From:Backyard Bob e-mail:somewhere-A- new jersey
Subject:Batteries Date:Wed Aug 15 22:27:50 2012
Batteries used to be a simple thing. The guy at the hardware or automtive store did everything for you. Put the battery in and never have to worry about it for what? Maybe 5 years? Those days are gone.

A 6 volt, fully charged battery should read 7.2 volts coming off the charger and then ramp down to around 6.4 volts when its cooled. A Battery hydrometer floating all balls is the only indicator in wet cell batteries...this is why it was invented. A new (lead) battery will read 6 volts on a meter after adding acid. This is a 'surface charge' put on the lead cells from the maker. Voltage and amps are two different things. Voltage is what you have to work with. Amps are the force you do it with. Add acid and trickle charge for 24 hours at less than 2 amps. This will build a 'saturation charge' (This is when the hydrogen gases are formed and you see bubbles rising to the surface.....DO NOT SMOKE or MAKE A SPARK. It WILL explode!) A 'Battery Tender' is not a charger, you will burn it out and be disappointed. You also won't charge your battery. Most chargers now-a-days won't go below 2 amps....! Sears sold the last ones years ago and I'm still looking for a replacement on eBay. Anything above 2 amps on a regular motorcycle battery will overheat the acid, overheat the lead cells and cause warping. None of this is good. Fully charged battery acid (electrolyte) will not eat the lead fact, that's what they crave....keep them this way and you'll get 5 years (or more) out of them. Let the specific gravity (less than three balls floating in the hydrometer) of the acid (and charge) fall and oxidation will set in (lead rust). It starts on the surface of the lead plates making them less apt to tranfer electrons (voltage/amperage). As the charge deteriorates even more the lead plates begin to shed scales of oxidation. The oxidation still transfers electrons but builds up at the botton of the battery. Old battery manufacturers took this into consideration and allowed space at the bottom. New ones don' bean-counters... profit takers and off-shore manufacturing. The 'rust' drops to the bottom of the battery until a pile builds up. That pile eventually comes into contact with two opposing cells...the battery 'shorts'. Not the battery's fault, yours. You didn't ride the bike enough or think to put a battery tender on it...they only work when the battery is FULLY charged 'tender'.
Yes, I'm living in the past. The batteries available to us for our Hummers, 125's, 165's, Pacers, etc. (reproductions) are made overseas. The lead is wrong. Years of understanding the nature of, and refinement of, the lead and the process of making batteries was not transferred with the purchase order. What we have available to us is s--t. The gel-cells have followed the same process. Look at the Country of Origin...not the 'Manufactured for Disrtibution by...' bulls--t.
12 AH is means "12 hours at 1 amp" or "3 hours at 4 amps". Run headlights along a road and you're okay at high RPM's. Sit at an idle while you're trying to make time with a cute girl you may have to charge your battery when you get home. The 'Hummer Guys' had this one beat with the ladies in magneto ignition but paid for it at stop streets unless they revev'd the motor to keep the lights going. Batteries are a trade off now-a-days....and getting CHINA.