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Author Topic: Why do I keep murdering start batteries?  (Read 8848 times)
belfert
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« Reply #75 on: October 23, 2010, 07:30:54 AM »

I wasn't intending to do anything to the bus before Arcadia mainly because it didn't need anything and because it gets too cold to do much in the late fall and winter.  (Too expensive to heat the bus to do work.)  The battery thing is something that popped up after my trip.

I don't have a fancy amp meter so the next best thing is probably to get a hydrometer.  The chart on the web page Jim references says 25.4 volts is 100% charged.  Where is the best type of place to get batteries load tested?  I can't imagine a regular auto parts store is going to charge each battery for several hours and then load test it.

I'm going to go out and test a couple more things before the rain starts.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #76 on: October 23, 2010, 08:19:04 AM »

Brian, you don't need a particularly fancy ammeter to see what the draw is.  The $5.00 multimeter I once got from Harbor Freight will do it.  Just disconnect the terminal you want to get a read from and use to leads of the meter to close the circuit with the battery.  The only catch is that these cheap ones will be limited to 10 amps.  I doubt that your draw could be that high though. 

The other thing to watch for is to move the positive lead back to the voltage port before you use it again for voltage.  That's what I forgot to do so the ammeter function went up in smoke.
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belfert
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« Reply #77 on: October 23, 2010, 08:53:20 AM »

My digital multimeter measures parasitic draw in amps just fine.  The web page Jim referred to says the best way to monitor state of charge is with an amp-hour meter something like a Trimetric.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Rick 74 MC-8
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« Reply #78 on: October 23, 2010, 08:57:31 AM »

Belfert
           I know I will take some heat here BUT I replaced mt 2 8D's with 2 group 31 about 4 years ago and have not had any problems. I now store my bus inside in the winter but last year was the first year. If you have a block heater (mine does) even the coldest days after a few hours plugged in it will fire up in under 2 revolutions. Faster than I want with no oil psi. I (most of the time) will hold it to no fuel and let it crank a few more times first. Never had a problem.  I still have and use otr heat I removed otr air. I will admit at idle if traffic the batteries voltage drops but that doesent happen that often. I can allways turn the heat off for a few minutes if needed. Just my way


                                                                                   Rick 74 MC-8
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #79 on: October 23, 2010, 03:28:33 PM »

Brian, I think many folks who sell batteries can load test them.  Sears is a pretty good bet.  Like I said before, you might be pushing your luck to take 4 batteries in at once.

Another thought is that you could buy your own tester - looks like for less than $50.

There is one on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Actron-CP7612-Battery-Load-Tester/dp/B0009XQUJI

There are a ton of them on Ebay.  This one:  http://cgi.ebay.com/BATTERY-TESTER-Load-Type-6V-12V-MECHANICS-VALUE-New-/250713520571?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5fb0b9bb is interesting in that it will test 6V (house batteries) and 12V (start batteries).

Not sure how good these units are.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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belfert
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« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2010, 05:03:32 PM »

Brian, I think many folks who sell batteries can load test them.  Sears is a pretty good bet.  Like I said before, you might be pushing your luck to take 4 batteries in at once.

One of your other posts referred to a place charging them before testing them.  I just can't see too many places taking the time to charge the batteries first.

I don't think getting four batteries tested is that big an issue.  The place doing the testing is going to see that as the potential to sell me four batteries.  I should probably just take them to the place I bought them as they always seem to have the best prices.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2010, 05:35:12 PM »

Probably not the best way but if your taking them back to where you purchased them, uhh, act dumb and just say they won't hold a charge and they are not that old (regardless of the warranty) and for them to check them out and see why! They will probably check them out for free and possibly replace them if one or more are bad AND make sure you tell them that you won't accept a MIS-matched set so they will HAVE to replace all 4.

Sometimes in life you gotta stretch the tune, grow some big ones and just GO FOR IT!
AND...
I wouldn't say anything about NOT running the bus for some time OR not having them on a charger due to laziness, and I would IF NEEDED say something like they are in your motor home rather than in a bus.

Hey at this point, what have you got to lose? You might end up with a person that feels a little sympathy for you and truly understands! The worst scenario is, you gotta buy 4 new batteries again and you can chalk that up to a lesson learned! A costly one but none the less, hopefully learned!
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Ace Rossi
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2010, 06:02:10 PM »

I don't know if somebody else mentioned this earlier, and i don't feel like re-reading everything to find out if they did, Smiley  but make sure that the posts and cable ends are clean,,,,,they may look ok but clean them anyway. I have had battery post or cable ends that looked fine but it turned out that they had a fine layer of tarnish that either kept them from taking a charge or delivering it to the starter at full strength. Also make sure that the cables are tight too.  Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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« Reply #83 on: October 23, 2010, 07:57:34 PM »

Brian,
Just another point of reference. I start my 8V71 with two group 31s located in the original battery compartment in the MC-5. So there's a lot of cable in between those batteries and the engine and its not exactly a fresh engine! The batteries are Optima Yellow AGMs that the previous owner installed before I bought it! They will still start the engine without block heater down to about 50 degrees and they must be about six years old.

Regarding parisitic draw, I use the disconnect if I'm going to park it for a few weeks. Otherwise they get drawn down. I have been throwing a charger on them periodically throughout the winter when I think of it. Now I bought a BatteryMinder and will connect it to them in parallel when its parked in the shed over the winter.

FWIW - Fred
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Fred Thomson
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« Reply #84 on: October 24, 2010, 12:04:25 AM »

If you really want to learn much from a load test, the batteries need to be removed from any possible load, properly serviced,  properly charged and then set idle for at least a day, more is better.  Taking one right off charge and load testing it can give you false info. 

Load testers vary all over the map too.  If you put the CORRECT load on and the battery takes an immediate nose dive, you probably have a bad battery.  Sometimes though, it takes a healthy tester to put enough load for long enough to get meaningful info.

The redneck load test is to charge the bank, let it set with ALL loads disconnected for a day or two, then connect everything and turn on your headlights and have a beer for 30 minutes or so.  If you still can make a cold start normally you might be a redneck load tester.  Wink

Good luck
Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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« Reply #85 on: October 24, 2010, 07:58:19 AM »

Probably not the best way but if your taking them back to where you purchased them, uhh, act dumb and just say they won't hold a charge and they are not that old

   And we all wonder why our country is going to hell. I sure hope no ones children read this dishonest advice. Look, the man burned up his batteries through negligence and ignorance. Its no ones fault but his, he has no more right to free batteries than anyone else.

  And it is a Bus. While  its not being operated commercially, it is a commercial vehicle. The fact its used so intermitantly makes the application even tougher on batteries. Just man up and admit you dont know what the hell your doing, learn from your mistakes and teach yourself about batteries. I have old batteries in just about everything I own, and I dont generally have battery problems and dont ofetn buy new ones, but used ones. This stuff isnt rocket science, lead acid batteries have been around for over a century and a half and still operate the same way and have the same problems they did 150 years ago. They dont like being discharged dead, it sulfates the plates and can permanently destroy them, even new ones. Pull the cable off if nothing else, a fully charged battery in good condition can hold a charge for up to a year or more and still crank up an engine. They dont like being ovcercharged/overheated either.
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Cary and Don
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« Reply #86 on: October 24, 2010, 12:22:03 PM »

Our Neoplan has done the same thing.  We keep a charger on it all the time or it goes dead.  It had new batteries in it when we got it and they died shortly there after.  We thought they just weren't any good or used.  The ones we replaced them with have died too.  The trickle charger or the vanner charged them so much that one cell on each looses water.  It's refill and charge and the water is down again.  We never thought of the vanner or those fantom loads.

So the question is,  If you really disconnect everything from the batteries,  will it damage the ddec or other electronics that are connected to it?  Will the computers loose their memory or the internal batteries that run them go dead?

Don and Cary
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belfert
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« Reply #87 on: October 24, 2010, 12:36:15 PM »

Probably not the best way but if your taking them back to where you purchased them, uhh, act dumb and just say they won't hold a charge and they are not that old

   And we all wonder why our country is going to hell. I sure hope no ones children read this dishonest advice. Look, the man burned up his batteries through negligence and ignorance. Its no ones fault but his, he has no more right to free batteries than anyone else.

I have no intention of trying to get free replacement batteries.  If the batteries are bad I'll buy new ones.  

My plan is to put a disconnect on the 12 volt side to remove any load from the batteries.  I tested the 24 volt disconnect and it appears no voltage is leaking past it.  In theory, the equalizer should have nothing to do if there is no 24 volt or 12 volt load.

I have other 12 volt batteries that have lasted for years.  My standby generator at home has a nine year old battery and it still starts every time.  My bus generator starts every time on a battery that is at least 5 years old.  (I got the battery used.)
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #88 on: October 24, 2010, 02:29:29 PM »

Oh come on! You can honestly say you haven't stretched the tuth when you returned an item? Yea right! You probably voted for our present fearless leader too!
Don't worry about advice like I gave or a few batteries being the reason our nation is the way it is because it's all around you. Your just too blind obviously to see it! I guess this advice is far different than you and everyone else telling the dmv that your "bus" is a motorhome or your insurance company that it's been converted and the only thing you have in it is a sleeping bag, a cooler and a five gallon bucket. Oh wait, your the type that thinks this is ok and normal. Excuuuusse meee!

Brian, new advice!

Quit being so cheap, buy new batteries, don't worry about the price of fuel, or the weather. Get in and go! Don't even worry about the time missed from work. Just do it!

And the good thing about all of this is? Won't have to hear about until next year when you use your bus again!  Smiley
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Ace Rossi
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belfert
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« Reply #89 on: October 24, 2010, 04:25:32 PM »

Ace, putting in new batteries would not fix the fundamental problem with them going dead.  I am pretty sure I have figured out what I need to do to completely disconnect any load from the batteries.  I just need to get the parts to add another battery disconnect.  I've spent about  5 to 6 hours since Friday afternoon working on my battery issues and I've learned a lot too.

My intent right now is to be on the road in my bus either the evening of Dec 25th or the morning of Dec 26th on my way to Arcadia.  Right now I am supposed to be back at work on Jan 4th, but I am going to see about a few more days.  I get all my time off reset on Jan 1 so I can easily take a few more days.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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