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Old 02-28-2015, 04:26 PM   #1
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What is up with my battery water

I just brought motor home to house from storage to catch up on a few things, plugged in to charge since house batteries seemed a little weak when switched on. I have no power at current storage so I disconnect all batteries when I am in storage, have knife switch on chassis battery and disconnect a cable on house bank of two 6 volt deep cycles. Checked water level in the chassis 12 volt and was just fine, checked the two 6 volts and electrolyte level was below plates in all cells of both! Took over two quarts of water to fill the two of them (not each). Now going on presumption that these batteries are probably toast

I have an Intellipower charger with charge wizard, was told that was great choice for battery maintenance. Tomorrow I am moving to new covered storage and have 15Amp 110 service so can leave converter/charger plugged in but am now worried that I will just cook these batteries. What is confusing to me is that the house and chassis are charged when on external power, we hardly every dry camp, so not sure why the 6 volts are venting off and the 12 volt is still full. When on shore power house bank and chassis bank read 14.2, don't ask about voltage without shore power hooked up, I am afraid to look

Likely will be looking at 2 new 6 volt deep cycles, maybe time anyway these are about 4 years old, thinking Trojan T105's but wondering about maintenance free, if worth the BIG difference in price.

Thoughts.....
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:48 PM   #2
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14.2V on shore power sounds kind of high to me. My house bank is six 6V GC batts. (chassis batts are sealed) They have consistently shown 13.7V on shore power, occasionally .6 or .8.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:50 PM   #3
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If the shore power volts is always 14.2 thats to high for maintenance. It should cut back to float voltage of 13.2

Good luck
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFXG View Post
14.2V on shore power sounds kind of high to me. My house bank is six 6V GC batts. (chassis batts are sealed) They have consistently shown 13.7V on shore power, occasionally .6 or .8.
I've always assumed that they have shown that since I was on shore power and running off the converter. When I am not on shore power they usually read 13.4 after being on shore power and charged up.
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Old 02-28-2015, 04:55 PM   #5
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If the shore power volts is always 14.2 thats to high for maintenance. It should cut back to float voltage of 13.2

Good luck
Well then I guess that is the issue, it ALWAYS reads 13.4 when on shore power. Could that mean the charger/converter is bad or the Wizard? I am lost with electrical issues.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:11 PM   #6
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Rough numbers for a 3 stage charger/converter:
14.8V - bulk charge
14.2V - top-off charge
13.4V holding voltage

So if the converter thinks the batteries are less than about 90% it will put out 14.8 until 90%, then drop to 14.2 to finish off the charge, then 13.4 to hold it. Once a week or so it will go back to 14.8V to 'stir things up a bit (maintenance).

Cleaning the grounds is the best way to make sure the converter is reading the correct battery charge.
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Old 02-28-2015, 05:58 PM   #7
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Hi trode,
To understand the entire situation one needs to have the batteries at the best charge they can be. Then:
1. Disconnect the house batteries.
2. Put a meter on them and determine if the fully charged voltage is correct. If the battery is worn out, shorted or has an open the volts will not be there.
3. If the volts are there, do a load test. Auto parts stores sell this tool. My tester is rated at 130 AMPS.
4. Only if #s 2 and 3 are good can one look at the converter for a guilty verdict.

Like tomwalt posted. If the batteries are not up to snuff, the converter is going to try very hard to get them fully charged.
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:28 PM   #8
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Proper battery maintenance is the key to normal service life of your wet cell batteries. You should see 8-10 years out of a set of batteries with proper maintenance.
Here is a doc from Trojan on the subject you might find useful.

http://www.trojanbattery.com/pdf/TRJ...UsersGuide.pdf
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:53 PM   #9
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Battery voltages tend to be soft numbers based on the manufacturers philosophy. 14.4 for bulk charging up to 80% maybe 90% if you want to run some corrosion. About 4 hours. 13.6V or so for the topping charge maybe 36 hours then 13.2-13.4 for the float charge. That being said, allow the batteries to rest for at least 3 hours before measuring the resting voltage. It takes about that long for what some call the surface charge to be absorbed. The surface charge is the final chemical conversion going on in the battery. Until it completes, you'll read a few tenths of a volt too high for the true battery condition.

How to Prolong and Restore Lead-acid Batteries - Battery University
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:48 PM   #10
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Don't know why but I love all things battery!
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:49 AM   #11
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dennis45,

You state that " You should see 8 -10 years out of a set of batteries", and then link us to a Trojan battery site.

Trojan states that it is diffucult to predict battery life and makes no claim of 8 -10 year life.

A battery is a machine and it`s life is based on cycles and depth of discharge, not years. Some users will use them up much faster then others.

Living on batteries.
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:18 AM   #12
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The 14.2v charge rate indicates the batteries are very low - the three stage charger ramps up voltage in the "bulk" charge phase, then lets it taper off as the battery reaches the 80% level or there abouts. It should taper off to 13.3-13.6 as the charge builds up. If the charge doesn't taper off after several hours, there may be a problem with either the batteries (likely) or the charge (more rarely).

Did you check the water in the cells before putting the RV in storage? It seems unlikely that the water depleted while the batteries were disconnected - evaporation isn't enough to do that in winter weather.

Have no fear - the Intellipower + Charge Wizard won't "cook" the batteries.
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Old 03-01-2015, 09:05 AM   #13
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House batteries are deep cycle batteries. Deep cycle flooded batteries are lead-antimony, (lead-acid using an antimony alloy).

Chassis, or starting batteries, are lead-calcium, (lead-acid using a calcium alloy).

Lead-antimony batteries use considerably more water than lead-calcium, and the water usage will increase as the battery ages. Near end of life, lead-antimony batteries will use approximately four times the water then when new.
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Old 03-01-2015, 11:22 AM   #14
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Don't know why but I love all things battery!
That's because batteries are more fun to pontificate about than tires or oil, two subjects banned from the motorcycle list to which I belong. Plus we can push buttons and change the charge settings on our smart chargers.

Regarding which battery starts the generator. For our application I decided that running the chassis battery down with the generator was a bad idea. I tried using the house batteries but a particularly cold night showed me the error of my ways and I added a battery dedicated to the generator, with its own battery charger and a tie solenoid to add in the house batteries if needed. So if the worst happens my last resort is to start the chassis engine and back feed the whole system until I can start the generator.
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