Which charger for calcium batteries?

Submitted: Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 08:12
ThreadID: 68655 Views:23698 Replies:7 FollowUps:26
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Have a Supercharge calcium battery.

Supercharge

Can anyone recommend a charger under $200 I can get away with for this battery. Preferrably around 10amps.

John

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Reply By: RV Powerstream P/L - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 09:31

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 09:31
Chargers are yet to catch up to calcium technology which basically needs 15.1V.

Sterling Power has a calcium charge in his new Combi Inverter chargers but nothing that small.

If there was a Calcium capable charger around I doubt it would be cheap as the extra cost to include that capacity would keep the initial costing up.

The potential to get to 15.1V could be achieved by a flooded wet cell rate of 14.8V for boost with a solar absorb and float to 15.1V but that would not be achieved for a budget of under $200 either.

I would not recommend calcium in a cycling application without the capabilty to charge them correctly as the life of the battery may be shorter than expected.
Ian
AnswerID: 363966

Follow Up By: Phoenix Owners Group - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 12:43

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 12:43
Yes thks Ian, since read they need 15+vlts.
Looks like the Electro brand of chargers have a calcium setting.
Will phone Supercharge Monday and see what they use.
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Follow Up By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:32

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:32
Hmmmm,

Maybe that's why my Supercharge died... It's only been getting 14.8v from the $300- 3 stage charger I own. ;-(
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Reply By: joe99 - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 11:49

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 11:49
Have you considered "OzCharge"?

For example this model which has RRP of $179 and output is selectable 2, 8 or 16 amps

My vehicle (Ford Transit) came with Calcium starting battery as standard so I had no choice.

I know nothing about the OzCharge other than what I found on the net and would be interested to learn if anybody has actually used one and how it performed in practice.

joe99

AnswerID: 363986

Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 12:18

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 12:18
Joe
It looked the goods but its recommended charge rate for calcium was 14.7V which is only open flooded wet cell rate so it would not be suitable for calciums that need 15.1V.
It has a high equalisation voltage at 16.2V but it depends on how many time you cycle between equalisations at less than efficent voltage that will determine the life of the battery.
ian
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Follow Up By: joe99 - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:00

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:00
Thanks RV Powerstream
Would you suggest excluding the OzCharge from further consideration on the basis of 14.7 vs 15.1 volt discrepancy? Or is this something one could live with at the cost of spending a longer time in absorption phase?

In my vehicle with the engine running, I do not think I have ever measured a battery voltage higher than about 14.5

Am I correct in interpreting this as meaning that my battery will never get fully charged by the alternator?

Did Mr Ford set the charging voltage this low because alternators are not as clever as smart chargers and would never drop into "float" in the event of the vehicle being driven continuously (like a taxi cab on shifts)?

joe99
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Follow Up By: joe99 - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:06

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:06
If I may be permitted a supplementary question...

As I read the OzCharge user manual, it appears that it will go through an equalisation process for every charging sequence in which "calcium" is selected.

Is it a good idea to do equalisation so frequently?

I gather that the operator can manualy terminate the equalisation process but would have to monitor the charger to do so.

joe99
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Follow Up By: RV Powerstream P/L - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:58

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:58
Joe
If its used only as a cranking battery then the charger is OK as without it the alternator would not charge it full anyway but there are different specification claciums with different charge regimes and with a battery in use it may never float anyway as it is continually under load with the engine running.

That OZ charger would probably suit your needs under those circumstances and the equalisation phase would help ward off sulfation.

With any charger just make sure the battery and the charger match up and are also suitable for the purpose intended.
Ian

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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 14:46

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 14:46
I've been using the 16 amp Ozcharge charger with 2 x 97 ah calcium batts for several months now with no probs.

This setup was recommended by an auto 'lec.

Course time will tell.
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FollowupID: 631687

Reply By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:45

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 13:45
Hi John

Is it just the one battery ?

Is the charger for maintenance or bulk charge use ?

What is the battery used for and how is it charged now ?

Regards

Derek from ABR
AnswerID: 363997

Follow Up By: RovingOz (QLD) - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 14:23

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 14:23
Just the one battery. Only running 2 lights and 1 pump.

Need the charger in case we sit camped for a week. Otherwise it's charged through the vehicles anderson plug when travelling.

Currently there's only a small projecta trickle charger hard wired.

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FollowupID: 631686

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 15:04

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 15:04
Sorry I was asking John, the originator of this thread.

If you too have a calcium battery best not to use it in a van.
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Follow Up By: Phoenix Owners Group - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 16:41

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 16:41
Hi Derek I'm RovingOz above.
When I replied I was logged in as RovingOz because I was editing an ad I have in the trader section.
I usually post in the forum as Phoenix Owners Group to advertise the Phoenix forum. Sorry about the confusion there.
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Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:40

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:40
I see, no problem then.

The calcium battery is a good cranking battery and has good storage life but should not be used as a recreational battery.

Best to get an AGM for the van and a good smart-charger like the Pro-Series chargers or Xantrex charger.

Regards

Derek
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FollowupID: 631712

Follow Up By: ABR - SIDEWINDER - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:44

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:44
Hi again John

If you are camped for a week and only running a few lights and a pump you may think of a 80 watt solar panel.

Regards

Derek
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FollowupID: 631714

Reply By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 16:59

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 16:59
FWIW, I've had 2 of those Supercharge Gold Series batteries in my camper trailer for about 3 years or so....one of them just dropped a cell and is now considered dead.
The other ones seems okay, but I am in the process of replacing them with 2 new AGMs I've just bought off ebay.

I was a bit surprised the Supercharge died as they get really well looked after (as far as I'm concerned). They spend most of their time idle in the garage, being FLOAT charged by a Durst (or similar brand like Derek used to sell) 3 stage charger. When we're travelling, they get charged by a Arrid Twin charger and I have a personal policy of not letting them drop below about 12.2v before I re-charge them..... This is only a problem if we happen to be camped in one spot for 3+ days which doesn't happen very often. When it DOES happen, I use the Yamaha 1kva inverter gennie to run the 3 stage charger.

So, as far as I'm concerned I've given these batteries a "charmed life".

I also have 2 of the Supercharge Golds in the Patrol, where they are permanently coupled for all the "normal" duties of starting, spotties etc. I also have a Fullriver in the Patrol for the fridge and other camping accessories. These 3 batteries are also charged by (another) of those 3 stage chargers and another Arrid Twin looks after the Fullriver as well when we're travelling.... (obviously, the 2 x Supercharge in the patrol are charged by the alternator when the motor is running).

Phew......
AnswerID: 364025

Follow Up By: Phoenix Owners Group - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:19

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:19
I think I might put this Supercharge in the Troopy to replace the nearly dead 2nd starter and just buy an AGM for the van.

Which AGM off ebay did you buy?
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Follow Up By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:24

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:24
AGM batteries that I just bought (2 off)
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Follow Up By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:35

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:35
The price I got seems to be okay....just been googling and found these 2 sites.....

One re-seller of Neuton Power batteries

a 2nd site
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Follow Up By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:37

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 17:37
So, I paid $253- each plus postage to country SA ($44- for the 1st one and $22- for the 2nd)

These other 2 sites want $400- and $375- per battery......
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Reply By: RobAck - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 18:49

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 18:49
RedArc have been making a calcium smart charger for nearly four years now. It was the first in Australia and is made and supported in this country as well. It is capable well beyond normal cheap battery chargers and can be left on any battery until its required. So it's ideal for caravans as well as cars.

Calcium batteries require a very high imprint voltage, 14.7 volts as a minimum and have to be clever enough to bring the battery through the three pases of charging without damage.

Not cheap but they should retail around $290 and are worth it. Why put your money overseas when you can get the best technoloy in an Australian product that works with every type of battery not exclusively with calcium

And your requirement for 10 Amps is not relevant to a calcium charger.

RobA
AnswerID: 364042

Follow Up By: furph - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:06

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:06
I dont suppose that by any chance RobAck is another name for RedArc?
Looked very much like an ad. to me, but then that may just be my suspicious mind at play.
furph
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Follow Up By: Chev-Patrol 6.5 V8 D - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:31

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 19:31
That sounds like a bit of a Furphy , furph.... ;-)
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 23:26

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 23:26
I know Rob and he has nothing to do with Redarc.
I was going to post the same info about the Redarc Charger.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thoughtfully- Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 23:34

Saturday, May 09, 2009 at 23:34
furph if you think someone is advertising, then alert the moderators. You don't need to be a vigilante, that just peeves people.
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Follow Up By: Phoenix Owners Group - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 08:13

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 08:13
RobA
Saw the Redarc and thought it looked good but saw it was only 5amps so discounted it. Why is the amps not relevant to a calcium charger?
John
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Follow Up By: RobAck - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 09:58

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 09:58
John a very good question. The RV Electrical comments are a very good summary and like my post point to a need for some improved information on the charging and maintenance of batteries. This is a quite complex issue so I will try and explain it simply and hopefully clearly and not chuck in a lot of numbers which can confuse the issue and me.

A calcium battery has a lot of benefits including being able to handle charging and discharging at much higher frequency and demand than any other battery. To achieve this its cell structures are quite different.

A SLA (lead acid combination of any sort and there are lots) does not need manny volts to bring it back as the cell strucure (lead) is soft and can easily absorb the charge, but it also doesn't retain it well either.

Whereas a calcium battery has very rigid and hard cells which handle heat and vibration much better and can retain a charge longer. But to "break through" the resistance of these stronger cells requires a very high "imprint voltage". So amps don't count for much in this situation. It is the chargers ability to do three things; charge at over 15.1 volts, equalise the charge across the cells in the battery then float charge it to maintain battery condition. This is a very sophisticated process and a cheap charger will not hack it. As per the other comments.

What is also important to appreciate is that putting a caclium battery into a vehicle who's charging system cannot deliver the voltages required to keep it charged is not a good idea. But can be done is you use an appropriate charger and condition that battery(s) on a regular basis, say monthly. Hence the great advantage in choosing a charger that does all three stages and can be left on if required.

I note one comment where it was said they had a calcium battery in and it didn't last long. This is typical of my comments immediately above.

I hope that explains it well enough? It is an area of myth and technology that certainly is not well understood and a lot due to the increasing complexity and variations of vehicle electrical systems.

RobA
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thoughtfully- Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 12:10

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 12:10
Hey Rob thats a really informative and interesting reply. Thanx for the information
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Follow Up By: Member - Paul F (QLD) - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 12:15

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 12:15
Thanks RobA

Excellent summary - very helpful
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Follow Up By: Phoenix Owners Group - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 15:35

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 15:35
So with the right charger, calcium would seem to be the new choice for deep cycle applications over the popular AGM's of recent years. Yes? More suited to vibraton and the daily cycling requirements of a caravan. What's the catch, price?

Also I'm still wondering why redarc don't do a bigger amp charger, wouldn't the 5amp take forever to re-charge my battery.

Also it's strange how a lot of new vehicles seem to be coming with calcium batteries espec if they can't provide the 15+vlts.


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Follow Up By: RobAck - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 16:17

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 16:17
Phoenix the calcium's certainly offer a better solution but yes I understand they are more expensive but not having had to replace one for the last four years I don't really know. However I am about to find out as one of my long term evaluation batteries has collapsed so this week I need to replace it. The price will always be a trade-off between need, that is the demand the battery has to support, your expectations, the charging source(s) eg solar, generator, vehicle, combination etc and finally the price.

The amps issue is not relevant to charging time. Battery type and condition is. The heavier the sulphation on the plates the more VOLTS are required to remove it, Not amps and as per explanation previously. If it is a caclium battery then the more volts the better up to 16.2. For a SLA battery the same applies in so much as volts are more important than amps. BUT and a big one is the charger must be a three stage one which is where the expense comes in

Any three stage battery charger and CITEK is another brand we have some experience with, will bring a battery in good conditon to fully charged within 24 hours. Any longer and there is generally some form of problem with the internals of the battery. A good battery charger will actually detect a fault and shutdown rather than continuing to charge. There was an incident in Adelaide earlier this year when a boat was burnt to the ground in the owners garage, very messy. The cause was a battery charger combined with a faulty battery. Charger kept going until the battery overheated and blew up with spectacular and quite expensive results. Caravan fires have occurred for similiar reasons

I don't thing I explained myself clearly enough regarding vehicle charging systems and calcium batteries. Pretty much all new 4WD such as 120 Prado have a charging system capable of supporting calcium batteries. In fact they come standard with one. Anything earlier than 2003 though is suspect and needs to be checked by an auto elec to determine suitabliity. Then again I can get surprised and that generally happens when my better half agrees with my opinion so stranger things are possible.

I hope that helps clarify it>

Regards

RobA
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 21:25

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 21:25
"So with the right charger, calcium would seem to be the new choice for deep cycle applications over the popular AGM's of recent years. Yes?"

How did you come to that conclusion? The right charger is few and far between and so far the only one I've seen is the Redarc 5amp. Chances are your vehicle's charging system is unsuitable for Ca-Ca, especially with the battery in the van with voltage drop factored in.

"More suited to vibraton"
The only batteries I've seen fail on badly corrugated roads (and I travel a lot of them with groups of vehicles) have been Ca-Ca. They are well short of the wet cell offroad or marine or AGMs.

"the daily cycling requirements of a caravan"
But your SuperCharge Gold is not a deep cycle battery.

What's the catch, price?
Not really, the Supercharge are well priced - costs about the same as an Exide or Century.

"Also I'm still wondering why redarc don't do a bigger amp charger, wouldn't the 5amp take forever to re-charge my battery"
I've heard they have a 20amp one on the drawing board. But your 5 amps at 16volts will charge quicker and more complete than a conventional charger at 14.4Volts.

"Also it's strange how a lot of new vehicles seem to be coming with calcium batteries espec if they can't provide the 15+vlts."
Yep I agree. But Calcium batteries have advantages for the manufacturers and retailers and probably not so much the consumers.

Retailers like them because they self-discharge less while sitting on the shelf. They don't usually need to be recharged in the shop. And if the profit margin is the same...... Manufacturers like them for the same reason.

The only reason I'd buy a Ca-Ca battery (especialled the sealed ones) is if my vehicle manufacturer demanded it. My preferences are for low maintenance wet cell (eg Extreme or Overlander)under the bonnet and AGM elsewhere.

AnswerID: 364214

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Monday, May 11, 2009 at 08:00

Monday, May 11, 2009 at 08:00
Had 2 x Delkor Calcium DC batteries running a 70Lt fridge/freezer 24/7, they lasted 6 years and were only replaced when the Overlander Cranker died when I was away, so I used one of the DC's to place it.

When I returned to Perth I replaced the 2 x Delkor DC's with 2 x AGM's but one Delkor calcium DC remained the Cranker battery for about another 6 months till I replaced it because I was going bush again and felt I needed the security of a new Cranker battery.

All 3 x batteries were charged by the Solar systems Steca Solar regulator when in the bush and by the Alternator @ 14.4v while travelling.

Mainey . . .
AnswerID: 364245

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