The Value of Constant Current Discharge
What value do we place on Constant Current Discharge when it is associated with load bank testing of Battery Cells or Monoblocks? Periodic testing and maintenance of battery banks is imperative to ensure reliable delivery of power when they are called upon.
The reason for a battery’s existence is to store and release energy. It is to do so at nominated times and in a safe and controlled way. To ensure that these batteries are capable of supplying their specified capacity of stored energy, when the need arises, it is essential to periodically, fully load test them.
The meaning of constant current discharge in this situation is when utilising testing equipment to perform load testing on power storage units, there is no need to constantly adjust the current during the test. The constant current load bank holds the current stable as the voltage falls throughout the test. Thus saving time and ultimately money with less intervention during testing.
The main purposes to utilise a constant current discharge load bank is for:
- Discharge testing (also known as load test or capacity test)
- Acceptance testing
- Engineering examinations
- Battery capacity testing , and
- Battery maintenance
One advantage of this type of load system is that it enables replacement of only those cells which are not performing, and reduces labour and replacement cost.
The battery performance test can be defined as a constant current capacity test on a battery after it has been in service. It determines if a battery is performing within the manufacturer’s defined parameters or within acceptable limits.
When a storage unit, such as a battery, is aging, there will be a reduction in the amount of discharged energy it is capable of delivering. There are an optimum number of times a battery will be charged and discharged in its life, known as the lifecycle of the battery. As it ages, there will be a performance level which will begin offering diminishing returns on the effort to keep the Battery Cell or Monoblock operating.
It is essential to perform discharge testing on all backup battery systems, especially uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Constant Current Discharge testing is the economical and safe method for full discharge testing which is critical to for battery preventative maintenance programs.