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Old 07-04-2022, 12:55 PM   #1
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Equalizing Battery Bank

Most of what I've read advises all load be removed while equalizing the battery bank. The only way I know to remove all load is through the battery cut off which, I think, would end up leaving the inverter powerless as well as all kinds of things that I probably don't even know about.And, we live in our motor home so this might also be rather inconvenient.




So, just how important is disconnecting all load from the battery bank?


And, a big deal is made about making sure the bank is fully charged. Most of the time, we are float charging. I only occasionally see Full Charge on the Magnum Remote.



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Old 07-04-2022, 01:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamcginn1 View Post
Most of what I've read advises all load be removed while equalizing the battery bank. The only way I know to remove all load is through the battery cut off which, I think, would end up leaving the inverter powerless as well as all kinds of things that I probably don't even know about. And, we live in our motor home so this might also be rather inconvenient.




So, just how important is disconnecting all load from the battery bank?


And, a big deal is made about making sure the bank is fully charged. Most of the time, we are float charging. I only occasionally see Full Charge on the Magnum Remote.



Mary Anne
Holiday Rambler Ambassador 2012
Interstate 903-S
I am by no means an expert on many things, just an old Grunt Marine. But I remember my first DP (2002). Came with Interstate batteries (4). Unlike some folks, I am an avid manual reader, refresh myself on them about ounce a year. Anyway, I read in the Newmar manual about equalizing, but it cautioned that it depended on the battery maker. So, I called Interstate and they were emphatic. DO NOT EQUALIZE! Traded that rig in on another Newmar (2006). Not interstates but some other brand (?). However, I never equalized them. Drove that rig for 15 years before downsizing last year. Those OEM batteries were replaced after nine years of heavy use. So what does that mean? Not a hill of beans, just relating my experiences. I must also tell you I am a nut about maintenance, especially things that make other things go, like batteries. I monitor their % of charge constantly and check water level on the first of every month religiously, which is the only thing I hate about my Forza. Winnie could not have found a worse place to put them. Newmar spoiled me with a large battery slide out tray.
Anyway, I am sure some folks on here will opine about equalizing who are a lot smarter than me on batteries care.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:37 PM   #3
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So, I called Interstate and they were emphatic. DO NOT EQUALIZE!
Strange!

They post a chart on their website that says equalize charge their GC-2 batteries for no more than 2hrs!
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:43 PM   #4
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Many coaches are setup so the battery disconnect switch does not disconnect the inverter/charger. This so the inverter/charger can access the battery bank in a storage situation, equiliztion, etc.

The Tiffin you have in your profile is this way. I don't know about the coach listed in the post.

Easy enough to find out. Turn off the battery disconnect switch and see if the magnum is still active.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:47 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Strange!

They post a chart on their website that says equalize charge their GC-2 batteries for no more than 2hrs!
Understand what you are saying. My comment from them dates back to 2002. Probably changed their battery design during those 15 years. But I've convinced myself by experience to not equalize. Nine years on a bank of four batteries with heavy use is enuff proof to me. Just my opinion.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:49 PM   #6
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If wet batteries equilization is typically applicable. Helps to remove sulfidation from the battery plates. Improves performance and longevity. The battery manufacturer is of course the final word.

I typically do for a couple hours or whatever time the charger dpes if fixed time. With loads disconnected so the coach is not subjected to the higher voltage of equilization.

Note that some RV manufacturers fit a desulfinator to the batteries that operates automatically. In this case manual equalization not required.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mamcginn1 View Post


And, a big deal is made about making sure the bank is fully charged. Most of the time, we are float charging. I only occasionally see Full Charge on the Magnum Remote.



Mary Anne
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Your remote panel displaying 'float charge' with 0 DC amps will be fine.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:13 PM   #8
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Your charger can handle any 12v load you may see. What they mean is turn the inverter off. I manually equalize every six or 8 months. Usually I am plugged in so the batteries don't get a huge workout very often. 10 days a year maybe.
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Old 07-04-2022, 04:58 PM   #9
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Thanks, y'all.

I'm going to call interstate and get it from them.
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Old 07-04-2022, 10:08 PM   #10
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Thanks, y'all.

I'm going to call interstate and get it from them.
Good idea!

I've stopped equalizing mine because my BIRD will put the same 15+ voltage into my brand new sealed lead acid chassis batteries.
Theres no way of replacing water in them without cutting the vent caps off.

Suppose I could disconnect them, but I'm too damn lazy to do that!
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Old 07-06-2022, 07:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by shootist View Post
Your charger can handle any 12v load you may see. What they mean is turn the inverter off. I manually equalize every six or 8 months. Usually I am plugged in so the batteries don't get a huge workout very often. 10 days a year maybe.
Just for knowledge sake, how do you manually equalize? Didn't know that was even possible??
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Old 07-06-2022, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt B View Post
I am by no means an expert on many things, just an old Grunt Marine. But I remember my first DP (2002). Came with Interstate batteries (4). Unlike some folks, I am an avid manual reader, refresh myself on them about ounce a year. Anyway, I read in the Newmar manual about equalizing, but it cautioned that it depended on the battery maker. So, I called Interstate and they were emphatic. DO NOT EQUALIZE! Traded that rig in on another Newmar (2006). Not interstates but some other brand (?). However, I never equalized them. Drove that rig for 15 years before downsizing last year. Those OEM batteries were replaced after nine years of heavy use. So what does that mean? Not a hill of beans, just relating my experiences. I must also tell you I am a nut about maintenance, especially things that make other things go, like batteries. I monitor their % of charge constantly and check water level on the first of every month religiously, which is the only thing I hate about my Forza. Winnie could not have found a worse place to put them. Newmar spoiled me with a large battery slide out tray.
Anyway, I am sure some folks on here will opine about equalizing who are a lot smarter than me on batteries care.
Have you looked at battery filling devices. Search battery watering devices.
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Old 07-06-2022, 08:26 AM   #13
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Equalizing is normally only used on flooded batteries. The main purpose of equalizing is to mix the acid in the batteries for a uniform strength. During the equalization process some water is lost from the batteries. On flooded cells , the water can easily be replaced. With sealed batteries , this is not an option.
Equalizing is more important on systems that are cycled and not fully charged every day. If you are constantly plugged into shore power there may be no need to equalize. Normally (unless you try to equalize in -40 degree temps) the voltage should not exceed 15v which is safe for 12v items.
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Old 07-06-2022, 08:29 AM   #14
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It is all about the chemistry.

Most sealed lead acid batteries should not be "equalized", conditioned, or be treated with other high voltage treatments (including AGM or GEL batteries). They have chemistry that recombines hydrogen and oxygen produced while charging. Most seal batteries do not have the capacity to handle equalizing. See battery manufactures recommendations.

Sulfation

If your battery bank is always fully charged within one day of being discharged, they probably do not ever need conditioning. Conditioning is to compensate for sulfation that occurs while batteries are stored in discharged or partially discharged state. It takes a long slow charge to de-sulfate. The more sulfate crystals have formed, the longer it takes.

13.6 to 13.8 volts should be OK.

Balance

Six volt batteries are usually connected in series pairs to make a 12 volt battery bank.

Installing 6 volt batteries requires pairs of batteries that are closely matched. Match for brand, model, chemistry, and age. Fully charge each one individually. Well matched 6 volt batteries will charge and discharge together and not need equalization.

As batteries age, one battery may not get fully charged because the weak one limits charging current flow.

The incomplete charge can be overcome by forcing charge using 14.4 volts or sometimes more. Forcing charge generates hydrogen and oxygen gas that appears to "boil" the battery. Refill after equalizing.

A better, but more complected way is to individually charge each 6 volt battery until each is fully charged and de-sulfated.

In any case, a battery bank with unbalanced 6 volt batteries is probably reaching end of life or has a defective battery.

Individual 6 or 12 volt batteries can have the same effects as a pair of 6 bolt batteries in series. Each battery has 3 or 6 cells respectively. One or more cells can end up less than fully charged.

Usually charging for a longer than normal period can correct the problem. However, equalizing can force the cell to full charge the same as for a pair of 6 volt batteries wired in series.

Stirring battery cells

Lead acid batteries sometimes need to have water added to replace what is lost to evaporation or due to over charging.

Occasionally adding a small amount of water is fine. The electrolyte will even out just fine.

Adding lots of water or adding water frequently may result in stratified electrolyte. Heavier acid remains on the bottom. Lighter water remains on the top.

Applying a high voltage for a short time can stir the electrolyte by producing hydrogen gas that will bubble to the surface. 14.4 volts applied to an already fully charged battery will usually produce bubbles. Some people use 15 volts or so.

How does the Lead Acid Battery Work?
https://batteryuniversity.com/articl...d-battery-work

How do battery chargers work
https://batteryuniversity.com/articl...-chargers-work

How to Charge and When to Charge?
https://batteryuniversity.com/articl...when-to-charge

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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