How To Activate A Conventional and How to Activate An AGM Lead-Acid Battery
Conventional (wet/flooded) and AGM lead-acid batteries can be Factory Activated (FA) batteries, but also some manufacturers offer Bottle Supplied (BS) batteries - dry batteries with their electrolyte stored in special plastic battery containers, ready to be added to cells just before the very first use.
Although Factory Activated batteries are simpler to use, Bottle Supplied (BS) batteries have a longer shelf life and very often longer operating life.
Published: April 6, 2022.
How to Activate a Lead-Acid Battery?
Both conventional and AGM lead-acid batteries are activated using very similar procedures, which also very often depend on the battery brand and even battery model.
Here are the general activation procedures of these battery types - before continuing with the activation procedure, be sure to read the instructions that came with your battery and to wear safety gear (at least protective gloves and protective goggles):
How to Activate AGM Battery: Place the battery on a flat surface, remove the strip of caps from the electrolyte containers, but do not pierce them!
Remove the protective strip from the battery cell filler ports, place the electrolyte containers into the cell filler ports and press them to break foil seals. This releases the electrolyte into the battery cells.
To speed things a little bit, gently tap the electrolyte containers periodically - each electrolyte container features the exact amount of battery acid and must be completely emptied into the battery.
When the electrolyte bottles are empty, carefully remove them and permanently close the AGM battery.
Depending on the battery size, let the battery sit for 30-120 minutes - this will activate the batteries, which will be charged to 75-85% of their nominal capacity.
Although lead-acid batteries charged to their 75-85% can be used as cranking/starting batteries, it is highly recommended to fully recharge them to 100% SoC using an advanced AGM battery charger.
And that is it - a dry AGM battery is completely filled with electrolyte, charged to 100% SoC, and ready for use.
- always use only the electrolyte that came with the battery since AGM batteries and wet/flooded batteries use slightly different battery acids,
- whenever working with sulfuric acid, use protective gear in a well-ventilated area,
- always read the instructions, especially if unsure about certain procedures.
How to Activate a Conventional Battery: Place the battery on a flat surface, and remove the sealing cap from the side of the battery - the sealing cap allows the excess gasses to vent out of the battery.
Note: some wet/flooded dry batteries are delivered with an electrolyte stored in six small containers that are used just like electrolyte containers for dry AGM batteries.
However, some wet/flooded dry batteries are delivered with just one larger electrolyte container.
When the electrolyte is delivered in a single container, open the bottle and mount a cap with a short filling tube - fill each cell to the "upper level" filling line.
Let the battery sit on a flat surface for 30-60 minutes. Gently tap the battery to help gasses vent out.
Now, refill each cell again to the "upper level" filling line with the provided electrolyte and close the cells - the battery is 75-80% charged and almost ready for use.
Before the very first use, the battery must be charged to 100% using a smart battery charger that features wet/flooded lead-acid battery charging mode.
Note: in the future, the battery should be only refilled using distilled water and NOT with the battery acid!
Long Story Short: Although Factory Activated (FA) batteries have perhaps somewhat shorter operating life than the batteries activated before the very first use, lead-acid battery is nasty and dangerous liquid that can cause some serious damage and injuries.
Personally, if You are looking for a good and reliable motorcycle/Powersports battery, go for Factory Activated (FA) Battery Sealed (BS) battery from a reputable battery brand that already has numerous positive reviews.
Better safe than sorry. Just my 2c :)