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  #1  
Old 09-23-2008
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Battery Issues

I have an IP 350 with 4 house and 1 start battery. The house batteries keep boiling off their electrolyte. The charger has a meter that aoutomatically shuts it off at full charge Is there anything I can do to stop this or are the Batteries about to go?
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Old 09-23-2008
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I'd check the charger. Seems like it's overcharging the batteries.
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Old 09-23-2008
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There are only two reasons this happens: one is a bad or shorted cell in one of the batteries and the second being that the charger is malfunctioning. Simply checking the battery cells with a hydrometer will tell which malady is your problem.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Suggest checking the actual state of each battery and cell first as K1vsk suggests...one bad CELL can ruin a whole bank...then get yourself a real three stage charger that can properly take care of your batteries.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Go to the Autoparts store, and buy one of these:



They're about $10-15 or so... use it to test each cell of the batteries... if one cell is significantly different from the others, you have a bad cell...yank that battery. Get an intelligent three-stage battery charger, preferably in the 50-60 amp range (assuming your house bank is about 300 Amp-hours), and use that to charge them while at the dock. Put an intelligent regulator on your alternator for when you're using the engine to charge them.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Now wait a minute. I have heavy duty deep cycle batteries in my boat and they use a lot of water. We're talking about a half gallon or a little more over three weeks of heavy use. Matter of fact, you can buy special caps called hydro-caps to cut down on the amount of fluids boiled off. So has your water consumption all of a sudden gone up? Have you had any other symptoms?
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Erps-

I have Trojan T105 golf cart batteries on my boat, and I have yet to use an entire gallon of water for four of them in two years, even with heavy use. Not using hydrocaps or water misers either.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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Old 09-23-2008
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I hear you Saildog, but I don't think golf cart batteries are a true industrial deep cycle battery. It has something to do with the amount of lead antimony.

Here's some FAQ's on deep cycle batteries and a relevant quote:

Quote:
Most industrial deep-cycle batteries use Lead-Antimony plates rather than the Lead-Calcium used in AGM or gelled deep-cycle batteries. The Antimony increases plate life and strength, but increases gassing and water loss. This is why most industrial batteries have to be checked often for water level if you do not have Hydrocaps.
Deep Cycle Battery FAQ


Edit: My batteries came with the boat and they're ten years old now. I don't know how much water they consumed when new, but they consume a considerable amount now. I just found this in that FAQ link above which may indicate my batteries are reaching the end of their useful life, although I'll just keep adding water to them until I start running into a capacity problem.

Quote:
Battery Aging

As batteries age, their maintenance requirements change. This means longer charging time and/or higher finish rate (higher amperage at the end of the charge). Usually older batteries need to be watered more often. And, their capacity decreases.
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Last edited by erps; 09-23-2008 at 06:27 PM.
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Erps-

Trust me, golf cart batteries are truly industrial grade deep cycle batteries, and the fact that mine are newer than yours probably explains the difference in watering needs.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 09-23-2008
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Quote:
Trust me, golf cart batteries are truly industrial grade deep cycle batteries
I agree that they're deep cycle. I disagree that they're industrial deep cycle. Here's a rating of batteries. Golf cart batteries come in number 3. The previous owner installed individual 2 volt cells in Nikko. They're supposed to be good for 15 to 20 years. We have 10 on them now.

Quote:
Lead-Acid Batteries
listed in order of suitability to remote power use, in our humble opinion

* Industrial forklift batteries. These are truly top-of-the-line for a remote home, if you can afford them. Highly recommended for their longevity and resistance to abuse. Available in single 2-volt cells or trays of 3 cells (6 volts). 15-25+ year life expectancy. Advantages: longest life, most resistant to deep-discharge abuse, durable metal case, interconnect wires built-in, available in many capacities. Best value for the dollar when factored over service life. Disadvantages: Very high initial cost, extremely heavy.

* Deep-cycle solar batteries (L-16s). The most common choice for remote power systems. Originally designed for industrial floor sweepers, but very well-suited to remote power use. 6-volt batteries. 5-6 year life expectancy. Advantages: good service life, fairly resistant to occasional abuse, reasonable cost. Disadvantages: not as resistant to abuse as industrial cells.

* Golf cart batteries. Often used in small systems or as "training batteries" for flatlanders who move to the mountains. But don't expect more than 2 or 3 years from them if your system gets frequent or heavy use. 6-volt batteries. 2-3 year life expectancy. Advantages: very low cost, available at many discount stores, lightweight. Disadvantages: short service life, vulnerable to deep-discharge abuse.

Battery Comparisons
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