Check your batteries!

Discussion in 'Power cuts' started by Midasblenny, 20 Apr 2009.

  1. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny

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    Just a heads up to all those reefers using inverters and battery back ups on their pumps etc.
    We had a 4 hour power cut on Saterday night and my back up battery only ran the return pump for 3 hours as opposed to 8 hours which it used to do when the unit was new.
    A question for the mechanically minded is, will this mean my battery is exhausted and need replacing or will adding another battery linked up in series help?
    Thx in advance
     
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  3. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    I would replace, kind of like the cell phone battery, it would help to totally discharge these batteries once in a while. If you do add another battery to this one it would have to be connected in parallel and not series.
     
  4. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    Please don't put new batteries with old ones you will just shorten the life of the new ones.
     
  5. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    Just a little note on battery charges, I used to use Hawkins and other PSU (chargers) and I found that my batteries did not last long. A couple of months back I purchased another microprocessor controlled charger and who what a difference in the battery life.
     
  6. lIghty

    lIghty

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    as the guys have stated, replace all with new. and as Shaun said, battery charger is probably the most important device
     
  7. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    What type of battery is this, lead acid ?

    "Normal" lead acid batteries should be given a "trickle" charge, or should be recharged every few weeks - they don't like being stored if not fully charged. The storage temperature also plays a huge role in the life of a battery, a battery which could give you (say) 500 charge/discharge cycles at 20 C would only give you (say) 100 cycles at 30 C, and perhaps 10 at 40 C.

    You could try to give it an "equilizing charge".

    Google "Battery University" and read up all you ever need to know about batteries...

    Hennie
     
  8. Dewd

    Dewd

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    Guys

    You need to understand your batteries. If they are standard lead-acid batteries that are commonly used to starting a car or a "cranking battery", discharging them to below 85% State O Charge (SOC) will severly shorten their lifespan.

    If they are "Leisure" or "High Cycle" batteries do not take them past about 70% SOC.

    If they are "Deep Cycle" batteries, do not take them past 50% SOC.

    All wet-cell batteries are rated as the the number of charging cycles they can handle. This charging cycle is defined as only down to the %SOC that they are rated for. Taking them below the rated SOC WILL reduce the number of times the battery can recover by charging.

    As mentioned above, the battery charger is very important as well. The C-Tek range of chargers are very highly regarded for both their 5 stage charging cycle as well as their re-conditioning mode which has actually been proven to reduce sulphation and re-vive batteries once thought to be dead.
     
  9. Hill

    Hill

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    Cheap chargers kill batteries early due to one or a combination of the following, high ripple, high charge voltage, low charge voltage and no temperature compensation.

    Those C-Tek chargers look really descent, I wonder if there is an agent in New Zealand?
     
  10. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny Thread Starter

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    The battery is a lead calcium deep cell and is continuously kept at full charge as its connected to the wall plug, if that helps?
     
  11. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Still not quite :whistling:

    Is it a "wet" type (does it have filler caps...) or a "gel" maintenance-free type?

    If the latter, it should be charged with a special charger having a reduced voltage - "normal" lead-acid type chargers (even the electronic models) will overcharge the gel-type batteries.

    If it is a "normal" wet type, I would suspect that it's capacity has been reduced by keeping it at a temperature higher than the recommended 25 °C


    Here are some good links to read:

    http://www.vonwentzel.net/Battery/index.html

    Deep Cycle Battery FAQ

    Hennie
     
  12. Dewd

    Dewd

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    Gel battreies are quite rare in SA as they are still quite expensive. The only ones freely available are the Optima Red top, Yellow Top and Blue Top. About R3000 each last time I checked. They are very easy to spot as they are not rectangular like most batteries, but look like a 6-pack. Very popular in the States.

    Your wet type batteries can have filler caps - these are usually the cranking batteries and will happily charge at 13.8V
    Deep Cycles are usually maintenance free and have a slightly different electrolyte make-up. Added Antimony if memory serves. A Deep Cycle will not attain full charge unless charged at between 14.2 and 14.5V. Once they have reached full charge, they can be maintained on "trickle charge at 13.8V

    Hennie's links are good and go into a lot more detail.

    If I may comment on
    I reckon the battery has more than likely never been charged to it's fullest, and then run below 50% SOC too many times. A charger like the C-Tek might be able to recover it.

    I run 3 Deep Cycle batteries under the bonnet of my Landcruiser and have no real loss of lifespan despite it getting a *lot* hotter than 25degC in there. BUT I do notice the lower voltages in both the batteries and the charging system when it it really hot as opposed to cold. I'm sure if you applied the temperature correction back to 25degC, the Voltage would be correct. The 25degC is the benchmark for measuring SG of the electrolyte more than anything.
     
  13. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    From the Deep Cycle Battery FAQ (link posted above...):

    "Even though battery capacity at high temperatures is higher, battery life is shortened. Battery capacity is reduced by 50% at -22 degrees F - but battery LIFE increases by about 60%. Battery life is reduced at higher temperatures - for every 15 degrees F over 77, battery life is cut in half. This holds true for ANY type of Lead-Acid battery, whether sealed, gelled, AGM, industrial or whatever."

    Hennie
     
  14. Dewd

    Dewd

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    Hennie

    I really don't want this to become a war of words, but if that comment above from the website was 100% correct, my batteries living at 60-70 degC and even hotter at times shouldn't last very long at all ;-)

    I still maintain that the gattery being kept at room temperature (or even tank cabinet temperature) is not going to significantly shorten lifespan. However, this is anecdotal based on my experience with these things from a off-roading point of view.
     
  15. Hill

    Hill

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    Elevated temperature definately shorten battery life.

    Dewd in your case how much time do your batteries operate at 60 degrees? And have you actually measued the temp of the battery?

    A 7 to 8 degree average increase in temperature ie a constant temperature of 32 degree or over, over the life of the battery will most definately shorten its life span 50%. Like in the sump area of a fish tank. Under the bonnet of a car it may only be operating at 50 degrees for an hour a day. Even then I do not think the battery casing will heat up much in a moving vehicle, although I am guessing.
     
  16. Dewd

    Dewd

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    Hill

    When doing trips, we are sometimes driving driving between 4-8 hours a day for anything up to 2 weeks. Often spending whole days at speeds of not more than 40km/h, so the temp is high in the engine bay because of the lack of airflow. I've never measured the battery temp, but it's within 500mm of a 4l straight 6 engine that you can't touch! So definately more than 25 or 30 degrees.

    The point I was really trying to make is that if the type ofcharger is not matched to the type of battery being used, you will never get it fully charged. Running the battery down below it's recomended SOC will kill it faster than slightly higher temperature. For eg running a cranking battery down to , say 75%SOC as few as 5 times will probably kill it. Running a Deep Cycle battery down to, say 30% SOC or even worse, completely flat even just a couple of times Will damage it to the point that it's capacity will be drastically reduced. I believe this will play a more important role than the temperature - especially as it seems a Deep Cycle battery was used. Not all chargers charge them correctly.

    Des
     
  17. Drew

    Drew

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    Hi Guys.

    I have learnt quite a bit about batteries in the past 6 years or so while running an electric motor on my bass fishing boat, but I will state right now that I AM NO FUNDI WHATSOEVER!!

    Two products have been mentioned in this thread:

    Optima batteries and C-Tek chargers. There is no better combination than these two for deep cycle requirements. Having said that, there is another charger that is based on the C-Tek pulse charger and is a LOT cheaper. It is the Auto Logic charger.... basically a C-Tek copy.

    Once you have your batteries and charger and all bits and pieces ready to go, a very important, and often overlooked aspect to system performance by people like myself who don't fully understand the details of electrical systems, is to make sure you do not generate any "hot spots" by making poor connections.

    Make sure you crimp all terminals onto wiring properly for example. Any hotspots creates resistance and reduces operational time of the battery.
     
  18. Dewd

    Dewd

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    Benton also make a copy of the C-Tek at a fraction of the price.
     
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