Deep cycle 6v charging help
Just found this forum. Been looking for a good source for "alternate energy" discussions and info. This site looks to be one of the best I've seen. I will be spending a lot of time here getting educated .. (I hope) <grin>
I'm trying to set up something a little different here than your normal off-grid alternate energy solution. Recently inherited this property and home that is pretty much off the beaten path. We are on a small mountain top on a several mile unimproved dirt road in North Central Connecticut. For the past two years I've been renovating this 70's era home which had been unoccupied for several years and needed a lot of work.
The most pressing problem here at the moment is short term power outages. We are in a heavily forested area of old growth trees and our electric service is often interrupted for (mostly) short 1 to 6 hour periods. So far this past 12 months we've had maybe 10 outages. These are usually caused by tree limbs contacting the top electric lines on the poles. Normally the lines are not damaged, but the contact causes the line to be shorted and we loose power until the electric company can find the problem area, remove the tree limbs and re-set the local breakers on top of the poles. The electric company is quick to respond and because the problem is often very local and in a limited area it is fixed quickly .. 1 to 2 hours at most. Sometimes we do have (twice now) major storm related outages that last several hours. In that case because our several mile long road in the mountains only has like 6 people living on it .. we are of course the very last to have our power restored. I have a whole house external connection wired for a generator. (still haven't gotten the genny yet)
In the mean time, I thought of building some kind of small battery / inverter system to use sorta like a big UPS just for these short term outages. I only need to keep the Fridge, some electronics, lights and the furnace running. Rather that running out to the garage to fuel up a generator, hook it up and run a cord to the house hookup (usually in the dead of Winter in a snow storm of course) I thought to just have this battery / inverter backup system in the basement ready to just "plug in" and be okay for several hours.
So I've purchased two new 6v 215 AH golf cart batteries and have a 3K pure sine wave inverter (12 volt) set up. When I got the batteries home I checked them and found although they are the same models etc. they were manufactured in Sept and Nov of this year. I was hoping to get as close to a "matched" pair as possible. I found the Specific Gravity in each cell (new out of the box and supposedly fully charged) to be good and close to being equal in one battery. But the 2nd battery had one cell that was quite a bit lower than the other two. (I didn't write it down but it was something like two were at 1.250 and one was 1.200 .. So I put on a "cheap" 4 AMP smart charger that was a high freq. 3 stage charger and maintainer. I've used this charger before on some small SLA deep discharge and regular car 12 volt batteries and it worked great. But it doesn't seem to be working correctly with this new "suspect" 6v golf cart battery I have. It has quickly gone into (i think) it's equalizing mode .. and the voltage has been cycling between 7.1 and 7.2 volts for 2 days. ( Normally when re-charging a 12v battery it goes into it's "equalizing mode if needed" and cycles between around 15v for a couple hours and then drops down to it's maint. mode of 13.8 or so volts.
However, during the 6v battery charge, the charger screen stays red and flashes those "top off or equalizing voltages". It's "supposed" to finish at some point and then turn green and go into it's maintenance (float?) charge (green screen) at 6. something volts. But I'm now starting into day three and it hasn't finished yet.
Can anyone tell me what kind of time frame I'm looking at to finish charge a 215 AH deep cycle golf cart battery using a smart charger running at a max of only 4 amps ?? Sorry for the long post .. just trying to give as much info as I can. I intended to first fully charge each battery individually and hopefully equalize them before installing them in series for the system. Working on a limited budget but hope to increase capacity in near future to a series / parallel setup and add solar power to recharge the batteries later. I'm also now worried about the "gassing" situation while doing full recharging. At the 7.2 volt full at 4 amps? there IS a little bit of bubbling going on ... (very very little) But I'm concerned. I figured during normal use, after the power is restored I could have more than weeks or months before needing it again and could "slow charge" the batteries back up to full.
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