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Thread: Mayday Mayday

  1. #1
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    Default Mayday Mayday

    I have a diesel Generator that supplements a solar system. The inverter charges 6 large batteries and should power the cabin for several days. Just got word that the generator is running most of the day and 5 of the 6 batteries need replacing. The batteries are only 4 to 5 years old and at 1500 a piece I want to be sure they can't be brought back to life. Any suggestions? FYI the folks at the lodge are kind enough to power up the cabin and have it ready for us

    Thx


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  2. #2
    Member BeaverDriver's Avatar
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    Have you ever done an equalizing charge on them?

  3. #3
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    No, What's the best procedure


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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    What batteries do you have?

    Were they fully or near fully charged all winter? If they were depleted and froze, you may need new batteries.

    Do they have caps where you can pull specific gravity or add distilled water if needed?

    What inverter? Does it have a charger built in? Is it set for the type of battery that you are using?
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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  6. #6
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    Thanks I will be up next week for the summer and get the make and model. Looks like it is going to be expensive.


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  7. #7
    Member etdvm's Avatar
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    Hi Mark -
    I suspect Tom B. has a hydrometer. If not, get one before you leave Texas. I'm bringing one to have on hand at my place also. Half of my batteries are wet. Tom will also have a voltage meter to check your potentials.

    See you in June!

    the other Texans
    Fly fishing makes me herl

  8. #8
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    If those are lead acid batteries and spent any length of time in a state of discharge, they might be toast. If they are flooded batteries that went dry, or partially dry, they may also be toast. Make sure they are full of water and give them an equalizing charge and if that doesn't do it, well, they are goners.

  9. #9
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    The EQ had no effect. Bummer $$$


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    Something smells fishy. Good batteries should last 15-20 years if managed properly. And you can buy pretty big capacity Surrettes or Trojans for a lot less the $1500 a piece. That you didn't know about equalizing is a bit troubling. You ought to be doing that a couple of times a year. If your batteries are truly dead something killed them. Probably bad equipment or bad operations. You need to visit with an off grid guy and learn some fundamentals.

    The only way to know your actual state of charge is to measure specific gravity of the electrolyte. A refractometer is way easier to use than a hygrometer. If and when you buy new batteries, assuming you buy good ones, you need to buy a refractometer and keep a log of your battery condition. Good batteries have warranties but you need to do your part by maintaining records. Depending on your inverter make/model you should use a remote control/status panel for everyday battery management. And a solar panel charge status readout at your charge controller.

  11. #11
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    Re: equalizing, any good inverter/charger should have at least one and probably two equalizing settings. One should be manual and the other timed. It'll take all day to run the cycle and you'll need to remove the battery caps and vent the area because the batteries are going to gas you out. When the process gets on step the batteries will bubble and boil fairly aggressively so make sure to contain any potential spatter or you may be sorry. If you use condenser caps you really need to remove them. No reason to wear out the condenser elements prematurely. Any normal/healthy battery bank will perform better after equalizing.

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