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Edward Dewolf

Keeping a deep-cycle battery healthy

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I am looking at buying a deep-cycle battery to power my setup away from home: VMF VDC31M 105Ah Deep Cycle

As I never had one before, I am wondering how to maintain it in between sessions.  Do I have to keep it on the charger as the selles is suggesting?   he says the charger will just keep topping it up little by little, trickling, ....

Do I have to, or can I just top it up just ahead of a session?

Any advice would be appreciated

Edward

 

 

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Get one of those charger conditioners and leave it on the battery all the time, it should just keep it topped up.

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The charger conditioner will charge and then switch off and so on.

The battery will self discharge a bit and the charger will come on again.

My brothers have them permanently on there motor bikes to keep the battery in good shape over the winter.

It should not hurt the battery.

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I use a leisure battery and one of the charger conditioners and my battery is 85 AH, so Im never without juice. I can power everything including dew heaters and laptops with no problems.

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When a lead acid battery isn't kept fully charged, sulfation occurs on the lead plates. This happens to various degrees depending upon level of discharge and a little sulfation is normal. If left unchecked and the battery is in a  discharged state for 'some' time (the period of time can vary widely) it will eventually form a hard crystal sulfate coating over the lead plate system and render the battery unable to take a charge or hold voltage. Disconnecting the battery does not prevent this. 

I use a 70ah deep cycle leisure battery for my setup and fully charge it after every use, then check it at least monthly if not more. Best option is to leave a small trickle charger on it, but I've a small child who loves to investigate and dismantle everything, so that's not an option for me! It stays locked up until I check it again.

Hope that helps.

PS a borderline weak to moderately bad battery with higher sulfation can sometimes be almost fully rejuvenated by applying a slow 200mA overcharge of 15-16v (for 12v batteries) for around 24hr which dissolves the sulfate formations inside and brings the internal temp up to 50 or 60C. However this has to be very carefully controlled in a well ventilated area for obvious reasons!  💥

 

Edited by Ships and Stars
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I have a Ctek MXS 7.0 charger/conditioner. Here's the manual which shows the voltages applied during the various charging/conditioning phases. Once fully charged it switches to 'float charge' mode where it just maintains 13.6V output so little or no current flows into the battery unless you start discharging it or it begins self discharging after a while of unuse. So it can be left connected to the battery permanently if you wish without causing harm. They do models with lower maximum charge currents at a lower price.

There are other manufacturers which do a similar product but Ctek seem to have a good reputation.

Alan

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On 11/12/2019 at 09:16, Ships and Stars said:

When a lead acid battery isn't kept fully charged, sulfation occurs on the lead plates. This happens to various degrees depending upon level of discharge and a little sulfation is normal. If left unchecked and the battery is in a  discharged state for 'some' time (the period of time can vary widely) it will eventually form a hard crystal sulfate coating over the lead plate system and render the battery unable to take a charge or hold voltage. Disconnecting the battery does not prevent this. 

I use a 70ah deep cycle leisure battery for my setup and fully charge it after every use, then check it at least monthly if not more. Best option is to leave a small trickle charger on it, but I've a small child who loves to investigate and dismantle everything, so that's not an option for me! It stays locked up until I check it again.

Hope that helps.

PS a borderline weak to moderately bad battery with higher sulfation can sometimes be almost fully rejuvenated by applying a slow 200mA overcharge of 15-16v (for 12v batteries) for around 24hr which dissolves the sulfate formations inside and brings the internal temp up to 50 or 60C. However this has to be very carefully controlled in a well ventilated area for obvious reasons!  💥

 

The new intelligent chargers detect sulfation in a battery and it puts the battery through a cycle to desulfate it when required !

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1 hour ago, LDW1 said:

The new intelligent chargers detect sulfation in a battery and it puts the battery through a cycle to desulfate it when required !

That's very good actually, was looking online at them after reading this thread and the technology has come a very long way from a simple 12V charger.

My next one will have this!

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The more time the battery spends fully charged, the longer it will "last". I would certainly charge it up after use to get it fully charged, and then if you don't want to leave it on trickle charge, I would aim to put it back on charge for a few hours once a month. There is no evidence behind what I am saying. I would also store the battery in a garage so it is exposed to fewer swings in temperature. A discharged battery left in the cold is an unhappy battery. Equally you do not want it to get too warm. The modern intelligent trickle chargers do as said above, keep the battery constantly topped up, and undertake rejuvenation cycles to keep the sulphation at a minimum. I worked out once to leave a battery on trickle charge once fully charged was about 20p a month, £2.40 a year. If the battery is going to cost you £100, and leaving it on trickle charge for five years costs you £12 or so, I suspect at the end of the five year period, the battery will be pretty much as good as it was new, assuming you've not broken other battery rules. Else, if the battery has been left in a discharged state, and not topped up, you will have saved £12, but the battery won't be as good, and you may start thinking about buying a new one...,

 

 

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I use Battery Tender brand chargers on my car batteries to keep them safely topped off when I won't be driving them for two or more weeks because today's cars have so many electronics that drain the battery even when the car is off.  I was going through batteries at a prodigious rate until I figured out what was going on.  I went with the name brand that many US car battery stores use to keep their batteries fully charged.  The price difference between them and the generics is pretty minor.  They pioneered the market here so much so that their brand is in danger of becoming a generic category name like Kleenex or BandAid.  I haven't had any issues with dead batteries or sulfation since I started using them.

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On 28/12/2019 at 23:10, Louis D said:

I use Battery Tender brand chargers on my car batteries to keep them safely topped off when I won't be driving them for two or more weeks because today's cars have so many electronics that drain the battery even when the car is off.  I was going through batteries at a prodigious rate until I figured out what was going on.  I went with the name brand that many US car battery stores use to keep their batteries fully charged.  The price difference between them and the generics is pretty minor.  They pioneered the market here so much so that their brand is in danger of becoming a generic category name like Kleenex or BandAid.  I haven't had any issues with dead batteries or sulfation since I started using them.

All batteries sulfate as part of the chemical reaction between the plates and battery acid, its a natural process ! 

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19 hours ago, LDW1 said:

All batteries sulfate as part of the chemical reaction between the plates and battery acid, its a natural process ! 

Sorry, I thought it was clear I was referring to permanent sulfation rather than reversible sulfation.

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4 hours ago, Louis D said:

Sorry, I thought it was clear I was referring to permanent sulfation rather than reversible sulfation.

I learn something new every day, I didn’t know there was two types, I will have to read up on that !

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4 hours ago, LDW1 said:

I learn something new every day, I didn’t know there was two types, I will have to read up on that !

Here's a couple of links on the topic of battery sulfation:

https://www.crownbattery.com/news/sulfation-and-battery-maintenance

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/sulfation_and_how_to_prevent_it

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