Battery Question

I have three ATVs, which seem to have batteries that die rather quickly, as in don't work any more, can't be fixed die. The other day, I went to charge
one, and the levels were far down. I put the damn expensive battery water in there (duh, next time, I'll use distilled), but they won't really hold a good charge.
Question: When the levels are low like that, wouldn't it be better to put electrolyte in there?
I know it would only prolong the inevitable, but at least I could get a couple of extra months on them, or move them to the electric ATV/motorcycle toys for the five year olds that I currently am buying spendy sealed batteries for. They'd be good enough for that.
Steve
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Low electrolyte level suggests OVERcharging, as long as all the cells are down about the same amount.
jsw
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SteveB, It is clear you have not maintained these batteries. Battery consumption starts the day they are made and is actually quite linear. This degradation appears as capacity loss in coulombs, even with the best care. Poor maintenance just quickens that slippery slope. There are measures you can take to extend their life, like desulphaters and the like, but I for one don't consider them economical. My advise is buy new ones and purchase "Smart" chargers like "Battery Tender" for each one. Immediately after use, plug them in. These things really work and they pay for themselves in short order. Steve
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Steve L - are you aware of a source for a 6V smart charger I could use to maintain battery on an older car - Iknow I could build one, but today I'm lazy
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What's that Lassie? You say that Bill Noble fell down the old rec.crafts.metalworking mine and will die if we don't mount a rescue by Sun, 11 Oct 2009 06:35:46 -0700:

Wal-mart sells a good 1.5 amp 6/12 volt charger. I think the brand name is Shumacher. It has a three stage charging cycle.
--

Dan H.
northshore MA.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Have looked at, and am considering them. But, as I need four of them, it's groceries this week or battery tenders. So far, the vote is 2-0. (My wife gets two votes, and I don't get to vote.) I want to rig them with a two pin connector so I just have to plug it in, as a couple of these, you have to remove brackets to even get the battery clips on there, which is why I don't take better care of them.
Steve
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On Sun, 11 Oct 2009 08:37:04 -0600, the infamous "SteveB"

Which is why gel cells should have been installed (at the damned manufacturing plant) in the first place...
-- The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. -- Euripides
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Get one tender and move it from battery to battery every few days. If a battery goes down significantly that fast there's something draining it.
----- Regards, Carl Ijames
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The electrolyte is already in there, more concentrated than it should be. Only the water boils out with charging.
Your basic problem is that you're not maintaining them properly. Don't LET them get low. Fill them EVERY time they need it (with distilled water (what the HELL is "expensive 'battery water'"?) Charge them when they need it, and don't over-charge. Keep them clean, and the terminals corrosion-free.
They should last three to five years.
LLoyd
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On Oct 10, 8:25pm, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote:
ws.infowest.com:

Is there anything wrong with the rest of the electrical system, such as broken or missing headlights? The battery could be swallowing extra current meant for the bulb.
jsw
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

Look Lloyd, we're all entitled to do something stupid occasionally. I went to the auto store, and I needed some water to put into my batteries, since people said DO NOT put tap water in there. So, they had a gallon for like $8, BUT, it specifically said it was new and improved battery water, so I bought a gallon.
Now, my question is: do you think I'll buy another?
Steve
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I didn't ask to call you stupid, I asked what it was. Here in red-neck shade-tree mechanic land, if a parts store dared to carry something that outrageous, they'd probably get dope-slapped by every customer who came through the door. They carry enough dumb-shit useless accessories as it is.
Besides, most grocery stores carry "new and improved battery water" in the bottled water department <G>. (always have, for steam irons)
LLoyd
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

Not to worry, Lloyd. I have had many much more expensive lessons in my life, and I can stand tall when I've done something stupid, knowing someone will top me and dethrone me within a week.
Steve
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"... it specifically said it was new and improved battery water"
Yeah, and New Coke is better than Classic Coke.
There's nothing better than distilled water. Nothing. Old battery guys often build a distiller.
If you can find bottled water with no additives that's good. Second is defrost water from the freezer.
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On Sat, 10 Oct 2009 18:09:51 -0600, the infamous "SteveB"

Remember, a low battery shows low levels. When the electrolyte is charged, it automatically comes up a bit. Don't fill before charging if you can help it. And if you are THAT low, you should have been adding water as it came out. Don't you check it when you change oil and do the regular maintenance chores? Shame, shame!

No, that would throw off the acid/water balance and ruin the battery.

Put them on a trickle charger for a few days, then look again. If they haven't charged by then, they probably won't.
-- Seen on a bumper sticker: ARM THE HOMELESS
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On Sat, 10 Oct 2009 20:36:34 -0700, Larry Jaques

Not true about the level coming up from charge. It MAY come up from heat when charging - and ALWAYS top up before charging. The charging action mixes the water with the electrolyte. Adding after charging leaves the acid stratified - which is not good. NEVER let the level get low enough to uncover the tops of the plates.
If they are using a lot of water, check the charging voltage - a poor ground on the regulator (assuming it has one) will cause high voltage. Some of the cheap crap is unregulated - depends on load to limit voltage.

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SteveB wrote:

Steve, As several people have commented, losing electrolyte usually comes from overcharging. I am assuming that you are not hooking these things up to a battery charger and doing it manually, so it sounds like the charging circuit on the ATV is running too high. If you have access to a decent voltmeter, you can check it yourself. At cruising RPM, it should probably show about 13.6 to 13.8 Volts. At idle it will be lower, and not relevent. If they have light switches, try turning on the lights and see if the voltage comes down at cruise RPM. Even leaving the lights on should help with the overcharging. All the motorcyles I have messed with since the late 70's have had sealed (non adjustable) electronic voltage regulators.
As for putting motorcycle batteries in the toys, I would not. The last thing you want is a 5 year old spilling sulfuric acid when they turn over their toys. You can't block the vent, because they put off hydrogen when you charge them.
Good Luck BobH
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SteveB wrote:

Where have you been buying the batts? I would also check the charging system, it sounds like they are overcharging. Not uncommon if the ATV has a loose ground or two or the terminals are crap. It is possible to install better regulators on them. I do it as a matter of routine with Emergency ATVs, all the extra lights and gear can kill the standard piece they use. I use a heavy duty GM unit.
IF you can find a dealer you can buy sealed AGM types that can be installed. Not cheap but they tend to hold up better especially if you get the voltage under control.
Oh and for the battery tender, There is an EASY connection system. Buy a few power outlet/Cigar lighter socket. Then you can use it for more than one thing, AND you can buy a Battery Tender with more than one output line as well.
--
Steve W.

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