Load shedding and the impact it has on your battery back up should be considered. With load shedding planned to be with us for while, now more than ever, it's important you understand the negative effects this can have on your electronic equipment; especially when it comes to your gate and garage door motors - which are designed with an energy source in mind!
Load shedding periods are designed to reduce the load on electricity usage available to the grid. However, in a battery back-up systems this means that there might not be enough recharge time between load shedding periods. Load shedding level 1 normally does give enough time for the batteries to charge, however with load shedding level 4, there is typically not enough time before the next scheduled outage for your motor's batteries to fully recharge themselves and function as intended. This could leave your equipment in a dilapidated state and when you need to use it will not function properly or at all.
The battery backup systems on your garage door and gate motor will be greatly diminished if you don’t take care to preserve the state of charge. Off course, due to load shedding this is mostly out of your hands.
The best way to ensure your battery lasts long and performs at its peak is by keeping it charged, which with load shedding presents the obvious problem. When the battery voltage drops below 10.5V (applicable to 12V batteries), it will severely damage the battery and shorten the life span.
Batteries can only be cycled so many times in their life. The number of cycles per battery depends on the quality and conditions of charging/discharging, such as temperature, depth discharge level when not being used often and/or how long ago it was charged fully.
All these factors affect performance over time.
Typical issues observed
With load shedding comes current spikes which can damage electronic equipment, here is a list of typical issues that can occur:
PC board in motors gets damaged due to current spikes
Due to damaged PC board batteries get over or under charged
A swollen battery is a good indicator that it is charging incorrectly and probably a damaged PC board
In extreme cases the battery can explode
What can you do?
There are a couple of things that can be done to get the most out of your batteries, although load shedding might limit some of these options.
Using your batteries more sparingly (Not really applicable with load shedding)
Install larger capacity batteries
Install a secondary battery
Install a solar system for your gate motor and/or garage door motor
Use surge protectors on electronic equipment
Have your battery's condition checked at least once a year. That way a failing battery can be changed out before it fails when most needed.
Unfortunately load shedding is part of every South African's life and for many there is no avoiding it. The good news is that Peninsula Garage Doors can assist and advise on getting the most out of your batteries.
For further assistance or advice please feel free to reach out to us at the details below:
Cape Town: 078 949 8130
Port Elizabeth / Gqeberha: 063 462 4003