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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 07-28-2008
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Battery problem

Hey Guys
I have six (6) golf cart batteries hooked up to make three (3) 12 volt banks. They are held in place by threaded steel rod and half inch glavanized steel angle. I am seeing a white sulfur smelling powder accumalating on one (1) of the battery terminals and in two (2) diffirent places along the angle steel. Does any one know what is causing this and is it an indication/symptom of somthing going wrong? Is there a solution to this problem? Thanks for any help.
"Doc" Bob
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Old 07-29-2008
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Docbob-

You're probably boiling the electrolyte away in that battery.

BTW, you shouldn't be using anything conductive to hold down the batteries...if the bar should work loose, it could short the terminals and burn your boat to the waterline.

One thing to check is the water level in the cells and see if they're low. Another thing to check is the charging voltage levels. What type of charging system do you have and does it have temperature sensors? Finally, get a hydrometer and check the specific gravity of the battery cells.

I would highly recommend replacing the half-inch galvanized steel angle with a fiberglass or wooden bar instead.
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SD sounds good didn't think of the shorting out problem I can switch over to wood rails real easy. Cells don't look low "yet" but, I check my batteries water level often. But that's not to say they're not being boiled as we speak. Current battery charger I have is a Pro Sport 20+ but, have been reading a lot of bad comments about it. I plan on getting a XANTREX TRUECHARGE 40+ BATTERY CHARGER in the near future. I think I'll shut down the Pro Sport 20+ so I don't run the risk of destroying my batteries.
Thanks for the help.
"Doc" Bob
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Old 07-29-2008
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Doc...SD gives good advice and you have about 6-700 amp hours in that battery bank. You should be using a charger no less than 60-90 amps and your prosport is woefully inadequate and has probably already left your batts with less than full capability if it has been used a while.
I'll go with Trayfors favorite and recommend an Iota 75amp charger with smart controller DLS-75 AC/DC Power Converter and Battery Charger from IOTA Engineering
Will run about $325
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Cam's right...the battery charger you've got is way, way too small. It's like trying to tow a full tractor trailer container with a John Deere riding mower...

As a general rule, you want your charging source to be NO LESS THAN 10% of the battery bank capacity. You have a 675 amp-hour (if they're Trojan T-105s) battery bank. The Iota chargers that he's recommending come highly recommended by Btrayfors, as he notes, and whose opinion I respect.

Another thing that might help is getting hydrocaps or water misers. While they serve the same function, they're not quite the same thing. The hydrocaps will actively help prevent electrolyte boil off... the water caps will passively reduce it.
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Old 07-29-2008
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SD

Are you sure of the 10% rule?

I was under the impression that the rule was NOT MORE THAN 10% to prevent excessive gassing and heat.

Rick
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TB... the max for flooded is 20% of capacity. GOOD AGM's can take up to full capacity whereas modest ones generally take 35% or so. Odyssey brand AGM/Hybrids can be charged at THREE times capacity!
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I believe the rule of thumb is no larger than 20% of the battery capacity to prevent excessive heating and gassing. Of course, the type of battery will affect this as well, since AGMs have a much higher charge rate tolerance than wet cells.
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Battery Fungus

Doc
With regard to the dreaded fungus on the battery terminals, this is caused by the battery acid wicking up inside the seal between the battery post and the case. Once a battery has this problem it is incurable. It does not seem to affect the life of the battery, the life of the battery maintainer however is another matter... I believe the best treatment is good old vaseline(petroleum jelly), doesnt stop the problem but makes it easier to clean up.
the only other thing is to measure the height of your positive battery post, when it starts to grow you better put new batteries in your budget.
Regards
UglyDave
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I'd never heard the minimum 10% rule either for chargers. My impression is that wet cell batteries can only accept max charge (40A from your Truecharge) for a few hours before needing to taper off in voltage and amperage. This has also been my experience with my 420AH bank on my last boat which was kept in great shape for years with my truecharge 20A. Even when deeply discharged the charger only operated at 20A for a few hours than went to 10, 5, 2, 1 etc.

If the 10% rule is true than isn't every cruiser charging with solar panels doing their batteries a disservice?

The truecharge battery chargers are one of those rare items of kit that I would recommend without reservation. Mine kept my abused, used, golf carts alive and well for almost 5 years of living-aboard and cruising for months at at time.

MedSailor
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