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Author Topic: battery equalizing, and does this stuff work? more battery stuff......  (Read 2341 times)
kbunnystarr
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« on: February 10, 2007, 01:41:22 PM »

http://www.positiveresources.net/battery_equalizer

ok, another thing that i have an info gap in my head on is equalizing batteries.  i know you are supposed to equalize batteries to get the crap off them , it settels to bottom of battery, and that about the end of my knowledge on it.  i know that some chargers have an equalizer on them, right?  what i have doesnt.  i have a heart inverter charger and a 40 amp marine charger.  so, this is something else i need to deal with regularly, right?  it is somehtign electronic, right?  where does it go in respect to how it gets connected/  what does it look like?  can some one send a link so i have an idea of what one looks like?  and the link i attached, it is some kind of liquid..............does it supposedly do the same thing?

can you guys fill in some of the gaps for me on this?  i want to know how to best take care of them, reg maintenance etc.......

i have a guy locally that is gonna come out thursdy, to start the project of making the slide out for the battery compartment.  maybe sometime between now and then i can get some of this other stuff figured out too.



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Dallas
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2007, 02:11:46 PM »

Personally, I think that stuff may be nothing more than EDTA which does desulfate batteries.
I've been testing EDTA on a couple of batteries for about 2 months now and they seem to be doing OK.

These batteries are 8D's and had been used in a 4905 that sold on eBay. When I went to look at the coach for the guy, the batteries were completely dead so I took them home and put the charger on them to see if they would come up at all.

After about 2 weeks of charging, the best I could get was 11V out of one and 11.7 out of the other. I figured they were toast so I tried some EDTA I bought off eBay. I added 2 teaspoons per cell (mixed with water), and let them sit for a week with the 10A charger on them.

WOW! They both tested at 12.9V! I put them in the start position on my bus and they fired my 6-71 right up. Now they have been sitting for a few weeks with no charger on them and the engine spins over like they were new batteries.

I guess I have to say EDTA works well, and is pretty cost effective.

Here is where I bought mine:

http://stores.ebay.com/The-Chemistry-Connection_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2007, 02:17:18 PM »

thanx for the post i will investigate what EDTA is..........dont have a clue, ...so, in your opinion, could this water additive be used IN PLACE of an equalizer ?  still dont know what one looks like, and when i look up on google i get these additives, not the electronic one......thanx again.k
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Dallas
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2007, 02:34:06 PM »

I couldn't honestly tell you.

I have house batteries (6 group 31's), that I've been using since 1999. I keep them charged all the time with a smart charger, and use a 2.5Kw Sima Inverter. I run 2 computers, monitors and printers full time off of the house batteries along with 3 or 4 12V lights inside the bus.

I check the batteries about once a month and do a thorough service on them twice a year. I only add distilled water, and wash the tops and sides with soapy water with a little baking soda mixed in. I keep the terminals clean and covered with a grease made especially for the purpose.

When we boondock at a fleamarket or when the power goes out, I can run everything except the A/C for about a day and a half without recharging.

I've used the desulfation setting on the smart charger with these batteries, but couldn't really tell any difference when I put them back into service.

Maybe one of the battery guru's here can pitch in with some information.

Dallas
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Sean
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2007, 04:36:04 PM »

OK, there are two different concepts being discussed in this thread.

To answer the original question:  Yes, flooded lead-acid batteries need to be equalized periodically.  This is done by applying the recommended "equalization voltage" to the batteries for the recommended time period, where, by "recommended" I mean "as specified by the manufacturer of your batteries."  If you don't have specifications, not to worry -- there are some guidelines that will work fine for most flooded deep-cycle batteries.

Your question about "where" the equalizer goes is harder to answer, because this is not a separate device.  It is a setting on your battery charger.  As you now know, not all chargers have equalization settings, so if neither of your chargers does, you have a few choices:
  • Replace one of your chargers (or add a charger) with one that has an equalization setting or function.  Most high-quality three-stage chargers, including those built-in to RV/Marine inverters, have this feature.
  • See if either of your chargers has an output voltage adjustment.  When it comes time to equalize the batteries, use that adjustment to temporarily bump the voltage up to the recommended equalization voltage, then set it back down to the "float" voltage when you are done equalizing.
  • Bring the batteries (or your whole rig) to someone, such as a battery shop, who has a proper charger and can equalize the batteries for you.

I recommend the first option, but there is a larger budgetary impact for that one.  However, if you've been considering purchasing an inverter, or upgrading your inverter, then getting one with a good three-stage, equalizing charger adds little, if any, to the expense.  The second option requires you to have the proper instrumentation and know-how to observe that the batteries have moved from the bulk-charging stage into the equalization stage.  And the third option can get old (and expensive) quickly, when you consider that equalization is something that generally should be done monthly.

Controlling "sulfation" is only one of the several reasons for periodic equalization.  It also ensures proper and full mixing of the electrolyte, even ion redeposition on the plates, and a full plate surface clean of clinging impurities.

The chemical that has been suggested, EDTA (ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid) is a last-ditch solution to attempt to recover badly sulfated batteries.  Another method is "pulse desulfation,"  essentially a controlled on-off cycle of equalizing and loading the batteries.  Proper, monthly equalization of the batteries will ensure long battery life, and should prevent you from getting to the point where either of these two drastic measures is required.

Lastly, the link you provided goes directly to:  snake oil.  Well, OK, not really, but I get very suspicious when I read that some magic will happen based on a "Patented Formula" and we're not told how it works.  So I went and looked up the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), which told me that this product is nothing more than a combination of cadmium sulfate and cobalt sulfate.  In fact, there is less than one percent of each of these in the bottle contents, which means most of the jug is inert carrier material.  EDTA is, at least, a proven method for helping to recover sulfated batteries -- but this product contains none.  Without doing lab tests, off hand, I would say the way this is supposed to work is by releasing sulfate ions back into solution from the less reactive cadmium and cobalt (which will then have to form other compounds, possibly to include the elemental, metallic forms of these metals).  Which would leave a muck of the original lead sulfate, plus cadmium, cobalt, and whatever else still sitting on the bottom of the battery (but may, in fact, provide some additional life to the remaining, exposed plate surface).  I would stay far, far away from this product.

All that being said, and based on your posts in the other thread, I can recommend you replace your batteries with AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries.  These batteries are fully sealed, never need electrolyte added, can not leak electrolyte under any normal circumstances, and, generally, do not need to be equalized.  Size-for-size, they are about twice as expensive as ordinary flooded batteries, but they generally provide more usable capacity, so the actual expense is about 1.5 times flooded cells.  However, you would not need to upgrade your chargers, and you would also not need to worry about getting better access to your battery compartment for specific-gravity testing and adding water.  FWIW.

-Sean
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kbunnystarr
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2007, 05:07:29 PM »

thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  the more info the better, i am learning slowly but learning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Grin Grin Grin Smiley Smiley Cheesy Cheesy Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2007, 06:32:16 PM »

That's the right attitude. Wink

I am too, it just takes time to sink in to my thick head. Roll Eyes

Happy Trails,

Paul

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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2007, 09:44:11 PM »

kbunnystarr, unless it's broken, you should already have a charger that is designed for equalizing. It's your Heart unit. AFAIK, you have to use a remote control to turn the feature on. Once on, it will turn itself back off in eight hours, too.

If you don't have the manual for your unit, you should be able to download it from Xantrex's site by locating the model in support or discontinued models.

Equalizing batteries really shouldn't cause much material to fall off the plates; it's job is to get any low cells up to full charge, and to circulate the electrolyte.

Desulfation is another matter, entirely. Batteries become sulfated from a number of causes, but the main one is letting them sit around in a discharged or partially discharged condition.

Desulfation uses sharp pulses of current to make the inside of the battery ring. It turns the hardened form of lead sulfate into an easier one for the charger to turn the sulfate back into lead and sulfuric acid. From what I have seen, the desulfator can be part of a charger or used with a separate charger.

When desulfation works, it raises the concentration of sulfuric acid, which you can see as an increase in specific gravity with a hydrometer. You can also see it in an increased resting voltage at the battery terminals.

Equalizing might take eight hours; desulfating, more like a month, EDTA excepted.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Sean
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« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2007, 10:12:24 PM »

Tom makes a good point:  your Heart unit likely includes an equalization feature.  If you post the model number of your Heart here, I can probably tell you if it does, and what you have to do to enable it.

-Sean
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larryh
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2007, 02:01:22 AM »

She stated she had a 1000 watt heart inverter very few 1000 came out with a charger let alone a 3 stage charger.

LarryH
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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2007, 08:28:31 AM »

Larry,

What I read was "...i have a heart inverter charger...", with no reference to size.  So there is definitely a charger.  Where did you come up with 1000 watts?

-Sean
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2007, 09:02:21 AM »

This thread got me to looking at my Trace (SW2512) and how to get the equalizing process activated.  The manual talks about the voltage (15.5V for wet lead acid), but does not give any direction for the duration of the process both can be set in the programming.  Tom mentions eight hours.  That sure seems like a long time to have the batteries at that high of a voltage.  

Would appreciate any guidance.
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2007, 02:30:24 PM »

I do not take care of my 4 lead acid golf cart type batteries. Actually I abuse them. It took me 4 years to murder one of the batteries. I decided to try the equalize charge with my Trace DR3624 inverter. The book says it will automaticly switch to float charge after 6 hours if conditions are met or up to 12 hours if conditions are not met. And then switch to float automaticly. Anyway I followed the directions in the manual (available online). All 4 of the batteries now appear to be working fine. It has only been a month,time will tell. If I have to replace these batteries I should buy the glass mat batteries. I need something that requires less maintanence
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2007, 08:31:11 PM »

Jim,

The "time" setting depends on battery parameters (available from your battery manufacturer). and how your charger works.

The Trace SW series will only equalize after a bulk charge cycle.  (Selecting Equalize on the Generator Start menu sets a flag that will be looked at during the next bulk charge cycle.)  The Equalize voltage is then used as an upper limit.  When bulk charging starts, the process proceeds normally, with the charger putting out the maximum available current, and the voltage slowly rising.  However, instead of stopping the max current flow at the Bulk volts setting, it keeps going.  As soon as the Bulk setting is reached, the equalization timer starts.  Charging at max current will continue until either the timer expires, or the Equalize voltage is reached.

If the timer expires before Equalize voltage is reached, charging stops and the unit reverts to Float.  If the Equalize voltage is reached first, the charger will maintain steady voltage at this point, just as it normally does for absorption, until the timer expires.

Managing the equalization process with this type of a setup mandates that you watch the cycle the first few times.  Ideally, you'd like the process to reach full equalization voltage, then stay there for the manufacturer's recommended time.

In my case, my AGMs require 15 volts for one hour.  I set my equalize voltage to 30, and the timer to 1.2 hours, which gives enough time for the voltage to rise from the 28.8 bulk setting to the 30 volts for equalization.

Flooded cells typically require longer equalization times, although eight hours sounds high to me.

HTH,

-Sean
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2007, 05:22:52 PM »

Sean, Really appreciate all the great info you post.
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