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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 04-18-2011
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Worth pulling the battery cables and cleaning the clamps. Voltage drop could be something as simple as a dirty connection.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Lake

I don't see how that can be done. With a proper 3 stage charger, when in bulk or absorption stage the charger will be at about 14.4 volts, and as long as the charging continues the voltage at the posts will be the same - 14.4 volts.
This would be correct if you have an alternator or a really large charger in the 30 amp range or more, but with the 5 to 10 amp chargers I use, there is not enough current to push the voltage to the absorption level until near the end of the obsorption stage.

Last edited by LakeSuperiorGeezer; 04-18-2011 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Originally Posted by JimsCAL View Post
Worth pulling the battery cables and cleaning the clamps. Voltage drop could be something as simple as a dirty connection.
Good point, maybe there is nothing wrong with the batteries at all. Could take a multimeter in the 0 to 1 volt range, turn the lights on and measure across terminal to battery cable and from battery cable to any other connector in the string to the lights. Do not forget to check the ground side.
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Old 04-18-2011
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It holds true with my 10 amp charger as well as any charger I have installed. Voltage doesn't relate to current. Any marine charger will have a set voltage or several in the case or a multi stage charger regardless of its amperage output. As well, if the charger outputs less than 14 volts the batteries will never be fully charged.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeSuperiorGeezer View Post
This would be correct if you have an alternator or a really large charger in the 30 amp range or more, but with the 5 to 10 amp chargers I use, there is not enough current to push the voltage to the absorption level until near the end of the obsorption stage.
LSG,

Absorption does not start until you hit the absorption voltage set point of the regulator or charger. If you are not at the "limiting voltage" or absorption voltage then you are still technically in bulk charge. The smaller the charger the longer the bulk phase. Bulk ends when the voltage has risen to the absorption voltage which is nothing more than a pre-set voltage limit...


AKIN_ALAN,

What Bill said is spot on and short of owning a Midtronics, Argus or other expensive analyzer the best test is to do a 20 hour load test for Ah capacity. Volts tell you nothing about the ability to support a load and for how long.

If your batts are 115 Ah then you'll want to apply a 5.75 amp load and monitor when the voltage drops to 10.5 volts using a DVM connected to the pos & neg posts while doing the capacity test. New 115 Ah batteries should go 20 hours before hitting 10.5 volts. When you get out to 16 or so hours begin checking the voltage unless it is dropping off far faster than it should and in that case the batteries are likely toast.

You can use a dimmer switch and some light bulbs to get your 5.75 a load dialed in. Test each battery separately.

Like Bill said you can also throw them on an analyzer which will measure CA and voltage and can give an approx "condition" assessment but nothing beats a true 20 hour capacity test.

Everstart batteries are normally Wal*Marts starting batteries and the Everstart MAXX brand are their marine deep cycling batts. Be sure that you are looking at an amp hour rating not a reserve minutes rating and chec to see if you have the MAXX series which are deep cycle/trolling or the regular Everstarts, which would not hold up for long in a cycling application..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 04-18-2011 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
LSG,

Absorption does not start until you hit the absorption voltage set point of the regulator or charger. If you are not at the "limiting voltage" or absorption voltage then you are still technically in bulk charge. The smaller the charger the longer the bulk phase. Bulk ends when the voltage has risen to the absorption voltage which is nothing more than a pre-set voltage limit...
I agree. I changed the wording on my post to what happens with a three stage charger. Originally I described what happens with a single stage charger that is not voltage regulated in the absorption stage.
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Old 04-18-2011
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Originally Posted by LakeSuperiorGeezer View Post
I agree. I changed the wording on my post to what happens with a three stage charger. Originally I described what happens with a single stage charger that is not voltage regulated in the absorption stage.
Every charger I have ever seen is voltage regulated whether smart or dumb. Could you point us to one which is not voltage regulated? A single stage charger still is technically doing both bulk, which happens before the absorption/voltage limit is reached, and absorption or voltage limited charging. What single stage chargers lack is the second voltage limit referred to as "float" and other features like temp compensation etc. but I have yet to run across one that lacks being voltage regulated...
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2011
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Every charger I have ever seen is voltage regulated whether smart or dumb. Could you point us to one which is not voltage regulated? A single stage charger still is technically doing both bulk, which happens before the absorption/voltage limit is reached, and absorption or voltage limited charging. What single stage chargers lack is the second voltage limit referred to as "float" and other features like temp compensation etc. but I have yet to run across one that lacks being voltage regulated...
There's nothing regulated with this charger. It can be used for equalization and general frying Amazon.com: Schumacher SC-1200A SpeedCharge 12/8/2 Amp Charger/Maintainer/Starter/Tester: Automotive
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Old 04-19-2011
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Originally Posted by LakeSuperiorGeezer View Post
There's nothing regulated with this charger. It can be used for equalization and general frying Amazon.com: Schumacher SC-1200A SpeedCharge 12/8/2 Amp Charger/Maintainer/Starter/Tester: Automotive
Considering I own one of those I can assure you they are definitely voltage limited, though are a very poor excuse for a charger and the voltage limits are set way to high. Apparently no one told Schumacher engineers that 14.6v absorption voltage is to high for gel cells.. I have discussed this with Schumacher tech support and they had no answers for me on why the gel cell voltage is set about .5 volts to high.

Some of the models also have an automatic "sulfation" feature that claims to sense a sulfated battery and go into "equalizing" mode automatically. It is JUNK. These chargers are a poor excuse but are most definitely voltage limited/regulated even if higher than most other brands of chargers..

I guess that is what I get when I grab a cheap charger at Wal*Mart on my way to my friends camp when I forgot mine. I got what I paid for...
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  #20  
Old 04-19-2011
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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
Considering I own one of those I can assure you they are definitely voltage limited, though are a very poor excuse for a charger and the voltage limits are set way to high...
I guess you could say they are limited voltage, but if you read the customer reviews on Amazon, you will see that the limit is 16 volts. I doubt there are any electronic circuits in this charger that limit the voltage, but rather that the battery is taking all the current at that voltage and turning the water in the battery into hydrogen and oxygen. Very explosive if you make a spark while disconnecting the charger. Also, it is going to erode the active material (lead oxide/lead sulfate depending on state of charge) off the positive plates in the battery. I agree this charger is not a good one. You have to be awfully careful not to over charge. Either set the charge rate at the lowest setting, or know how much current the battery will accept and set a timer. If there were voltage limiting circuitry in the charger, the settings would be at a level that would not eventually destroy a battery if left unattended. However, for equalization, Trojan recommends 15.5 volts and Rolls recommends 16 volts. The recommendations for AGM vary by temperature and at 40 degrees, it is 16 volts. All about battery equalization I would not do this more than once a year.

Last edited by LakeSuperiorGeezer; 04-19-2011 at 09:51 PM.
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