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Car & LCV Batteries
Milliamp Hour (mAh)
Milliamps Hour (mAh) is important because it's the easiest way to distinguish the strength or capacity of a battery. The higher the mAh, the longer the battery will last. Batteries with different mAh ratings are interchangeable. If your battery is rechargeable then the mAh rating is how long the battery will last per charge.
Milliamps Hour is 1/1000th of a Amp Hour, so a 1000mAh = 1.0Ah
Think of a cars fuel tank. Voltage is how much fuel is being used, and mAh is the size of the fuel tank. The bigger the fuel tank (mAh) rating the longer the device will run. If your battery is rechargeable, then think of the fuel tank as refillable (rechargeable).
What does the Reserve Capacity rating mean and how does it apply to batteries?
Reserve capacity is the number of minutes a battery can maintain a useful voltage under a 25 ampere discharge. The higher the minute rating, the greater the battery's ability to run lights, pumps, inverters, and electronics for a longer period before recharging is necessary. The 25 Amp. Reserve Capacity Rating is more realistic than Amp-Hour or CCA as a measurement of capacity for deep cycle service. Batteries promoted on their high Cold Cranking Ratings are easy and inexpensive to build. The market is flooded with them, however their Reserve Capacity, Cycle Life (the number of discharges and charges the battery can deliver) and Service life are poor. Reserve Capacity is difficult and costly to engineer into a battery and requires higher quality cell materials.
For instance, Rolls, Surrette and Lifeline use thicker lead grids (the plate's skeletal structure) to support additional positive plate oxides which are compressed into a denser form in order to add battery reactive material for greater Reserve Capacity and Cycling Performance. In addition, these plates are separated by indestructible separators. These mats hold the active oxides tightly in place during the cubical plate expansion which occurs during deep discharging, instead of allowing the oxides to shed off and precipitate to the bottom of the battery. Construction materials such as those raise the Reserve Capacity of a battery and increase the battery's Cycle Life.