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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why buy from ABS?
A: We've been providing batteries for portable equipment for over 32 years. We are a battery pack manufacturer and we are a distributor for other manufacturers. Whether we make it hear in the U.S. or overseas at one of our affiliate sites, our product is always manufactured with high quality materials and workmanship. We are not a fly-by-night company. If you have a question about our product, or about batteries in general, we'll do our best to answer it. We work regular U.S. business hours (9am to 5pm Eastern). We have the experience and resources to provide you with a one-stop shop for all your battery needs.

Q: What is the difference between GEL and AGM batteries?
A: Both AGM and GEL batteries are sealed, valve-regulated, and non-spillable batteries. The electrolyte in AGM batteries or gel batteries does not flow like a normal liquid. For AGM batteries, the liquid electrolyte is stored in a sponge-like matted glass fiber separator material (Absorbed Glass Mat). In GEL batteries the electrolyte is mixed with an additive that changes it into a gel-like material. This method of storing electrolyte protects the plates during heavy deep-discharges.

At lower temperatures (near 32°F) the power declines faster in a GEL battery than in an AGM battery. AGM batteries perform better than GEL batteries during high current, high power applications and in extremely cold environments.

Flooded or wet batteries are more easily replaced by AGM batteries than GEL batteries because GEL batteries have a different charge requirement (mainly lower finishing voltages).

Q: Why should I choose UPS or Fedex instead of U.S. Postal Service or Economy Shipping when ordering lithium batteries ?
A: The United States Postal Service sometimes uses passenger aircraft to send parcels across the country and overseas. We are required by the D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) to place warning labels on the outside of our packages containing primary (non-rechargeable) lithium batteries. The warning label reads "CONTAINS PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES. FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT". This warning is related to the volatile nature of primary lithium batteries if/when they are involved in an accidental fire. If packages with this warning label are shipped via US Postal Service, the package will automatically be diverted to a ground shipment. Ground shipments with the U.S. Postal Service have no guaranteed delivery time and can take several weeks in transit. For this reason, we highly recommend using UPS or FedEx for this type of shipment. UPS and FedEx will use cargo only aircraft (not passenger aircraft) for their packages.

Q: What is "memory effect" and how can I avoid it?
A: Memory effect is the loss of battery capacity or performance due to the crystalline formation that appears on the inside of nickel based batteries when they are subjected to shallow discharge followed by recharging. This occurs in Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. The best way to avoid the memory effect is to exercise your battery by discharging your battery fully before recharging (down to 1v per cell, or until the equipment complains of low battery). 

Q: What is "Shelf Life" ?
A: Shelf life is the amount of time a manufacturer recommends that a product sits in storage without being used.  It is measured from the date of manufacture (NOT the date of purchase by the end user!).  For example:  When a manufacturer or a reseller states a shelf life of a product, it is not necessarily intended to mean "battery life", it is meant to be a guideline to use when marking a product with a "use by date".  This information can be useful to a consumer so that old batteries are not used before this date.

Q: Are NiMH batteries "memory free"?
A: NO. Please see description above. NiMH batteries, however, do have much less memory effect than NiCd.

Q: Can I rejuvenate my old batteries that have been idle for a long period of time?
A: Many myths exist about being able to rejuvenate old batteries, but we recommend replacing old batteries to avoid equipment failure during use. Batteries are chemical systems and will deteriorate over time.

Q: Why can't I purchase lithium ion or lithium polymer rechargeable cells?
A: Most battery companies will not sell individual lithium ion or lithium polymer cells. This is a safety/liability issue. Lithium rechargeable cells are a completely different system than NiCd or NiMH and require proper charging. Lithium battery cells are usually 3.6 or 3.7 volts, which is quite different than the 1.2v cells of Nickel based batteries. If lithium cells are assembled, charged or discharged improperly, they could explode. This is why lithium ion and lithium polymer battery packs are always assembled with safety circuits.

Q: Why can't I find rechargeable lithium AA batteries?
A: See question above this one.

Q: Why didn't my order qualify for the discounted shipping rate?
A: Our discounted shipping offers will usually have some restrictions. For instance, if the item you are purchasing has low value or high weight, then we cannot offer a discounted shipping rate because we will not make any money. Our goal is to provide you with quality product and service at a reasonable cost to you. In order to continue doing this, the items we sell need to be profitable. ALSO - PLEASE BE AWARE THAT YOU MUST USE YOUR MOUSE TO CLICK ON THE LITTLE ARROW WHICH IS A DROP DOWN LIST, ALLOWING YOU TO CHOOSE DIFFERENT SHIPPING METHODS. If your order qualifies for the discounted shipping, then you must "choose" it from the list of shipping methods.

Q: What is "reversed polarity"?
A: Polarity refers to the orientation of the positive and negative portions of a battery. Batteries attach to a device through its battery terminals (positive and negative). The battery terminals may be in the form of wire leads, a connector, metal plates, or clip on type adapters, to name just a few. Positive is usually signified by a red wire or a (+) sign. Negative is usually signified by a black wire or a minus (-) sign. When connecting a battery to a device, you need to make sure that the positive and negative of the battery are connecting to the correct points on the device. This is usually made fool proof by the device manufacturer, but when purchasing a replacement battery, such as for a cordless phone, you need to be aware that there is a possibility that the positive and negative terminals of the battery may be reversed. Always keep your original battery for comparison.

Q: What is "battery capacity"?
A: Without being too technical, battery capacity is the rating used to describe how much energy can be stored by a battery. The higher the number, the more energy a battery can store. Most battery cell manufacturers will use similar standards when rating their batteries. You should be aware, however, that some companies will label and market their product based on the "maximum" battery capacity - this gives the appearance of a product to have a higher capacity than a competitor's which may be labeled with the "average" or even the "minimum" battery capacity.

Q: Why can't I purchase a NiMH battery to replace my old NiCd battery?
A: Care needs to be taken when replacing older NiCd batteries with NiMH batteries. These chemistries are similar, but do have different needs when charging. If a NiMH battery is charged improperly using a charger designed to charge NiCd, then the battery or charger could overheat and damage equipment or injure a person.

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