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Old 09-23-2018, 10:38 AM   #1
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Do You Equalize your flooded batteries?

Hi All,


Purchased the new ProMariner ProNautic 1230P yesterday and reading through the instruction manual, I read the section on recondition/equalization. My sailboat had (2) group 27 batteries and a small on board charger. Now I have (4) golf cart batteries and (1) 8D. I have never done a recondition and after reading what it does and how it works, will it work with (4) batteries wired up?



I'm also going to hook the charger up to both banks (the GC batteries and the 8D) and keep the ACR (yesterdays discussion). I assume that when you hit the go button to equalize, it's going to let all the banks have it (15.5VDC) at the same time. This charger is going to keep 15.5VDC on for 4 hours.


Does anyone use this charger feature and have you had any problems?


Dave
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:49 AM   #2
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Many others may comment with more knowledge and science.

What my understanding with equalizing it rushes high voltage to the batteries to clean some of the buildup on the led plates so to say. Good to do at times for batteries but not to frequent. Used to try a equalize cycle when I used to work on forklifts to revive some of the battery banks to check the condition of the batteries.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:49 AM   #3
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I have 8 golf cart batteries in my house bank and equalize them 2 or 3 times during the summer. I've had no bad effects from equalizing, at least that I know of. Make sure that you top-up your batteries with distilled water first. Also, it's a good practice to turn off your DC loads, as the voltage during equalizing could approach 16 v and some devices could be damaged. You might also see what your battery manufacturer has to say on equalizing.
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Old 09-23-2018, 11:32 AM   #4
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I don't equalize my house bank of 8 Trojan 105s. I have enough boat chores to do. Now if I had Rolls submarine batteries maybe I would.
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Old 09-23-2018, 12:46 PM   #5
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I don't equalize my house bank of 8 Trojan 105s. I have enough boat chores to do. Now if I had Rolls submarine batteries maybe I would.
Interesting because Trojan is one of the big proponents of equalizer
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Old 09-23-2018, 12:56 PM   #6
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Also, you should periodically check the specific gravity of all cells and stop the equalization once the specific gravity stops rising.

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Old 09-23-2018, 01:19 PM   #7
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Equalization is a process of driving more current into a fully charged battery to disassociate the electrolyte (boiling) which agitates the electrolyte solution and attempts to dissolve built up sulfate deposits in the bottom of the battery.

It only works if the sulfate is relatively new and can be stirred up and resolubilized and won't work on old, almost dead batteries. But it takes a lot of current to stir up the electrolyte and I doubt if your 30A charger can put out enough into 4 GC batteries to do much good. I am amused at seeing even 5A battery chargers with this feature. Well, I guess it is just a switch and a bit of wiring to bypass the 3 step algorithm.


But I don't think it will harm anything. Top up the cells before hand and after and watch for boiling after an hour or so. Maybe lay a wet rag over the filler caps to catch any splashes or mist. I would disconnect the starting batteries when you do this.

Having said all of the above, I have never equalized my GC batteries. If you recharge your batteries fully roughly every other day, then I don't think you will get any sulfating.

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Old 09-23-2018, 03:29 PM   #8
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I equalize the water level in my batteries.
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Old 09-23-2018, 04:43 PM   #9
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Interesting because Trojan is one of the big proponents of equalizer
Just curious, do they cite any data showing battery life and performance with and without equalizing? If I could isolate each battery and monitor separately as process occurs it would make a lot more sense. But one BMK monitoring 8 batteries strung together could prove counter productive. I don't feel the risk is worth it for a possible paper study gain.
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:59 PM   #10
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In all fairness to the non-equalizers, my battery performance after equalizing has been mixed. Seems like when the batteries were newer, the effect was greater than now with them 5 years old. David M mentioned this above. I am defining performance as voltage in the the morning while on anchor, after 12 hours of hotel loads during the night with no charging. Comparing voltage before and after equalizing, I saw an improvement when the batteries were newer. This year, I observed no change. I'm going to have the batteries load tested this winter and likely change them before next year's Alaska trip.
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Old 09-23-2018, 06:23 PM   #11
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My solar charge regulators have an equalization phase I can have on or off, set on it equalizes monthly. I kept it "on" with the last batts, but figuring they were getting hammered I turned the function "off" when I replaced them, and all seems well. My conventional ancient OEM ferro resonant charger knows nothing about equalization.
I theorize that sulphation being at least partly a product of undercharging, with my batts kept full via solar, it is less of a need. If I think the batts need a good anti-sulphation kick I can always activate the function.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
It only works if the sulfate is relatively new and can be stirred up and resolubilized and won't work on old, almost dead batteries. But it takes a lot of current to stir up the electrolyte and I doubt if your 30A charger can put out enough into 4 GC batteries to do much good.

David
Question for you, my boat stays plugged in 24/7, refridge is AC... The only DC loads used at the dock are the electric toilet, lights and the stereo. Do you think the 30A charger is enough for (4) GC and an 8D? (I have 2 alternators for under way and a Northern Lights Genset for the hook). The unit I'm removing was 120A charger. Can't imagine why one of the PO's put that thing in.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:40 PM   #13
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Charger output > 10% of battery size is a minimum. 15A doesn`t cut it for a 200Ah 8D batt; or for the 4 GCs if they total more than 150Ah, which I expect they do.
IMO the one you want to remove is better than a 30A. Why do you want to ditch it?
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:22 AM   #14
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"The unit I'm removing was 120A charger. Can't imagine why one of the PO's put that thing in."

Probably for the speed it can bring the house bank up to 85% or 90& while on the noisemaker.

Anchoring out the reefer is probably hammering the house set all night , so a larger than usual (with bat temperature sensor) makes good sense.

Your 30A dockside charger should do fine with your minor house loads , while dockside..
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:29 AM   #15
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I equalize the water level in my batteries.
Sticking to the basics is what is important.
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Question for you, my boat stays plugged in 24/7, refridge is AC... The only DC loads used at the dock are the electric toilet, lights and the stereo. Do you think the 30A charger is enough for (4) GC and an 8D? (I have 2 alternators for under way and a Northern Lights Genset for the hook). The unit I'm removing was 120A charger. Can't imagine why one of the PO's put that thing in.
FF is correct, the 120A charger works well to quickly charge the 4 GC batteries from the genset. It is a little bit above the 25% recommended charging rate but close enough.

But if you don't need to charge batteries fast at anchor with the genset, then a 30A charger will be fine. You just need a little bit more than the approximately 1 AH per day per battery self discharge rate to keep up. Even a 5 amp charger will keep them fully charged if they start out that way, assuming no continuous loads.

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Old 09-28-2018, 01:22 PM   #17
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We equalize our housebanking. the cool thing is that is programmed in to our charge to do it every 90 days I believe so it happens without having to think about it when it is on shore power or gen set....seems like we are getting longer life since we upgraded our inverter/charger that does this automatically...now if could only add water every few months....put in a water system that makes it take less then 5 minutes, but still have remember to do it and connect a bottle of distilled water to make it happen.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:23 PM   #18
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i used to equalize my batts, then i found a system that does it every 30 seconds, automaically! must be several that do that on the internet! my flooded batts, dyno S3H, 260 amps ea, generally last 10 yrs...for starting, i have a pair of grp 31`s, is paralel, gives me abt 1200 starting amps...i never use posts, i buy them with what we call marine connectors, or 'L' brackets, and bolt the wires to them, also use nyloc nuts... they stay tite...clyde
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:46 PM   #19
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Equalized various sets of Trojan 105s every month for 20 years during the boating season. Noted significant improvement in the batteries for the first three weeks or so.

I had a check list of those DC items to turn off while equalizing and never equalized while we were sleeping. Note all DC items are sensitive to equalizing. Appears to be just those with computer chips, such as my watermaker, the automatic anchor light and my wind generator.
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