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Open Roads Forum  >  Fifth-Wheels

 > equalizing battery bank

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4x4ord

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Posted: 06/26/12 07:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Xantrex inverter/charger is capable of performing a battery equalization process. It hits the batteries with high voltage for 8 hours causing the acid to bubble away which cleans sulfate off the plates, mixes the acid, and equalizes the cells. The owners manual says to check the specific gravity of the batteries before and after the equalization process. I turned the charger onto this mode for a short while but felt too uncomfortable to leave it boil away for 8 hours when I really have no idea what I am doing. My batteries are about 2 year old 6 volt Ever Ready golf cart batteries which have only been cycled about 20 times. What is the point in checking the specific gravity? Is there any danger in doing more harm than good? Is this typical battery maintenance? Does the Xantrex do anything other than maintain a constant 15.5 Volts for 8 hours during this process?


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Texas Two Steppers

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Posted: 06/27/12 06:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've got Interstate batteries. From the information I have read 4 hours at around 15.2 or so volts should be sufficient depending on the battery recommendations. Some people do and some don't. I do not check the sg. You should be able to turn off your inverter/charger if you wish at any time during the equalization process. If you are charging and getting your batteries (really) full on each cycle you may not need it. With a well installed solar system you shouldn't need it. I do every couple of months because it's not supposed to hurt the batteries and I do see a little improvement. I also do it on shore power. There's my 2 cents worth.


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mena661

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Posted: 06/27/12 05:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The purpose of checking the SG is to know if the batteries got back to 100% charged. Typically you want to stop the equalizing once they get back to 100% full.


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Dutch & Di

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Posted: 06/27/12 09:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our Heart Invertor suggests you let it run until until it finishes it's job. Ours turns itself off when finished. It usually takes 6 to 8 hours and we have found it best to do it during the day:
1: because we are home and awake to keep and eye on it and
2: we can keep the door and some windows open for ventilation.
We tried doing it at night early on but because everything was closed up, it would cause our propane alarm to go off because of the gassing off. We could not smell it but the alarm let us know for sure.

We usually do ours after about 30 to 40 cycles on our batteries. Diana


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Tom&Dale

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Posted: 06/27/12 10:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

My Xantrex inverter/charger is capable of performing a battery equalization process. It hits the batteries with high voltage for 8 hours causing the acid to bubble away which cleans sulfate off the plates, mixes the acid, and equalizes the cells. The owners manual says to check the specific gravity of the batteries before and after the equalization process. I turned the charger onto this mode for a short while but felt too uncomfortable to leave it boil away for 8 hours when I really have no idea what I am doing. My batteries are about 2 year old 6 volt Ever Ready golf cart batteries which have only been cycled about 20 times. What is the point in checking the specific gravity? Is there any danger in doing more harm than good? Is this typical battery maintenance? Does the Xantrex do anything other than maintain a constant 15.5 Volts for 8 hours during this process?


Terry,
I also have the Xantrex and do the equalize when my 4 Trojan T105's measure 1250 to low 1260 specific gravity range at a full charge reading or if there is a variance of over 25 SG points within the 12 cells. After the 7 hour process all cells read in the 1270 range which, as I understand is the proper reading for full charge.
I'm not aware that the Xantrex does anything other than the overcharge during the equalization. They do recommend not topping off the batteries until after equalization.

Some excellent advice can be had by reading posts from MexBungalows.
Best of luck,
Tom


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RoyB

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Posted: 06/28/12 06:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Me confused which isn't all that unusual... My PD9200 series converter/charger automatically does a 14.4VDC charge mode every 19 hours for about 15 minutes. I think they call it desulfation. Is this the same as the OP is talking about.

I don't think I would like to boil my batteries for 8 hours as well...


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Posted: 06/28/12 08:19am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

20 years ago I equalized two golf cart type batteries with a Heart Freedom 10 inverter/charger. It was a bit scary.

So I had a conversation with the people a Dyno Batteries about this subject. He ask how I used the 4 260 amp batteries that I was about to replace with 6 new ones. I told him that one boat engine had a 140 amp alternator with smart regulator that charged that bank, and that I had a Heart(Westmarine) inverter with a 75 amp charger. And that I had a amp hour meter and never discharged them beyond 50 percent. However I did cycle them pretty good over their 9.5 years in the boat anchoring for a few days at a time, and then running to another port and getting back to at least 85 percent. At the end of the trip or along to way I would have shore power and the inverter/charger would complete the charge cycle and come back to float. Also the smart regular on long run days would finish the charge all the way to float.

His answer was that I was cycling them and recharging them with enough amps to keep the aid mixed up etc. He felt that there was no need in my case to equalize.

There may not be a need in your case either. I would never just equalize on a set schedule just because the inverter/charger has the feature.

If you do equalize remove the box cover and cell caps, and have lots of ventilation. The gasses coming off are stinky, corrosive and explosive. You will have to clean up the top of the batteries after doing this. New chargers that have a battery heat sensor would be more trustworthy than one without for equalizing, as they do get warm.


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mena661

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Posted: 06/28/12 04:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RoyB wrote:

Me confused which isn't all that unusual... My PD9200 series converter/charger automatically does a 14.4VDC charge mode every 19 hours for about 15 minutes. I think they call it desulfation. Is this the same as the OP is talking about.

I don't think I would like to boil my batteries for 8 hours as well...
Roy, that's really a destratification charge at that voltage. I've always been curious if those periodic blasts are enough to keep the SG at 100% (thus not needing equalizing). Do you have a hydrometer?

4x4ord

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Posted: 07/04/12 06:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the tips. I bought a hygrometer and I am equalizing the batter bank now. After 3hours the cells have gained about 40/1000. The highest cell is at 1.3 the lowest still at 1.26. I can only monitor 8 of the the 12 cells without removing the batteries from the compartment.

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