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Old 07-28-2011, 08:16 PM   #1
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Adding water to batteries??

Hi All,

I am slowly learning how to do everything with our new coach. Hubby is still experiencing back and general health problems so I have been trying to educate myself with all of your assistance. Last weekend, I drove it for the first time and now I want to make sure some of the routine maintenance is performed.

What is the best way to check the water levels on my batteries? My house batteries are located in a compartment but are not on a sliding compartment so it seems difficult to get at them. Any hints or good tips??? Also, ...

1. How to I ascertain whether the batteries need water?

2. How to add water? Watering can? Rubber tubing? Funnell??

3. Do I use distilled H2O?

4. How much do I add?

5. Can I overfill??

Thanks in advance for your assistance...

Faith
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:18 PM   #2
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1. How to I ascertain whether the batteries need water?

Remove the cap and look in, if liquid is below the inside ring they need water. You may need a mirror and flashlight in your case

2. How to add water? Watering can? Rubber tubing? Funnell??

I used a turkey baster from Dollar Tree for many years, now have a battery filler bulb unit from Harbor Freight

3. Do I use distilled H2O?

Yes

4. How much do I add?

Up to the ring inside the cell

5. Can I overfill??

Sure, but don't do it
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:31 PM   #3
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Are you sure they are not agm batteries? It would be almost impossible to check mine if I didn't without removing cover.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:36 PM   #4
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You don't mention what kind of batteries you have. The manufacturer can tell you where the fill mark is. I have Interstate batteries and fill mine to 1/4 to 3/8 below the hole opening. If you fill it too much the electrolyte may spit out thru the vent cap when charging, especially during a heavy charge. Use only distilled water in your batteries. During hot weather check the electrolyte level more often because it tends to evaporate more. Keep the tops of the batteries clean. I dip a paper towel in a solution of baking soda and water and wipe the tops of the battery. The baking soda will neutralize any acid that forms on the tops of the batteries from charging. Do not let this solution get into the batteries as it will kill the batteries.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:40 PM   #5
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There are apparatus that make filling batteries easy and almost automatic.

I use this Battery Filler.

Just search on "battery filler" without the quotes and you will get a lot of hits on places that sell them.

The particular one that I listed operates by inserting the spout and pressing down into the battery. The water level (distilled only) will seek it's own level and stop when it reaches the spout. Just make sure that you insert it all the way and press down. If for some reason it does overfill, have that turkey baster ready to extract a little.

Using a turkey baster to fill a battery still means you have to see into the cell to obtain a correct level. The battery filler does it for you.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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If your batteries are even moderately difficult to check on a regular basis, invest some money in a Pro Fill Battery Watering System.

No need to acess the batteries anymore. Once you get the system set up, once a month, just stick the open end of the filler tube in a jug of distilled water; a squeeze or two of the bulb pump will maintain the water level in your batteries to perfection.

Easy peasy and no worries.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:17 PM   #7
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There are three types of batteries comonly used in RV's. As to how much to add. I recommend JUST BELOW the "Ring" (the bottom of the filler tube) like 1/8" to 1/4" Overfilling causes the batteries to spit acid all over the place.

Now the 3 types:

1: Flooded wet cells.. Like the common six volt Golf Car battery (Say Interstate U-2200 work-a-holics) These have removable caps (Interstate uses a tripple cap) and you can easily add DISTILLED water (I too use a turkey baster)

2: Maintenance free.. You should not attempt to remove the caps.. These batteries normally have a very SMOOTH top (Flat top save for the terminals if any)

3: AGM. See 2, same comments apply.


Caps come in 4 types

1: Single twist off
2: Triple lever lock (Kind of a Rube Goldburg thing, Interstate uses this)
3: Triple pry off.
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:23 AM   #8
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We "ditto" the Pro Fill Watering System as a "fix" for this problem. Before installing ours (less than 2 hours to install) it required a couple hours each month to clean the 8 terminals with baking soda then hose down the entire compartment (what to do with the water?) then fill the 12 holes with correct amount of water (DISTILLED ONLY!!).
Now once a month it takes 5-6 minutes to properly fill the batteries and there's been no white crud on the terminals since installation (10 months).
A set does two batteries so 4 batteries requires 2 sets - $65-70 per set and less than $20 for the "pump"
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Old 07-29-2011, 07:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senior Chief View Post
If your batteries are even moderately difficult to check on a regular basis, invest some money in a Pro Fill Battery Watering System.

No need to acess the batteries anymore. Once you get the system set up, once a month, just stick the open end of the filler tube in a jug of distilled water; a squeeze or two of the bulb pump will maintain the water level in your batteries to perfection.

Easy peasy and no worries.
Ditto on Pro Fill
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:06 AM   #10
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I will add that if you find you are having to add water more than once or twice a year, you have a problem. When everything is perfect; batteries, charging system and cable connections you will find you will almost never have to add water. My lead acid 6 volt golf cart type batteries are now 9.5 years old and I have added water three times during this time. Once in Fl., once in Az., and once in Tn. I am about to finally change them out as they do not have the amp hour capacity they once did. I am guessing down about 40%. I checked water level regularly and did not let them drop below 50% capacity for many years. Usually, annually I would run an "equalize" charge before a long boon docking adventure. Take care of them and you will get many years of life out of them.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:06 PM   #11
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Poormans Battery filler

wa8yxm's Post!
There are three types of batteries commonly used in RV's. As to how much to add. I recommend JUST BELOW the "Ring" (the bottom of the filler tube) like 1/8" to 1/4" Overfilling causes the batteries to spit acid all over the place.

Now the 3 types:

1: Flooded wet cells.. Like the common six volt Golf Car battery (Say Interstate U-2200 work-a-holics) These have removable caps (Interstate uses a tripple cap) and you can easily add DISTILLED water (I too use a turkey baster)

2: Maintenance free.. You should not attempt to remove the caps.. These batteries normally have a very SMOOTH top (Flat top save for the terminals if any)

3: AGM. See 2, same comments apply.


Caps come in 4 types

1: Single twist off
2: Triple lever lock (Kind of a Rube Goldburg thing, Interstate uses this)
3: Triple pry off.
4: Missing??? Could Not pass up the opportunity !!

Need a battery filler / washer,look at the attached pictures

Maintenance free is something of a mystery phrase to me. I have found many batteries that are so called maintenance free, but they need water at times and I open many of them and add water.They have a Triple pry off cap in most cases,yes they are recessed in the top,but there is a channel leading from them to the outside edge.
I use a thin,flat bladed screw driver to slide down the channel and VERY carefully pry them off. Place a damp rag over the cap to keep it from flying somewhere you do not want battery acid.

I wash them with a mix of 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 16 / 20 oz.of warm water,mixed well. before popping the filler cap(s) use fresh water to rinse of the area

Fill the bottle pictured with the mix. screw on the top off a gear oil bottle(clean one)Fits like a clove! on the bottle pictured or any bottle of the like sized threaded top.

Then insert a piece of tubing into the hole of the gear oil top,now it needs to fit tightly on the inside or over the outside if you need to reach into a tight spot.
Please remember to rinse the bottle well if you had baking soda in it to clean things.
NOTE!! If you are cleaning the batteries on a nice concrete driveway or pad(place some old cardboard under the area) the mixture removed from the batteries can cause a nice rust type stain if not cleaned up quickly. Been There Done That.
Using a flashlight and mirror to look into the openings. A flat makeup mirror works (I have used the DW's not always with her approval)Not a good move,but in a pinch all is fair.
A inspection mirror on a handle works, some are higher tech,but what ever works for you.



Dick.
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