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Author Topic: house battery maintenance  (Read 1948 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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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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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« 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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Lin
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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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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

(New Email -- brucebearnc@ (theGoogle gmail place) .com)
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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