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Author Topic: What type of charger to maintain starting batteries?  (Read 1815 times)
belfert
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« on: January 22, 2008, 05:51:29 AM »

I keep having problems with my starting batteries losing charge during the winter, especially with the DDEC, WTEC, and other things constantly drawing power.  The batteries appear to have lost enough charge this winter to have frozen as the cases are bulged.

What type of charger would be best to maintain the batteries, but not overcharge them?  I believe a three stage charger is only for deep cycle batteries.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2008, 06:31:33 AM »

Hi Brian,

Have you checked into a solar panel or two combined to maintain 24v??

That would be all you need just to keep the ddec from draining you.

Good Luck
Nick-
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2008, 06:34:44 AM »

I think any trickle charger would do.  

I have solar panels with the Blue Sky controller. When its done charging the house batteries, it puts a 2 amp trickle charge to the start batteries, so they are always up.  I think it makes a battery last longer to always have it fully charged.  

I guess I'm lucky to not have to deal with freezing temps, a frozen battery does not sound good.
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2008, 07:01:50 AM »

I thought you had a charger in your inverter?  Why don't you put in a crossover switch and combine the two banks and float them along with your house bank?

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 07:27:09 AM »

I installed a 24V 2AMP 3 stage charger for my start batts. Between cold weather and inactivity, during the winter months, I've had to replace them every 2 years. I never have to worry about them now and it's such a low charge rate I don't have to worry about checking the water level as often either. I think I paid $48 for the unit. MFG by Shauer. http://www.chargingchargers.com/chargers/24volt.html

Don & Sheila
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John Z
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2008, 07:29:53 AM »

Brian, i have not heard that a smart charger is only for deep cycle batteries. I use a Progressive Dynamics charger that has 4 stages if you count the desulfation mode. Made in the USA and available on eplace at a very decent price.

I have a solenoid to link start batteries to house batteries for OTR charging, and this is how i leave it parked so all batteries are maintained. While boondocking i unlink them and all of the charger output goes into the house batteries.

Not sure how well those solar cells will work with a couple feet of snow on top of them!
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2008, 07:45:49 AM »

All the descriptions on the web for three stage chargers only mention deep cycle batteries.  Maybe they will work for starting batteries.

My inverter is pretty far from the starting batteries and I think a seperate battery charger for the starting batteries might be easier.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2008, 07:58:29 AM »

Hi Brian,

This might be what you are looking for
http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/24-volt/0-4amps/PT24v022-0158.html

Good Luck
Nick-
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2008, 10:03:47 AM »

although the solar panels are a good idea I think where Brian is the snow cover might be an issue.

you can get a 70.00 charger from sears that is smart to the point it will turn itself off and on at whatever rate you set.

Best option would be a main battery cutoff switch
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Lee Bradley
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2008, 12:20:48 PM »

I installed this unit from the same supplier Nick listed and have been very happy with it.
http://www.batterystuff.com/battery-chargers/24-volt/5-9amps/CT-500-1.html
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2008, 01:37:23 PM »

My Crown Super Coach has the usual two (2) 8D starting batteries and I have found that about 1 amp @ 12 vdc is enough to keep the volt gage at around 13 VDC with the usual bugler alarm system, air door remote, LEDs, etc.. 12 volt system.  Be sure to check the water level about every month or soosss.  I didn't (also left the charger on "high") and it $cost$ me two (2) new batteries. $Ouch$.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2008, 02:09:28 PM »

There is a main disconnect switch, but the radio, overhead clock for passengers, DDEC, and WTEC don't seem to get disconnected.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2008, 02:15:34 PM »

My favorite charger is the Battery Tender. I don't think it comes in 24v so you would have to charge each battery separately which is what I do. I've tried many and this one is the best for the price.

I once had a frozen aircraft battery which I thawed out inside the office, recharged and went on my way. Don't try to charge it while it is frozen.
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2008, 05:01:46 PM »

If you're plugged in and floating your house batteries, and all you want to do is keep the starting batteries up, a 10 or 12 ga wire between the two will do that. Just make sure you disconnect it before starting the bus, or using heavy DC loads on the house side.

Simple and easy. Also inexpensive.

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Craig Shepard
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Ray D
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2008, 06:05:55 PM »

Here is the battery tender site and they do make a 24V unit.  You do not want a battery charger to maintain your charge, you want a unit that maintains the battery, and they have it.  You can get a 12V battery maintainer from Wally World also.

http://www.batterytender.com/connecting.php

Ray D
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2008, 06:46:46 PM »

Great information, and thanks to Brian for starting the topic.  We keep the 4107 (12 volt) in a storage area, and I'm not paying more for one of the few sites with power.  I haven't had the coach out in a while, so I know the batteries are dead.  I plan to replace all the batteries this spring, since I don't know how old the current set are (2 8D's for the 8V71, and 1 8D for the generator).

Solar sure looks to be the way to go.  I looked at the website mentioned above, and when I saw the solar chargers they talked about placing them on the dashboard and plugging into the cigarette lighter.  I always pull my battery switches, so that specific isn't real appealing - plus what I read deals with cars, not larger vehicles.

I'd be interested in more experience/suggestions regarding a solar option.  While we don't get much snow in Dallas, we do get hail; so I'd rather not have anything breakable on the roof - but something I could put in either a side window (but how about tint/translucency issues), or the dash/driver side window would seem to be the best.

Thanks in advance.

Arthur
« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 07:39:47 AM by Runcutter » Logged

Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2008, 11:50:24 PM »

Arthur,
You are ahead of me. I agree with the solar cells in the manner in which you suggested. Years ago, I was in partnership of a plane which was parked outside and the easiest way to charge was a panel in the window. I was always amazed at the voltage achieved with little direct sunlight. (Don't Take much to impress me, just a W.Va. Boy)
Granted the 8D's are much larger, but the solar panel low amperage will protect from over charging and is just what is needed to offset the parasitic draw, DDEC etc. No ext. cords, charger on, charger off, cooked batts.

It worked great for me. I am thinking of it for my bus, as not using it as much in the winter months...

Good Luck,
Gary Pasternak
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2008, 01:18:26 PM »

I assume by generator battery you mean this is your house battery? If not, that is a very large battery just to start a generator.

If you're replacing batteries you might want to consider using Group 31s which a lot of us have done. They will do the job under almost all circumstances and sure are a lot easier to handle. I have two for each bank in my 4104 and have been very happy with them. All four fit into the original battery bay intended for two 8Ds and there is room for at least one more there. The two house 31s are deep cycle but the same size.

Ray,

The Battery Tenders I have are both chargers and maintainers.
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PD4107-152
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