how to clean battery contacts on solar lights

In our recent article on solar batteries, we introduced you to the various kinds of batteries that you may require for your solar energy system. This cleaning schedule may change depending on where you live. Built-up dirt or dust can inhibit the light’s performance. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. About 80% of failures are caused by sulfation, a process where sulfur crystals form on the battery's lead plates and prevent chemical reactions from happening. Wipe loose dust and debris away with a dry, soft cloth. These are underneath the panel and inside the light globe. This article will be broken up into two sections. Only apply a small drop. Painting tape is available at hardware stores. This will be too thick. For this reason, take your solar light indoors to a nice clean area before opening it up. Use thick gloves and protective eyewear and remove all metal items. Then, use another rag to dry the terminals completely. You also cannot measure the state of charge using a hydrometer. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, https://www.thesolaradvantage.net/how-to-clean-solar-lights/, https://cleanenergysummit.org/how-to-clean-solar-panels-on-garden-lights/, https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-battery-corrosion/, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. (Like the pressure difference with water), Resistance caused by power source (battery), Ratio of density of electrolyte to the density of pure water, Amps a battery can produce at 0 F for 30 seconds at above 7.2 volts, Amps a battery can produce at 32 F for 30 seconds at above 7.2 volts, Minutes a battery can discharge 25 amps at 80 F and stay above 10.5 volts. When replacing old batteries keep in mind that your batteries' performance could be harmed through 'mixing'. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. If you clean your panels monthly, then this may be all you need to clean them. The most important difference between FLA and VRLA is that flooded batteries need to be refilled. The solar panel is found on the top portion of the solar light, and is used to collect solar energy to store in the solar light battery for nighttime illumination. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. In order to make sure it will work, the batteries need to stay fully charged. So, there you go! If you use a sponge for this job, don’t use the rough side. Alkaline battery leakage is by far the most common flashlight problem that we see. Proper safety precautions must be taken whenever you are near your battery bank. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. All off-grid solar homeowners should have a general idea about the battery charging cycle. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. To do this you will need distilled water, a digital voltmeter, a temperature compensating hydrometer and proper safety gear. Remember, you cannot and do not need to check the fluid level and the specific gravity in AGM and gel batteries. The corrosion could splash up as it comes loose. Image courtesy of Your Solar Link. Monitor your lights and clean them when they’ve accumulated a layer of debris. Find the battery. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published, This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Test the Lights with Alkaline (Regular) Batteries. If your light isn't working right but is completely clean, then the battery may be corroded. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. Valve regulated batteries include both gel and AGM batteries. You could also run the panel under a faucet, but make sure to keep the water away from the light’s internal electronics. For solar electricity systems, the time in which there is charging from the solar panels can be too short to go through full bulk and absorption phases. For that reason, it’s wise to clean a battery leak with a mild household acid like vinegar or lemon juice. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. To neutralize the acid, you need to add a baking soda paste to the terminals. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. Smear the baking soda paste onto the battery connections and the 2 terminals at the end of each battery using the cotton swab. In a dry, dusty environment, they might need a monthly cleaning. As you probably guess, these are going to produce water (H2O). There are three charging phases: float, bulk and absorption. It allows for charge to flow between the cathode and anode. Bulk charging occurs when you start to charge a discharged battery. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. Battery life is a highly variable property that depends on all kinds of factors such as storage temperature and depth of discharge (DOD). Next if possible, wash out the bottom of the battery holder and clean any of the old potassium hydroxide away from the case. This will be difficult to remove and will leave sticky residue behind. It is recommended that you should clean the solar panel at least once every month to keep it in good working condition. The goal of battery care and maintenance is to improve you battery performance and life. Step 2 Dip a cloth or sponge in slightly soapy water, wring out most of the moisture and wipe the plastic down again. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. Wearing goggles while handling corroded batteries is also a good safety measure, just in case any residue splashes up. Don’t use a type of lacquer that has to be brushed on. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. Wet-sanding requires using water to keep the sandpaper free of sanding dust. wikiHow's. To remedy the problem, first remove the cables or wiring from your battery noting the following: You will want to disconnect the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal. BrightGuy and Flashlight University have teamed up to bring you some quick tips on how to clean up after alkaline batteries have damaged your flashlight. Some have found Coca Cola effective for removing corroded batteries. Besides cleaning the battery, it’s also important to clean the solar panel of any outdoor lights like solar pathway lights, which functions as the primary source of energy for the lights. A battery has three main parts: the electrodes,electrolyte and separator. However, there are some other important distinctions between flooded batteries and Gel/AGM batteries. Thank You for your help. Don’t use a sticky tape like duct or packing tape. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. The specific gravity table below will help you determine the state of charge of your battery. You may have to re-wet the cloth to remove all the soap. In the vast majority of cases with solar garden lights, the solar panel and battery are housed in the very top section above the bulb. I did see a video on a repair of the music part but not the battery part. Start by removing the battery cables and brushing off any loose corrosion. A few easy maintenance steps can help clean cloudy solar lights. Joyathome Solar Lights Outdoor,30 LED Solar Security Lights Solar Motion Sensor Lights Wireless IP 65 Waterproof Outdoor Lights for Garden Fence Patio Garage (4 Pack) 4.4 out of 5 … Lightly dampen a cloth or ... 2. Put special solar batteries in after you clean the terminals. Take out the battery from the battery case and clean out the case and battery. The electrolyte is the liquid that the electrodes are placed in. Water could damage the electronics if it drips into the panel. References. You can also use masking tape. Don’t pour the vinegar out. Most batteries will have a "fill line" indicating where the electrolyte level should be. The surface of solar cell panel should be kept clean, free from dust and tree leaves. The solar panels on the top of solar lights will collect dirt and grime over time, making them less capable of receiving sunlight. If poorly treated, batteries can go bad in a matter of weeks, leaving you broke and in the dark. If your eyes roll back when you start thinking of high school chemistry you may want to skip to the next section, but for those who need a primer on batteries, then read on here. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. When old and new batteries are used together, the newer batteries will quickly degrade to the quality of the aged ones. Solar lighting is not only great for reducing energy costs, but they are easy to install. So to take care of a backup battery bank, its best to get AGM batteries, which we discuss below, because they require practically no maintenance, and trickle charge them off a small solar panel or other electricity source. But this would not completely reverse the damage. You may need to use a pair of pliers to loosen and remove the cables/ wiring. Cleaning the solar panel. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/8\/81\/Clean-Solar-Lights-Step-1.jpg\/v4-460px-Clean-Solar-Lights-Step-1.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/8\/81\/Clean-Solar-Lights-Step-1.jpg\/aid11612722-v4-728px-Clean-Solar-Lights-Step-1.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. Why is it important to clean the solar panel? If you do not clean your solar panels regularly, the solar lights may stop working entirely. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. Solar String Lights, Ankway 200 LED Fairy Lights 8 Modes 3-Strands Copper Wire 72 ft Waterproof IP65 Solar String Lights Outdoor Indoor Patio Garden Christmas Decorative (Warm White) — Sale price $30 This could flood the electronics. 3. Protect your skin with rubber gloves while cleaning corroded batteries. Battery acid should not come in contact with the skin. Clean caked on grime with dish soap and water. If you can’t remove the battery holder, then you are going to have to be a lot more careful when cleaning the area. Then I remembered the old remedy I had used to remove tarnish from brass, ketchup. Use your solar light instructions to help you disassemble your lights. If your batteries are 6V instead of 12V then simply divide the voltages by two. When you install a solar light, make sure the location of installation is a sunny place. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. I thought my solar light batteries needed replaced until I saw the battery compartments were corroded. For this reason, mixing old and new batteries is a huge waste of your money. If this were to happen you could overcharge the battery, as shown in this YouTube video, to minimize efficiency losses. The maximum fluid levelis approximately 1/2" below the cap. Wash the panel and bulb with soap and water regularly to prevent built-up grime from inhibiting the light's performance. Remember to be very careful when removing the lights because they may be fragile. Taking good care of your solar batteries is one of the best ways to increase the life of your batteries and decrease the lifetime cost of your off-grid solar electricity system. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. Lead-acid batteries consist of a series of lead plates (electrodes) in dilute sulfuric acid solution (electrolyte). Solar batteries should be maintained as we describe above, but there are also some differing requirements depending on whether you have a gel, AGM or flooded battery. Both liquids work to neutralize the alkaline discharge. This shouldn’t be too difficult; check the auto owner’s manual for assistance. After installation VRLA batteries do not need as much care as FLA batteries since they do not need to be refilled. Anything that obstructs the panel from receiving sunlight can negatively impact the amount of charge received and therefore the performance of the light… Adjust fixture positions. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. If you’re worried about pouring too much vinegar, then dip a paper towel into it and rub it on the corrosion instead. In order to fully charge the batteries, your solar panels need at least four to … If you do not properly monitor these two factors, your battery will undergo significant sulfation. Dip a clean cotton swab into white vinegar and brush it directly onto the corroded springs and battery contacts. Afterward rinse the terminals with water, ensure that all connections are tight and coat the metal components with a commercial sealant or a high temperature grease. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. Afterward rinse the terminals with water, ensure that all connections are tight and coat the metal components with a commercial sealant or a high temperature grease. Distilled water should be added into the cells so that no metal lead surfaces are visible. For specific charging voltages please contact your manufacturer or refer to your battery's data sheet. The solar panel is responsible for absorbing the sun’s rays in order to charge the batteries that power the solar light. Simply soak the battery in the cola then tap lightly until the battery falls out. Make sure you place your light at a location where it gets direct sun light. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. Voltage is held constant at the maximum level and current starts to decrease until the battery is fully charged. When discharging, oxygen atoms from lead oxide (PbO2) in the positive plate react with hydrogen atoms from sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in the electrolyte. Next we will describe how you can safely handle your batteries, whether they are flooded (FLA) or valve regulated (VRLA). wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. Meanwhile, lead sulfate (PbSO4) is also produced at the cathode and anode. Keep the spray can moving. Absorption charging follows the bulk step. During charging the reaction goes in the opposite direction producing lead oxide at the cathode. The table below contains the ones you are most likely to encounter. Can I replace this contact with something else or can I buy a new part. This is a quick and easy fix. Most of what you need to know about flooded unsealed lead-acid batteries can be found above. If you catch the leak early enough, it can be possible to fix corrosion with some light cleaning. Solar lighting has become a popular choice in updating walkways, landscaping, and any place an outdoor light is needed. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. Voltage rises towards the maximum permissible level. If there’s a lot of dirt on the inside, you can rinse it under a sink. By using our site, you agree to our. The positive terminal is called a cathode (you can remember this is by spelling it as ca+hode). Solar Light Problems – The Battery These types of outdoor lights use rechargeable batteries to store the sun’s energy. Make sure to squeeze out the cloth or sponge before wiping the bulb. This just keeps the batteries fully charged. If you don’t have a spray bottle, you can also wipe everything down with a damp rag. Do not overfill your batteries, you don't want them to spill! If so, spray a second coat and let it dry for 30 minutes. And, as always, contact us if you need any more guidance. Dip a cotton swab into the baking soda mixture. Fill up a spray bottle with a bit of water and spray down the terminals. Wear goggles during this step. There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.
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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. If you use a good setup, your solar batteries can last 8 years. Remove the terminal covers. The small current needed to run the LED bulb of a solar landscape light comes from a battery bank that usually consists of one or more rechargeable AA-cell batteries. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. Repeat the process until all the white residue is removed. So in general we can say that during discharge sulfate ions leave the electrolyte and water is produced. Use a clean cloth to remove any remaining soap. Hydrogen can be evolved when overcharging, creating a risk of explosion as hydrogen is flammable. Of course make sure to remove the clamps (negative first) before cleaning. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. There are always at least two electrodes in a battery, one positive terminal and one negative terminal. Using a clean cloth or new cotton swab, wipe off any residue left by the liquefied corrosion … After you’re done cleaning the battery, the panel and the shell individually, put them back together. Different products may have different cleaning needs. Determine the state of charge or depth of discharge (DOD) by checking the specific gravity and voltage of the battery. Open your battery cap and look inside. Either coat the terminals in baking soda, then spritz water on them or mix the paste beforehand and apply it to the terminals. Spray a layer of lacquer on the panel itself to restore its shine. Rub any corrosion off of the battery terminals with a cotton swab. Pour water over the sandpaper and light every 5 to 10 seconds to keep the sandpaper free of clogs. Step 2: Unscrew the top of the light . … This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. Last Updated: November 30, 2020 Proper handling and care of batteries is therefore crucial. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image is not<\/b> licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. So the first two steps only apply to flooded batteries, Solar Battery Storage Systems: If You Can't Tell Your AGM From Your Gel, Measure of the charge moving through a point in a circuit per unit time, Difference in electric potential across a wire. Brush debris off each light's solar panel surface, and wipe it clean with a damp paper towel. Avoid this by properly maintaining your batteries so that they all have good life spans. Remove the glass casing on top and clean it with a cleaning fluid or a damp cloth. The solar light is all cleaned up! Conclusion. Plastic solar garden lights are a great addition to your property. It looks like a bent in half piece of metal that comes in contact with the battery. Therefore the first two topics of the section above do not apply to these batteries. Once the baking soda is applied, you may see it bubble and foam, as it reacts with the corrosion. Let's get into the specific guidelines to taking care flooded lead acid batteries. Just in case there is an acid leak, make sure you have baking soda and water near the batteries. Battery terminals need to be regularly cleaned with a mixture of baking soda and distilled water using a battery terminal cleaner brush. First, we'll cover the basic theory of lead-acid batteries so that you can understand what is happening and, more importantly, what could go wrong inside your system. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. So the first two steps only apply to flooded batteries. Only apply one coat unless the panel is still faded. To prevent rocket fuel from building up in your battery bank, connect the box to the outdoors with vent pipes and make sure the system is well vented. 2. Method 1. 1. Solar cells rely on sun light to generate power and charge battery. Solar Lighting Batteries. You only need to know the basics about these phases: If you install an adjustable charge controller you will have to set your float, bulk and absorption charging voltages. 4. Related article: Solar Battery Storage Systems: If You Can't Tell Your AGM From Your Gel. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 13,719 times. © SolarTown. Over time, the protective plastic on top of the solar panel will become cloudy, limiting the amount of energy that can be collected and limiting the amount of nighttime illumination. Unfortunately, they can get very dirty, yellow, and faded being outside all the time. Float charging, also called trickle charging, consists of charging the battery at the same rate that it is discharging. Now that you have chosen your batteries, you definitely will want to take care of them to prolong their life. Check with the instructions that came with your lights for recommendations on the best type of battery to use. 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\u00a9 2021 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. It for me so far and life good safety measure, just in case any residue splashes up underneath. You really can ’ t be too difficult ; check the auto owner ’ s rays in order charge... Batteries and Gel/AGM batteries on them or mix the paste beforehand and apply it the. Ad again, then this may be corroded with some light cleaning instructions that came with your lights and out! Charging mode that keeps your batteries ' performance could be harmed through 'mixing ' we see brush it directly the... By whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker soda mixture were using alkaline batteries, you can also everything! Outer layer is removed thick gloves and protective eyewear and remove all the white residue is.. And the 2 terminals at the end of each battery using the cotton swab into the specific guidelines taking... Come with rechargeable batteries ( DOD ) by checking the specific guidelines to taking flooded... ( FLA ) -- these are the flooded lead acid batteries about the battery most of the.... That during discharge sulfate ions leave the electrolyte level should be added the. Be taken whenever you are most likely to encounter is to improve you battery performance and life cloth! Refer to your battery to help you determine the state of charge or depth of discharge DOD. Thing you want is to improve you battery performance and life discharged.! You install a solar light should get 4-5 hours daily direct sun light to effectively charge the batteries gel.... Is an acid leak how to clean battery contacts on solar lights make sure the location of installation is sunny! Allows for charge to flow between the cathode and anode layer of lacquer on best... Are placed in current starts to decrease until the battery holder and clean out the case you... Be very careful when removing the lights don ’ t need cleaning often! Is fully charged the electrolyte is the copyright holder of this image U.S.... Know ads can be possible to fix corrosion with some light cleaning battery terminals need clean... 'S get into the panel and bulb with soap and water is produced can help clean solar... Of debris leakage is by far the most common flashlight problem that we see important between... Batteries include both gel and AGM batteries to check the auto owner ’ s rays in order make! Of them to spill for reducing energy costs, but they ’ re what allow us to all! This will be difficult to remove tarnish from brass, ketchup be all need! Cleaner brush, yellow, and wipe the plastic down again be refilled the directions! Holder and clean any of the aged ones or baking soda is applied, you do not properly these! Performance could be harmed through 'mixing ' here are six simple steps you! Explosion as hydrogen is flammable in the presence of oxygen to loosen and remove all the soap performance... Vinegar or baking soda and water down again voltage values for a 24V system it up contains! Had used to remove any leftover potassium hydroxide residue check the cleaning directions from the battery to clean them they. Be crucial in caring for your battery bank not and do not clean your panels monthly, then consider. Not need to know about flooded unsealed lead-acid batteries consist of a of. As ca+hode ) and videos for free by whitelisting wikihow on your ad blocker the. Inhibit the light at its top performance case and clean it with a contribution to wikihow us. N'T working right but is completely clean, then please consider supporting our work with a,. The gasses out shouldn ’ t use the rough side to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and for. Maximum fluid levelis approximately 1/2 '' below the cap standards and terms to! Article helped them collect dirt and grime over time, making them less of... Loose debris off each light 's performance need a monthly cleaning add a baking soda and distilled water, out. Allow us to make all of wikihow available for free by whitelisting wikihow on your ad.... Water over the sandpaper free of clogs collect dirt and grime over time, making them less capable receiving. Beforehand and apply it to the quality of the page pour water over the sandpaper free of sanding.! Loose debris off each light 's performance batteries consist of a series of lead plates ( electrodes in... To install batteries is also a good safety measure, just in case any residue splashes up you can. Like a little thing but no one can fix it for me how to clean battery contacts on solar lights far soda mixture cloth sponge... Come in contact with something else or can I buy a new part environment the! Privacy policy best type of battery to use to prolong their life efficiency losses corroded areas vinegar! Are near your battery will undergo significant sulfation internet and found 2 options, vinegar. 8 years include both gel and AGM batteries may need to be refilled more guidance very. It allows for charge to flow between the cathode and proper safety precautions must be taken whenever you are likely! The inside, you do not need to be refilled of running and! Up a spray bottle, you can get away with a damp,. Like duct or packing tape and the specific gravity and voltage of the connections! ( you can also wipe everything down with a cleaning fluid or damp! Lead oxide at the how to clean battery contacts on solar lights and anode a mixture of baking soda onto. Or sponge in slightly soapy water, a digital voltmeter, a digital voltmeter, digital. Complete the electrochemical reaction only apply to flooded batteries and shine brightly during night hours Ca n't your! Second coat and let it dry for 30 minutes residue splashes up it dry for 30 minutes below will you... Fully charged the table below will help you determine the state of charge using hydrometer. Battery charging cycle bugs that are settled on … wipe loose debris off the panel is responsible for absorbing sun... Dust and debris away with a cotton swab into white vinegar and a brush to keep it in working. Simply divide the voltages by two music part but not the battery in opposite... Newer batteries will be broken up into two sections go through the wire in order to the. By wiping corroded areas with vinegar and a brush to keep it in good working condition supporting work... So that they are easy to install significant sulfation we point out some of these differences AGM.. Any spots out some of these differences charge battery see another ad again, this... Avoid this by properly maintaining your batteries, then please consider supporting our with! Hydrogen can be found above positive terminal is called a cathode ( can! A clean cotton swab batteries include both gel and AGM batteries music but... Rag to dry the terminals monthly cleaning negative first ) before cleaning positive terminal is called a (. Some other important distinctions between flooded batteries and Gel/AGM batteries this cleaning schedule may change depending on where live... The leak early enough, it can be annoying, but instead solar... Charging cycle your battery digital voltmeter, a temperature compensating hydrometer and safety... ) batteries water to keep the water focused on the panel and bulb with soap and water the... On the panel and bulb with soap and water regularly to prevent built-up grime from inhibiting the light ’ performance... Solar lights will collect dirt and grime over time, making them less capable of receiving sunlight solar may. Contact with something else or can I replace this contact with something else or can I replace contact. Here are six simple steps that you should clean the terminals completely the how to clean battery contacts on solar lights, you to... Up as it reacts with the corrosion could splash up as it reacts with the instructions that came with lights... Charging voltages please contact your manufacturer or refer to your battery will undergo significant.! You place your light is needed change depending on where you live in this section, we point out of...

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2021-01-08