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MEXICOWANDERER On Top Charging New Flooded Batteries

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
EDIT: It appears that things are even worse than expected. MEX was busy, so I found the answer my dang self.

Simply put... you can buy a brand new battery from a reputable company, with a brand new date code... that may be charged only 85% of capacity... which then may have hardened sulfate that may never come off without knowledge and effort.

Using a highly respected, Vector/Black & Decker 1093DBD charger, upon return home from the store, I topped a brand new pair of Duracell GC2s and then hit them with an equalizing charge at 15.9v until completion.

This got the jars to a specific gravity of 1.275 at 60F.

It took me something like a dozen+ more auto-equalization sessions plus one hard, 3 hour session with an 18A manual charger before the specific gravity settled in at 1.300 at 57F. From there we can extrapolate a temperature adjusted SG of about 1.291 at 80F.

So I have confirmed MEX’s information. At least when it comes to this “big” sample of 2 batteries. Read on…


Original Post:

At the bottom of this post, in bold, is a quote from MEX on the subject. If you're not already familiar with the protocol, I do suggest reading it. He has a strong opinion about it... (which is "way" out of character for ol' MEX. 🙂 )

I'm going to see if I can get him to clarify a little bit on just how hard they should be "top charged."

MEX,

The batteries - 2-Duracell (Deka) GC15 6V, 230 Ah, 64 lb Golf Cars

Upon returning home with the new batteries, I auto-charged them with my temp-compensating, 40A Vector / Black & Decker on the 40A setting. At 40F ambient, it took about 5 minutes to go from Bulk to Absorption at 14.9v. I didn't keep track, but it took maybe 6 hours or so to complete the charge at that voltage.

I then used the relatively mild, temp-compensated, auto-equalize setting with a built-in 4 Amp max. After several hours, the current began to taper at a voltage of 15.9 until current tapered to zero and completion.

Results - SG of 1.275 @ 60F in all but one cell which was 1.285. (stored in the garage a few days on float, which brought them to that temperature before testing.) Just seemed a little on the low end to me for 6v, "high acid" batteries. I get higher numbers from my hybrid 27s.

Note: Following the auto-equalization, my little $10 HF Float Charger, with but a 500mA / 15v transformer and a peak voltage of something like 14.08 was able to get the 2 batteries to 14.00 within a day. They were bubbling a little bit, which surprised me, to some bit of chagrin. Not sure I should leave that float charger on 'em 24/7 through perpetuity... especially indoors in the garage.

So am I done? Is that considered a "Top Charge?"

Or should I hit them with the "The Beast" for awhile and resample the electrolyte? ("The Beast" being the heavy Harbor Freight unit that you and I have... which I run switched to the "Start" setting for hard equalizing at 10A... which was shown to be closer to 20 upon testing)


MEXICOWANDERER on Top Charging New Batteries

"Call a golf course if not closed and ask the PRO where they buy their batteries. Freshness matters.

Upon bringing them home give them a TOP CHARGE then let them sit overnight before cycling them. TOP CHARGING adds significant improvement to overall battery life. Not hype or myth. This is a proven discipline.

To save money battery manufacturers are forced to squeeze post greening activation charging to an absolute minimum. If top charge is used prior to first use it conditions the plates. Commercial rate electricity every cent saved is crucial.

Let the batteries rest 24 hours after top charging. This is vital to saturate the positive plates.

Batteries are chemical devices that exhibit curious electrical properties"

.
Cheers,
Kendall
70 REPLIES 70

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
Gjac wrote:
Yes, I know hes the right guy and I remember his photos, that's why I bought the B&D 40 amp charger, I also remember BFL's ugly graph on charging he posted but never quite understood it.

I just had to pull that graph up from my files.

The graph was actually quite well designed. Just not pretty.

The point of it was...

Given a 220 Ah bank of 2 - 12v hybrid batteries at 50 SOC...

the slower the charge... the longer the Bulk charge, but the higher the SOC once the Acceptance / peak voltage stage was reached.

The eventual outcome is exponential. The higher your bulk current, the lower the time benefit over the next lower charge rate increment.

At 35A - 177 minutes from 50-90% SOC
At 55A - 139 minutes from 50-90% SOC
At 70A - 129 minutes from 50-90% SOC

So one might roughly extrapolate that hammering the bank with another 15A (85A total)... might shave off another 5 minutes or so from the total time. Therefore there is little generator time benefit to anything beyond C/3.



.
Cheers,
Kendall

Gjac
Explorer III
Explorer III
KendallP wrote:
BFL13 wrote:
Photo from 12 years ago for K's entertainment

Bless you, B
Yes, I know hes the right guy and I remember his photos, that's why I bought the B&D 40 amp charger, I also remember BFL's ugly graph on charging he posted but never quite understood it.

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
BFL13 wrote:
Photo from 12 years ago for K's entertainment

Bless you, B
Cheers,
Kendall

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
Gjac wrote:
BFL13 wrote:
Yes, you have to do a second run after the first time it says FUL. Confirm real full with an hydrometer

The 1093A has 2a setting but the 1093D has 4a as it's low and for the E. A near full batt accepts more like 4a going to the 15.7v E so 2 as low not enough
Have you ever verified what % charge you have when it says ful with your hydrometer? My batteries are not on a slide and getting a bulb type hydrometer is impossible. I'm guessing these "smart chargers" only charge to 95% SOC or so. Any thoughts about not bringing batteries up to 100% charge does for battery life over time?

Ha!

Man did YOU come to the right guy. You won't find anyone on these boards with more documented experience with this than BFL13.

He's basically answered everything already, but I'll break it down a hair...

1. If you do a single, modest cycle... say 75% SOC... and then a recharge with a Vector... and float it for quite a number of days... then you might get it back to 100% as could be hydrometer verified. But this will be the case with any voltage-controlled charger like your on-board converter or charger, only probably worse.

2. Then there's the whole stratification thing. Fewer bubbles with 12V hybrid batteries, so stratification is more prevalent. BFL used to remove his and tip them to combat stratification... until yours truly talked him into GCs

3. The short answer is to recharge them with the Vector and then poke the equalizing button. Unless it's really hot outside (Vectors are temp compensating,) you'll likely want to open the negative to isolate the bank from the coach... to protect the circuitry of your appliances

But how about a general rule of thumb for someone like you who can't get at them with a hydrometer...

For each 50-90 charge you performed camping... run at least one equalizing charge with your vector.

That said... we haven't talked about the "Reconditioning" mode. I haven't employed that in many, many years, but I recall believing it made a difference. However... unfortunately the Vectors don't give a float charge at the same time as the pulsing. So this is where you reconnect the negative and let your on-board converter or charger float them. Either way... pulsing should have no ill effects like equalizations can. And you'll probably need to run several 24 hour sessions. But do note that pulsing does nothing for stratification.

Or you may want one of those pulse conditioners that runs off your battery power. Those work fine so long as you're plugged into shore or solar... which you should be in storage. I doubt they draw much power when you're offshore, so I believe you can leave them connected 24/7.

Here's a search on the subject. Confirms my belief that it seems to work.
.
Cheers,
Kendall

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
Gjac wrote:
BFL13 wrote:
Yes, you have to do a second run after the first time it says FUL. Confirm real full with an hydrometer

The 1093A has 2a setting but the 1093D has 4a as it's low and for the E. A near full batt accepts more like 4a going to the 15.7v E so 2 as low not enough
Have you ever verified what % charge you have when it says ful with your hydrometer? My batteries are not on a slide and getting a bulb type hydrometer is impossible. I'm guessing these "smart chargers" only charge to 95% SOC or so. Any thoughts about not bringing batteries up to 100% charge does for battery life over time?


Agree it does not get to real full first go. It seems to depend on previous activity how far it gets up first go. After a few 50-80s it barely gets into the green first go before doing an E then it can take extra Es to get to baseline SG true full. Not so much if only did one shallow cycle.

I don't have that worked out in percentages but 95-97 is reasonable IMO.

Not going to full means sulfation and a shorter life and less capacity, but how badly also varies. IMO going to a float after reaching 97% must help. I usually get five years or so on my 6s and not that many cycles using them hard. ( Running high amp loads and recharging at high amps doing 50-90s off grid.)

They also use a lot of water running hard so you might need a watering system installed if you do that and can't get at them

Solar helps a lot by getting them closer to full and shallow cycling so less sulfation.

It is really a budget thing for how long your batts need to last. Figure the annual cost for three years vs six years and compare that difference in cost to other annual costs and it might not seem too bad.

If you used AGMs no watering but you need to get them to 0.5a/100AH holding at 14.4ish to be true full and the VEC stops too soon so you need a converter or charger that stays at that voltage until the amps get down that far (PowerMax LK, eg) and a way to measure those amps (Trimetric, eg) Also need to charge at 20% charging rate if starting deeper than 75% SOC, so need a high enough amp charger and high enough watt gen to run that. At home need shore power that can run that charger too. Long 14G cord means 120v gets too low, pops breaker in house. But AGMs cost way more, so does that reduce your annual costs? Maybe not.

LFP no watering and do not need to be full so are great if temp specs work where you do not have easy access. Budget factor though

Photo from 12 years ago for K's entertainment

1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

Gjac
Explorer III
Explorer III
BFL13 wrote:
Yes, you have to do a second run after the first time it says FUL. Confirm real full with an hydrometer

The 1093A has 2a setting but the 1093D has 4a as it's low and for the E. A near full batt accepts more like 4a going to the 15.7v E so 2 as low not enough
Have you ever verified what % charge you have when it says ful with your hydrometer? My batteries are not on a slide and getting a bulb type hydrometer is impossible. I'm guessing these "smart chargers" only charge to 95% SOC or so. Any thoughts about not bringing batteries up to 100% charge does for battery life over time?

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
OK seems I don't have the story straight. The early Vectors did 14.6 and had R but no E

The BD version of the 1093 does 14.8 with temp comp and has both R and E and better clamps too

You can use a PowerMax LK to do the job but does not shut off by itself. It does let you set from 13-16.5v. Good price
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
BFL13 wrote:
Yes,you have to do a second run after the first time it says FUL. Confirm real full with an hydrometer

The 1093A has 2a setting but the 1093D has 4a as it's low and for the E. A near full batt accepts more like 4a going to the 15.7v E so 2 as low not enough

Huh. Did not know there was an "A" version of the 1093

My 25A (VEC1095ABD) B&D equalized at 4A. Just floated at 2. The pdf of the manual I have confirms this.
Cheers,
Kendall

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
Gjac wrote:
I have the B&D 40/20/10/2 also and really like it it was the best $50 I spent when I got it on closeout when Walmart stopped selling them. I use it to charge and maintain my 2 6v GC batteries. Getting back to top charging I suspect the B&D does not fully charge the batteries when it says ful, because when I disconnect the B&D and float at 13.6V with my old Magnatech constant charger for a couple of days I can dry camp for several more days without generator usage. Has anyone else noticed this with the B&D or any other "smart charger"?

IMO, virtually no auto chargers are equipped to completely charge lead/acid batteries in a single bound; with the exception of the Vector/B&D VECs.

If the battery has been light to moderately cycled once only, after the "FUL" display, you still need to run a single equalization cycle to complete the charge. But like BFL said, there's no substitute for verification by a decent hydrometer... like one of my famous Australian units.
.
Cheers,
Kendall

BFL13
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yes,you have to do a second run after the first time it says FUL. Confirm real full with an hydrometer

The 1093A has 2a setting but the 1093D has 4a as it's low and for the E. A near full batt accepts more like 4a going to the 15.7v E so 2 as low not enough
1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
Photo in Profile
2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
See Profile for Electronic set-ups for 1. and 2.

Gjac
Explorer III
Explorer III
I have the B&D 40/20/10/2 also and really like it it was the best $50 I spent when I got it on closeout when Walmart stopped selling them. I use it to charge and maintain my 2 6v GC batteries. Getting back to top charging I suspect the B&D does not fully charge the batteries when it says ful, because when I disconnect the B&D and float at 13.6V with my old Magnatech constant charger for a couple of days I can dry camp for several more days without generator usage. Has anyone else noticed this with the B&D or any other "smart charger"?

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
ktmrfs wrote:
son has the one you posted, the one I have is even more basic. No start mode, 6V mode is 6A current limited but not voltage limited so on the 6V mode it will easily rise to at least 8V @ 6A if you leave it on long enough and the battery will take it. But unlike the one in the picture the 12V mode will limit voltage.

Well technically the one in the picture will limit voltage also... if the switch is set to "Charge." But I never use it like that.

Glad to hear your 6 Amper will take a battery to 8V. Sounds like you're good to go!
Cheers,
Kendall

ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
son has the one you posted, the one I have is even more basic. No start mode, 6V mode is 6A current limited but not voltage limited so on the 6V mode it will easily rise to at least 8V @ 6A if you leave it on long enough and the battery will take it. But unlike the one in the picture the 12V mode will limit voltage.
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
2004 14' bikehauler with full living quarters
2015.5 Denali 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison
2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!

KendallP
Explorer
Explorer
ktmrfs wrote:
I had one of the HF "beast" chargers, it's now down at our son's house, but he brings it up when I need it.

Extech makes pretty decent meters. Not NIST traceable, but still accurate enough for our use. In fact Extech, Amprobe OEM meters to well known and well respected T&M companies.

My next task is to check the 4 Trojan T-125's GC2's that are 10 years old on my other trailer. It will be interesting to see how close to replacement they may be. They often get drawn down to 30% SOC or so and have lots of cycle on them.

OK. Sounds like you're saying my meter is up the task at hand here. Thanks!

Yeah, it's amazing how long batteries can last that are continuously floated when not in use.

Now if this is the HF charger you have, then you may want to thinking about trading your son for another one...


Cheers,
Kendall