treat batteries with care and respect.

Take off rings, watches, and bracelets

Always remove your hand or wrist jewelry before working with batteries. If it comes into contact with the battery terminals it can cause a short circuit. You will receive painful skin burns from the very rapid heating of the metal you are wearing, or even flash burns from arcing current. A wristwatch is much harder to take off if it is melted to your arm!

Batteries create explosive gas

Batteries give off hydrogen gas while they are being charged, and for some time afterwards. Hydrogen is a light and highly explosive gas that is easily ignited by a simple spark. Batteries are also filled with sulphuric acid, so if the hydrogen does explode, the case can rupture and spray everything and everyone nearby with this dangerous and corrosive liquid.

Be extra careful when charging a battery

Be very careful not to create a spark when you are connecting or disconnecting a charger to the battery terminals. Clean the battery terminals and the charger’s crocodile clips, and switch off the charger before connecting and disconnecting them from the battery.

Wait for the battery to cool down

Do not try to charge a battery faster than the battery manufacturer recommends, and you should never use a battery discharge tester immediately after charging a battery. This is because charging and rapidly discharging a battery both generate heat, and if you do not wait for a battery to cool down after charging it before discharge testing it you will increase the risk of distorting the plates inside the battery, as well as increase the risk of explosion.

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Tony Ferguson,
Apr 1, 2011, 11:23 AM
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