Battery Training, Preparing your 12V Battery for SPL Competition & Care

Battery Training, Preparing your 12V Battery for SPL Competition & Care

Selecting a battery

First things first, select the battery brand/model you want and will work for your class and competition format.
For dB Drag Street A class you need 12V, G34 or smaller. The prefered batteries for this class include Optima Yellow, Red or Blue Top G/D34, Odyssey 1700, Stinger 1700, NorthStar Battery NSB75, Kinetik HC2000.

For dB Drag Street B or C class you need 12V, G31 or smaller. The prefered batteries for these classes are Optima Yellow G31, Odyssey 2150, NorthStar NSB90, Kinetik Monster 12V. Now visit your local battery store which stocks the battery you're after and Take Your Multimeter ! Probe each battery available in the 20V DC range until you find the one with the highest floating voltage, cos thats the one to get. Why ? Because its most likely the newest (will have the longest life) and its the best starting point for high voltage retention.

Example: we tested 12 different Optima G34 batteries, which showed a voltage range as low as 12.5V up to 12.8V. The 12.8V is the obvious best choice.

Training the battery

To successfully train a battery you need three things.
1. A battery charger capable of delivering 15.3V (just about anything you can get)
2. A Digital MultiMeter (DMM)
3. Time to keep an eye on the cell !

Now that you have a spare afternoon, DMM, charger and your new battery, its time to start the training. The process is simple..

1. Pop it onto the charger. If you can adjust the output voltage, set it for 15V. Use low current, 1-5A at most.
2. Attach your DMM.. initially the DMM will show low voltage, usually around 13.0V.
3. Leave it charging until the DMM shows 14.7-15.0V, then take it off the charger.
4. Leave it resting for 1-2 hours. 
5. Repeat.

After a few cycles like this over a week or two, the battery will "learn" that it should maintain a higher state of charge.. so you'll get a nominally higher float voltage. Hoorah !

Caring for your SPL battery

Any Street competitor knows that power is king. You can run all the wires you like, but if the battery doesnt deliver you wont make it. My advice for anyone running an engine-off class:

- Dont daily drive with your SPL battery if possible, you'll degrade its performance.
- If you must daily drive it, do maintenance charging as often as you can as outlined above.
- Maintenance charging should be a trickle charge of 5A or less.
- Never store batteries on concrete ! This will kill them in double quick time, store them on blocks of MDF.
- If you come from a very cold climate (Northern USA, Canada, Russia, Southern Australia, NZ), store your SPL battery over winter and use a regular led acid for those months.
- If you must use the battery in winter, get a battery blanket and use it. Regular maintenance charges are essential and if your climates cold enough youve got a block heater, you need a battery heater blanket too.