Industrial Ni-Cd Batteries Standard Range
Technical Manual
Effective: October, 2009
Alpha Technologies
Power
Alpha Technologies
®
Alpha Ni-Cd Pocket Plate Battery
Technical Manual
EN-Alpha-TMSR-001
Effective Date: October, 2009
Copyright© 2009
Alpha Technologies, Inc.
member of The
GroupTM
NOTE:
Photographs contained in this manual are for illustrative purposes only. These photographs may not match
your installation.
NOTE:
Operator is cautioned to review the drawings and illustrations contained in this manual before proceeding. If
there are questions regarding the safe operation of this powering system, please contact Alpha Technologies
or your nearest Alpha representative.
NOTE:
Alpha shall not be held liable for any damage or injury involving its enclosures, power supplies, generators,
batteries, or other hardware if used or operated in any manner or subject to any condition not consistent with
its intended purpose, or is installed or operated in an unapproved manner, or improperly maintained.
Contacting Alpha Technologies: www.alpha.com
or
For general product information and customer service (7 AM to 5 PM, Pacific Time), call
1-800-863-3930,
For complete technical support, call
1-800-863-3364
7 AM to 5 PM, Pacific Time or 24/7 emergency support
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
3
Table of Contents
1. 0 Alpha Ni-Cd Pocket Plate Cell ..................................................................................................................... 6
1.1 Features. ...................................................................................................................................................................................6
1.2 Venting System .....................................................................................................................................................................7
1.3 Electrode frame ....................................................................................................................................................................8
1.4 Separators ...............................................................................................................................................................................8
1.5 Positive and negative electrode plate .........................................................................................................................8
1.6 Distance plate .......................................................................................................................................................................9
1.7 Cell cases .................................................................................................................................................................................9
1.8 Electrolyte ...............................................................................................................................................................................9
2. 0 Battery Range and Applications .......................................................................................................................................... 10
2.1 Battery ranges.................................................................................................................................................................... 10
2.2 Applications and choice of cell type ......................................................................................................................... 10
3.0 Electrochemistry of Ni-Cd Batteries .................................................................................................................................. 11
4. 0 Operating Features .................................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.1 Capacity .............................................................................................................................................................................. .12
4.2 Cell voltage .......................................................................................................................................................................... 12
4.3 Internal resistance ............................................................................................................................................................ 12
4.4 Impact of temperature on cell performance and available capacity.............................................................. 13
4.5 Impact of temperature on lifetime.............................................................................................................................. 14
4.6 Short-circuit values .......................................................................................................................................................... 14
4.7 Open circuit loss................................................................................................................................................................. 15
4.8 Cycling .................................................................................................................................................................................. 15
4.9 Water consumption and gas evolution ..................................................................................................................... 16
5.0 Battery Sizing............................................................................................................................................. 17
5.1 Voltage window ................................................................................................................................................................. 17
5.2 Load profile ......................................................................................................................................................................... 17
5.3 Ambient temperature ...................................................................................................................................................... 17
5.4 Recharge time and state of charge ............................................................................................................................. 17
5.5 Aging ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 17
5.6 Floating effect - Voltage depression ........................................................................................................................... 18
6.0 Charging.................................................................................................................................................... 19
6.1 Constant voltage charge................................................................................................................................................. 19
6.2 Charge acceptance .......................................................................................................................................................... 20
6.3 Charge efficiency .............................................................................................................................................................. 21
6.4 Temperature influence ................................................................................................................................................... 22
6.5 Commissioning .................................................................................................................................................................. 22
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EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
Table of Contents
7.0 Installation and operating instructions.................................................................................................. 23
7.1 Receiving the battery ...................................................................................................................................................... 23
7.2 Storage ................................................................................................................................................................................. 23
7.2.1 Uncharged and unfilled cells ........................................................................................................................... 23
7.2.2 Charged and filled cells/discharged and filled cells ................................................................................ 23
7.3 Installation ............................................................................................................................................................................. 23
7.3.1 Location ................................................................................................................................................................... 23
7.3.2 Ventilation ............................................................................................................................................................... 23
7.3.3 Setting up ................................................................................................................................................................ 24
7.3.4 Electrolyte ............................................................................................................................................................... 24
7.3.5 Commissioning ..................................................................................................................................................... 25
7.3.5.1 Commissioning with constant current ............................................................................................ 25
7.3.5.2 Commissioning with constant voltage............................................................................................ 26
7.4 Charging in operation..................................................................................................................................................... 27
7.4.1 Continuous battery power supply (with occasional battery discharge) .......................................... 27
7.4.1.2 Two level charge ...................................................................................................................................... 27
7.4.1.3 Single level charge .................................................................................................................................. 27
7.4.2 Buffer operation ................................................................................................................................................... 27
7.5 Periodic Maintenance ...................................................................................................................................................... 27
7.5.1 Equalising charge ................................................................................................................................................. 27
7.5.2 Electrolyte check and topping up .................................................................................................................. 28
7.5.3 Replacing of electrolyte ..................................................................................................................................... 28
7.5.4 Electrolyte temperature ..................................................................................................................................... 28
7.6 Additional warning notes ............................................................................................................................................... 29
Figures, Graphs & Tables
Fig.1-1
Fig.1-2
Fig.1-3
Fig.1-4
Fig.1-5
Fig.7-1
Fig. 7-2
Cutaway view of battery ...................................................................................................................................6
Battery vents .........................................................................................................................................................7
Battery terminal cross-section........................................................................................................................7
Components of the Electrode plates ...........................................................................................................8
Electrode plate linkage .....................................................................................................................................8
Terminal connection with Nuts ................................................................................................................... 24
Terminal connection with Screws .............................................................................................................. 24
Graph 4-1
Graph 4-2
Graph 4-3
Graph 4-4
Graph 4-5
Graph 5-1
Graph 6-1
Graph 6-2
Graph 6-3
Graph 6-4
NiCd-cell performance varation with temperature ............................................................................. 13
NiCd vs. Pb-acid battery lifetimes at 25°C .............................................................................................. 14
Self-discharge of NiCd-accumulators (fully charged) ......................................................................... 15
Cycle life vs. depth of discharge .................................................................................................................. 15
Relationship between water loss and charging voltages ................................................................. 16
Floating derating factor as a function of discharge time .................................................................. 18
Time to reach state of charge (M-Range) ................................................................................................ 20
Time to reach state of charge (L-Range) .................................................................................................. 20
Time to reach state of charge (H-Range) ................................................................................................. 21
Temperature-corrected Float Voltage....................................................................................................... 22
Table 2-1
Battery (cell type) selection matrix ............................................................................................................ 10
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
5
1.0
Alpha Ni-Cd pocket plate cell
1.1 Features
1
2
1
Low-pressure, flame-arresting vent; prevents
carbonate formation.
2
Safety terminal; Redundant leak protection
minimizes carbonate formation.
3
Electrode edge; connected to pole bolt via
hardware for high mechanical stability
4
Electrode frame; Comprised of electrode edge
and side bars. Seals the plates and serves as a
current collector Horizontal pockets; formed by
perforated steel strips containing the active material.
5
Corrugated, perforated plastic separator.
Insulates the plates and allows the free circulation
of electrolyte.
6
Fiber mat separator; special separator
insulates the plates and improves the internal
recombination.
7
Distance Plate; Prevents movement of the
electrode pack.
3
5
4
6
7
Fig.1-1 Cutaway view of battery
6
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
1.0 Alpha Ni-Cd pocket plate cell, continued
1.2 Venting System
Alpha batteries can be equipped with a normal flip-top vent or with a special gas drying as well as a flame
arresting vent.
The originated charging gases (hydrogen and oxygen), which occur during the charging process
of Ni-Cd batteries carry also small electrolyte drops of the electrolyte solution. This accellerates the decline of the
electrolyte level in comparison to the normal water decomposition during overcharging, resulting in more frequent
maintenance. Furthermore, a strong incrustation of the filling vents can be due to the creation of carbonate.
The use of the gas drying or flame arresting vents reduces the build-up of carbonate material. The vents
contain small plastic particles with a large surface area which capture the electrolyte drops. The capturing of the
electrolyte keeps it in the cell and prevents the build-up of carbonate.
The additional feature of the flame arresting vent is the microporous disc on the top. This feature results in a
diffused leakage of the charging gases. Moreover, high local concentrations can be prevented which finally leads
to a lower risk of flammability. According to IEC 60623 the total amount of entrained potassium hydroxide shall be
not more than 0.05 mg/ Ah during 2 hours overcharge. Alpha batteries with the special venting system improve
the required value many times over to 0.011 mg/ Ah during 2 hours overcharge.
A specially developed terminal design with redundant leak protection prevents any leakage of electrolyte. Depending on the cell range and type terminals are designed as female or male thread and polarity is colored marked.
Fig.1-2 Battery vents
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
Fig.1-3 Battery terminal cross-section
7
1.0 Alpha Ni-Cd pocket plate cell, continued
1.3 Electrode frame
The electrode frame of Alpha Ni-Cd-batteries consists of a right and a left side bar as well as the electrode edge
which are connected by welding shaping the electrode frame. The electrode frame operates as a current collector
and also seals the electrode plates. This procedure leads to an electrode design with high mechanical robustness
but also ensures a reliable service for the complete lifetime of the battery.
1.4 Separators
The separation of the electrodes is ensured by a corrugated perforated plastic (M- and L-types) or plastic grid
separator (H-types). The plastic grid separator is used for high discharge types (H-types) in order to achieve a
superior cell performance caused by a lower internal resistance, which is very typical and necessary for their
high discharge currents. The separator also ensures a large space between the electrodes, which allows free
circulation of the electrolyte and a good dissipation of the gases generated during end of charging.
1.5 Positive and negative electrode plate
The nickel-cadmium cell is composed of the positive plates containing nickel hydroxide and the negative plates
containing cadmium hydroxide. The pockets formed from a nickel plated and perforated steel tape, the so-called
pocket tape, infold strips of the active material.
The electrode strips are mechanically linked together forming the electrode plate and cut to size appropriate to the
width based on the cell type and range.
The plates then are welded or mechanically linked to the plate frame (see point 3) forming the electrodes - the
heart of the battery - and assembled to the plate block.
The basis for the extemely long useful lifetime and the very good cycle life features of the Ni-Cd pocket plate
batteries are the special plate designs whose structural components are made of steel. This prevents the
possibility of gradually deterioration by corrosion and since the alkaline electrolyte does not react with steel the
substructure of the battery remains intact for the total lifetime of the battery. Very important and unique is the
enfolding of the electrochemical active masses in the perforated nickel plated steel pockets, so that the risk of
shedding or penetration of material is very small and consequently also the risk of structural damages and of soft
short circuits is well under control.
Fig.1-4 Components of the Electrode plates
8
Fig.1-5Electrode plate linkage
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
1.0 Alpha Ni-Cd pocket plate cell, continued
1.6 Distance plate
The distance plate operates as an additional stabilization to prevent any movement of the electrodes. It is an
additional feature for applications where vibrations are possible.
1.7 Cell cases
The cell cases are made from a translucent polypropylene or polystyrene, which ensures a visual control of
the electrolyte level. The exeptional sturdy Alpha cell cases provide a satisfactory service for the total lifetime
of the battery but also will have a superior finish at every stage. The lid and the container are welded or glued
together forming an integrative compound. All Alpha Ni-Cd cells have got a single cell design that prevents in the
greatest possible extend any leakage of the cell cases since they are made by injection molding out of one piece.
Therefore, the weld or glueseams of the cell cases and the lids lies over the electrolyte level. The Alpha single
cell design eliminates completely the risk of faulty welded seams on the sides and on the bottom of the cell cases.
Caused by the single cell design an economical replacement of faulty cells is possible, viz only the faulty cell can
be replaced. A special fl ame retardent material (acc. to standard UL 94 V0) is also available, which admittedly
brings along some impaired properties. By using this material a visual check of the electrolyte is no longer
possible.
1.8 Electrolyte
The electrolyte used in Alpha Ni-Cd batteries is a solution of potassium hydroxide and lithium hydroxide that
is optimized to give the best combination of performance, energy effi ciency and a wide temperature range of
use. The concentration of the standard electrolyte allows operations between - 30 °C and + 50 °C. For special
operations within very low temperatures a special high density electrolyte can be used. It is an important property
of the Alpha battery, and indeed all nickel-cadmium batteries, that the electrolyte does not change during charge
and discharge. It retains its ability to transfer ions between the cell plates, irrespective of the charge level. In most
applications the electrolyte will retain its effectiveness for the life of the battery and will never need replacing.
However, under certain conditions, such as extended use in high temperature situations, the electrolyte can
become carbonated. If this occurs the battery performance can be improved by replacing the electrolyte (see
“Maintenance and Handling Instructions”).
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
9
2.0 Battery Range and Applications
2.1 Battery ranges
KM ...PN NON-STOP
In order to enable Alpha to offer an appropriate
solution in accordance with the customer's
requirements and to have a choice for any battery
application existing on the market, Alpha Ni-Cd
batteries are designed in four different performance
ranges.
This Alpha cell type is a further developed M type,
which provides caused by a special perforation
higher discharge currents for special application up
to 1 hour. It is especially used for UPS and similar
applications and the recommended discharge time is
10 min to 60 min.
KL ...P
KH ...P
This Alpha cell type has been especially designed
for low rates of discharge over long periods, viz the
current is relatively low in comparison with the total
stored energy. The discharges can generally be
infrequent and the recommended discharge time for
the KL ...P range is 1 hour to 100 hours.
TSP
The Alpha H type was designed especially for high
current discharging over short discharge periods. The
recommended discharge time for this cell range is 1 s
to 30 min
2.2 Applications and choice of cell type
KM ...P
TP
Alpha Ni-Cd batteries cover a wide range of
applications and are used in almost every sector,
no matter if it is a private, industrial, commercial,
governmental or military one. The table on page 8 on
which some examples can be found represents only
a small overview in te extended field of applications.
Therefore, it is to be understood as a precept and
general information.
The Alpha M type has been especially designed
for "mixed loads" that include a mixture of high
and low rates of discharge. It is used for frequent
and infrequent discharges and the recommended
discharge time is 30 min to 120min.
Rate of Discharge
L OW
MEDIUM
Cell Type
KL ...P
KL ...
Intercity and Urban Transport
Substations and signalling
UPS
Offshore and onshore oil and petrochemical refineries
Emergency lighting
Telecommunication
Photovoltaic
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
MEDIUM (M/N)
HIGH
KM ...P
KM ...
TP ...
T ...
KM ...P/N
KH ...P
KM ...
TSP ...
TS ...
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Diesel start
Ship equipment
Electricity, gas & water production and distribution
Emergency supply
Alarm equipment
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Table 2-1 Battery (cell type) selection matrix as a function of application and rate of discharge
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EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
3. 0 Electrochemistry of Ni-Cd batteries
Oxidation of cadmium at the negative electrode
Cd
Cd 2+ + 2 e¯
Reduction of trivalent nickel ions to bivalent at the
positive electrode
Ni3+ + e¯
Ni2+
During charging the both reactions are reversed.
The complete reaction is:
Negative electrode
Cd + 2 OH¯
Cd(OH)2 + 2 e¯
Positive electrode
2 NiOOH + 2 H2O + 2 e¯
2 Ni(OH)2 + 2 OH¯
Cell reaction
2 NiOOH + Cd + 2 H2O
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
2 Ni(OH)2 + Cd(OH)2
11
4.0 Operating Features
4.1 Capacity
The capacity of nickel-cadmium batteries is rated in ampere-hours (Ah) and is the quantity of electricity at +20 °C
(± 5 °C) which can supply for a 5 hour discharge after being fully charged for 7.5 hours at 0.2 C5. These figures
and procedures are based on the IEC 60623 standard.
According to IEC 60623, 0.2 C5A is also expressed as 0.2 I A. The reference test current is expressed as:
ItA= C n Ah
1h
Where:
Cn
is the rated capacity declared by the
manufacturer in ampere-hours (Ah)
and:
n
is the time based in hours (h) for which
the rated capacity is declared
4.2 Cell Voltage
The cell voltage of a Ni-Cd cell is the result of the electrochemical potentials of the nickel and the cadmium
active materials in cooperation of the potassium hydroxide electrolyte. Therefore, the nominal voltage for this
electrochemical couple is 1.2 V. From the electrochemistry of the reaction given above (see point 3) the free
voltage of 1.3 V is given for the Ni-Cd cell. This voltage is also observed directly after charging of the cell.
4.3 Internal Resistance
The internal resistance of a Ni-Cd cell is very difficult to measure and to define since it varies with different
temperature and state of discharge. The internal resistance also depends on the cell type and size as well as
it increases for lower state of charge. Apart from this the internal resistance of a fully discharged cell no carries
weight. Reducing the temperature also increases the internal resistance. The correct values regarding the special
conditions can be provided by our technical staff.
12
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
4.0 Operating Features, continued
4.4 Impact of Temperature on Cell Performance and Available Capacity
When sizing and choosing a battery the variations in ambient temperature and their influence on the cell
performance have to be taken into consideration. Low ambient temperature conditions reduce the cell
performance, but on the other hand operations with higher temperatures are similar to those at normal
temperatures. The effect of low temperatures is increasing with higher rates of discharge. The values, which have
to be taken into account, can be found in the following graph:
Graph 4-1 NiCd-cell performance variation with temperature
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
13
4.0 Operating Features, continued
4.5 Impact of Temperature on Lifetime
As with every battery system an increased temperature always reduces the expected service lifetime and
although the Alpha Ni-Cd battery is designed to reach a lifetime of over 20 years this is also the case. The
following graph is included to demonstrate that the reduction in lifetime of a Alpha Ni-Cd battery is many times
lower than for a lead acid battery. For Ni-Cd batteries the normal operating temperature is based at + 20 °C (± 5
°C) and, therefore, special considerations have to be taken into account when dimensioning a Ni-Cd battery for
high temperature applications.
Graph 4-2, NiCd vs. Pb-acid battery lifetimes at higher temperatures as a percentage of operational lifetime at 25°C
4.6 Short-circuit values
The short-circuit values of a Alpha Ni-Cd pocket plate battery depend on and vary from cell range to cell range.
The special values can be provided by our technical staff on request.
14
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
4.0 Operating Features, continued
4.7 Open Circuit Loss
The state of charge of a Ni-Cd cell on open circuit slowly self-discharges. Ni-Cd batteries are affected significantly
by temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher loss of capacity. Ni-Cd batteries self-discharge at a
niminal rate of 2% per month at 20°C.
Graph 4-3, Self-discharge of NiCd-accumulators (fully charged)
4.8 Cycling
The Alpha Ni-Cd battery is designed to obtain a huge number of cycles in stationary standby operations. The
important fact and basis for the number of cycles the battery is able to provide is the depth of discharge. The less
deeply a battery is discharged the greater the number of cycles it is capable to provide before being unable to
achieve the minimum design limit. On the graph below typical values for the effect of depth of discharge on the
available cycle life can be found.
Graph 4-4, Cycle life vs. depth of discharge as a percentage of rated battery capacity @ 20°C
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
15
4.0 Operating Features, continued
4.9 Water consumption and gas evolution
At the final stage of the charging procedure of a NiCd battery the provided electrical energy cannot be fully
absorbed but is absolutely necessary to reach the fully charged state of the cells. The difference between
absorbed and provided energy leads to a break down of the electrolyte's water content into oxygen and hydrogen
(electrolysis). This loss has to be compensated by topping up the cells with pure distilled water. The water loss
depends on the current used for overcharging. A battery on stand by operation will consume less water than a
battery that is cycled constantly, i.e. which is charged and discharged on a regular basis. In theory, the quantity
of water used can be found by Faraday's equation that each ampere hour of overcharge breaks down 0.336 cm3
of water. However, in practice, the water usage will be less than this, as the overcharge current is also needed to
counteract self-discharge of the electrodes. The overcharge current is a function of both voltage and temperature,
so both have an influence on the consumption of water. The table below gives typical water consumption values
over a range of voltages.
Example:
A cell KM 110 P is floated at 1.41 V/cell.
The electrolyte reserve for this cell is approx. 400 cm³.
From the table below an Alpha cell at 1.41 V per cell will use 0.25 cm³/month for 1 Ah of capacity.
That means a KM 110 P will use:
0.25 cm³/month x 110 Ah = 27.5 cm³/month,
and the electrolyte reserve will be used in:
400 cm³ / 27.5 cm³/month = 14.5 months.
The gas evolution is a function of the amount of water electrolised into hydrogen and oxygen and is predominantly
given off at the end of the charging period. The battery does not give off any gas during a normal discharge.
During electrolysis the amount of 1Ah produces 684 cm³ of gas mixture and this gas mixture is in the proportion of
2/3 hydrogen and 1/3 oxygen. Thus 1Ah produces about 456 cm³ of hydrogen.
Graph 4-5, Relationship between water loss and charging voltages (app.) 20°C
16
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
5.0 Battery Sizing
Principles and methods of sizing of Alpha Ni-Cd-batteries for standby applications.
All our Ni-Cd batteries used for standby floating applications are sized according to the international sizing
method IEEE 1115. Alpha has developed a special calculation program which is available over the Internet and
allows us to update it regularly. It provides the possibility to calculate with multiple discharges, and to include the
temperature derating factor as well as the ageing factor of the battery. A significant feature and advantage of the
Ni-Cd battery in comparison to the lead acid battery is that it can be fully discharged without any inconvenience
to the lifetime or recharge of the battery. Further, it is an advantage to discharge the battery to the lowest practical
value to extract the maximum energy the battery is able to provide in order to find out the most beneficial solution.
The most important sizing parameters are:
5.1 Voltage window
This is the minimum and maximum voltage acceptable for the system. The maximum voltage provides the voltage
that is available to charge the battery, whereas, the minimum voltage gives the lowest voltage acceptable to the
system to that the battery can be discharged.
5.2 Load profile
The load profile is the electrical performance required by the system from the battery for the particular application.
It can be expressed in terms of amperes for certain duration or in watts for certain duration. The requirements
might vary for example from just one discharge to multiple discharge of a complex nature. In order to calculate the
appropriated battery size please take into consideration point 5.1 voltage window.
5.3 Ambient temperature
The ambient temperature will have in any case an influence on the sizing of the battery (see point 4.4 Impact of
temperature on cell performance and 4.5 Impact of temperature on lifetime).
5.4 Recharge time and state of charge
Some application might require a full discharge cycle of the battery after a certain time after the previous
discharge. The factors to be taken into account depend on the depth of discharge, the rate of discharge as well as
the charging conditions.
5.5 Aging
It might be required that a value has to be added to ensure the correct service of the battery during the lifetime.
The value to be used depends on the discharge rate of the battery and on the conditions under which is carried
out. Our experts or partners are able to help you chosing the right battery for your special requirements.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
17
5.0 Battery Sizing, continued
5.6 Floating Effect -Voltage Depression
When a Ni-Cd battery operates at a fixed floating voltage over a certain period of time, a decrease of the voltage
level of the discharge curve occurs. It begins after one week and reaches its peak in approximately 3 months.
Since this effect reduces the voltage level of the battery it can be considered as reducing the performance and
autonomy of the battery as well. Therefore, it is necessary to take this effect into consideration when sizing a
Alpha Ni-Cd battery. The Alpha calculation program gives the possibility to include this factor into the customer’s
calculation.
The floating effect is a reversible effect and can only be eliminated by a full charge/discharge cycle. Please
note that it cannot be prevented by just a boost charge. The Alpha battery sizing program provides the option to
calulate with and without this floating effect enabling the customer to se the added benefit. Our recommendation
is to always include this fator when sizing a battery.
1.10
1.00
0.90
0.80
0.70
0.60
0.50
0.40
0.30
1
5
30
time [sec]
60
5
10
15
20
time [min]
30
1
1.5
2
3
5
time[hours]
Graph 5-1, Floating derating factor as a function of discharge time
The graph above illustrates the level of discharge for a KM 110 P cell discherged for 30 minutes with a
current of 91A to 1.10V/cell according to discharge table. This value is correct after the battery has been
fully charged via constant cuttent charging.
If the cells are charged via float charging, the discharge time must be reduced by a factor of 0.74. This
results in a discharge time of 22.2 minutes.
This fact will be automatically considered by the Alpha battery calculation program if this option is chosen.
18
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
6. 0 Charging
The Alpha Ni-Cd battery can generally be charged by all normal methods. Usually, batteries in parallel operation
with charger and load are charged with constant voltage. For operations where the battery is charged separately
from the load, charging with constant current is possible. Overcharging will not damage the battery but will lead to
an increase of water consumption.
6.1 Constant Voltage Charge
The common method to charge a battery in stationary applications is carried out by a constant voltage system
and the recommended solution is to use a two-rate type that is able to provide a constant voltage charge and a
lower floating voltage or single rate floating voltage. The two level charger has an high voltage stage to charge the
battery properly after a discharge followed by a lower voltage float level charge. This results in a quick charge of
the battery and in relatively low water consumption due to the low level float charge
Two level charge
Boost charge: 1.55 - 1.70 V/cell
Floating: 1.40 - 1.42 V/cell
A high voltage will increase the speed and efficiency of recharging the battery. In reality, often single level charger
can be found. This is surely a compromise between a voltage high enough to charge the battery and low enough
to have adequate water consumption.
Single level charge
1.45 - 1.50 V/cell
For commisioning the batteries please see point 7.3.5.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
19
6.0 Charging, continued
6.2 Charge acceptance
The time required to fully charge a discharged Ni-Cd cell is dependant upon the amount of charging voltage per
cell. The following charts illustrate the relationship between Voltage per Cell, level of charge and charging time in
hours.
Graph 6-1, Time to reach state of charge at charging voltages for fully discharged cells
(M-Range: current limit 0.2 C5A)
Graph 6-2, Time to reach state of charge at charging voltages for fully discharged cells
(L-Range: current limit 0.2 C5A)
20
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
6.0 Charging
6.2 Charge acceptance, continued
Graph 6-3, Time to reach state of charge at charging voltages for fully discharged cells
(H-Range: current limit 0.2 C5A)
6.3 Charge efficiency
The charge efficiency depends mostly on the state of charge of the battery and the ambient temperature as well
as the charging current. For much of its charge profile the Ni-Cd battery is charged at a high level of efficiency.
But if the battery approaches a fully charged condition the charging efficiency decreases.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
21
6.0 Charging, continued
6.4 Temperature Influence
The electrochemical behaviour of the battery becomes more active if temperature increases, i.e. for the same
floating voltage the current increases. If the temperature decreases the reverse occurs. Increasing the current increases the consumption of water and reducing the current could lead to an insufficient charging.
For standby application it is normally not necessary to compensate the charging voltage with the temperature.
In order to reduce the water consumption it is recom mended to compensate it at elevated temperature as for
example from + 35 °C on by use of the negative temperature coefficient of -3mV/K and cell.
For operation at low temperatures, i.e. below 0°C, there is a risk of poor charging. It is recommended to adjust
the charging voltage or to compensate the charging with the temperature (- 3mV/K, starting from an ambient
temperature of + 20°C).
Graph 6-4, Temperature-corrected Float Voltage
6.5 Commissioning
A good first charge is essential to prepare the battery for its long service lifetime. Above all it is important for
discharged cells since they are in a totally discharged stage (see point 7.3.5 Commissioning).
22
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
7.0 Installation and Operation
7.1. Receiving the battery
The cells are not to be stored in packaging, therefore, unpack the battery immediately after arrival. Do not
overturn the package. The battery cells are equipped with a blue plastic transport plug. The battery can be
delivered - Filled and charged/the battery is ready for installation. Replace the transport plug by the vent cap
included in our accessories only before use - Unfilled and discharged/do not remove the transport plug until ready
to fill the battery The battery must not be charged with the transport plug in the cells as this can damage the
battery.
7.2. Storage
The rooms provided for storing the batteries must be clean, dry, cool (+10°C to 30°C - in compliance with IEC
60623) and well ventilated. The cells are not to be stored in closed packaging and must not be exposed to direct
sunlight or UV-radiation. If the cells are delivered in plywood boxes open the boxes before storage and remove
the packing material on the top of the cells. If the cells are delivered on pallets remove the packing material on the
top of the cells.
7.2.1 Uncharged and unfilled cells
Provided the correct storage conditions are met then the cells and batteries can be stored for long periods
without damage if they are deeply discharged, drained and well sealed. It is very important that the cells
are sealed with the plastic transport plug tightly in place. It is necessary to check after receipt and at least
every year. Leaky plugs allow the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to infiltrate the cell, which will result in
carbonation of the plates. That may impair the capacity of the battery.
7.2.2 Charged and filled cells/ discharged and filled cells
Filled cells can be stored 12 months at the most from the time of delivery. Storage of filled cells at a
temperature above +30°C results in loss of capacity. This can be approximately 5% per 10 degrees/year
when the temperature exceeds +30°C. It is very important that the cells are sealed with the plastic transport
plugs tightly in place. This is to check after receipt of goods. In case of loss of electrolyte during transport,
refill the cell until the “MIN” mark with electrolyte before storage.
7.3. Installation
EN 50272-2:2001 “Accumulators and battery installations, stationary battery installations” is binding for the
setting up and operation of battery installations. For non stationary installations specific standards are valid.
7.3.1 Location
Install the battery in a dry and clean room. Avoid in any case direct sunlight and heat. The battery will give the
optimal performance and maximum service life if the ambient temperature lies between + 10°C and + 30°C.
7.3.2 Ventilation
During the last part of charging the battery gases (oxygen and hydrogen mixture) are emitted. At normal float
charge the gas evolution is very small but some ventilation is necessary. Special regulations for ventilation
might be required in your area for certain applications. If no regulations are fixed in your area DIN EN 50272 2: 2001 should be met.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
23
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.3. Installation, continued
7.3.3 Setting up
Always pay attention to the assembly drawings, circuit diagrams and other separate instructions. The
transport plugs have to be removed and replaced by the vent caps included in the accessories. If batteries
are supplied “filled and charged” first the electrolyte level should be checked and if necessary topped up as
described in point 3.4. Cell connectors and/or flexible cables should be checked to ensure they are tightly
seated. Terminal nuts, screws and connectors must be tightly seated. If necessary tighten with a torque
spanner.
Torque loading for:
M10: 8 Nm
M16: 20 Nm
M20: 25 Nm
Female thread:
M 8: 20 - 25 Nm
M10: 25 - 30 Nm
The connectors and terminals should be corrosion-protected by coating with thin layer of anti corrosion
grease.
Fig.7-1 Terminal connection with Nuts
Fig. 7-2 Terminal connection with Screws
7.3.4 Electrolyte
The electrolyte for Ni-Cd batteries consists of diluted caustic potash solution (specific gravity 1.20 kg/litre
± 0.01 kg/ litre) with a lithium hydroxide component, in accordance with IEC 60993. The caustic potash
solution is prepared in accordance with factory regulations. The specific gravity of the electrolyte does not
allow any conclusion to be drawn on the charging state of the battery. It changes only insignificantly during
charging and discharging and is only minimally related to the temperature.
Battery delivered unfilled and discharged: if the electrolyte is supplied dry, it is to be mixed according
to the enclosed mixing instruction. Remove the transport plugs from the cell just before filling. Fill the cells
up to 20 mm above the lower level mark "MIN". Steel cased cells have to be filled up to the top edge of the
plates. When using battery racks fill cells before putting up. Only use genuine electrolyte.
Battery delivered filled and charged or discharged: check electrolyte level. It should not be less than 20
mm below the upper level mark "MAX" see 5.2.
"Only use genuine electrolyte supplied by Alpha".
24
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.3. Installation, continued
7.3.5 Commissioning
A good commissioning is very important. The following instructions are valid for commissioning at 20°C till
30°C. For different conditions please contact manufacturer. Charge at constant current is preferable. If a site
test is requested it has to be carried out in accordance with to IEC 60623.
According to IEC 60623, 0.2 C5A is also expressed as 0.2 ItA.
The reference test current is expressed as:
Example: 0.2 ItA means 20 A for a 100 Ah battery or 100 A for a 500 Ah battery
ItA= C n Ah
1h
7.3.5.1 With Constant current
When the battery has been:
Delivered unfilled and discharged: After a period of 5 hours from filling the electrolyte, the battery
should be charged for 15 hours at the rated charging current 0.2 ItA. Approximately 4 hours after the
end of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by
using only genuine electrolyte. For cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the
maximum level according to the “Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the
electrolyte level and temperature should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall
below the “MIN” mark.
Delivered filled and discharged:The battery should be charged for 15 hours at the rated charging
current 0.2 ItA. Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted
to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using distilled or deionized water in accordance with
IEC 60993. For cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the maximum level
according to the “Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the electrolyte level and
temperature should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall below the “MIN”
mark.
Delivered filled, charged and stored for more than 12 months:The battery should be charged for 15
hours at the rated charging current 0.2 ItA. Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte
level should be adjusted to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using distilled or deionized water
in accordance with IEC 60993. For cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the
maximum level according to the “Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the
electrolyte level and temperature should be observed see point 7.5.4. The electrolyte level should never
fall below the “MIN” mark.
Delivered filled and charged:A 5 hour charge at the rated charging current 0.2 ItA must be carried out
before putting the battery into operation. Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte
level should be adjusted to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using distilled or deionized water
in accordance with IEC 60993. For cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the
maximum level according to the “Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the
electrolyte level and temperature should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall
below the “MIN” mark.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
25
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.3. Installation, continued
7.3.5 Commissioning
7.3.5.1 With Constant voltage
If the charger´s maximum voltage setting is too low to supply constant current charging divide the battery
into two parts to be charged individually.
When the battery has been:
Delivered unfilled and discharged: After a period of 5 hours from filling the electrolyte in the battery
should be charged for 30 hours at the rated charging voltage of 1.65 V/cell. The current limit should be
0.2 ItA maximum. Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted
to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using only genuine electrolyte. For cells with steel cases
the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the maximum level according to the “Instruction for the control
of electrolyte level”. During the charge the electrolyte level and temperature should be observed see point
5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall below the “MIN” mark.
Delivered filled and discharged: The battery should be charged for 30 hours at the rated charging
voltage of 1.65 V/cell. The current limit should be 0.2 ItA maximum. Approximately 4 hours after the end
of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the upper electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using
distilled or deionized water in accordance with IEC 60993. For cells with steel cases the electrolyte level
should be adjusted to the maximum level according to the “Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”.
During the charge the electrolyte level and temperature should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte
level should never fall below the “MIN” mark.
Delivered filled and charged and stored for more than 12 months: the battery should be charged
for 30 hours at the rated charging voltage of 1.65 V/cell. The current limit should be 0.2 ItA maximum.
Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the upper
electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using distilled or deionized water in accordance with IEC 60993. For
cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the maximum level according to the
“Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the electrolyte level and temperature
should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall below the “MIN” mark.
Delivered filled and charged: A 10 hour charge at the rated charging voltage of 1.65 V/cell must
be carried out before putting the battery into operation. The current limit should be 0.2 ItA maximum.
Approximately 4 hours after the end of charging the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the upper
electrolyte level marking “MAX” by using distilled or deionized water in accordance with IEC 60993. For
cells with steel cases the electrolyte level should be adjusted to the maximum level according to the
“Instruction for the control of electrolyte level”. During the charge the electrolyte level and temperature
should be observed see point 5.4. The electrolyte level should never fall below the “MIN” mark.
26
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.4. Charging in operation
7.4.1 Continuous battery power supply
(with occasional battery discharge) Recommended charging voltage for ambient temperatures
+ 20°C to + 25°C Do not remove the vent caps during float-, boost charge and buffer operation. The
current limit should be 0.3 ItA maximum in general.
7.4.1.2 Two level charge
Floating 1.40 - 1.42 V/cell
Boost charge: 1.55 - 1.70 V/cell
A high voltage will increase the speed and efficiency of recharging the battery.
7.4.1.3 Single level charge
1.45 - 1.50 V/cell
7.4.2 Buffer operation
Where the load exceeds the charger rating. 1.45 - 1.55 V/cell
7.5. Periodic Maintenance
The battery must be kept clean using only water. Do not use a wire brush or solvents of any kind. Vent caps can
be rinsed in clean warm water if necessary but must be dried before using them again. Check regularly (approx.
every 6 months) that all connectors, nuts and screws are tightly fastened. Defective vent caps and seals should
be replaced. All metal parts of the battery should be corrosion-protected by coating with a thin layer of anticorrosion grease. Do not coat any plastic part of the battery, for example cell cases! Check the charging voltage. If
a battery is connected in parallel it is important that the recommended charging voltage remains unchanged. The
charging current in the strings should also be checked to ensure it is equal. These checks have to be carried out
once a year. High water consumption of the battery is usually caused by improper voltage setting of the charger.
7.5.1 Equalizing charge
It is recommended to carry out an equalizing charge once a year to maintain capacity and to stabilize the
voltage levels of the cells. The equalizing charge can be carried out for 15 hours at 0.2 ItA or with the boost
charging stage in conformity with the characteristic curve of the available charging implement. The electrolyte
level is to check after an equalizing charge. In order to equalize the floating derating effect it is recommended
to charge the battery once a year for 15 hours at the rated charging current 0.2 ItA. Then discharge the
battery down to 1.0 V/cell and charge again for 8 hours at the rated charging current 0.2 It A.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
27
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.5. Periodic Maintenance, continued
7.5.2 Electrolyte check and topping up
Check the electrolyte level and never let the level fall below the lower level mark "MIN". Use only distilled
or deionized water to top-up the cells in accordance with IEC 60993. Experience will tell the time interval
between topping-up. Refilling with electrolyte is only permissible if spilled electrolyte has to be replaced. If
during refilling or topping up electrolyte has been splashed onto the cell cover or between the cell cases clean
this off and then dry the area. NOTE: Once the battery has been filled with the correct electrolyte either at
the factory or during the battery commissioning, there is no need to check the electrolyte density periodically.
Interpretation of density measurements is difficult and could lead to misunderstandings.
7.5.3 Replacing of electrolyte
In most stationary applications the electrolyte will retain its effectiveness for the total lifetime of the battery.
However, under special battery operating conditions, if the electrolyte is found to be car- bonated, the battery
performance can be restored by replacing the electrolyte. Only use genuine electrolyte. It is recommended to
change the electrolyte when reaching a carbonate content of 75 g/litre. It is possible to test the electrolyte in
the works laboratory. For this a minimum quantity of 0.2 litres of electrolyte in a clean glass or polyethylene
container should be sent in, paying strict attention to the valid dangerous goods regulations. Expediently the
sample of electrolyte is taken half an hour after charging has ended and from several cells of the battery. It
is pointless to take the samples immediately after topping up. The electrolyte sample and the cells should
be closed immediately after the electrolyte has been taken. CAUTION - caustic potash solution is corrosive!
Safety regulations shall be applied, goggles and gloves shall be used.
7.5.4 Electrolyte temperature
The temperature of the electrolyte should never exceed 45 °C as higher temperatures have a detrimental
effect on the function and duration of the cells. In the course of charging an electrolyte temperature of = 35 °C
should be aimed for. On exceeding 45 °C the charging should be temporarily interrupted until the electrolyte
temperature falls down to 35 °C. The temperature measurements are to be made on one of the cells in the
middle of the battery. Low ambient or electrolyte temperatures down to -25 °C do not have any detrimental
effect on the battery; they just cause a temporary reduction in capacity.
28
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
7.0 Installation and Operation, continued
7.6. Additional warning notes
Ni-Cd batteries must not be operated or stored in the same room as lead acid batteries. In addition to this the
charging gases from lead acid batteries must be kept away from Ni-Cd batteries by suitable precautions such as
ventilation or hermetic isolation of the rooms. Tools for lead acid batteries must not be used for Ni-Cd batteries Do
not place electrically conductive objects such as tools etc. on the battery!
Risk of short circuit and fire!
No rings or metal bracelets should be worn during the assembly of the battery - Risk of injury!
Open the doors of the battery cabinet during charging so that the charging gases can escape. The charging gases
from batteries are explosive. Do not allow open fire or ember in the vicinity of the battery - Risk of explosion!
Caution - caustic potash solution is corrosive! Caustic potash solution is used as electrolyte. Caustic potash
solution is a highly corrosive liquid which can cause severe damage to health if it comes into contact with the eyes
or the skin (risk of blinding). If even small quantities are swallowed there is a possibility of internal injuries.
When working with electrolyte and on cells and/or batteries rubber gloves, safety goggles with side guards and
protective clothing must always be worn!
Contact with the eyes: Flush out immediately with copious amounts of water for 10 - 15 minutes.
If necessary consult an eye clinic.
Contact with the skin:
Remove splashed clothing immediately and wash the affected skin areas with copious amounts of water. For any
discomforts consult a doctor.
Swallowing:
Rinse out the mouth immediately with copious amounts of water and keep drinking large amounts of water. Do not
induce vomiting. Call an emergency doctor immediately.
In the event of injuries
Rinse thoroughly for a long period under running water. Consult a doctor immediately.
EN-ALPHA-TMSR-001 (10/09)
29
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Phone: +33 32 64990 54
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