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 > Check your batteries

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westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 10/01/19 02:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's a good time of the year to check out your batteries for good,clean connections that haven't loosened and the electrolyte level in flooded acid batteries. Also, replacing small cell batteries in battery powered detectors may be necessary.

FWIW, last night, my Son alerted me that there was beeping coming from inside the TT. A battery powered CO detector needed battery replacement and was alarming to alert me. While I was inside I checked the electrolyte level in two 6V batteries located inside the TT. Both were very low. Water was added and, if I hadn't checked them, in a few days the plates would have been exposed. I need to adjust my maintenance schedule for batteries because I have solar charging them daily. The solar is a great helper but it results in faster electrolyte loss than typical use with occasional charging.

Hope this reminds someone to check their batteries. Maintenance is cheaper than replacement.[emoticon]


'03 F-250 4x4 CC
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Lwiddis

Morro Bay, CA

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Posted: 10/01/19 03:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two flooded batteries inside the TT. How are they vented?


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


JiminDenver

Denver, Co

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Posted: 10/01/19 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Lifelines are AGM so no water to check but I do get in there and check the connections due to the rather rough roads I traverse. Hard to believe they are still doing the job at around 9 years old.

How are you and the Polish princess doing?


2011 GulfStream Amerilite 25BH
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w tilting portable/ TS-MPPT-45
750w solar , TS-MPPT-60 on the trailer
675 Ah bank, Trip-lite 1250fc inverter
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westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 10/01/19 05:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

Two flooded batteries inside the TT. How are they vented?
The batteries are in a sealed box with a vent to the outside. I did a fair bit of research on gas volumes and the amount of hydrogen produced when charging, just to size the vent. So far, I haven't had any problems, going 6 yrs. with the vented box. I also have three AGM batteries inside. The batteries are split in distribution to two banks. In use, they are typically switched to run together since the requirements for charging are so close. The little Morningstar solar charge controller is very variable and settings can be manipulated easily. I'm pretty happy with the batteries but want to add more, of course. I just need to figure out weight balances to see where any additions can be added,

Lwiddis

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Posted: 10/01/19 07:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you, westend.

#1Flyboy

California

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Posted: 10/02/19 08:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yep, maintenance is less expensive than replacement / repairs!

deltabravo

Spokane, WA

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Posted: 10/02/19 09:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

westend wrote:

I have solar charging them daily. The solar is a great helper but it results in faster electrolyte loss than typical use with occasional charging.


Sounds like the solar controller is chargin at too high of a voltage. Higher voltages is what results in gassing of batteries. Float voltage should be around 13.5 or so once the batteries are fully charged. If they are continually held at 14+ volts, gassing occurs.

In my RV it was very difficult to check the water level in the batteries. I killed them due to lack of maintenance. About 2014 or 2015 I switched to AGMs.

My Upgrade to AGM Batteries


2009 Silverado 3500HD Dually, D/A, CCLB 4x4 (bought new 8/30/09)
2009 Arctic Fox 811 (bought new 11/9/09)
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2008 Haulmark 8.5x20 toy box trailer

westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 10/03/19 12:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jim in Denver wrote:

How are you and the Polish princess doing?

Sorry about not answering you, right away Jim. Me and Her Majesty are still hanging in there. I think we're on yr 38 or so. There have been no royal edicts this week as I repair Her castle and Her transportation. Good to hear from you.

About the charging, gassing, and batteries: Nearly every battery has a charging voltage it's happy with and this can be seen if observation allows in its use and measurements are taken. Known beforehand is that batteries do have a finite lifetime, amount of use and charging discipline make the most difference. Batteries like to be immediately charged when depleted and ideally, a float charge is constant. A battery will always produce gas when charged. Even an AGM gasses but the gas is reintroduced inside the battery.

I try to keep my batteries fully charged and solar makes this easy, it does the charging better than I could with manual chargers. Yes, electrolyte is lost but filling a battery is easy. The trick is to do it often, not wait until plates are exposed or about to be exposed.

JiminDenver

Denver, Co

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Posted: 10/03/19 11:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you. It is good to know that you are well too.

You are right. Batteries are the one disposable part of our systems. The best that you can do is know your needs and make the best choices in battery type, capacity, A charge controller that has user defined settings with TC and enough solar to replace what you use on a daily basis at the very least. Taking the time to maintain them is key.

westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 10/03/19 11:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JiminDenver wrote:

Thank you. It is good to know that you are well too.

You are right. Batteries are the one disposable part of our systems. The best that you can do is know your needs and make the best choices in battery type, capacity, A charge controller that has user defined settings with TC and enough solar to replace what you use on a daily basis at the very least. Taking the time to maintain them is key.

Thanks Jim, I hope you and yours are doing well, also.

I also hope you've moved beyond that hulking truck battery I remember you using. Oof da, what a load to lift!
Yes, purpose of this thread is to alert users to look at their batteries and maybe save replacement costs.

FWIW, the Morningstar solar controller I have is configurable through the Morningstar software and offers a lot of variability. I also use temperature compensation so the charging values change with the seasons as the battery temperature changes. It is all pretty much overkill for my small system but I wanted to have in place a sophisticated solar charging system to see how nuances of solar work and what to expect should I decide to upgrade the system. At that, I'm going to qualify it as a success.

One of my next upgrades is going to be installing a bigger inverter I have and installing a small air conditioner. My rig is insulated to the point that a small AC is going to do the trick. I remember you, Jim, using a small window AC with your solar so I'm basically following your lead. Thanks for leading!

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