AGM battery technology was first developed in the 1980s by Concorde aircraft battery. They were looking for a cheaper alternative to the NI-Cad batteries that were used in fighter jets and naval helicopters. The batteries were designed to be vibration resistant.
AGM stand for Absorbed Glass Mat. The batteries have lead plates within them. The electrolyte is absorbed into finely woven Boron-Silicate glass fibre mats. The saturated mats are placed between the plates.
AGM batteries are very similar to flooded lead acid batteries but the only difference is that they hold the electrolyte inside a glass mat instead of allowing it flood freely over the plates. Therefore, you will not lose any electrolyte if the battery is turned over or held upside down.
Because the batteries were developed for military use, they can take much more abuse than standard deep cycle gel batteries or wet cell. Therefore, there is nothing to spill or leak and they are free from freezing damage.
AGM batteries can be stored in areas considered to be prohibited because there are no fumes or leakage. Another major advantage is that they can be stored on end or on their sides if need be without any damage.
The battery is constructed in such a way that the electrolyte is close to the active plate material. This makes charge cycles and discharge more efficient. Because of this and because of the fact that the internal resistance of the battery is very low they charge at a faster rate and to a higher capacity.
Because an AGM battery has a low discharged rate when stored for longer periods of time, they can quickly be recharged back to over 95% of their capacity provided they have not been left for too long in a discharged for a very longer period of time.
AGM batteries have a charging rate of up to 75% of their rated ampere hour capacity. This may lead to damaged standard auto chargers or alternators since they are susceptible to excessive heat generated when trying to deliver the maximum amps.
The good part is the fact that AGM batteries will charge at lesser rates. However, if you are going to spend money on a quality battery, it is a good idea to buy a quality three-stage charger.
An AGM battery can be used for many different functions. They can be used in deep cycle applications, as starting batteries or as standby batteries for critical powered systems. These roles make the batteries ideal for camping applications.
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