second failure of dry cell batteries in 2005 Kimberly

Submitted: Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 21:30
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Hi, I have join this site to try and find some answers. We have a 2005 Kimberly Limited edition that we purchased brand new. We have now gone through two sets of batteries, despite maintenance as specified in Kimberly Kamper Manual and from advice from various auto electricians.Kimberley advised that cycling every 40 days, recharging using the on board zantec smart charger was incorrect (though this was per their manual) and that on fitting new battery bank (excide 35ah x 4) it should be left on charge continuosly. This is what I have done and on load testing last week using a 5amp load batteries where below 10volts after only 12 hours. On inspection I found the third battery in parrallel to be ballooned (like the origional failed bank of all four).

From memory I think it is unwise to only replace the one ballooned battery as I think the internal resistance of the other three batterys will discharge the new battery.

If anybody can give me qualified advise I would be much appreciative as I am deeply dissapointed and considering fitting wet deep cycle batteries at the front of the Gull Wing so that I can also be assured my solar panel and toyota land cruiser will be capable of ensuring we have the use of onboard battery power when needed.

Need to get this sorted as we are heading to the Kimberleys this year.
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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 21:49

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 21:49
Could be the charger is overcharging, found that to be the case with some of mine. B
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Reply By: Member - Garth J (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:02

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:02
Phil,

I have a Karavan and have had Various experiences with these batteries.

The balloned battery is KKaput. Get rid of it!

Yes it is the best solution to change all batteries at once. But if the others accept and keep a charge you could just change the stuffed one.

With 4 * 35 amps you have 140A/hours of supply.

With a 5amp load for 10hours you would be down to 90A/hours left theoretically.
The voltage would be getting below 12.2volts. This is 65% of charge.

This info is from the data sheet of the exide ED 10s AGM batteries. This data sheet is in my KK manual.

At 11volts you are at about 7% capacity. This is dangerous territory to be in.

Ideally you should not discharge the batteries below 11.5 volts. This is 25% charge from the graph.

Below 11.5volts for any period and they start to sulphate up. Better to charge as soon as possible.

Check that the Xantrex is switched to the right climate setting and also the correct type of battery setting.

Other problems maybe incorrect charging via the solar and or car via the anderson plug.

Basically in both these cases a 3 stage dc to dc charger is your saviour (longterm) and the best way to preserve the batteries.

Hope this helps
Garth
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:20

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:20
Come on mate, 'bout time you updated your profile to the new ULTRA Gold machine.

I actually found my solar charger wasn't charging properly before I went away, so charged straight into the car input. Worked marvels there doing that and the charger in the rear, I saw 25 amps charge registered at Kangaroo Valley on the Honda for a while.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:26

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:26
Garth, Thanks your prompt reply, kkaput battery goooonee already, and have replaced with identical 35ah exide AGM deep cycle battery. Accept your point, theoretically should have 65% left. Kimberly supplied zantec 10amp 3 stage charger which appears to be operating correctly with new battery fitted with the remaining three that appear to be o.k. My digital volt meter shows the float voltage to be correct at 14volts - reduced imput current. Charger is set to gel and I have it set for hot throughout the summer months and when we are travelling in remote high temperature areas. My present fridge is only a 35ltr waeco, that cuts out at 11 volts anyway. I notice that for the initial step in hot areas these batteries require 14 volts at the batteries. I have taken a 10mm positive and negative back to my 7 pin plug. Do you consider this sufficient or should I fit an anderson plug and cable direct to batteries??

Also concerned that the regulator on the solar panel regulates to 13.8 volts (max in ideal conditions). On a good day I doubt wether these solar panels would supply anything greater than maybe 70ish watts or 6 amps. This is of course well short of recommended 10amps. Would appreciate your comments on all the above.

Polarity from Solar panel definately correct as I put the plug on myself and of course tested. (did auto electrics many years ago, mainly boats and cars)
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:49

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:49
70ish watts and 6 amps don't seem to equate and 13.8 volts won't do much for charging the the AGM batteries Phil. I have 2x80w panels and the maximum they achieve is about 9.4 amps. You can bypass your solar regulator as long as you don't put too many panels together. There are quite a few advocates who suggest that is a good practice, though, not on EO.

Out of the 100 Series I have, I like to see a good 14.4v or more to charge the AGMs for a bulk rate. You will find that many use a 12v to 12v charger to lift the charge, like a Ranox, switched so it will bulk the power in to 25ah
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Follow Up By: Member - Garth J (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 23:04

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 23:04
Phil,

The bottom line is you need to keep your batteries voltage above 11.5 volts say or they are going to fail very quickly.

How you keep them above 11.5 is dependant on what you are doing at the time.

eg camped, travelling or at home.

The wire size of 10mm2 is quite ok and is plenty.
What size from the alternator or second battery in the vehicle do you have?

Are you aware that the alternator output voltage on modern diesels winds down and this voltage maybe too low to charge correctly while travelling and charging from the vehicle?

As I said earlier a 3 stage 12volt dc to dc charger is your best option to charge batteries correctly when on the road. These usually accept a 10 to 16vdc input voltage.

When 240volts available then 240vac to 12vdc 3 or more stage charger is the best.

When camping your solar would be ok but you need to match your panel size to your load requirements or you just go backwards and discharge your batteries. Again a 3 stage solar regulator is the best you can get.

The options are varied and so are the prices.

If you are continually running your batteries to below 11.6volts they are going to die and sulphate up. They will not accept a charge and as evidenced will bulge.

The other key point is that they are correctly charged. Hence the 3stage dc charger for solar or vehicle and correct 240vac charger (which you have in the xantrex.)

Cheers
Garth
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 23:26

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 23:26
Garth,
Thanks your help, I wasnt aware of the dc to dc charger. Question: Does it take output voltage from alternator at battery e.g. approx 13.8 and lift to say 14.4 and then stage down? Fortunately I think Ive saved the three remaining batteries but I guess I will still purchase three more to be sure. What did you think about my theory of circulating currents due to different battery internal resistances? On a really good day I should see around 6 amps out of my solar panel, when camping for 2-3 days without anyother charging source. As we only use the fridge and led lighting I feel this should be adequate. Do you agree?
Zantrex state charger cannot overcharge and can be left connected permanently. This is how I have left my kamper for the past 8 months only to find the defective battery as mentioned originally. Something just does not add up.

Dual Batteries are linked via a smart voltage sensor. Only the deep cycle battery under the bonnet is connected to the hot wire travelling to the kamper as mentioned above. The alternator is 150amp, the cableing between the smart solenoid and main battery is a normal battery cable on both sides.
Regards
Phil
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 09:54

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 09:54
Phil,
Yes, 5 to 6 amps should run an Engal / Waeco type fridge drawing ~7 Amps for a long term camping situation.

Maîneÿ . . .
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Reply By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:02

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:02
Are you aware what setting your Xantrex batter charger is set to?

With mine, there are three settings, for cold, warm or hot temperatures. If the setting isn't correct, you may have overcharged your batteries, or for that matter undercharged. I changed mine a few weeks back to get a faster charge rate again as the temperatures dropped. To date, my 10 batteries are original 2006 - touch wood. I am looking to see what I will use when these fail.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:44

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:44
John, Yes setting for Zantec 10amp 3 stage factory fitted smart charger has been set according to KK manuals recomendations eg.gel battery and temp setting for summer (hot). Monitoring charging voltages, they are in line again with kk manual. Happy to stay with current Kimberly, weve had them before, but not ready for the karavan yet. I like my canvas awning area too much! We travel with others and they all congregate under our awning.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:57

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:57
I have been pretty happy with the performance of the batteries too Phil, but there are better ones I think available that would fit my battery box. I actually had my charger on hot a couple of weeks back but didn't think I was getting the charge in at the required rate. I have it set to cold now and for the last two weeks - and when camped, the solar straight into the car input at over 9 amps

Understand the need to have good cover area, we had an awning one side last weekend and the Kimberley annex the other. Garth has track both sides too, pretty handy that way.
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Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 12:47

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 12:47
Good point Vic - I noted awhile back in our van that there is a temperature monitoring probe on a lead, in the battery compartment - used by the Prostar 30M controller to assess heat levels as part of the charge function.
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Reply By: Member - Jerry C (WA) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:12

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:12
Hi Phil,

I have no experience with the Kimberly, however from your words can I assume that there are 4 x 12 volt batteries in parallel ? After the 35ah is there (20Hr) or similar, as this indicates the discharge rate over the time period. eg. 35/20 = 1.75 amps. The other thing is with batteries in parallel, is that if one battery is sick the other batteries will try and balance the charge.
It may be better to try discharging one battery at a time at the nominated rate.

Cheers,

Jerry
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:36

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 22:36
Jerry, I believe this is the problem, 1 battery this time was definately defective. My concern is why? I believe your comment about batteries in parrallel is more than likely the key to this problem. If internal resistances off batteries are different then there will be circulating currents. Tomorrow I intend putting a milliampere in series with the positive posts and outgoing positive cable to try and put this to rest once and for all. The battery people dont want to know about it. My zantec charger is set to gel and I set it to hot in the summer. This problem is a doozy and I believe a lot of other kampers suffer similar problems. Its a pity we have this problem twice, otherwise we cant fault the Kimberly Kamper.
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Reply By: Horsestance - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 08:41

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 08:41
Ah, the joy of electrics. I am also on a steep learning curve with a Kombi 115Ah Battery and 3x20w Solar Panels, not to mention a 20amp Charger .
The Cenury battery has 12mth Aus wide wty and was undercharged several times until the 20amp "cooker" brought it to cycle .
Your balloon battery is overcharegdor faulty ,maybe others not charged. Check connect in parallel and 12v. Check wty or bad install.
My 3 Solar deliver 4.7amps which balances batt and esky daytime,so only drawdown at night.Battery lasts 3d 2 nts, if below 11.5v safety cutoutThenits time to travel, or find240v and use 20amp charger 12hr overnight.Do not stay in vehicle whilst charging-acid fumes.Open windows,as well as compulsory safety vent. Do not use 10amp multimeter on 20amp cycler. Have auto cutout at 11v for easier/quicker charge and long life.
Good Luck
ps Hey I am going Kimberley next month in Kombi, haven't been since 1981,have you ? Stay at Barnett R Roadhouse.I googled Gibb R Rd. Looks fine until closer to Derby appears ungraded for some time.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:50

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:50
Mate, you may be better to have a jump starter capacity somehow, whether with a separate pack of a second battery system. Your voltage protection can draw a bit of your daily allowance. A Redarc can use 0.6ah for every hour of the day. That is three hours from your solar panels on a good day. Be wary.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 09:20

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 09:20
With this problem being more common lately (or is it just that my ears are more tuned for this conversation :)), i'm guessing the interaction between the xantrex 10i and the exides ED10S's are not ideal. I'm not sold on this "manual" process for temperature control as it lends itself to over/under-charging imo.

I've never been able to find the various tables/specs for the ED10S' therefore it is difficult to understand if there is any problem with the charging characteristics.

Many people are recommending the fullriver equivalents - DC35-12A

Andrew
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Reply By: paulnsw - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 16:07

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 16:07
4 batteries in parallel is disaster. The Kimberly setup is rubbish and needs full rewire. Sealed batteries are great provided quality solar regulator, and rest of setup wired correctly. To fix setup permanently with new battery would probably cost close to $1k. You would have electrical nirvana. Keep 240v battery chargers away from batteries.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 17:33

Saturday, Apr 03, 2010 at 17:33
Disaster?? Don't you think you may slightly over state it? My batteries are still going well over three years and I have 10 wired in parallel, but will change when they eventually fail.

"Kimberly setup is rubbish and needs full rewire" once again an overstatement.

"To fix setup permanently with new battery would probably cost close to $1k. You would have electrical nirvana." What qualifies such a statement?

" Keep 240v battery chargers away from batteries." How far away? Far enough to get voltage drop?
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil H (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 04, 2010 at 20:01

Sunday, Apr 04, 2010 at 20:01
Paul,
Why do you say connecting 4 batteries in parallel is a disaster? Is your comments based on experience or heresay? On my trips I speek to many guys about there electrics, and must say this is the first time I have heard the above and do not charge via 240vac smart chargers. I,m interested to hear your comments.
phil
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 07:23

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 07:23
I wonder if submariners knew that Phil?
I wonder if distant communities knew that when they relied on them for their electricity every day?
I wonder if Toyota knows that for their Prius cars?

Paulnsw seems to have gone on a looong weekend for his overstatements and misinformation.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 07:44

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 07:44
John,

Many of those applications use batteries in series, rather than the parallel arrangement here. ;)

Andrew
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Follow Up By: paulnsw - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:50

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 20:50
"Paulnsw seems to have gone on a looong weekend for his overstatements and misinformation."
No. I know when not to bother and waste effort. Reason few with knowledge, experience and qualifications post here.
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 22:11

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 22:11
Actually paul, there are plenty of people with experience and knowledge who do post. Always interested in qualifications and experience, what they are and how they arise. That has been a lot of my job for years. You are having your opportunity to shine.

Andrew, for lifting voltage series is the application, for extending runtime parallel is the way. Some systems would be a combination of both
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Follow Up By: R&J Batteries - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:16

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:16
Eurobat (The Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers) recommend a maximum of four batteries in parallel to ensure long service life through consistent charge/discharge.

There are no doubt 1000's of systems that use more batteries in parallel, but you are taking a risk of them not working to a long life as one will always be made with slightly different manufacturing tolerances than the others and prematurely fail. This is especially true in deepcycle applications where there is normally a limited time available for complete recharge.

Parallel connections can (and do) work provided you take sufficient precautions such as;
* Choosing a high quality battery to start with that has low production variations
* Every battery is fused
* Large (ie; 65mm / 00B&S) interconnect cables are used
* The main POS and NEG connections are taken from opposite ends of the bank
* Charger is suitably sized and programmed correctly

Dave
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:34

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:34
Interesting comments Dave, particularly the one about the positive and negative at opposite ends of the bank. Not the case with mine, nor the fused links, but surely they would restrict the draw off rate? We have no need to question manufacturers batch qualities here, but all mine were sourced at the same time, so similar tolerances one would imagine.

I am not sure the interconnect cable size either, but each battery is only 35ah, but by the time you get to the end of the bank, there would be a restriction no doubt. I actually found a voltage drop in drawing off amps with the 1800w inverter, sufficient to drop out the Redarc voltage protection while drawing off higher amps. That could have been an indicator of the cable size restriction, you may know better the capacity of the battery banks to supply.

I am actually planning to reduce my batteries to bank of four when these fail. There are hundreds of these banks of batteries with several times four batteries in Karavans. Ten batteries in mine in parallel.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:43

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:43
As Dave said

Large interconnect cables are used (~32mm sq)
Both POS & NEG connections are taken from opposite ends of the battery bank

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: R&J Batteries - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:54

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:54
Correctly sized fuses and connectors don't restrict anything. Fusing each battery is necessary to prevent the outcome of the worst case scenario of one battery developing an internal short. With four batteries and a 200A load, they would need to be at least 50A each - thats a bit more serious than your regular automotive fuse holder is going to handle.

The voltage drop under load will generally be higher than charging when you are running an inverter. An 1800W inverter at full load could easily draw 150-200A total depending on battery voltage and inverter efficiency. Charge might be around 30-40A max in total.

I personally would say that a drop of 0.1V or more between batteries under load or charge means something needs attention.

Dave
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 20:16

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 20:16
"Correctly sized fuses and connectors don't restrict anything"

Thats true when everything is brand new! Try it again after a few years.
Fuseholders can become corroded and restrict current and get hot - especially when mounted next to the battery terminal. Connectors don't suffer as much because they self-clean when you plug them in.

But thick cable can easily develop black wire corrosion. The following is a recent photo of some thick cable on my 6 year old TVan. The 2 cables on the right went from the Anderson Plug to the camper's battery. The resistance of the 2 metre length measured at 0.1V drop for every 5 amps going through the cable.
I only use the tinned marine cable these days.
Image Could Not Be Found
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Follow Up By: Mike DiD - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:22

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 14:22
"4 batteries in parallel is disaster."
- so why does every solar power site give detailed advice on how to connect batteries in parallel ?


"Keep 240v battery chargers away from batteries."
- good grief !!! Why waste more time here ???
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Reply By: Gronk - Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 22:47

Monday, Apr 05, 2010 at 22:47
Have been running parellel batts in my 2 KK's for over 5 yrs ( one 4 x batts, other 6 x batts ) and have had no problems....( over 80 trips away )

1st tip....don't take them below 12V.......

always recharge them straight after using.....

the settings on the Xantrex charger will make a small amount of difference, but will not stuff the batts.....

12 to 12 V chargers will improve charging regimes under SOME conditions, but are NOT the saviour that some people make out ......

You do NOT need to cycle the batts........but they do like to be kept fully charged.....I charge, then check them every 3 weeks or so to make sure they haven't lost any charge.....have you got anything across them taking a small amount of charge ??
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Follow Up By: Who was that again? (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:43

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2010 at 17:43
Gronk, I was never able to get the 100 Series to charge to 100% or even near it in a days driving, until I was able to boost the charge voltage up. Being able to lift the bulk charge voltage to 14.4v or so, and be sure of 25ah at that, overcomes the issues I had.

I know others have had the same issues with larger capacity banks of AGM batteries with 100 Series, Prado is renown for those issues and in other cars with engine management systems that control voltage output from the alternator for charging.
Cheers,
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John

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Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:11

Thursday, Apr 08, 2010 at 15:11
Hello Phil,
I suspect the following diagram is what you have and what you are replacing it with including the same make and model of battery!



The later KK's are actually renowned for calcifying batteries! The KK owner when quizzed on the subject reckons he doesn't have a battery calcification problem!

That is true, he doesn't! His customers do!

If you'd like to send me a member message I'll put you onto a bloke who's argued for hours with the current KK owner on the above subject.

Between you and him you can agree, argue, blue, fight or otherwise!

Maybe between you and him you can come up with an answer.

Geoff,
Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

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