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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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  #1  
Old 04-26-2011
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How do I bring some found batteries back to life.

I came across a couple 4D batteries and want to see if I can get any life out of them. One measures .24 volts, the other measures 5.24 volts.

Anyone got a clue on what to do, to try to get some use out of them?

I'll probably connect the Victron battery monitor to them (individually) and see if they are taking a charge and give it back. I'm thinking about just giving them an amp for a few days to see if that helps. Is there a secret method?

Regards,
Brad
Yes, sometimes they are truly dead.
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Last edited by Bene505; 04-26-2011 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 04-26-2011
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Try a battery desulphator?
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Old 04-26-2011
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Brad,

If you're thinking about putting these on your 50' Beneteau for useful work, forget it! A boat that size ought to have decent, reliable, and known batteries aboard, unless you plan to stay at the dock all season.

If you're just playing, try:

1. giving the batteries a full charge, using a smart battery charger;
2. when they're fully charged, give them an equalizing charge;
3. load test them....put a known load on them for several hours and measure the results;
4. fully charge them again.

Desulfators, IMHO, are a waste of time. So are dead 4D batteries. So are additives. So are all the other innovative and heroic tricks you hear about.

But, hey, if you've got the time and inclination, and there's no maintenance needed on the Bendytoy, why not?

Be careful you don't throw out your back schlepping those monsters around. That could REALLY get to be expensive!

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 04-26-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-26-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
...
1. giving the batteries a full charge, using a smart battery charger;
2. when they're fully charged, give them an equalizing charge;
3. load test them....put a known load on them for several hours and measure the results;
4. fully charge them again.

Desulfators, IMHO, are a waste of time. So are dead 4D batteries. So are additives. So are all the other innovative and heroic tricks you hear about.

But, hey, if you've got the time and inclination, and there's no maintenance needed on the Bendytoy, why not?

Be careful you don't throw out your back schlepping those monsters around. That could REALLY get to be expensive!

Bill
I think you nailed it there, Bill.
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Old 04-26-2011
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MacG and BT,

Thanks for the advice. I'll try what BT suggests and see how it goes. It's not like it will take much of my time to check. I'll get to test the new inverter/charger and can put the Victron battery monitor on the batteries too.

I'm playing, yes. Since we have gel cells (2x4D batteries) it would take some work to put in an A-B switch. That's time I don't have right now. We leave the marina in 2.5 weeks and I have to install the 12v compressor, copper tubing, etc. And I have never done refrigeration before.

Regards,
Brad
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Last edited by Bene505; 04-26-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 04-28-2011
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Most battery shops will pay for old batteries. us them as a trade in
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Old 04-29-2011
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Update:

I connected battery 1 to my panel using 50 feet of 16 gauge wire. It took 2 amps for a couple hours. Battery 2 took about an amp, I let it charge that way for about an hour. This was merely some preliminary charging until I get a hydrometer and distilled water.

The batteries are very "sloshy". I think the water levels may be very low.

My inverter/charger has an equalize setting that first brings the battery up to full charge. Once I get the water levels up and do the hydrometer checks, I'll put them (individually) on the battery monitor and run the equalize cycle on them.

Regards,
Brad
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Last edited by Bene505; 04-29-2011 at 05:37 AM.
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Brad,

Yeah, I can tell you're just playing :-)

AWG16 is MUCH TOO SMALL for what you're trying to do. With a 50' length (one way), you'd have a voltage drop of 1.2 volts (9%) if the wire were carrying only 3 amps. That means with 13.2 volts from the battery charger you'd only have 12.0 at the battery terminals, and 12.0V isn't enough to charge the batteries no matter how long you leave them "on charge".

Flooded batteries need about 14.4 to 14.8 volts AT THE BATTERY TERMINALS for a bulk charge...the first phase. Then, something on the order of 14.4 volts for an extended period of "absorption", followed by 13.2-13.6 volts for "float"...for a long time.

Equalizing needs 15.5 to 16.5 volts or so...also at the battery terminals. No way you're gonna get near those voltages with such a long run of AWG16 wire.

Bill
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Old 04-30-2011
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Thanks Bill. It was meant to be some preliminary charging. I needed to connect a more functinoal shore power charger before I do more anyway. (The 11 year old charger is only putting out about an amp of charging.) I just got the new-to-me inverter charger connected and I'm expecting a big difference once I take the 16 gauge out of the loop.

Today I bought a hydrometer and distilled water. Only looking at battery #1 tonight. One of the cells' fluid level was way down and the others needed a little distilled water to "top off". The battery took about 1/2 gallon of distilled water total. The cells each measured 75 to 95 on the (temperature corrected) hydrometer. That's pretty dead, as would be expected of a battery showing only 5 volts at the terminals.

I've never used a hydrometer before, IIRC. So this is all new to me and some good learning.

Note to Victron battery monitor owners: The history #6 display shows the total amp hours taken OUT of the battery. So I flipped the shunt around and now it's showing me the cumlative amount of amp-hours the I put IN during charging. This ought to be interesting.

Regards,
Brad
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Old 05-02-2011
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Here's the verdict:

They are dead, unless someone here tells me I didn't do enough.

I put 50 amp hours into each of them, using a pair of jumper cables that I keep on the boat. Usually it was 3 or 4 amps going in. When I took off the charger, they slowly went to 10.x volts. With only a small load for a few seconds, they went to 9.x volts.

So for a few hours I had a big heater sitting in my salon. The batteries got pretty warm. I know where that 50 amp hours went.

Only down side was some lost time and some gas expense, the cost for distilled water and a hydrometer (added to my collection of tools), and a shop towel that got some sulphuric acid on it (which will to go into the wash once it's dried-out).

If you don't have a Victron battery monitor yet, I highly recommend you get one. It really helped determine exactly what was going on.

Bill, Arf, Mac, BadSanta -- Thank you for all the suggestions.

I didn't use the hydrometer AFTER charging. Anyone think I need to?

Regards,
Brad
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