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I have a PHCC 2400 battery backup sump pump. It started beeping today and the controller light indicated that the battery terminals were corroded or that the battery was bad.

I opened up the case and checked the terminals, no corrosion. I pulled the plug on the controller (charger) and tested the battery and it read 12VDC. The manufacturer sells two different replacement batteries. One that you fill yourself and one that is pre-filled and sealed.

Can I use something like this instead?

Note: I found the actual product on ebay which lists it at 12V, 90A max. So it would seem the universal battery I found would fit the specs.

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How old is the pump/original battery? A failed battery can still have voltage when measured, but if you have a way of test-running (turn off the circuit breaker and either raise the plunger or pour water into the sump) you can see if it runs the pump or not. Often the voltage drops to nothing much when current is drawn, once dead. –  Ecnerwal Jan 15 at 14:37
    
@Ecnerwal, bought the house 3 years ago and the system was already in place. To test the battery, I unplugged the system and pushed the "test" button which runs the pump. The charge indicator on the unit went from 100% to 25% immediately. –  mikeazo Jan 15 at 14:46
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Yup, that's a dead battery. Good of the controller to actually tell you before you found out the other way. More than 3 years is pretty decent (sad to say); perhaps it's the rare item with a half-decent charging system. –  Ecnerwal Jan 15 at 22:03
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
+50

There are several important factors when replacing a battery with a different one:

  • Form factor: size, shape, terminal type and location should ideally be the same. This can be worked around in most cases, just make sure the battery will fit somewhere and that you can wire it properly.
  • Voltage: must be identical
  • Chemistry: the existing charger probably only handles lead acid batteries, which all the ones you linked to are
  • Capacity: measured in Amp Hours (Ah). This is the total capacity of the battery. It needs to be similar to the old one. Too low and the pump wont run as long. In most cases higher is ok, but a lot higher could cause tue charger to overheat.
  • Maximum current: Measured in Amps (A). Sadly not all batteries will list this. It needs to be the same or higher. A battery that can't supply enough voltage to run the pump wont work.

If you can't find the exact specs of the battery, in general if the original and replacement batteries are the same physical size and same chemistry (both lead acid), the capacity and max current will be similar enough that they won't cause problems.

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As long as the battery supplies the correct voltage and amperage, yes, you can use it.

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Maybe. Maybe not. The battery must be able to handle the charging current and voltage as well. (For the OP's proposed battery, it probably would be okay: The PHCC Pro 2400 charges 13 amps at 12 volts and that is in line with the battery's capability.) –  wallyk Jan 16 at 0:21
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A deep cycle marine battery is a reasonable compromise between the dedicated sump battery and a light discharge car battery. The deep discharge potential is the problem: car batteries react poorly to getting used to the point of exhaustion, especially repeatedly.

The sump use profile matters also:

  1. If the battery sump runs often and hard, buy the manufacturer recommended battery.
  2. If the sump runs almost never because your power is reliable, you can skimp with an automotive/marine battery.

Sadly, the chargers on sumps are notorious for poor battery management. They overcharge batteries, charge them too fast, and are generally stupidly dumb. In general if your charger or battery are warm in everyday standby mode there's a problem, and you'll burn through backup batteries even in dry weather.

The good news is your charger actually warned you before the flood. That's good.

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You can use a car battery for this -- 12v and plenty of amperage, not to mention cheaper. You may need to adapt the leads to it.

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A standard car battery isn't designed for long sustained power drain, it's optimized for short periods of very high current output and won't stand up to repeated discharge/charge cycles as well as a deep cycle battery will. A comparably sized deep cycle battery will tend to have more reserve power than a standard car battery, so it'll run the pump longer. In a pinch, a car battery will work, but I'd go for a deep cycle battery recommended by the manufacturer -- especially since the charger may be tuned to work with a particular battery type (gel cel, AGM, etc). –  Johnny Jan 17 at 19:33
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