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post #11 of 32 Old 03-19-2002
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Internal Regulation

I have also heard that 14.4 volts is the optimum charging voltage.

Why not install a hot tub and heat the water with a bank of 12 volt water heaters when you think your batteries are charged???

And while you are at it, you could crank up the 12 volt fridge and chill the beer down.

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post #12 of 32 Old 03-19-2002
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Internal Regulation

14.4 vdc is an ideal (room temp) value for flooded, and 14.1 vdc for gel type during bulk and absorption charge cycles. Wet cell float values should be near 13.3 vdc, with gels at 13.7 vdc. Very easy stuff in theory. My gels are nearly five years old and still surprisingly adequate. No hot tub but the fridge keeps the brew chilled. Must be doing something right, but want to do it even righter (new word) if possible. I hope Steve (the originator of this discussion) has solved his dilemma.
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post #13 of 32 Old 03-21-2002 Thread Starter
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Internal Regulation

Thanks, everyone for the input.

If 14.4 volts will not harm Gel Cells, then what I don''t understand is why I''ve read so much to the contrary. 13.8 seems to be the recommended voltage for Gels. Can Jim or someone clear this up?

I''d love to believe I don''t need to do anything but use the new stock alternator, as is (Cheap and easy). But, so far, since I have the Heart 3 stage regulator I''ve decided to have the new alternator modified to support it (But haven''t done so yet).

Thanks
Steve

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post #14 of 32 Old 03-21-2002
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Internal Regulation

Its not the alternator but the regulator that controls the proper charge into a gel cell batttery:
Bulk charge @ 14.1v for 30min., Absorption @ 13.9v for up to 2 hrs., Float charge @ 13.7 for up to 6 hrs. ..... if you want long life from your gel cells.
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post #15 of 32 Old 03-26-2002
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Internal Regulation

Boy are we gettin into this. In my experiences most alternators that are standard equipment and that are internally regulated, have been set from 13.5 to 14.2 volts at the battery. if you test for voltage at the output stud you will get a signifantly higher voltage. My consensis on this is, it''s to compinsate for drop related to resistance related to distance of travel from the alternator to the battery. Gell cell technology isn''t new. It was a standard for aircraft for many years before it hit the automotive or marine markets. Small aircraft ironically used automotive alternators. Now for the reality test. No matter who manufactures a battery or what type it is, it has a 2 year life expectancy. Anything you get beyond this is gravy. What you pay for, is warranty replacement after this point. You will notice that price usually is related to two factors. Amp hours and the length of warranty. Personally, I buy the cheapest battery in the amp hour class i need and when it goes bad i chunk it and get another one. I''ve never spent more than $40.00''s except for a D8 truck battery for my motor home. Anyway, if your gell cell fails at 14.4 volts it was defective to begin with. 0.2 volts is not criticle, most tech data is to satisfy engineers ego''s. Opps! Over charge is signifigant only when you reach more than 10% of the normal working voltage. Before any real damage will result you would have to be over 15 volts for a fairly long time. Most plug in chargers, charge at well over 15 volts. No load voltages can exceed 18 volts. To sum it all up. I think you''ve been spooked by too many sales people or service folks that profit from others lack of knowledge. I really don''t think you have anything to worry about.
Jim
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post #16 of 32 Old 03-26-2002
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Internal Regulation

Boy are we gettin into this. In my experiences most alternators that are standard equipment and that are internally regulated, have been set from 13.5 to 14.2 volts at the battery. if you test for voltage at the output stud you will get a signifantly higher voltage. My consensis on this is, it''s to compinsate for drop related to resistance related to distance of travel from the alternator to the battery. Gell cell technology isn''t new. It was a standard for aircraft for many years before it hit the automotive or marine markets. Small aircraft ironically used automotive alternators. Now for the reality test. No matter who manufactures a battery or what type it is, it has a 2 year life expectancy. Anything you get beyond this is gravy. What you pay for, is warranty replacement after this point. You will notice that price usually is related to two factors. Amp hours and the length of warranty. Personally, I buy the cheapest battery in the amp hour class i need and when it goes bad i chunk it and get another one. I''ve never spent more than $40.00''s except for a D8 truck battery for my motor home. Anyway, if your gell cell fails at 14.4 volts it was defective to begin with. 0.2 volts is not criticle, most tech data is to satisfy engineers ego''s. Opps! Over charge is signifigant only when you reach more than 10% of the normal working voltage. Before any real damage will result you would have to be over 15 volts for a fairly long time. Most plug in chargers, charge at well over 15 volts. No load voltages can exceed 18 volts. To sum it all up. I think you''ve been spooked by too many sales people or service folks that profit from others lack of knowledge. I really don''t think you have anything to worry about.
Jim
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post #17 of 32 Old 03-27-2002
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Internal Regulation

Jim,

I have to respond to your comment that all batteries have a two year life expectancy. If that''s true, why have I never gotten less than 6 years of reliable service from the last 5 OEM batteries in our family cars? Why do I get 4-5 years on all my motorcycle batteries and 3-4 years on my garden tractor batteries?

Were you talking about just marine batteries, by any chance? I''m not trying to say your experience is wrong, but obviously it doesn''t hold true for all cases. When I buy replacements, I stay near the middle of the price range and I just practice what I consider normal maintenance on the motorcycle and tractor batteries, and the car batteries are designed as maintenance free.
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post #18 of 32 Old 03-27-2002
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Internal Regulation

Duane
I have replaced 1000''s of batteries during my career. Most were less than a year old many less than 6 months and several that were bad right off the shelf. You been lucky. Count your blessings.
Jim
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post #19 of 32 Old 03-27-2002
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Internal Regulation

Steve
You guys have got me up at 5:00 am thinking about this stuff. First, Iím reminded of the old clichť, ď If it ainít broke donít fix it.Ē This seems like ďa whole lotta ado bout nottin!Ē Now that said! What we have been talking about are the apples. Now lets get to the oranges. Ok! Volts are important but what you have missed is the factor of amps. There are many other factors that affect a battery, too many to discuss in this forum as I type too slowly. You have to understand the differences between how an alternator charges a battery and what goes on with a plug in charger. Gets too complicated to explain both so letís stick to the alternator. When a battery has a low charge (gel cell or whatever) the alternator recharges it by pumping out AMPS. Amps is what the battery wants until it gets full. As the battery fills it takes more pressure to stuff the amps in. Pressure = volts. When the battery reaches full charge the amps are reduced because the battery begins to produce resistance. It gets even more complicated here as those other factors begin to kick in so lets stop with that. If you have both a voltmeter and an ammeter you will see that when the volts reach 14 your 80-amp alternator is only putting out about 3 amps. At 14.4 volts itís probably only 1 amp. Thatís because it ainít got no place to go. When any battery is charged it has to off gas. Gel cells too. Gel cells require a slower rate of charge because it takes more time for the gas to move through the gel. Plug in charges compensate for this by reducing their output to a lower voltage. This will also equate to a lowered amp output and a slower rate of charge as well. Amps are what they are trying to control, not the volts.
Now, Iíd like to know why you bought a gel cell to begin with. Are you planning to do rollovers or what? Did someone tell you that they were easier to take care of or required less maintenance? Are they supposed to last longer? Do they have a deeper cycle capability? How are they safer? I know that what you paid for it you can buy 3 or 4 conventional batteries. Whatís the advantage? Have you ever heard the story of Brer Rabbit? Sounds to me like youís gotís a tar baby der. Ok! I had to have some fun. After all you got me up a 5:00 am.
Trust me! You donít even want to get me started on the difference between marine batteries and car batteries or why a ďDeep CycleĒ battery cost more or is better. You want some soon to be beachfront property too?
Back to bed, Jim
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post #20 of 32 Old 03-27-2002
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Internal Regulation

Jim,

Regarding my luck with batteries, I guess that buzzing noise I sometimes hear must be the "Battery Fairy" giving me her protection. LOL

Thanks for all the good insight.

Duane
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