More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new battery?

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  • abrockcaabrockca Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Sorry to hear others are continuing to have issues with Surrette, but at least it helps me think it's not all my fault! Maybe we all need to sue them or something. I can accept that batteries have issues, but I just can't stand poor customer service and them not really standing behind the warranty that they claim they stand behind. (Of course this is just my experience and it could be they are doing a wonderful job with other customers.)

    My new Trojans are doing well; SG dropped a little after a week or so, so I upped the absorb charge and time last week; will check again tomorrow. (I had the absorb charge below Trojan's recommendation in their battery manual because I'm so gunshy of being accused of overcharging...) The cool thing was - the SG had dropped a bit but every single cell had the exact SG... totally matched. That gives me comfort that these are a good set of batteries!

    Wingnutter's comments on the wet tops was interesting. While my Surrettes were installed, they did seem to get more "wet" stuff on top than the Trojans seem to be doing, but it's still early, of course, with the Trojans. My consultant was saying some of the acid inside diffuses through the case and that's what I was seeing? (If I'm saying this wrong, blame me not my consultant - I'm sure I'm quoting him badly!) I know I didn't spill water on them; I was very careful about that...
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt
    abrockca wrote: »
    My consultant was saying some of the acid inside (the battery) diffuses through the case
    I'm saying you need a new consultant!
  • abrockcaabrockca Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt
    I'm saying you need a new consultant!

    ROFL. More likely he needs a better translator!
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Well, well. It's been a while since I checked in. Sorry to hear of so much misery.

    One of my clients, who had already gone through all of this and received a replacement set of 8, S530s from Rolls/Surrette, called because she was having similar low capacity issues. I checked the SGs and found one cell was at 1195, another at 1215 while the others were 1245-1260.

    She literally had tears in her eyes when I gave her the results of my testing. She asked what I recommend we do. With a huge sigh I suggested that we start the corrective charging and load testing procedure again from scratch. She listened silently for a while as I lined out the steps it might take to get R/S to accept a second warranty claim.

    After a few minutes she interrupted me and said "No. I need power. I've spent enough on propane and your labor to buy a whole new set. Can't I just buy a different brand and be done with it?"

    Rolls Surrette out lasted a retired lady on a fixed income and got her to throw away $3K on your defective product rather than go through the stress of dealing with your company's warranty program for a second time. I did not even sell the original set to her but I have only been charging her for half of my time. The original dealer just sold her a set of Trojan L16 REs at cost and she gave me the S530s in exchange for the labor to swap them out. So far the Trojans are doing fine.

    I'm going to hook up the rejects to my bench system and do some tests and log some data. I've got an Outback GVFX3524 and the grid to work with so ther will be no BS excuses about the power quality. I can monitor all of the loads and charger settings in a controlled environment.

    It's really sad to see a good company go through a bad run. They had my sympathy and support until they stone walled about having a problem and gave me the crap about voiding the warranty because they could see where the washers had marked the lead terminals.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    if you guys do this please correspond either by pm or email as we don't want to get our host into this by association with the forum unless our host expresses a wish here to be involved in it.
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt
    niel wrote: »
    if you guys do this please correspond either by pm or email as we don't want to get our host into this by association with the forum unless our host expresses a wish here to be involved in it.

    Thanks Niel. Good point. Just the facts.
  • abrockcaabrockca Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    SolaRevolution, so sorry to hear about your client's new Surrettes having the same problem. I'm thinking Trojan should send them a thank you card for all the new business.... Only had my L16REs installed for a few weeks, so can't say for sure they won't have problems in 5 months, but I'm hopeful.

    Any company can have problems with their products. It's how they handle it that counts, in my mind. Good customer service is so important!
  • abrockcaabrockca Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Oh - I've mentioned the "you tightened the bolts too tight on the terminals" to a few people - they were all "well, unless he twisted the terminal off, how could that hurt a battery's capacity?" (ok, they really said WTF?) Gave them a good chuckle for the day...
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    I think part of the problems are the distributors. When you are paying thousands of dollars for a new set of batteries, I would take the wait and request direct shipment from manufacturer over trusting distributor stocked batteries.

    The case of SG of 1.00 may be a situation where batteries are filled with pure water to preserve them until ready for use. They are suppose to be drained and filled with proper SG electrolyte which perhaps the distributor forgot to do.

    Stocking hundred pound plus batteries that have a finite shelf life is not an easy situation.
  • MangasMangas Solar Expert Posts: 547 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Re our two year old replacement Trojan L16REBs' 6 volt batteires (64), we did what RCinFLA suggested and coordinated directly with The Trojan Company to make sure we received fresh product. Only way to go if you're installing a larger bank.

    We too were wary of distributor inventories and made sure they shipped fresh product.

    I can pass along that Trojan's Customer Service was top notch and very responsive. They put me in direct touch with two of their engineers who I peppered with questions until they were sick of me. I really appreciated their patience. They were interested in our system's performance and asked if they could contact us from time to time. Nowadays, many companies build a firewall between themselves and the customer. You can get pretty frustrated when you don't get a straight answer. My experience, not so with Trojan.

    As posted earlier for some reason these REBs' are better than their predecessors holding their charge longer with hardly any water usage. When we replaced the batteries, we also upgraded to Flexmax 80s' which may have improved performance. Trojan may use older technology but their battery construction looks robust and warranty is pretty good. They have a proven product which has been out there a long time. We expect at least 6-7 years out of them.
    We'll see.
    Ranch Off Grid System & Custom Home: 2 x pair stacked Schneider XW 5548+ Plus inverters (4), 2 x Schneider MPPT 80-600 Charge Controllers, 2 Xanbus AGS Generator Start and Air Extraction System Controllers, 64 Trojan L16 REB 6v 375 AH Flooded Cel Batteries w/Water Miser Caps, 44 x 185 Sharp Solar Panels, Cummins Onan RS20 KW Propane Water Cooled Genset, ICF Custom House Construction, all appliances, Central A/C, 2 x High Efficiency Variable Speed three ton Central A/C 220v compressors, 2 x Propane furnaces, 2 x Variable Speed Air Handlers, 2 x HD WiFi HVAC Zoned System Controllers
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt
    RCinFLA wrote: »
    I think part of the problems are the distributors. When you are paying thousands of dollars for a new set of batteries, I would take the wait and request direct shipment from manufacturer over trusting distributor stocked batteries.

    The case of SG of 1.00 may be a situation where batteries are filled with pure water to preserve them until ready for use. They are suppose to be drained and filled with proper SG electrolyte which perhaps the distributor forgot to do.

    Stocking hundred pound plus batteries that have a finite shelf life is not an easy situation.

    Several of the systems I have seen fail were batteries which we had to wait for. There was a back log so the distributor was shipping them out as soon as they got them from the factory. I really do not think this is a distributor issue. I check SGs and voltage on all batteries as I receive them. I have rejected a couple bassed on poor readings. The problems, in my experience, show up after a few months in service.

    One of the failed systems is a set of S600s for which I had to wait over 90 days when I had quoted to the customer 4-8 weeks lead time. I had to provide a loaner set of workaholics for the interim. I just finished replacing the S600s after a year in service. (Replacements provided by my distributor not R/S)
  • VicVic Solar Expert Posts: 3,172 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Have dealt with a number of Surrette battery banks here, and for neighbors. Have always ordered through a distributor, with drop-shipment directly from Surrette.

    Have never had a serious initial problem. Except for one, which had a very ROUGH RIDE via Roadway Express (or was it RoadKill?). On this shipment, one of the jars had a cracked weld, and Surrette gleefully stepped up with the offer of a no cost replacement cell. This particular evidenced a lot of acid on the wrapping film and all over the pallet.

    One of the cells in one of the banks here has a lagging cell, and Surrette has offered to get a claim going for it.

    IMHO, the tighter the relationship between the manufacturer and customer that one can get, the better. Too many layers of folks in a transaction seems to get too many pointing fingers involved.

    The batteries invloved here were larger banks, which may make it easier for Surrette to ship directly to the end user. Have been very happy with my Surrettes. Vic
    Off Grid - Two systems -- 4 SW+ 5548 Inverters, Surrette 4KS25 1280 AH [email protected], 11.1 KW STC PV, 4X MidNite Classic 150 w/ WBjrs, Beta KID on S-530s, MX-60s, MN Bkrs/Boxes.  25 KVA Polyphase Kubota diesel,  Honda Eu6500isa,  Eu3000is-es, Eu2000,  Eu1000 gensets.  Thanks Wind-Sun for this great Forum.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,226 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    Any chance solarevolution that the distributors were getting the batteries from different distributors and R/S? Same lot/date coding? Thanx!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    All of the banks were matched sets of date codes. The distributors were receiving them directly from R/S.
  • SolaRevolutionSolaRevolution Solar Expert Posts: 410 ✭✭
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    While talking to two distributors (one a solar equipment wholesaler and the other a battery supplier) they both mentioned how Rolls/Surrettes are always "wet" when they arrive. There is always acid on the battery cases and the shrink wrap is always wet. One of them has made it warehouse policy to ship the Rolls Surrettes in tubs on the pallets to catch spills. Where is it comming from? My solar equipment distributor said "Hey, check this out." as he laid a Trojan L16 on it's side to show how it would not leak. ("Do not try this at home") :). He has recently stopped stocking R/S in the local warehouse in lieu of Trojans.

    The S-530s also seem prone to have the top seal broken. On a few occasions I have had to use a glue gun to reseal the blue tops to the red cases. This can be written up as damage in shipping but I have not had this problem with other brands.
  • wingnutterwingnutter Registered Users Posts: 12
    Re: More weird battery problems with Rolls Surrette batteries--SG = 1.000 on new batt

    I have been told that Rolls now have a different designed and coloured tops (black) on their S530´s as move to address the leaking issue, lets hope it works !
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