open season batteries

bobdogbobdog Solar Expert Posts: 191 ✭✭
So it's time to open up the cabin this weekend. We're going up Friday and will get there before dark. I have in the past and this winter put the CC on the gel setting so as not to cause an equalization charge. I've always worried that if I equalize while I'm gone for 5 months that it could boil out the water thereby exposing the lead and ruining the batteries. The gel setting doesn't equalize and thus no boiling.

My question is, should I turn the generator on, switch it back to flooded setting and see if I can get it to do an equalize charge? At minimum it should go into a 14 volt charge and maybe mix the acid. Or should I just switch it back to flooded setting and leave it be. It will likely go into an equalize on Saturday anyway due to calendar days since last eq.

Anything else I should do other than the standard check the water levels, etc,?

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    I would check the electolite and the SG with a hydometer in each cell. If all the cells are within spec I wouldn't do anything.

    I find with my remote site FLA batteries, that they almost always are fully charged with equal SG in all the cells after being on float over the winter. I generally don't EQ very much if ever, mostly because my SG readings are always pretty close to spot on. I also just leave the CC on normal over the winter with no ill effect over the years.

    Tony
  • bobdogbobdog Solar Expert Posts: 191 ✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    Thanks Tony. Unfortunately my new hydrometer is not in yet and thus won't be able to check the SG yet. The old one broke last year. So I ordered a new one yesterday. Should've done it last year. But, I will check the voltage of each battery just to see if any are out of whack, if that would do any good.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    If you check the voltage of the bank, you can then check the voltage of each cell by carefully putting your volt meter probes in adjacent cells. (wear gloves and glasses,,, and old clothes). Each cell should read pretty much the same as every other cell.

    Make sure your probes are clean before you put them in, and don't push them in too far, just into the electrolite. Then make sure you wash them well when you are done.


    This will, in essences mimic a hydrometer test, by testing every cell.

    T
  • bobdogbobdog Solar Expert Posts: 191 ✭✭
    Re: open season batteries
    icarus wrote: »
    If you check the voltage of the bank, you can then check the voltage of each cell by carefully putting your volt meter probes in adjacent cells. (wear gloves and glasses,,, and old clothes). Each cell should read pretty much the same as every other cell.

    Make sure your probes are clean before you put them in, and don't push them in too far, just into the electrolite. Then make sure you wash them well when you are done.


    This will, in essences mimic a hydrometer test, by testing every cell.

    T

    so just to be straight here, put probe (+) in cell 1, and probe (-) in cell 2? etc?
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    You got it, you just want to make sure that you don't put the probes in too deep and touch the plates, just dip the probes in the electrolite!

    Tony
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 886 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    Or you could drop by an automotive supply place (Napa?) and pick up a cheapo hydrometer for 5 bucks. I've checked them against my $50 unit and if you make sure the float isn't dragging on the sides they measure the same. It would do in a pinch (whoops, dropped another good one), and be on hand for training someone in hydrometer use:D

    Ralph
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    Do follow Ralph's advice and get a cheap hydrometer to take readings. You're really only interested in the relative cell-to-cell SG here, to see if there's any difference severe enough to warrant equalization. This should be done after a full charge cycle.

    I don't ordinarily disagree with Tony, but sticking electrodes into a battery cell is a bad idea. Please read this thread:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=10709
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,129 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: open season batteries

    I'll take 'Coots critique well. I agree that sticking anything in a battery is a bit of a risk, but you can do it carefully. If you have other alternatives, use them.

    I still have a 30's vintage analog volt meter specifically designed to test batteries this way. Long before DVMs.

    Tony
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