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Constant Power Battery Discharge

Recently I’ve been looking at battery datasheets, in preparation for an off-grid solar project. I’ve noticed something strange about the “constant power discharge” numbers in the datasheets of several 12V lead acid batteries. Here’s an example from a 20 Ah Euroglobe sealed lead acid battery.

In the Constant Current Discharge table, if you discharge to a final voltage of 1.80V/cell (10.8V total voltage), the entry circled in yellow shows that you can get a current of 1.00 amps over 20 hours. The voltage will drop from around 13V down to 10.8V during that time. Let’s call it an average of 12V times 1A – that means you can average about 12 watts for 20 hours.

But wait. In the Constant Power Discharge table, if you discharge to a final voltage of 1.80V/cell over 20 hours, the entry circled in yellow shows a power of just 1.98 watts. That’s far less than 12 watts. Why?

Other table entries show something similar. It’s 11.3 amps constant current for 1 hour – that should be an average rate of about 136 watts, but the Constant Power Discharge table shows a measly 21.6 watts. It’s not just this particular battery either. Here’s a 35 Ah lead acid Mighty Max battery that shows the same curious pattern in the Constant Power Discharge table.

So what’s going on here? Am I misunderstanding what these tables mean? Or is there some other factor that limits the power to a much lower number than is suggested by the constant current data? I’ll keep digging for answers.

Read 4 comments and join the conversation 

4 Comments so far

  1.   March 17th, 2020 12:10 pm

    Isn’t the power also per cell? In this case, it would be 19.8 W at constant power vs. ~12 W at constant current. Still seems a bit much, but the 12 W are just an estimate anyways.

  2. Steve March 17th, 2020 1:26 pm

    Ahh, watts per cell must be it. There are 6 cells so 1.98 x 6 = 11.88 watts.

  3.   March 17th, 2020 11:18 pm

    Ah, even better. For some reason, I thought there were 10 cells in a battery.

  4. Alex Cat3 March 19th, 2020 12:30 pm

    Glad to know you’re still here! Was missing your posts since September.

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