A 12 volt battery is a type of automotive battery that is rechargeable and supplies electric energy to power the ignition, lighting, and starter of a vehicle. 12 volt car battery provides a total of 12.6 volts at complete charge. A 12 volt battery have lead plates that are submerged into a solution of sulfuric acid and water. The chemical reaction produced by this set up releases electrons that flow through conductors and provide electricity. Discharging the battery changes the plates which is caused by the reaction to the solution and the reversed happens when the 12 volt car battery is recharged and the plates are back to their previous state.
A battery in simple terms stores electricity for later use. A 12 volt battery is very flexible since it can be used in many ways and are made in different sizes and shapes. They can be used as a car battery, children's toys, boats, and many others. There are also rechargeable and non chargeable types. The size of the battery usually determines how much charge it can carry. Battery technology advances allowed manufacturers to create better 12 volt batteries that are smaller and maintains electricity better.
Lead acid 12 volt car batteries are created differently based on its intended use. 12 volt LSI batteries have more number of plates to be able to provide high electricity for a short period of time used in starting of the automobile. They are immediately recharged by the charging system of the engine. Another type provides continuous power for long time by having thicker plates that have higher capacity for charging and discharging. Some car batteries are supposed to be capable of both for starting and supplying for long periods of time.
12v battery using lead plates are filled with water to replace lost water due to electrolysis every time it charges. Some car batteries require only minimum maintenance since they have additional electrolyte which allow losses. Excessive overcharging can cause the liquid solution to drop making the plates exposed to the air which damages it and looses its capacity. Water impurities and other additives can cause the 12v battery to lose performance and shorten its usefulness. It is recommended to use distilled water rather than potable water.
Some 12 volt car batteries have a visible window to determine if the battery is charged. The window changes color as the battery is discharged. Alternatively, a portable hydrometer can be used to check the state of each cells. Lead acid batteries should be kept charged to make it last longer.
Jump starting a 12v car battery can be done using the battery of another vehicle or using a battery booster during emergencies. You can use a car battery charger when the car battery is not charged or slow on charging. If you use a simple car battery charger, you need to maintain a steady charge current and stop the charging to prevent overcharging the battery. Even if the battery is not being used, it should be checked and charged from time to time to maintain its capacity. If you plan on storing a 12v car battery, you should make sure that it is fully charged. Put it in a clean and cool environment to prevent it from discharging easily.