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Old 09-28-2017, 08:27 AM   #1
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Going From Wet To Gel - Charging?

I had the yard replace all of my house batteries, going from wet cell to gel. They are set up as a 24 volt system.

My starts and generator batteries remain wet cell.

I have read that the gels require a slightly different charge voltage than the wet, and a charger setting needs to be changed or the batteries will be damaged.

First, is this accurate?

Secondly, will my Trace charger manage that difference without needing settings changed, and also manage a system with both wet and gel?
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:46 AM   #2
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I've read that generally gels want lower charge voltages during bulk/absorption phases, maybe float, too...

But your best approach is to learn what charge voltages those specific batteries want (manufacturer guidelines), then see if your charger will do that -- or at least come moderately close without risk (charger manual).

If the bank has it's own dedicated charger -- i.e., it's not one of several banks one one charger -- your set-up could be relatively easy.

OTOH, if your new gels are on the same charger as your wet batteries... I suspect you'll likely need to change that. (AGMs, instead of gels, may have given you more leeway on this point. Depends...)

Can't speak to your Trace thing...

-Chris
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:40 AM   #3
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Pretty much what Chris said. What does the manufacturer of your new batteries say should be the charging voltage for their bulk, absorption and float? Can your Trace be adjusted to those parameters? I'm not familiar with a charger than can can be set to charge different battery types at the same time.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:10 AM   #4
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Assuming your alternator charges the house bank, you'll need external regulation set for those particular gels too. I just replaced my house bank, and considered gels, but after a lot of reading and expert consultation, decided against them, sticking with AGM's as in my starting and thruster batts.
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Old 09-28-2017, 04:50 PM   #5
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I use, have used for 15 yrs, gel cell batteries and have had good success.
They do require different voltages and failure to adjust for that may shorten the life appreciably.
Do it right.
Also means the alternator(s) must be regulated properly.
They will give GOOD service if recharged properly.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
I had the yard replace all of my house batteries, going from wet cell to gel. They are set up as a 24 volt system.

My starts and generator batteries remain wet cell.

I have read that the gels require a slightly different charge voltage than the wet, and a charger setting needs to be changed or the batteries will be damaged.

First, is this accurate?

Secondly, will my Trace charger manage that difference without needing settings changed, and also manage a system with both wet and gel?
Yes, that is accurate info. Your Trace charger will need its settings changed. Also, I know of no battery charger that can have different settings for different banks.

The battery manufacturer is the source for the most correct charging profile info.

As a point of reference my new battery charger lists charge voltage for wet cells as 14.8v and gel cells at 14.0 and there will be different float settings as well. That is a big difference. If you don't use the correct charge profile you can dramatically shorten the life of your new batteries.

Ken
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Old 09-29-2017, 07:25 AM   #7
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Gels require a slightly lower voltage.

No big deal feeding the same voltage to the wet cells.

They might charge a tiny tiny bit slower , but start and running batts are seldom deeply discharged , and the gel operating voltage is fine for radios, AP and lights.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:11 AM   #8
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I have to ask, why gels instead of AGMs? The AGM charge requirements are quite similar to traditional flooded . I never saw any advantage to using gels, and I had a very large garden of various battery banks on my old Hatteras in a variety of voltages and configurations, heavily used, so it was something I thought about a lot.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:48 AM   #9
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Is the OP certain that he actually has "gels" and not AGMs??
Seems like "gels" are old tech without the cost advantages of wet batts or the benefits of AGMs.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:50 AM   #10
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Battery Management

Read "Living on 12 Volts with Ample Power by David Smend. I don't know what last Ed is, mine is 1998. You need understand how to make the system work or your throwing away your money.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCook View Post
Assuming your alternator charges the house bank, you'll need external regulation set for those particular gels too. I just replaced my house bank, and considered gels, but after a lot of reading and expert consultation, decided against them, sticking with AGM's as in my starting and thruster batts.


I know that one charger even with three charge circuits canít charge two types of batteries, ie wet cell and agm. BUT, I never thought about the engine alternator. Good point.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:39 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pgitug View Post
I know that one charger even with three charge circuits canít charge two types of batteries, ie wet cell and agm.

Not entirely accurate. Some 3-bank (for example) chargers can charge individual banks of wet and individual banks of AGMs at the same time. Generally not wet and gels, that I'm aware of...

But often wet and AGM charging profiles are close enough so that the wet manufacturer and the AGM manufacturer will suggest choosing a suitable charging profile that will work for both at the same time.

FWIW, or older (circa 2002) original charger only has two profile settings, one for wet/AGM and one for gel. The flooded/AGM setting was close enough, as we went through the bank transition from all flooded to all AGM, one bank at a time. And even after transition was complete, the ending charging profile was the same anyway.

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Old 09-30-2017, 08:45 AM   #13
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Our Xantrax Heart had 3 charging options.
We had both wet and arm batts that were charged separately (different times).
Our "smart" regulator was set for AGM's when charging both types from the alternators.
Batteries were still decent after 8 years and a lot (several months) on the hook.
Still do not understand choice of gels vs AGMs.
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Old 10-07-2017, 03:00 AM   #14
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The simple solution. Gen battery is charged by gen alternator, add a small battery maintainer to it. Main battery charger and all engine alternators go to house batteries. Use an echo charger to maintain engine starting battery. Charging voltage for gel cells should be 14.1v.

Echo charger is a device that can sense when the house batteries are being charged, it then will allow the appropriate current to pass to the engine battery. Unlike a battery combiner, the echo charger won’t cook your starting battery.

Now there is no need to ever change battery switches and all batteries will get proper charging.
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