Ensuring the longevity of your car battery

One of the comedy sketches that I often recall from my youth shows a typical bank heist sequence, with two scruffy hooligans clutching canvas bags charging for their getaway car to the sound of alarm bells shattering the silence of the financial district. They leap into the car, the driver twists the ignition switch, and the next sound you hear is a noise from the engine bay that goes: “Yuh Yuh Yee-aw Click.”

There is nothing quite like the sinking feeling that accompanies the death groans of a flat battery. And even in this modern era of amazing motor-related reliability, batteries still fail, more often than not, when you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Whilst modern batteries require little in the way of maintenance – they don’t even require topping up anymore – the demands on batteries have increased along with all the electronics fitted to modern cars. It is particularly true of vehicles equipped with stop-start systems where the engine automatically switches off at traffic lights and starts up as soon as you take your foot off the brake.

Then there are alarm systems that continue to draw current from the battery after you’ve locked up and put your car and yourself to bed. And in this era of lockdown where so many people are working from home and staying isolated, many car batteries have been known to go into ‘sulk mode’ due to the lack of attention.


Above: Clean battery terminals like this promote great connectivity.

So what can you do to keep your battery charged?

With a modern car, the best way to keep the battery charged if your car stands idle for an extended period is to use a modern trickle charger. We have these available for purchase in our stores. They are connected to the battery without removing it from the engine bay.  Some can also be used via a power socket, such as a cigarette lighter socket, on the car.

Consult Battery Man, on the best way to connect one of these chargers to your car’s battery. Some modern vehicles have very inaccessible batteries, but these cars usually have additional terminals inside the engine bay to enable a quick jump-start from another battery. Wherever you connect the charger, it is a good precaution to place the charger outside the car, just in case there are any short circuits.

Note that with some sophisticated modern cars, if the battery is disconnected, a certain amount of reprogramming of the electronics may be needed once the battery is reconnected.

With older cars (and some low-cost modern cars) using simple electronics, an easy way to preserve battery life is disconnecting the battery earth cable. That’s the cable that goes to the negative terminal on the battery denoted by a minus (-) sign, whereas the positive terminal has a plus (+) marking alongside it.

Why disconnect it?

You disconnect the earth cable because if you accidentally slip with your spanner on the positive terminal, you can cause sparks to fly if the battery is still earthed. So disconnect the earth cable. Usually, you will need a 10mm or 13mm spanner to do this, but today some manufacturers have battery connectors that don’t even require a spanner for connection or removal.

If you are only using your older car very sporadically, it is also a good idea to purchase a battery charger to ensure your car’s battery remains charged. In the case of older cars, a much simpler and cheaper battery charger can be used, so ask your local spares shop which charger will be suitable for your vehicle.

Allowing a battery to run flat actually damages the lead plates inside the battery, to the point where if the battery runs flat too often, eventually the battery won’t accept a charge. So as a top-up job, it’s a good idea to charge the battery if your car has been left standing for long periods before drawing a whole bunch of current from the car’s starter motor.

You can still buy relatively cheap chargers from spares outlets for a few hundred rands. Using a simple charger, you will need to remove the battery from the car. You should ensure you connect the red cable on the charger to the positive terminal and the black cable to the negative terminal before switching the charger on. An overnight charge should get the battery up to full charge.

Modern chargers

Even on old cars, the modern, more sophisticated (and expensive) chargers will enable you to charge your car’s battery without removing it. And there are very sophisticated chargers on offer that can rejuvenate a tired battery by exciting the particles in the battery, effectively cleaning up the lead plates so that they can accept a full charge.

But it is not a bad idea to remove a car’s battery now and again for maintenance purposes on older cars. The battery platform in the engine bay is often subject to severe corrosion, so it is wise to remove the battery and the battery tray (if fitted) and do a thorough clean up. Using bicarbonate of soda mixed with a little water in a thick paste will react on any acid and neutralise it (you’ll see the acid bubbling away). You can then clean this off thoroughly with water, coat the metal surface with an oil-based lubricant and replace the cleaned-up plastic battery tray.

Before replacing the battery, you should clean the terminals on the battery with gritty water paper and clean the clamps and battery cables in the same way, as it will promote good contact between the battery cables and the battery terminals. Also, coat the terminals and clamps with a lubricant to deter corrosion from forming.

Once you’ve done this – it would represent a leisurely Sunday-morning’s work – your car will be good to go. And again, take that extra time out to ensure that your car’s battery remains healthily charged.

Article courtesy of:  Wheels24 – Stuart Johnston


South African Car of the year finalists announced

AutoTrader has released the 14 finalists for their 2020 South African Car of the Year competition.

The cars will be put to the test on public roads and on the race track in March next year. They will be judged by a jury of 27 automotive writers selected by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ). The winners will be announced in April 2020.

In addition to the grand title, these finalists can also win one of seven other categories including: Family, Leisure, Lifestyle, Premium Car, Premium SUV, Sport/Performance or Urban.

AutoTrader chief executive George Mienie, said that members of the public have voted that they would like to see the Mazda3 to win.

“It triumphed in the consumer vote, where we had hundreds of thousands of votes. The consumer votes act as the 28th Juror in the competition. Mazda’s last win was back in 2008, with the Mazda2 1.5 Individual – so it will be interesting to see if this Japanese company can take top honours,” he said.

BMW 3 Series


Citroen C3 Aircross

Ford Ranger Raptor

Hyundai Atos

Jaguar I-Pace


Mercedes-Benz GLE

Peugeot 5008

Suzuki Swift Sport

Toyota Corolla Hatch

Toyota Rav4

Toyota GR Supra

Volkswagen T-Cross

Image: @DoughZAR/Twitter

Author:  Popular Mechanics – Leila Stein

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Uber and Hyundai release plans for a flying car

Uber has unveiled its plans, in collaboration with Hyundai Motor Co., for flying cars that will operate as air taxis.

The full-scale prototype of the concept vehicle is on display at the CES technology conference this week.

The flying car is planned to be fully electric, take off and land vertically and be able to seat four passengers. It is expected to fly up to 322 km/h for up to 97 km per charge at around 300-600 meters above the ground. Uber plans to have these vehicles fly autonomously eventually, but have acknowledged the need for a human pilot initially.

The project is part of Uber Elevate, the company’s aerial division.

Alongside the actual vehicle design, Hyundai unveiled concepts for a landing hub and a ground vehicle which will transport people to the flight station. Uber has not released any prices for these flights since the project is still in its early days.


The model is the first step, with Hyundai yet to complete any test flights.

According to My Broadband, Uber said it will conduct the first public demonstration of a flying car this year and allow customers to book aerial rides by 2023. It will first launch in the US, in Texas and California.

On top of the actual physical challenge of building the vehicle, Uber and Hyundai will have to negotiate with the Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation regulatory bodies before being allowed to take to the skies.

Image: Uber

Author:  Popular Mechanics

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History and Timeline of the Battery

A battery, which is actually an electric cell, is a device that produces electricity from a chemical reaction. In a one cell battery, you would find a negative electrode; an electrolyte, which conducts ions; a separator, also an ion conductor; and a positive electrode.

Timeline of Battery History

    • 1748—Benjamin Franklin first coined the term “battery” to describe an array of charged glass plates.
    • 1780 to 1786—Luigi Galvani demonstrated what we now understand to be the electrical basis of nerve impulses and provided the cornerstone of research for later inventors like Volta to create batteries.
    • 1800 Voltaic Pile—Alessandro Volta invented the Voltaic Pile and discovered the first practical method of generating electricity. Constructed of alternating discs of zinc and copper with pieces of cardboard soaked in brine between the metals, the Voltaic Pile produced electrical current. The metallic conducting arc was used to carry the electricity over a greater distance. Alessandro Volta’s voltaic pile was the first “wet cell battery” that produced a reliable, steady current of electricity.
    • 1836 Daniell Cell—The Voltaic Pile could not deliver an electrical current for a long period of time. Englishman, John F. Daniell invented the Daniell Cell that used two electrolytes: copper sulfate and zinc sulfate. The Daniel Cell lasted longer than the Volta cell or pile. This battery, which produced about 1.1 volts, was used to power objects such as telegraphs, telephones, and doorbells, remained popular in homes for over 100 years.
    • 1839 Fuel Cell—William Robert Grove developed the first fuel cell, which produced electrical by combining hydrogen and oxygen.
    • 1839 to 1842—Inventors created improvements to batteries that used liquid electrodes to produce electricity. Bunsen (1842) and Grove (1839) invented the most successful.
    • 1859 Rechargeable—French inventor, Gaston Plante developed the first practical storage lead-acid battery that could be recharged (secondary battery). This type of battery is primarily used in cars today.
    • 1866 Leclanche Carbon-Zinc Cell—French engineer, Georges Leclanche patented the carbon-zinc wet cell battery called the Leclanche cell. According to The History of Batteries: “George Leclanche’s original cell was assembled in a porous pot. The positive electrode consisted of crushed manganese dioxide with a little carbon mixed in. The negative pole was a zinc rod. The cathode was packed into the pot, and a carbon rod was inserted to act as a current collector. The anode or zinc rod and the pot were then immersed in an ammonium chloride solution. The liquid acted as the electrolyte, readily seeping through the porous cup and making contact with the cathode material. The liquid acted as the electrolyte, readily seeping through the porous cup and making contact with the cathode material.” Georges Leclanche then further improved his design by substituting the ammonium chloride paste for liquid electrolyte and invented a method of sealing the battery, inventing the first dry cell, an improved design that was now transportable.
    • 1881—J.A. Thiebaut patented the first battery with both the negative electrode and porous pot placed in a zinc cup.
    • 1881—Carl Gassner invented the first commercially successful dry cell battery (zinc-carbon cell).

      • 1899—Waldmar Jungner invented the first nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery.
      • 1901 Alkaline Storage—Thomas Alva Edison invented the alkaline storage battery. Thomas Edison’s alkaline cell had iron as the anode material (-) and nickelic oxide as the cathode material (+).
      • 1949 Alkaline-Manganese Battery—Lew Urry developed the small alkaline battery in 1949. The inventor was working for the Eveready Battery Co. at their research laboratory in Parma, Ohio. Alkaline batteries last five to eight times as long as zinc-carbon cells, their predecessors.
      • 1954 Solar Cells—Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin invented the first solar battery. A solar battery converts the sun’s energy into electricity. In 1954, Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller, and Daryl Chapin invented the first solar battery. The inventors created an array of several strips of silicon (each about the size of a razor blade), placed them in sunlight, captured the free electrons and turned them into ​​electrical current. Bell Laboratories in New York announced the prototype manufacture of a new solar battery. Bell had funded the research. The first public service trial of the Bell Solar Battery began with a telephone carrier system (Americus, Georgia) on October 4, 1955.
  • 1964—Duracell was incorporated.

Author: Mary Bellis
Source:  www.thoughtto.com

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Vehicle-to-Grid: Using Electric Cars To Store Renewable Energy

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The 2020 Olympic Medals Will Be Made from Recycled Gadgets

The world’s best athletes will wear old cell phones around their necks next summer.

The medals awarded during next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo—set to kick off July 24, 2020—will be completely made from recycled materials. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games decided to create sustainable medals in an effort to build “an innovative future for all.”

Tokyo 2020 Medal Project officials shared that they hoped the results of the upcycling would create a lasting legacy and “contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society.”

The process has been in the works since early 2017, when Japan announced it would collect old electronics and repurpose them into medals. Since then, the organizing committee has gathered over 47,000 tons of tech waste and more than 5 million cell phones in an effort to make the Games more sustainable.

The committee sought to collect around 70 pounds of gold, 7,700 pounds of silver, and 4,850 pounds of bronze—all from various donated electronic gadgets—to fashion approximately 5,000 medals for next year’s Games. The Japanese government will further recycle any source materials that aren’t used to make the medals.

Tokyo took inspiration from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, which implemented a similar method of reusing electronics–such as TVs, computers, and keyboards—for their medals. For that effort, the Vancouver-based metal company Teck Resources teamed up with the Canadian Mint to create approximately 1,000 medals.

This article was written by Daisy Hernandez and was published by Popular Mechanics on 26/07/2019

Image: Pixabay; The Olympic Committee

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Taking care of your car battery in summer.

With summer now in full force, your car battery can also take strain in the heat.

One of the quickest ways to take better care of your car battery is to minimise sun exposure and park your vehicle in the shade.

Here are some other tips to help increase the lifespan of your battery:

  • Check that the fan belt is working. A durable fan belt in good working condition helps charge your battery.
  • Monitor the water levels of your battery, and if need be, top it up yourself or one of our friendly staff member’s at Battery man can do it for you. If there isn’t sufficient water, it can affect the lifespan and performance of the battery.
  • Also, keep an eye on the coolant levels – you don’t want your car to overheat or malfunction because of a lack of coolant.
  • If you have an older car, with removable filler caps fitted to the battery, consider upgrading to a newer model. With older batteries, the fluid can evaporate quickly, which could result in the vehicle overheating.

Did you know we also offer a free battery check?  This ensures you get the best performance out of your car battery and keep you going the extra mile.

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Load Shedding Solutions

Load Shedding ( The reasons we are given)
Load shedding is a cost-effective, emergency rotating method of energy distribution that has been quite helpful to ease the problems of lack of power generation South Africa is facing from time to time. Eskom developed this  method to prevent blackout scenarios building a “power reserve” for critical moments. While the power generation is stable, electricity distributors are requested to route a fraction of their power load that is non-critical. The received loads are used afterwards to provide energy to all clients equally. Load shedding may continue in South Africa for an unspecified time period and it is vital that you implement an effective load shedding solution for your home or business.

Our solution to ease the household burden
We supply domestic type inverters which convert a 12 or 24 Volt deep cycle battery supply, into 220 Volts, which then enables the householder to run certain low wattage appliances during a load shed. These would include most TV’s and DSTV, Computers, low wattage lamps, inkjet printers (not laser), small fans etc.


The sole purpose of the inverter, deep cycle battery combination is to lessen the inconvenience of load shedding by enabling the user to continue watching TV or working on a computer during a load shed. Most inverter/battery combinations will supply between 2-4 hours of power depending on the number of batteries in use. The batteries will then automatically recharge when the power comes back on, so that you are ready for the next load shed.


If the basic guidelines above are adhered to the concept is very workable and very convenient.

At the time of writing we are supplying a very useful and presentable compact unit on wheels in both a 720 and 1400 watt option. Prices available from our branches on 033-3457288 PMB and 031-7658270 HILLCREST. Our staff will be able to guide you on the size and number of batteries you may need according to your requirements.

Load shedding times
The load shedding distribution works under a strictly scheduled program and is used during limited periods, as well as they follow a criteria to ensure that all customers get access equally and you are informed in advance when you would require load shedding solutions. Currently, the load shedding schedule is implemented in three different stages and each load shedding stage has different amounts of energy routed.
These implementations will happen during the period of 5AM to 9:30PM. Lack of power peaks might happen however for up to 2 hours and a half and this is when load shedding solutions are required.

Load shedding stages
Load Shedding Stage 1: up to 1000 MW of the national load shedding is used
Load Shedding Stage 2: up to 2000MW
Load Shedding Stage 3: up to 4000 MW of the national load shedding

Load shedding tips
• Always watch the news to know if load shedding is active and what stage of load shedding your area is in.
• If you are affected, refer to the load shedding schedule to see what time the electricity in your area will be cut off.
• Check that your appliances are charged before load shedding.
• Plan ahead to ensure that cooking and bathing is done before you are is effected by load shedding.
• Ensure you have an effective load shedding solution in place.

Load shedding solutions in South Africa require a proactive approach. The schedules are available on the Eskom website. Unfortunately load shedding seems like it will continue for a while and its best to be prepared. Fortunately, there are load shedding solutions in Durban and other cities readily available.

Most homes have precious appliances that can be destroyed because of power interruptions. Not the mention the inconvenience it causes. One load shedding solution in South Africa that will never let you down is our DC to AC inverters. Having this device means you will be protected from power outage while being able to continue with your day to day life. You do not have to tolerate darkness anymore because affordable resources are available.

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Golf cart batteries: Maintenance and Replacement

The majority of deep cycle of 6 volt and 8 volt batteries should last 2 to 5 years, however harsh conditions such as extreme cold or heat can significantly reduce the lifespan of these batteries, no matter how robust. A lack of “cycling” the battery, discharging and recharging can also result in an early demise of the golf cart battery. In order to check and maintain your deep cycle 6 or 8 volt batteries, you will require the following:

Goggles and Gloves
Post/Clamp Cleaner
Distilled water, baking soda and Petroleum Jelly

Ensure that you are wearing the protective gear while handling any battery, also remove all jewellery as this could create an arc between the battery posts. This would result in serious injury. Avoid getting any leaked battery acid on your skin, rinse immediately if this should occur. Using the baking soda will neutralize any battery acid that has been spilled, and will also remove corrosion on or around the battery posts.

Acid should never be added to any battery. Never smoke while replacing batteries. The hydrogen gas emitted by batteries is highly flammable, even explosive in confined areas.

  • Check the appearance of the batteries, are there any cracks? There should be no corrosion on the battery posts. Batteries that are damaged, leaking of bulging should be replaced.
  • Vent caps must be tightened. Using baking soda, remove any dirt or debris from the top of the battery. Rinse with water and dry with a cloth. Never use cleansers or solvents.
  • Disconnect the clamps. Clean the battery terminals and clamps with post and clamp cleaner
  • After applying a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the battery posts, reconnect the clamps
  • Once the golf cart batteries are fully charged, add water. Before charging, the water should be covering the plates inside the battery. The water level should be above the battery plates if the battery is either fully or partially discharged.
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Burglar Alarm Batteries

Burglar alarms are generally reliable but if the internal battery is flat and will no longer hold charge it should be replaced as soon as possible.

A flat internal battery can mean that if there is a power cut the external siren will sound because the hold off circuit to it is no longer present. If the outside siren does not have a self contained battery (scb) the alarm can still go into tamper mode and activate when the power is supplied to the alarm system ( this is why many burglar alarms sound after a power cut). This video shows how to replace the back up battery.

View video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vsC9jgkVbo

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