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Old 11-01-2009, 07:41 PM   #1
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House batteries, plates dry. How to check condition.

Evening,
I waited to long to check my batteries but today I got around to it and discovered that all four were dry. I'm kind of kicking myself for procrastinating but now have to determine if the batteries need to be replaced.
I have restored the electrolyte level with distilled water but I'm not sure the proper way to test if they are maintaining a useful charge.
I'm thinking I need charge them and then isolate them form any incoming or outgoing charge for several hours to remove the surface charge and then test with either a hydrometer or a digital voltage meter.
Is this correct and what voltage should I be seeing.
Appreciate any help.
Letsgoagain
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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Trojan Battery has an excellent manual on maintaining and testing batteries. Click here for a link.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Letsgoagain View Post
Evening,
I waited to long to check my batteries but today I got around to it and discovered that all four were dry. I'm kind of kicking myself for procrastinating but now have to determine if the batteries need to be replaced.
I have restored the electrolyte level with distilled water but I'm not sure the proper way to test if they are maintaining a useful charge.
I'm thinking I need charge them and then isolate them form any incoming or outgoing charge for several hours to remove the surface charge and then test with either a hydrometer or a digital voltage meter.
Is this correct and what voltage should I be seeing.
Appreciate any help.
Letsgoagain
After charging, check the electrolyte with a hydrometer to make sure they came back up to close to par. If they are not, replace them. They should read, after letting them set to remove the surface charge, read 12.6-12.7.VDC

If they do not measure up, replace them.

My guess is they are gone.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:48 PM   #4
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This is a follow up to my battery problem.
I think my batteries may be okay but if someone sees a flaw in my results then let me know.
First of all yesterday I turned off the charger, chassis disconnect and house battery disconnect at the battery compartment and inside the motorhome, filled each of the four batteries cells with distilled water, turned everything back on and then charged them with the on board xantrex inverter/charger until it indicated it had reached the float charge stage for several hours. I then turned everything off to isolate the batteries and let them sit until 4:00p.m. today. Almost 24 hours.
I tested each battery which by the way are interstate 6 volt batteries. My voltage reading's by a digital volt meter were 6.51,6.49,6.45 and 6.43 respectively. It was about 55 degrees outside so I think I need to adjust my readings down for the ambient temp after I read exactly how to make that calculation.
I don't have a hydrometer and stopped at the nearest auto parts store but all they had was a cheapie so I will do that test when I get a good one.
I'm hopeing that they are still good as these are the house batteries and as I mentioned there are four of them. Quite frankly I was suprised that the house batteries are 6 volt from the factory.
If anyone sees something in error then let me know as I don't want to find out the hard way with dead batteries somewhere int the boonies at an inconveinent time.
Thanks for the help and replies.
Letsgoagain

Well now I don't know if the batteries are dead or not. I did the temp conversion subtracting 15 % for the 15 degrees below the ideal of 70 degrees. Voltages then showed a 0 charge but then I got to thinking that in the battery compartment it had to be warmer then outside especially cause it was in the sun.
Guess I'll just get a hydrometer and see what reading I get or perhaps unhook the shore power and see if I have lights.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
filled each of the four batteries cells with distilled water, turned everything back on and then charged them with the on board xantrex inverter/charger until it indicated it had reached the float charge stage for several hours.
Are you sure you have a Xantrex inverter and not a Magnum?? If Magnum, press and hold the charge button for 5 seconds and go into Equalize mode. Takes about 4 or 5 hours to complete and will help immensely if you have not done it recently.
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Old 11-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #6
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letsgoagn

You are placing way too much importance on the temperature.

Turn on a reasonably heavy load (20 amps, 240 watts) and keep it on for 1 hour. Then measure the battery voltages. Read them again after 2-3 hours. That will give you a lot of info. After waiting the 2-3 hours, the post voltage should be VERY close to the original readings.
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