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Old 10-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #1
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My rig has three 12 volt deep cell batteries for use as coach batteries. I have noted in the past that the first battery in the "chain" seems to work harder than the next two. I gauged that by regular checking of the fluid levels in all of the battery cells. I don't use much water in the cells, but when I do it seems that the first battery, the one that is closest to the back of the battery rack takes a little more fluid than the other two.

I checked them today and found the the first battery in the rack again was noticibly lower than the other two. So I added water and swapped the batteries in the number one and three positions. The thought process is that the #3 battery is not getting the deep discharge that the first battery is. So swaping them is trying to equalize the usage on each one.

Has anyone else noticed this condition with their batteries?

Sarge
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #2
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My rig has three 12 volt deep cell batteries for use as coach batteries. I have noted in the past that the first battery in the "chain" seems to work harder than the next two. I gauged that by regular checking of the fluid levels in all of the battery cells. I don't use much water in the cells, but when I do it seems that the first battery, the one that is closest to the back of the battery rack takes a little more fluid than the other two.

I checked them today and found the the first battery in the rack again was noticibly lower than the other two. So I added water and swapped the batteries in the number one and three positions. The thought process is that the #3 battery is not getting the deep discharge that the first battery is. So swaping them is trying to equalize the usage on each one.

Has anyone else noticed this condition with their batteries?

Sarge
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:03 PM   #3
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I have the same setup. My #3 battery (farthest back) consistently takes more water - by a fair amount - than the other two.
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:31 PM   #4
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I have the same setup and have noticed the same thing. My thought was to do what you have done and switch them around and try to equalize them.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the proximity of the most inside battery being closer to the engine and possibly greater heat buildup?
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:37 PM   #5
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It must be something to do with the set up and location of each battery in the tray. I figured I would swap them around and see if the rear most battery now starts using more water. If it is still the front battery then maybe the extended period in that position in the tray has taken a toll on the cells.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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It may have to do with the rear battery being closest to the engine, warmer than the other two, and just vapors faster since it's already pre-heated.

As for the batteries being un-balanced, that's almost impossible with them all in parallel with 6" jumpers. The only time those batteries would ever be un-balanced against each other would be a charge or discharge on the order of several hundred amps. I would start with a Hydrometer and look at each cell and see how they all compare.
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Old 10-22-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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I'm no battery expert, but this is a pretty interesting problem. Could it have to do with which battery is getting the strongest (first in line) charge? Could that be the cause of the faster evaporation? Don't know, just my 2 cents....
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:55 PM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by steelhead_bluesman:
I'm no battery expert, but this is a pretty interesting problem. Could it have to do with which battery is getting the strongest (first in line) charge? Could that be the cause of the faster evaporation? Don't know, just my 2 cents.... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Don't forget that these are probably #00 jumpers between batteries. There is no way that they aren't charging equally. The cause has to be external.
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:17 AM   #9
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You have three batteries in parallel so it is possible that one battery is working harder than the others. If the internal resistance of one battery is lower or its connection is lower resistance then it will draw more current than the other batteries. One fairly easy thing to try is to clean the connections to all batteries.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:38 AM   #10
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They are all screw type terminals and I checked them all when I switched them around, all were clean. Does any Winnie owner know which 2 cables are from the charger, the set closest to the motor, or the set closest to the bay door?

Jeff, if I go 6 volt replacements, do you have a diagram of the propper cable routing swap from the 12 volt set up? I think I am leaning that way.......
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:41 AM   #11
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A a couple basic questions;

Are the 3 batteries the same type, manufacture, age, and rating?

Are all the inter-battery jumpers/connectors the same gauge (size) wire.

Batteries in a parallel bank will equalize to the cell that has the lowest state of charge within the bank. This is why it is not recommended to replace a bad battery that is "banked" with others, the new battery will be limited by the performance of the remaining batteries within the "bank". So it is possible for one battery to be working harder than the others if each of the others contain a weak cell or cells, it will try to equalize the state of charge (SOG)of all cells within the bank, will continue to do this until SOG of all cells within the bank equalizes. This occurs even under no load conditions.

The opposite could also be true, if the battery that uses the most water has weaker cells therefore charging harder, getting hotter, using more water.

The only fool-proof way to determine what is going on with your batteries is to water each cell to the same level, then fully charge them. Once fully charged isolate the bank from all loads . Take a hydrometer to measure the specific gravity of each cell within the bank. If you have a glass thermometer take the temperature of each cells electrolyte. The specific gravity of each cell should be relatively the same, within a couple of points (.050), the temperature should also be relatively the same. An 100% charged cell should have a specific gravity of 1.265. If the specific gravities of cells are greater than .050 apart the cell/cells are problematic and could be on its way to failure, they will continue effect the performance of your battery bank.

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Old 10-23-2008, 12:50 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by SargeW:
They are all screw type terminals and I checked them all when I switched them around, all were clean. Does any Winnie owner know which 2 cables are from the charger, the set closest to the motor, or the set closest to the bay door?

Jeff, if I go 6 volt replacements, do you have a diagram of the propper cable routing swap from the 12 volt set up? I think I am leaning that way....... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>See email..
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:52 PM   #13
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All the batteries are connected with 00 gauge welding cable. I checked all 3 batteries (same brand, bought at the same time) with a cheap hydrometer. At least 2 of the cells in one of the batteries are weak. No dead ones yet........
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:25 PM   #14
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Is battery with the weak cells the one that is using more water?

If so, you now know why. I would expect it is depending on how weak they are.

Spike
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