Batteries/Batteries & problems

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 15:49
ThreadID: 31040 Views:2077 Replies:8 FollowUps:4
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In May of last year had my 80 series electrics checked and rebuilt, new batteries
rebuilt alt. & heavy duty wiring back to mt 7 pin[Towing a Trakmaster] couple of
new aux sockets put in. 3 months trip and everthing worked fine, could run the Waceo for 3 days without starting the Cruiser. Main is a Amaron silver calcium
and aux is a Federal lead acid deep cycle. Back in Central Coast and left the
Cruiser for 3 weeks with out using it, went to start it and batteries[both] dead big time. put a meter on them and less than 4 volts in each. I am 99% sure nothing was left on.Got enough charge into the main to get it started and went back to my auto elec. and said whats going on? They went over the system and cannot find a problem, but could not get the aux to fully charge and sent it back to supplier
who charged it up.
Daily tests with the meter read about 12.75 max dropping about a volt a week
on both batteries. Have since had two electrians check things on the Central coast and had a new isolator fitted. According to them the main is dead! and the aux is on 3 cells, yet everything works including the winch off the main.
The Waceo will run the aux down to less than 10 volts in 24 hours.
What worries me now is trip planned for a month in April and I do not trust these Batteries. Why do my deep cycles in the van charge to almost 14 volts on solar
and my car aux will not charge over 12.7 ? The whole thing is starting to annoy me no end.
Mike B
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Reply By: Mainey (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 16:40

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 16:40
as you say: "went back to my auto elec. and said whats going on? They went over the system and cannot find a problem, but could not get the aux to fully charge and sent it back to supplier who charged it up"

Michael, next thing I would do is ask your battery supplier to check out all your batteries and see if any one of them is faulty in any way.
As you say both your batteries are loosing power, so I would be looking for a faulty connection and as your 'isolator' connects/disconnects them together I would be looking there first!!!

If your qualified Auto elect can't fault the cable system - either he's no good or as I suspect it has no fault, and the fault then is with the 'isolator' !!

AnswerID: 156499

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (NSW) - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 19:57

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 19:57
Mainey,
New isolator installed,as the old one was about 12 years old,3 different
auto elect. have gone over this system and can not find a problem. Everyone is baffeled why the batteries both went flat.My impression
was with an isolator that one could go but not both together otherwise
why call it an isolator?
Mike B
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FollowupID: 410621

Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 21:21

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 21:21
Michael, I mentioned the 'isolator' because it connects the two batteries and the only way both batteries can be going flat is the 'connection device' being the 'isolator' has a leak or a fault when connecting them, because they are individual batteries without the 'isolator' connecting them together. Only one battery has to have a fault and when connected to the other battery it drains the available power out of the good battery rendering it to have a faulty status, even though it's in good condition.

The auto elects would have a better chance to tell you the problem because they can do various tests on your system and see the results, here we can only offer opinions for the same obvious reasons.

Maybe if you disconnect the 'isolator' and hard-wire the two batteries in parallel for a few weeks, you will have an answer as to the 'isolator' question..... :-)
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FollowupID: 410639

Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 21:20

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 21:20
Hi Michael

I need more information to diagnose this problem. I need to know what the alternator is charging at as Calcium batteries will build up a resistance to charge and need high voltage to break through the built up sulfation.

I would also like to connect amp meters between the batteries and between each battery and their loads. This would allow me to find any draw and disconnect fuses, alternator, radio, inverter and brake controller to source the problem.

Most businesses don't have the time to do this or possibly the knowledge.

Your mention charging through the 7 pin plug. This is a big no, no. Use Anderson plugs instead.

Regards Derek.
AnswerID: 156558

Reply By: techie - Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 22:51

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006 at 22:51
What Derek said.
need to connect ammeters to find out if current is leaking from batteries and .if so, where is it leaking.
To find the solution will take time and patience, Which most auto electricans don't have.

Autoelectricians understand auto electrics, not batteries. Here one would need a specialist.
Techie.

AnswerID: 156571

Reply By: techo2oz - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 06:45

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 06:45
G'day Michael B,
Not knowing the brand of isolator you are using, I'll jump to an assumption. (perhaps a wrong one.. ;-)

If it is a full electronic unit, there is an inherent weakness in their design. When both batteries are good, the isolator works as designed. However if the main battery is faulty, there is a discharge path back through the isolator from the aux. This would fall into line with the sparkies diagnosis that the main is dead. When cranking, it would use whatever charge is left in the main plus what ever it can rob from the aux.

When not running the aux will discharge back into the main trying to "charge it".

If you have the relay type of isolator, then this analogy won't apply of course as they are truly separated until a control signal is applied which energises the relay.

Good luck, hope you get it sorted.

Cheers

Peter
AnswerID: 156593

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 08:14

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 08:14
Michael,

Here's my guess for your consideration.

If your main battery is below par, or faulty, you will not get sufficient charge into the auxillary battery. Also, with a wet cell auxiliary, you will only get an 80% charge back into it at best, from the vehicles alternator.

The Isolator will not allow a charge to be put into the auxiliary battery, until it has detected that the primary battery has fully charged.

First of all, confirm the the primary battery is in good nick.
Then confirm that the Isolator is allowing a charge into the auxiliary.
(My Isolator has an LED light to indicate when a charge is being applied to the Auxiliary)

At this stage, your wet cell deep cycle is probably OK and only needs a good charge from an external charger, that will bring it up to 100%.
Bill


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AnswerID: 156599

Reply By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 09:30

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 09:30
"Why do my deep cycles in the van charge to almost 14 volts on solar
and my car aux will not charge over 12.7 ? The whole thing is starting to annoy me no end. "

If the 12.7 volts was measured while the engine was running then this is the total cause of your problems. The battery will be nowhere near fully charged unless the voltage is around 14.2 when the engine is running.

This is an unusual brand of AGM batteries made in India so I have no manufacturs info on them. If they are a Calcium-Calcium battery then they will need around 14.8 volts to charge fully.

Mike
AnswerID: 156614

Follow Up By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 13:20

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 13:20
Another possible solution is that the voltmeter is reading low. It is not at all uncommon for the boost voltage from a solar controller to reach or exceed 14.7 - 14.8 volts - let alone 14.2.
Collyn Rivers
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FollowupID: 410737

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 13:39

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 13:39
Re my posting above about voltmeter - just suggesting eliminating the meter readings as misleading and possibly obscuring the cause.

This problem could be caused by a non-linear (or even uni-directional) change in resistance caused by a slightly faulty battery connection: eg, poor cable crimping, slight corrosion or other build up.

When this happens (it is not unknown with big solar battery systems) heavy currents may flow relatively unimpeded - but lighter currents (or even current flow of opposite polarity - as when charging) may be partially blocked.

The opposite polarity effect seems to be caused by certain deposits having diode-like characteristics - as I say rare - but not unknown.

To check this use a voltmeter on the lowest dc range - and with various heavyish loads - and then with no loads but alternator charging - check for voltage drop between the actual centre of every battery terminal (ie dig the probe into the actual lead) and the cleaned outside of the attached cable. Then check from that terminal to the far end of the cable etc. If the cable goes to earth check also to another nearby clean earth point.

There should be virtually zero meter reading (at most about 0.01 volt).

From what you say, if this is the problem ,it is most likely to be in a common earth lead.

Incidentally most calcium really need 14.7 or so volts. Even higher is not absurd.
Trust this may help - at least it eliminates possible causes.
Collyn Rivers


AnswerID: 156666

Follow Up By: Member - Michael B (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 20:14

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 20:14
Lots of info here and thank you all. Sparky has installed a new isolator
[Redarc] and am getting 14.8 at the batteries with motor running.
13.4 on the batteries with motor off at the moment. Will run the cruiser for a week or so[ its not my every day car] and see how things are.
Derek, sorry forgot to mention ,yes have heavy duty cable[light battery]
back to the Anderson plug and get 12.8 at the 3 way. All was set up
after talking to and reading Collyn's book, thank you again Collyn as my solar set up is magnificent.
Mike B
0
FollowupID: 410829

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 20:24

Thursday, Feb 23, 2006 at 20:24
A pleasure Michael.
Collyn
AnswerID: 156738

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