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Old 02-10-2011, 11:14 PM   #1
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Battery equalization procedure

I have a Heart inverter charger which I plan to use for an equalization charge on my batteries. I have read in at least one place that the batteries should 'rest' for 24 hours prior to running this procedure. Other resources don't mention this rest period and the instructions that came with the charger don't mention this one way or the other. Can anyone offer advice on this? This will be the first time I have equalized the batteries since I purchased Invictus.

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Peter Shaughnessy
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

The Equalization is simply a controlled overcharge . low amperage for a number of hours.

This will hopefully break down sulphation , and stir the electrolite to a more uniform mix.

An added advantage on true Deep Cycle batts is the fluid motion may break loose flaked batt material and let it settle at the bottom of the case.

DO not over temperature the batt , and you MUST add water after the process.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:10 AM   #3
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

Disconnect all loads. You equalization voltage will be about 15.5 volts for Trojan batteries.* You can damage*damage sensitive electronic equipment that might be connected.* Some LED lights aren't regulated above 15 volts.
*
Monitor your battery temperature.* You don't want the temperature to rise much above 115 degrees F and never above 125 degrees.* Measure from a center cell.


and don't smoke when you are checking the batteries.* They tend to produce a lot of gas.

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Old 02-11-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

The instructions that came with our Heart Freedom 25 say nothing about the batteries having to "rest"s prior to equalization.

The equalizing directions we were were given by the marine electrical shop that installed the Freedom 25 in our boat are to disconnect the two echo charger connections and put the boat's battery switch on "All" to send the equalizing voltage to both the boat's main batteries. Do not turn on any of the boat's DC appliances, lights, etc. during the equalizing process. Monitor the batteries temperature (by feel) and if they are getting too hot stop the equalizing process. And ventilate the space the batteries are kept in.

Obviously the bit about disconnecting the echo charge connections and putting the battery selector switch to "All" applies to our boat's electrical system. Another boat's system may be set up completely differently. Given the potential to screw something up it would be my recommendation if one is unsure of exactly how to proceed to get a marine electric professional in to outline the correct procedure for your boat. Not the sort of thing I'd want to rely on an internet forum for......
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Old 02-11-2011, 11:52 PM   #5
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

A note of caution regarding equalization.....
Make absolutely sure that the area is WELL ventilated during the process
I thought I was doing everything necessary to be safe while checking the water level while equalizing.* The battery bank was about 1000 ah. I guess I allowed the batteries to gas off too much, or the voltage that the inverter /charger put out was too high. Anyway... the Dr's figured I was suffering from the effects of hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
I had a number of pretty bad issues* for about 4 months.* Before anybody gives me too much grief I have equalized batteries on many of my boats over the years... And I didnt just hang out with the batteries and snort up fumes!* Needless to say that my trip last summer was made especially interesting with all the health problems due to the poisioning.*
Ventilate the battery space VERY well and don't breathe ANY of the fumes

I got a slight case of the bends diving once and this was WAY worse!
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:27 AM   #6
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

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hollywood8118 wrote:A note of caution regarding equalization.....

Make absolutely sure that the area is WELL ventilated during the process
Roger that ...

I spent a few years of my youth on a diesel-electric submarine and "pulling an equalizer" was one of our dreaded chores. We had 4 batteries made up of 504 cells and an equalizing charge would take over 24 hours of varying loads and ventilation requirements.

Charging voltage was determined by a chart which indicated the optimim voltage for a given cell temperature and gas production. There was a point called TVG which was reached after some period of charging then maintained for the remainder of the charge. The voltage started out high to remove sulphate deposits then decreased for the bulk charge then increased again to TVG over the equalizing period as battery resistance increased. As a manual exercise it was interesting.

Ventilation was critical, a large amount of hydrogen was produced but along with the H, a mixture of water vapor and sulphuric acid was vented in addition to the low level of hydrogen sulphide gas which I don't recall ever being worried about. But it was an explosive and poisonous mixture and we used the engines for extra ventilation after reaching TVG.

You have to be aware that a large battery can represent a nasty bit of alchemy.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:04 AM   #7
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

I have eschewed battery equalization for safety and equipment protection reasons. I have seen vessels where the components relegated to the inverter/charger are not always*"protected" during the equalization process. I clearly understand that a system can be designed where equalization causes no problems, I'm not sure though that mine is designed that way.

Excepting commercial applications (subs, solar systems,others ?) here is the question - is the reward* greater than the risk for equalizing wet cells on pleasure craft?
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:37 AM   #8
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

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sunchaser wrote:is the reward* greater than the risk for equalizing wet cells on pleasure craft?
I think that if you have a large bank of expensive batteries, a temperature compensated charger that reads cell temperature and not just the spot the charger is located, and observe the rate of gassing, yes.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:33 PM   #9
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

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sunchaser wrote:is the reward* greater than the risk for equalizing wet cells on pleasure craft?
In our case on our boat, yes.* This was with a pair of wet-cell 8Ds.* The batteries held up more than a year longer when we equalized once a year than the same type of batteries had previously when we did not equalize.* But we have a very simple electrical system and an easy-to-ventilate engine room.

Last year we changed the two 8Ds over to six, 6vdc golf cart batteries.* Same boxes, same electrical system, only the battery type has changed.* And our electric shop advised us to continue equalizing once a year.* We'll see what happens but at this point we don't have experience with a previou set of similar batteries to make a comparison to.* But the shop says it will extend the useful life of the batteries so we'll do it.

*
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:41 PM   #10
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

Our first set of house batteries was a bank of 5 sets of 6V wet cell batteries totaling around 1100 amps.* We did a capacity test following by equalization once a year.*

This bank went 7 years before a capacity drop-off became a concern just prior to an extended voyage.* Probably could have gone 8-9 years, these were medium duty Dyno's.

Lot's of ventilation and water required.
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:12 AM   #11
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

I*have done *NO equalization on my* 8 Trojan house bank batteries and they have lasted 8 years of extreme abuse. Based upon load tests, they could maybe*go another year or two*but I will likely replace them*this spring.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:11 AM   #12
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RE: Battery equalization procedure

With todays modern electronics most can handle a slight voltage increase with ease.

The biggest hazard is to bulbs , esp if you have 12v bulbs for reading lamps.

These may actually have 12V rated bulbs to be bright , most other bulbs are car units , rated for 14V
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
With todays modern electronics most can handle a slight voltage increase with ease. The biggest hazard is to bulbs , esp if you have 12v bulbs for reading lamps. These may actually have 12V rated bulbs to be bright , most other bulbs are car units , rated for 14V
In the concept of disconnecting loads, the vent fans for the battery compartment need to remain energized and running at max for all the reasons above. H2 can detonate and H2S not good to breathe. So far I have been too busy to devote the dedicated time and careful control necessary for this procedure. If I can, I will.

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Old 03-17-2014, 07:04 AM   #14
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If there is no smart V regulator , it may be that the charge voltage is held high enough , over 14.4 for most hours the engine is operating that a slight over charge , and a mixing of the electrolite already happens.

No equalization would then be necessary.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:47 PM   #15
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Instead of equalizing, how about using a desulfator like the Battery Minder OBD-12?

Battery Tester, Battery Tester Desulfator, Battery Tester Maintainer

According to the claims, this device does the same thing as equalizing.
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:51 AM   #16
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De sulfators do work, but remember if large enough to function , they too eat electric.

So the unit should be switchable , ON when there is extra power and OFF while just sitting .

For cruisers that bounce between 50% and 85% SOC a desulfation unit may give an extra couple of years out of the house bank .

For mostly dockside with an occasional overnight , save your currency.
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