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  Battery Nurse: VCS, Voltage Control System

    Batteries are perishable and will eventually fail despite all efforts to prevent them from doing so; The Tekin Battery Nurse is a proactive weapon designed to minimize the effects of battery aging.

    Battery care and conditioning is somewhat of a dark art and most conventional approaches still rely on the time-tested methodology of battery conditioning through cycling and discharge, even while batteries have changed significantly. The Battery Nurse, unlike any other battery care product made, uses an innovative Voltage Control System (VCS) to extend a new battery pack’s peak performance characteristics. Just what defines a loss of performance can be described in several ways, physical failure, loss of capacity, and loss of power. The Battery Nurse works by addressing each of these failure mechanisms.

    Physical component failure in NiCd and NiMh batteries typically involves the separator between the conductive plates. Separator failure can happen in a number of ways, the principal causes are dry-out due to loss of water in the cell and by crystal growth. Abusive overcharge and over-discharge conditions can contribute to water loss in the cell and cause the separator to dry out; these conditions can be inflicted during the matching process before the battery even reaches the end-user and cannot be remedied. Conversely, crystal growth occurs over time and can be rectified. As a cell self-discharges it becomes more susceptible to high-resistance shorts, a phenomenon in which crystal growth is so extensive that the separator is bridged by conductive material. The Battery Nurse monitors the State of Charge (SOC) and attends to the cells to help minimize the formation of crystals. Any high-resistance short that attempts to develop is summarily zapped; blown like a fuse.

   It is important to understand that all batteries exhibit a certain amount of self-discharge; the tendency is most pronounced in nickel-based batteries. NiMh batteries tend to self-discharge at 3-4% of capacity per day, NiCd batteries self-discharge at a rate of about 1% per day. The self-discharge rate is highest for the first 24 hours after being charged and continues at a rate of about 10-15% in the following week, dropping to 10-15% per month thereafter.

   Loss of capacity and loss of power both occur for the same reasons, to some extent the cause is again the failure of the separator but a secondary cause has been found to be the degradation of active material on the electrodes. Degradation occurs in the form of corrosion, and recent research indicates that corrosion formation is exacerbated through the charge and discharge cycle. The Battery Nurse uses the VCS system to prevent unwanted discharge, i.e. self-discharge, and in doing so eliminates the formation of corrosion that is not a direct result of active use of the battery. Just as significantly, the Battery Nurse’s VCS also avoids any unnecessary charging, which can also contribute to corrosion formation.

   Simply put, the Battery Nurse helps delay the inevitable, it keeps good batteries good longer, helps keep batteries that want to go bad from going bad as quickly, and does absolutely nothing for bad batteries that are already bad (if only it could...).
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