A fully charged battery that is in good condition can power an emergency light for about 90 minutes, but if the battery cannot last that long, it is probably time to get a new one. Many of today’s emergency light fixtures are easy to test. Some even come with a self-testing option that allows the unit to run regular checks automatically, so you don’t have to worry about checking the battery. Knowing how to replace your battery, though, is essential.
When to Replace Your Battery
Emergency light owners should aim to perform regular maintenance at monthly and yearly intervals. If the typical 90-minute or 90-second emergency readiness tests are unsatisfactory, and the lamps fail to light up, you may need to replace your emergency lighting batteries. Fortunately, the maintenance required is quick and easy, and most modern luminaries will have a push-to-test switch that offers an accurate battery reading. If you press the test button, the device’s cut off circuits will be activated and the battery should trip. If the battery is dead, the lamp will not come on. It is that easy.
How to Replace Your Emergency Batteries
Begin by using a screwdriver to open up the housing and remove the plate to reveal the wires. Some of the blue, white, red or black wires will lead from the AC electrical conduit to the voltage transformer and onto the switching circuits. One, or more, wires will connect the circuit board to the battery.
Depending on the emergency light you have, the battery will either be a nickel cadmium or sealed lead acid battery. The sealed lead acid batteries look similar to car batteries, while the nickel cadmium batteries resemble household AAA varieties that have been sealed in a plastic shrink wrap for protection. Many batteries will slide easily out of the unit once you remove the leads, while some of the cells will be found in a harness which will need to be removed.
How to Choose the Right Replacement Battery
Once you have removed the harness and battery from the housing, take note of the voltage. This is usually 6V or 12V. You should never attempt to use a 12V cell in a smaller voltage emergency light, or vice versa. One of the simplest ways to find the battery type is to look at the labels within the housing.
You can then conduct a quick online search to find out who manufactured the battery, and find a local distributor to purchase a new one from. You may even want to place your order for a new battery online, and it will be delivered right to your door. However, if there is no discernible battery type specified, or you want to change brands, it is best to contact a certified distributor for advice.
Before you make that call, make sure you identify the dead battery’s voltage, the terminal type and the battery’s dimensions, measured in width times length times height in inches.