O.K. I need Sean's discression and tact here: the article mentioned by Andina regarding "short cycling..." is prefaced by the admission that the author has no technical expertise to make such statements with credibility. Again, no offense, but the whole article contains false information.
I say, again, there is NO factual basis for the myth that lead-acid batteries exhibit so-called "memory" which can be removed by discharging and then recharging. AGAIN, the belief of this myth is based upon the fact that any loss of capacity can often be ameloriated to some degree by RECHARGING the battery. The REAL basis of the myth is that the battery must be DISCHARGED to some (or any) degree in order to do this. If you look at the preface to the article the author ADMITS that there is no technical basis for his submission.
ONE FACT: Any discharge of a lead-acid battery decreases the lifetime of the battery. Why add to the lifetime problem by purposefully discharging the battery without gleaning some use from it?
Another fact: Application of a voltage sufficient to repleat self-discharge or minimal sulphation requires more than what was available to boating
consumers in chargers before 1984 or so. In fact, proper chargers were not "accepted" by consumers until the late nineties and those were largely from Heart Interface and Trace Engineering as well as Ample Power
. NO large company provided such solution.
Historically it was Dave Smead and Rick Proctor who beat the drum regarding proper charging
techniques based upon lead-acid text books
written by true experts recognized by industrial users so that people in this miniscule boating
market (relatively speaking) could benefit from the electochemistry which the storage
battery military and industrial markets applied.
So-called "memory" effects of lead-acid batteries have never been documented by the electrochemists who "wrote the books" as well as other applicable literature. In no case have I read of any benefit from discharging a lead-acid battery in orderi to regain any attributes related to available stored energy.
Again, I must stress that APPARENT recovery of stored energy attributes due to discharging is ONLY due to the CHARGING
function. What is NOT apparent to the casual user of lead-acid batteries is that they have never made scientific proofs which separate discharge phenomenon from charge phenomenon versus all of the other electrochemical variables. The electrochemists HAVE and, guess what? The results have not changed since some of the original publications by George Wood Vinal: "Storage Batteries" (A General Treatise On the Physics and Chemistry of Secondary BAtteries and Their Engineering Applications) published in 1924. Other editions came later and sustained the author's status in the field to this day. There are other well aclaimed authors as well stating later similar results.
There is more myth regarding the appication (and misapplication) of lead-acid batteries in the cruising community than anywhere else that I have been able to observe in decades of engineering design and application of my "career".
I hope that some of these threads lead to illumination and benefit of you "out there" using lead-acid batteries. It is pointless for authors writhing articles in the boating world to keep refering to other author's articles which refer to other articles NONE of which have a basis in the science and technology of the literature recognized by the rest of the scientific world. Here I do so hopefully in a manner which somehow relates to the casual non-technical reader without radically degrading the true technical basis of my statements.