battery Gurus - help needed

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:09
ThreadID: 101008 Views:1642 Replies:5 FollowUps:20
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Have just replaced Century H/Duty 100 a/h with an agm in the car and have had the old Century one on charge overnight (hoping to use it in the van) with the intention of testing it after it has had a rest from charging. I have a 4 stage charger but it will not go beyond "bulk" to the "float" stage and if I persist with keeping it charging I can hear activity within the cells which sounds a bit like it is boiling. I have the vents half open. I suppose more will be revealed when I test it tomorrow morning but it should've reach full float by now shouldn't it?
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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:14

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:14
What size charger and how long have you had it on charge?
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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:22

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:22
16 amp and at least 16 hrs
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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:27

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:27
Have you got a volt meter. Let the battery rest for 24 hours and check the voltage, if it's not up around 12.8 volts or so then it's had it.

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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:30

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:30
If it is around 12.8, put a load that draws 10 or 12 amps on it and check the voltage. It should hold 12.6 or so.
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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:36

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:36
it's reading 12.61 now and I'm sure will drop further


not looking good?
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:57

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 15:57
If the charger will not proceed from 'bulk' to 'float' it indicates that the required voltage/current algorithm is not being attained. I would believe that you have a faulty cell and that after a spell off the charger, the battery terminal voltage will be down to less than 12 volts. I'm afraid that, as you say, it's "not looking good".


If you have put the new AGM in the engine bay and have not made special provision for heat shielding and ventilation then you may face a similar situation to the above within a short time. AGM's do not like heat.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:06

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:06
hmmmm..........had a Remco 110 ah AGM for 5 yrs in the last tug and never had a hint of a problem. This time I had the Century HD put in with the Redarc isolator and it has not been very good at all.

What type do you prefer? Marine?
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:23

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:23
Steve,
It is well established and documented that AGM batteries suffer with elevated temperature. Not simply my opinion, although it has been my experience. Possibly the Remco was in a cooler location than most.


I have not had experience with 'marine' batteries but my reading suggest that they are more robust but I'm not so sure that they are more heat tolerant.


My solution was to fit a heat barrier with forced ventilation. It's too soon to determine if it is effective although I have measured a temperature depression of more than 10 degrees from the outside of the barrier so I'm hoping.


The second AGM, same model & installed at the same time is in the cab so relative lifespan may be interesting. Hope I don't get a result for several years. The previous AGM in the engine bay only lasted one year but it was bearing the whole auxiliary load which is now shared so less cycling.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:39

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 16:39
Actually mate, I've misled you. My Remco was actually in the ute tray of my previous tug. You've convinced me re: AGM and heat. I have a newish Delco 100 ah deep cycle/marine in the van and I think i'll swap it with the new Remco. The blurb for the Delco does say it is made to withstand high temps. Might even wrap it with a bit of insulation.

cheers
Steve
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 17:06

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 17:06
Steve,
Simply wrapping the battery in insulation is unproductive. The space inside the insulation and around the battery needs to be also ventilated. Otherwise heat generated within the battery from charging and discharging will not escape and so raise the battery temperature. But if you are installing it in the tray then thermal insulation should be unnecessary.


Be wary of battery manufacturer's blurbs unless supported by engineering specifications. They often use generalised throw-away lines. And I would not think them to be highly motivated to ensuring that you achieve long battery life for obvious reasons.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 18:55

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 18:55
Now I've had a little think about this, I had the Remco agm in the engine bay of a Landcruiser for two and a half years and four years in the ute tray of my Landrover 130 Defender. When I sold the car that battery was still performing like new.

The one I have just swapped from the van to put in the car is a Delco marine/high cycle (therein lies another can of worms of terminology) 97ah 680 cca 162 min rc. I gather would be handy as back up for cranking and the high cycle apparently refers to its ability to recharge quicker than a "deep cycle". I'll look into that some more. They do make a bit of a noise about its heat tolerance so I'm hopeful of better performance with this 'un.

Thinking back to the Defender, the cranking battery was under the passenger seat, so also away from heat sources and my Remco agm in the tray. Probably explains why I did so well with those.

Looking at your setup what sort of battery is the starter? (red caps?) Is that OEM? Looks a bit of a bruiser - wouldn't fancy dropping that on my toes.



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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:30

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:30
Steve,
You did well with the Remco @ six and a half years. Batteries are a fickle lot....... no sooner do you pronounce a typical lifespan then someone describes a much superior (or worse) achieved performance!


The under-seat location of the Defender may be a little inconvenient (especially for jump-lead starts) but at least it was out of the heat.


My starter battery is an Exide Extreme. Not such a bruiser but maybe a wide-angle lens made it look longer. Not OEM.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:54

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:54
yep, usually seems no rhyme or reason but there usually is.

Under the seat was handy other times and the thing is, I never once needed a jump start in that old Fred Flintstone-mobile. Very easy to work on. Just not up to high speed long distance/towing but fantastic for what is was made for: rumbling around a paddock and just an amazing 4wd. Lack of room in the back for two 6ft+ teen boys and the air-con never getting the better of the heat coming thru the floor due to lack of insulation on a warm day. Oh.....the memories LOL. I could write a book. The Prado seems like a Bentley after that lot but I wouldn't trade the experiences.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:59

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:59
LOL about the Defender, but you should have experienced the Series 1 Landrover I pedalled around Woomera in 1954-8. It defies polite description, but I did have the time of my life.
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Allan

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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:32

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:32
Gee really? That must've been awesome in those days. I had a good look at some of those early Landrovers when I was in the LR club. The wife & kids were in despair but I had the time of my life. They eventually wore me down and now I drive a "normal car". Must tell them about your trip. A wonder you didn't bump into Len Beadell.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:46

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:46
I did meet Lennie, several times. Everyone knew when he was in the Village. Quite a character.
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Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:54

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 21:54
that's amazing Allan - must have a few stories to tell.

hope we bump into you sometime on the track.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:56

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:56
Don't misunderstand me Steve, I wasn't enjoying a beer or two with Lennie, for one thing he didn't drink, I was just there at the time with others, but did share a few words about his work and the country.


They were good and exciting times. What more could a young man wish for.......driving around the bush and setting off fireworks!
It would be great to bump into you. Keep a watch for the Troopy in the Deserts.


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Allan

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 17:26

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 17:26
Incidentally Steve, here is a photo of the battery heat shield in my Troopy. Ventilation is afforded from around and below the headlight, exiting below the firewall. The AGM is at the rear.


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Allan

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Follow Up By: TheMightyMoose - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:35

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:35
G'day Allan
What exactly is that stuff?
Thanks for posting the photo - I'm sure others will find it of benefit.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:50

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:50
Hi Moose,
Guess you mean the heat barrier?
Its an insulation material from Clark Rubber. Foam with aluminium on one side. I folded it in half and used contact adhesive to double its thickness and have aluminium on both sides. The foam has low flammability and high heat durability. It is flexible enough to move if removing the oil filter or a battery. There is some electrical insulation applied to the heat shield adjacent to the battery terminals.
The same stuff is used under the bonnet to reduce noise as the original material had disappeared.
It can get pretty hot in that engine bay hauling across the Simpson Desert so time may tell if it improves battery life. Haven't had a good battery life before so here's hoping.
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Allan

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 07:49

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 07:49
Steve,

Getting back on track with your original problem, the best way for you to determine the health of your battery is to test each cell's specific gravity with a hydrometer.
In your case I'm assuming you have a battery with vent caps so use of a hydrometer is simple. This will show if one or more cells are cactus or not.

In some cases one or multiple cells may have become calcified and the chances of recovery are slim.

If you don't wish to buy a hydrometer (they are only suitable for batteries with removable vent caps) you can take your battery to any battery retailer, who can (or should) be able to test it for you, free of charge with an electronic meter.

Bill


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AnswerID: 506542

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 11:45

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 11:45
thanks Bill - after about 18 hrs rest it is reading 12.48 with the multi-meter, which is higher than I expected but if that is as high as it goes after a long charge I don't think there's much future. I'll pick up a hydrometer anyway. I never replaced my last one which smashed on a previous trip.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:31

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:31
Hi Steve,

I am assume that the Century is a flooded cell taken from your engine bay, from your post. I may be assuming too much.

If this is the case you would be better off having the AGM in the van and keep the flooded cell in the engine bay of the car as the flooded calls give off a fair amount of Hydrogen when under charge, so much so that it does not take much of a spark to blow them up. Seen it happen several times. Highly dangerous in a confined space. AGM batteries are safer in an enclosed environment.

You may already know this and if so then please ignore my advice if that is the case.

Cheers, Bruce.
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restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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AnswerID: 506588

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:49

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:49
hi Bruce

The century HD is a flooded battery and is destined for the tip. As already stated, I originally had the Remco agm intended for the aux in the engine bay but now realise I have a decent marine/hybrid Delco in the van boot and have swapped them over. Never used a marine before, although these are a hybrid and specs are above. It has 680 cca so is a good back up for the car and they recharge better than a HD battery although not as well as an agm. Trawling around the 4x4 forums they appear to be pretty widely used and well regarded so we'll see.


cheers
Steve
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