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Battery CCA Rating / Torque Effect


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Up until now I have always used Odyssey Batteries in my J230.  However, I have just found my local battery shop is quoting a 2 months supply delay, so I went looking at alternative lead/acid batteries.

Now the Odyssey battery is quoted as 200CCA, some of the batteries I have come across advertise 300CCA.

Given the starter ring is at the back of the motor and the flywheel (prop) is at the front, should I be concerned for the starter ring attachment, crank shaft, etc as a result of the extra torque?

 

Alan

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Just like sports car manufacturers brag about how much horsepower their engines have, battery brands tend to do the same thing with their performance attributes. Enough brands and companies have told people over the years that "more is better" when it comes to cold cranking amps, that a lot of folks now believe it always the case. While more may be better, it may not be necessary and it may be more expensive.

 

One of the performance attributes is how many cold cranking amps (CCA) a battery can generate.

So how is this determined? Since "Cold" is in the name, they put a battery in a cold environment (0°F/-18°C) and measure the discharge load in amperes that a new, fully-charged battery can deliver for 30 seconds, while still maintaining terminal voltage equal to or higher than 1.20 volts per cell.

 

Why did they pick a cold environment? Ask anyone who lives in a cold climate with a high-mileage diesel truck- it takes a long time to start some vehicles, whether that is due to high compression engines, extremely cold temperatures or both. Does a J230 in Australia operate in these conditions?

 

A good starter will draw amps under load (while cranking the engine). So if the battery can deliver can deliver 200 amp when it is is chilled to -18C, it will produce more than that at our usual air temperatures. Buying a 300CCA battery would be overkill, unless you want to run a full glass panel, air conditioning and cabin entertainment system at the same time.

 

Getting to the point of your question, the 300CCA battery will not generate extra torque.  It will just provide power for longer. And keeping a starter motor cranking for extended period of time will overheat it and burn it out. 

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The only two ways you can increase starter torque is by increasing the cable and connector sizes - or by increasing the battery voltage. Battery voltage drops to about 10V at the starter when cranking, normally.

If you utilise a larger battery you may see a slight increase in battery voltage at the starter when cranking, but I personally don't think you would see any substantial increase in starter torque. A slight gain, perhaps.

 

CCA is really quite a poor measurement for our climate. It's an industry standard set in, and for, North America, to determine a batterys cranking ability on their bitterly cold Winter mornings. 

The Nth American Winters get down to -10° and -20°C, and at those temperatures, battery performance really suffers.

For us, unless you're in an Australian Alpine location, we don't often get any lower than about -2° to -5°, and that is usually only for a short period, unlike America, where it can be -10° or -20C°, all day.

There is a battery measurement for our climate, and it's termed HCA - Hot Cranking Amperes. But you will find it difficult to get that figure from manufacturers, as CCA is the "recognised figure".

 

If the battery you're looking at is Chinese, take the CCA rating with a degree of scepticism. Chinese electrical ratings are always over-rated. I'd be more concerned about increasing battery weight in an aircraft, by going to a bigger battery.

 

The Odyssey battery is a deep cycle Absorbed Glass Mat battery, and deep cycle batteries are not recommended for use as starting batteries - even though people do often use them for that purpose.

A dedicated starter battery can produce the high amperage needed in short bursts, such as starter motor power demand.

An AGM battery is designed to produce a smaller amperage current supply, over a longer period of time - and to be able to be cycled a lot more often, between a fully charged state, and a discharged state.

 

Accordingly, I'd suggest a dedicated starter battery be fitted, rather than another AGM battery. But at the end of the day, it's your choice.

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