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Author Topic: house battery maintenance  (Read 1989 times)
sledhead
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« on: November 03, 2012, 05:43:21 AM »

I just checked the level on my 6   225 amp (gulf cart) batteries. I added about 1 gal in totat to all.Each battery water level was even or just above the plates. I used the inverter alot for the a/c this summer. The batteries are 6 years old and seem to work fine ,but maybe next year its time to replace ? Any ideas               thanks      dave
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1990 mci 102c  6v92 ta ht740  kit,living room slide . home base huntsville ontario canada
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2012, 05:52:03 AM »

How often do you check them?  I check once a month,  I usually just check them on the first or second day of the month, makes it easier to remember to do it.
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2012, 05:57:23 AM »

As far as the age?  With care they could go a few more years, with neglect they could die in a few weeks.  I just found the receipt for my 2 group 31 starting batteries, they are just over 7 years old and still fine......paid $86 each.
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
sledhead
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2012, 05:59:03 AM »

So I guess once a year is not so good !!! I will try for once a month                  dave
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1990 mci 102c  6v92 ta ht740  kit,living room slide . home base huntsville ontario canada
Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2012, 06:15:32 AM »

If you have been only checking them once a year, i am surprised that they lasted more than a couple of years.
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thomasinnv
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2012, 07:24:18 AM »

I started out checking mine every couple months, but I have never had to add water so I have slowly stretched out the time between checks. I check them every summer and every winter. Never have had to add water in three years for these batteries. I boondock quite a bit in the winter so they do get a workout. Both my chargers and solar controller are multi-stage smart chargers. When everything is setup right things just work. Grin Grin
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1977 MCI Crusader MC-8
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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2012, 07:33:20 AM »

It doesn't hurt a battery to run low on water as long as the plates are covered and wet on top fwiw


good luck
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sledhead
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2012, 08:56:44 AM »

I added 3/8 of an inch last year and about the same the previous year.I do have a small 120 watt solar panel and a 20 amp controller.I was thinking of adding a bogart 2025 monitar to help with charging.       dave
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1990 mci 102c  6v92 ta ht740  kit,living room slide . home base huntsville ontario canada
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2012, 08:52:32 PM »

After having to replace a set of house bats in just over a year of use (that was 4 years ago), I learned the hard way about batteries. Now I do like Ed and check them on the first or second day of each month. First I check each one's voltage, then specific gravity, and then I top them up with distilled water. Between the 6 = 6volt and 2 8D's I put in approx 1/2 gal of distilled/month. Usually it's the big ones that take the majority of water and then it's usually the newer one of those 2. Go figger. One of the 8D's is a year old and the other is going on 6.
Will Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2012, 10:23:41 PM »

I am a bit more lax on checking the start batteries (the house are AGM).  I do it every couple of months.  Usually they need a terminal cleaning too.  There are battery watering systems available that allow you to water all the cells at once from a reservoir.  Another nice idea that I have not taken advantage of.
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Sam 4106
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 02:02:51 AM »

I think checking the water in the batteries frequently is a good idea until you establish how much they consume. Once that is established, checking them based on past experience will determine a good maintenance schedule. With the inverter and separate charger I determined that the single stage charger was boiling the water out at a pretty fast rate. I replaced the charger and the water consumption went way down. When the inverter failed, I bought a Magnum inverter/charger. That charger has three stages (four with equalize) and the batteries have not used any water until I recently equalized them. From my experience, I now will be checking the water only after equalizing the batteries. YMMV

As for cleaning the posts, get them clean and before reinstalling them put some anti-sieze compound on the posts, cable ends, and even the bolts and you will reduce or eliminate the cleaning in the future. The anti-sieze compound I use is a Permatex product from NAPA and is conductive. I learned that trick many years ago working on heavy equipment. When you are maintaining equipment with a lot of batteries anything you can do to reduce your work load is appreciated.

Good luck, Sam
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1976 MCI-8TA with 8V92 DDEC II and Allison HT740
Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 04:30:18 AM »

  I think checking the water in the batteries frequently is a good idea until you establish how much they consume. Once that is established, checking them based on past experience will determine a good maintenance schedule.  (snip)  I bought a Magnum inverter/charger. That charger has three stages (four with equalize) and the batteries have not used any water until I recently equalized them. From my experience, I now will be checking the water only after equalizing the batteries. YMMV
(snip)   

     If you change the word "Magnum" to "Outback", that has been my experience (about 10 months), word for word.  If I'm losing any water between the equalize stages, I can't tell it (my guess is that I'm losing a tiny amount but visually -- with lead-acid wet batteries -- you can't see any drop in the electrolyte level from the "split ring" if it hasn't been through equalize).  Most of that time, my bus has been plugged in to shop outlet (with occasional "generator exercise" runs) while I'm working on it - maybe things will be different when I'm running on the road with the engine driven alternator.

Bruce Henderson,  NC  USA
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
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boxcarOkie
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« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2012, 04:33:42 AM »

How often do you check them?  I check once a month,  I usually just check them on the first or second day of the month, makes it easier to remember to do it.

This a good idea, another thing I do Ed is check 'em with a volt meter and try and insure the voltages are right.  One goes bad ... it will take the rest of 'em down at the same time.  As most buses (mine not being an exception to the rule) have parasitic battery drains, it a good idea to stay on top of what could be an expensive replacement problem.

BCO
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Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2012, 04:38:16 AM »

  This a good idea, another thing I do Ed is check 'em with a volt meter and try and insure the voltages are right.  One goes bad ... it will take the rest of 'em down at the same time.  As most buses (mine not being an exception to the rule) have parasitic battery drains, it a good idea to stay on top of what could be an expensive replacement problem.    BCO   

     That sounds like a good idea, Oke -- I haven't been doing it but I'll start.  Do you disconnect the battery terminals or can you get a reliable reading just measuring across each battery's terminal with everything turned off?  Thanks for that tip.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

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boxcarOkie
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« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2012, 04:55:33 AM »

     That sounds like a good idea, Oke -- I haven't been doing it but I'll start.  Do you disconnect the battery terminals or can you get a reliable reading just measuring across each battery's terminal with everything turned off?  Thanks for that tip.

I check each one individually, one at a time, hooked up.  Another thing I do is charge them thru the inverter for about three days at the start of each month, then I kill everything and let them sit.  Things happen, and one of them is the remote danger of a shop fire, so I do it this way.

BCO
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Oonrahnjay
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« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2012, 10:34:41 AM »

  I check each one individually, one at a time, hooked up.  Another thing I do is charge them thru the inverter for about three days at the start of each month, then I kill everything and let them sit.  Things happen, and one of them is the remote danger of a shop fire, so I do it this way.

BCO

    Thanks, seems like good advice and good thinking.  I wasn't sure if having them hooked together would throw off readings, even if no power was being pulled through them.
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Bruce H; Wallace (near Wilmington) NC
1976 Daimler (British) Double-Decker Bus; 34' long
6-cyl, 4-stroke, Leyland O-680 engine

(New Email -- brucebearnc@ (theGoogle gmail place) .com)
sledhead
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 05:14:09 AM »

Thanks all ! Glad to hear there is still years of life in the old batteries if I keep on top of the maintenance .                                             thanks  dave
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luvrbus
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« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 05:49:55 AM »

 The batteries life span is measured in cycles( discharge and charging) not age it depends on how they are used and they will last longer if kept charged fully,being 6 years old I doubt you have years left no matter what type maintenance is preformed,

You need to load test the voltage testing does not give you the condition of the batteries as far as the amp hr reserve only the voltage      

good luck
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 06:03:14 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2012, 10:57:35 PM »

What about a recommended battery charger.  I put what I thought was a good unit in to keep the house batteries charged, but it faults every couple of days and has to be restarted.  Not a good situation. 

Thanks! Phil
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2012, 05:42:56 AM »

I debated quite a while before posting on this issue of caring for your bus batteries which is very, very expensive if you have even two of them or a bank of them as most of you do.  I am now in the process of self training using a training CD with my purchase of special battery chemicals I received from (www.chinadepot.com) as I purchased a medium sized starter kit for refurbishing batteries back to life and with maintaining regular maintenance be able keep these batteries for many more years.  I hope this information I offer you will be valuable to you as well for one or more reasons.
 
Going to this website you will gather much good information to help you all and you can purchase just enough chemicals to rejuvenate just your batteries if you are not interested in going further with this idea as I am.  I personally am investing and learning this process to start a small business on the side for extra bus cash to continue my expensive bus conversion. There are so many advantages to doing this as there are millions of batteries that are thrown away and can be rejuvenated back to life if they test to have 12 volts to begin with.  Think GREEN, keep batteries that are possibly brought back to many years of life from landfills or junk yards and keep the real GREEN $$$$ in your wallet toward newer tires. LOL.

Rather than discuss how this stuff works now, I am giving you this information and website above for you to research on your own and realize there is potential here to either learn to care for your battery banks and become nearly care free for this cost to occur to replace for many years.  But, there is responsibility that you have to have to maintain your battery fluid level of distilled water as well on a regular basis.  If that is not done then no chemicals in the world will keep your batteries with a fuller life than expected by manufacturer.  If you add these chemicals to your batteries only once a year you will gain many years of productive life and save you much $$$$!

This website also has a kit for you to purchase so you can receive information and training on how to service and maintain sealed batteries.  Now everyone probably thinks, which the manufacturers wants us to believe, that a sealed battery does not evaporate from use in these type batteries.  ( That is BS!!!)  But instead of trying to convince you this is not so, go to this website above, watch the information videos and make your own judgment call.  Those sealed batteries can all be saved if they test salvageable in the first place.  Explanations on how to open up these batteries for maintenance is all explained at the web site and informational training video you will receive from the Battery Chem inventor and vendor.
 
Perhaps you will want to do as I and make extra money on the side, lord knows there are enough batteries being junked for all of us to indulge in this money making business that you will be the boss of!!  One important thing before you get real excited about saving your batteries, this chemical or any chemical made (Cannot) bring a completely dead battery back to life.  After testing if your battery is a candidate for rejuvenation then you can get excited that you saved your batteries in time.
  
If you do consider purchasing any of this (Battery Chem) either for yourself personally or do as I am and try to do a small battery rejuvenation business on the side, please let the Battery Chem vendor know that I recommended this to you as this will be one way for me to (suck up ) to my vendor you might say.  It will help him sell more of his product and help me buy his product, simple as that I am sure.
  
If you are really interested in this (Battery Chem) product to buy or sell, there is a contact email process on this website you can use to send a email and request to have either the inventor (Walter Barrett or his son John) call you and one of them will personally by the way.  This website above will answer nearly every question you may have, if not write down your concerns and questions after viewing several times if you are interested and call Walt or John personally and they will gladly answer all your concerns and questions.  I am offering this information as information from one busnut friend to another and hope is appreciated for just that.
Good Luck,
Gary LaBombard
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Gary
luvrbus
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« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2012, 05:56:47 AM »

Phil,at Lowes they sell a Stanley charger  (6amps) for 29 bucks the best charger to keep batteries topped off with I ran across puts the tenders to shame

good luck
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