Can I add more batteries later?
If you're not in the mood to read why, here's the simple answer... NO! (Or Yes! but it must be done very soon after installation if you want them to last!)
The Battery, by definition of the word (A series of cells) is a collection of cells in a marriage to form a greater number.
Once two or more "Batteries" are connected to one another, the simply become ONE battery. A battery "Bank" for lack of a better word.
A new battery starts off with a specific "Design life". They are intended to last a certain amount of years as well as cycles. As a battery cycles, dependent on the type of battery, they will either Solphate, age or build up "Memory".
As a battery ages they will no longer perform their duty AS well as they did on day one. This is not to say that they are not viable or are badly made! EVERYTHING deprecates...One simply needs to understand the way the depreciation effects older batteries being tied to newer ones.
WHAT HAPPENS?? You ask...
A Battery charger is very specifically designed to start charging batteries if they are below a certain voltage. It will then in the same right switch off at a certain voltage (Fully charged).
The issue here lays with that a battery needs to be charged at a higher voltage than what it is fully charged at. Example: a 12V battery is specified at 12v... It can hold a charge of 13.2V when full and is flat at 11V. Yet, it is charged at 13.8-14.4V.
A battery is measured by it's ability to HOLD charge. (Time based)
A new battery will reach 14.4V and then slowly discharge to 13v odd as the charger stops.
An older battery will quickly reach 14.4V and quite quickly discharge to 13v.
During this time, The older batteries will draw current from the new batteries (Cycle the new batteries) until they reach an equal charge state... Thus the older batteries will cycle the new batteries to a point where they are no longer "New"but in the same state as the older batteries.
It is then therefor rather wise to replace older batteries than add new ones to the old set.
It is ALWAYS good practice to have twice the backup power (Battery stored power) than you will need. A battery's life span drops dramatically after cycling them beyond 50% constantly, no matter which battery you use.
It is easily measurable and quite easily resolved once you know what power you are using. It is certainly a worth while investment to make sure that you have the right battery. After all, they are the most expensive part of your system.
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