I'm looking for a good battery upgrade for my Corvette. I'm concerned about "off gassing" into the cabin as well as weight. What are the different types of batteries, and are some better than others?
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When it comes to performance upgrades, the battery-one of the most critical components of any vehicle-is often overlooked. In addition to commonly discussed specifications such as cranking amps, the weight and output of the battery can have a noticeable effect on the operation of any Corvette model.
Thanks to knowledge gained from the racing industry, there have been many technological breakthroughs in the battery world. One of the most exciting outcomes has been the development of street-car batteries that utilize racing technology, making them lighter, more powerful, and more reliable. Braille Batteries, based in Sarasota, Florida, offers an American-made product that has been proven in racing and is also a welcome upgrade for daily driven vehicles. Braille offers a full line of products, from an amazingly small, two-pound Micro-Lite lithium battery to fullsize, 100-amp hour Endurance models featuring the same performance as batteries used by our favorite racing teams. More on that in a moment.
The way a battery is designed has considerable bearing on how well it can be expected to work. All batteries must be reliable and also perform two main functions: energy storage and energy release. Sounds simple, right? Well, it should be, but production cost is always a factor, resulting in a wide range of product offerings at different price points. It's the same with the automotive industry. While the battery that's installed in your new Corvette is a quality product, there are many good reasons to spend more for a premium offering when the factory unit reaches the end of its service life.
In today's market there are a plethora of battery options. To determine which one is right for you, there are a few questions that must be answered. For example, How much amperage do I need? Am I looking for a lighter-weight battery? How much am I willing to spend? Understanding the composition and performance of batteries will provide you with the answers to your questions.
Battery ratings are important for ensuring that you get the right level of starting power for your application. To determine this rating, batteries are tested for their cranking performance at different temperatures and their capacity under various loads. Commonly called cranking amps, cranking performance is the amount of electrical current it takes to turn over the starter motor.
Back in the day of carbureted vehicles, the industry standard for cranking batteries was 30 seconds at 0 degrees (measured in cold cranking amps, or CCA). In today's market there is a more effective test that better represents the condition of the vehicles we drive. Pulse Cranking Amps (PCA) are measured at 77 degrees for specific times below the 30-second standard. Keep this in mind when you make performance upgrades. Check the PCA ratings to determine how your Vette will respond in race conditions and balance this with the CCA rating for year-round usage. Be aware of batteries rated in "max amps." There are some cases where max amps are simply the short-circuit current of the battery and do not reflect its ability to crank a car.