OT - Battery care for winter or storage

This winter I'd like to try to keep my batteries in good condition if possible. I've got a zero turn mower, tractor, truck, backhoe, marine
batteries for the boat, I've counted 8 lead acid batteries to maintain in all. My goal is to keep everything charged to be ready when I need it and have my batteries to still be good next year when I need to mow again.
Possibilities are on-board automatic chargers or perhaps use weatherproof connectors and running cables to a cabinet with chargers. Not sure if I should run 120V to each vehicle for an on board charger or run the chargers in a cabinet and run 12V charge leads to each battery. Just wondering if any here have recommendations or good/bad experiences with such?
RogerN
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I pull the batteries on all my seasonal use engines. Clean and put on a board in the basement. Twice during winter, give them a tickle charge till the auto charge light goes out.
Werks grate!
Karl
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That would be great on the mower. I occasionally use the 4WD truck and the tractor with front end loader during the winter but a freezing engine seems to take a good charge to get running. I like the idea of sealed automatic marine chargers myself but they seem to be on the expensive side. That is probably the main reason I'm considering an enclosure for chargers and running cords for the charging. I'm hoping extended leads will work OK with low current maintenance charging.
RogerN
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My SOP on winter machine that are a bit old: Hook up engine block heater wait 30 minutes Hook up large charger, set to 40 amp. Put in starting ether. Hit glow plug heater. Starts right up even at -40.
Now, i did have an old car that wouldn't start at -50 with this treatment. So, I lifted car with floor jack and stuck the 500,000 BTU knipco under. 20 minutes later i was on my way.
Karl
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Sounds like your SOP ought to work well. My truck has a block heater, I'm not sure if it's on all the time it's plugged in or if it has a thermostat. Most days I take my ~ 35MPG car and only take a truck if I need to haul something or it's bad weather needing the 4X4 (sometimes not even once a year). Usually the problem is that I wake up and find out if I need the truck or not. The last time that happened, the truck didn't have enough charge in the batteries to get it started, I plugged in the block heater and the charger, got it started a couple hours later. This year I hope to improve the situation by keeping the batteries charged and turning on the block heater if snow/ice is in the forecast.
RogerN
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wrote:

Friend's big White Field Boss generally didn't need to be started in the winter - had the blower on a smaller tractor - but after a big storm sometimes he'd need the boss - or if the hydro went out he's hook the "boss" to the Winco. To start it cold, he'd pull the air intake off and lay a Bernzomatic torch in the manifold for a few minutes, then crank it over, and away it would go, every time. Sure saved running the glow plugs and wearing the battery down. When the hydro's off you don't have the option of the block heater or the battery charger.
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Karl Ether and glow plugs used together aren't a real good mix. Steve
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On Sun, 11 Oct 2009 17:23:36 -0500, "Karl Townsend"

Guy I used to work with in the late sixties had a 60 Corvair that lived in a corn-crib for the winter - and he drove it to work every morning. HIS sop was get out of bed, turn on the coffee, go out and pull the steel fence stake wrapped in burlap and chichen wire out of the barrel of used oil and deisel fuel, shoot a bit of ether at it, light it and stick it under the back of the Corvair. Go in, drink the coffee, eat brakfast, come out and start the Corvair to go to work.
The back end of that beast was a mess of black oily soot, but he never missed a day of work.
Never burned the darn thing either. Never could figure THAT one out.
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till
the
seems
with
For your 4WD you might want to look into the small solar panels that sit on the dash board, and plug into the lighter socket to trickle charge the batteries.
For your loader, getting a block heater and removing the battery to the garage might be a good idea. Also I presume the loader has a diesel engine, so some winter fuel treatment to keep the fuel from gelling might be a good idea.
--
Roger Shoaf
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What has been your experience with these "small solar panels"?
Pete Stanaitis ---------------------
Roger Shoaf wrote:

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None personally, but I met a merchant marine sailor that kept a car in storage while he was at sea and used one of these and he seemed to be pleased that he could start his car and go after leaving it for months at a time.
Seems to me it might be worth a shot for the OP to try as draping wires all over the place or lugging batteries in and out of vehicles in the freezing cold can't be fun.
--

Roger Shoaf

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Harbor Fright makes 42292-0VGA; $6.00 Also 99867-0VGA for $20..
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I had a Horrid Fright float charger. Boiled my marine battery dry, and killed it.
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Christopher A. Young
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wrote:

\ \How cold does it get at your location? \ \How many sunny days do you have at your location? \ \TMT \
I'm not far from St Louis, it's warmer than Chicago but it's not unusual to get a few 4WD snow days a year. That's the problem I had last year, my 1 ton 4WD truck doesn't get driven much unless I have to haul something or need the 4WD. We had a snow day and I needed to take the truck and had to charge the trucks (F350 diesel with 2 batteries) for a couple of hours before it would start. This year I'm wanting to keep the truck ready to go plus try to keep the seasonal batteries in shape for next year. I already have a few bad batteries but I'd like to have automatic charging working before buying new batteries. The backhoe is handy year around but only using it every couple of months keeps the batteries dying.
RogerN
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wrote: <snip>

/ /Okay...much more adverse environment than we have here in southern CA. / /Anything that NEEDS to run during the winter should have a trickle /charger and engine heater. / /Anything else you can charge on a regular basis...just keep the charge /topped off or the batteries will freeze. / /Be careful enclosing any charger...they do need ventilaton. I came /very close to burning a van up by closing the hood on the van with a /charger inside...I caught it as it was smoking. / /It is better to run a 110v extension cord than to run long 12v /lines...low voltage lines drop too much voltage and give the charger /an errorous indication as to its charge. / /A comment on trickle chargers...I have had several batteries killed by /chargers that overcharged the batteries. / /Also in my experience smart chargers are not so smart...I have seen /them not charge batteries or overcharge them....always watch them. / /TMT
I've also been disappointed with some of the smart chargers and that is at least part of the reason for my post here, thought maybe someone here found one to recommend. I'm not sure I understand the difficulty a "Smart" charger would have with batteries. Seems my auto voltage regulators keep my batteries happy for years on the car I drive daily. So, maybe if I had a charger that automatically started charging when the power was on, I could set a time to charge the battery for maybe an hour a day, to simulate driving the car an hour a day.
RogerN
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wrote: <Snip>

/ / /Smart chargers are based on a chip that have the lead acid charge/ /decay curves telling it how to act. I suspect it monitors the voltage /of the battery and if that info is faulty then the charger works /erractically. / /I too am a believer in settng chargers up on a timer. / /How long to charge? Good question. I just do it a hour a day with 2 /amp chargers and it seems to work. YMMV / /TMT
That gives me an idea, if I use a 2 amp charger that starts when connected, wired the output through relays and use a spare PLC, I can use one charger and automatically switch it to each battery for 1 hour a day. I can separate the long runs and run 120VAC to an on board charger.
RogerN
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On Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:43:52 -0500, RogerN wrote:

An alternative to 2 Amps for 1 hour per day is 80mA all the time, although 25mA - 50mA might be enough. You can make a constant-current source with a few transistor/resistor/diode parts powered by a 16-20V wall-wart. Some circuit variations are shown in following refs. For fixed font, click More Options, Show original.
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.electronics.design/msg/62b9f1d7a1bb7f7f High side, PNP (eg 2N3906), w LED voltage ref and indicator. Choose R1 between 100 ohms and 100K ohms so that LED brightness is adequate and there's at least 100 uA (microamps) to spare to drive the base of the transistor. Choose R2 = Rs = sense resistor to satisfy Rs * Im + Vbe = Vled, where Im = desired current, Vbe = typical Vbe drop ~ .7V, Vled = LED voltage ~ 1.6V. Eg, for 50mA, Rs * .05 + .7 = 1.6 --> Rs = 18 ohms. Attach battery to be charged between "Out" and ground. With supply voltage Vs and charge voltage Vx, there will be Vs - Vx volts across R2 and Q1; eg, if Vs , Rs, Vbe=1.6, Im=.05, and Vx.6, then V(R2) = 18*.05 = .9V, so Vce -0.9-13.6 =5.5V. So 275mW is dissipated in transistor with Vs = 20V; it would be better to use Vs = 16V, giving Vce=1.5V and power = 75mW.
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.electronics.design/msg/41dfa74d63ad83af Low side, NPN, w LED. Use 2N2222, 2N3904, or similar. If supply voltage Vs is fixed and reasonably stiff, one can also use a resistive divider: Put R2 = 100K in place of the 150 ohm resistor and R1 = 5K-9K in place of the LED. Eg, with Vs VDC, R1=5.6K, and max current = Im = 60mA, sense resistor Rs = 4.7 ohm = ((Vs*R1/(R1+R2))-Vbe)/Im. One can also put a 5K trimpot in place of R1, to make the constant current adjustable from 0mA up to about 40mA. However, with a 10K pot, max current would be about 210mA (which is over the 200mA absolute maximum rating of 2N2222 and 2N3904 transistors) unless you increase R2 to say 102K. :)
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.electronics.design/msg/884c255179d3484a Low side, NPN, as drawn uses one transistor and one resistor per additional CCS. Advantages of diode voltage-ref over resistor divider ref: Temperature compensation, if diode and transistor junction temps are the same; and less dependence on exact value of Vs.
--
jiw

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wrote: <Snip>

The 2A rating on a lead acid battery charger is more like 2A for a discharged battery and lower current depending on the state of charge, quite different than a 2A constant current charger. So, with what I was thinking if the battery needed the charge, it would draw up to 2A from the charger, if not, it might only draw a fraction of an amp from the charger to keep itself in a good state of charge.
From what I read today, a daily charge voltage should be from 14.2V to 14.4V at 20 Deg. C with a -0.022V per Deg. C temperature coefficient. I have some PLC's around with RTD and thermocouple inputs plus analog inputs and outputs. I guess to ultimate solution would be to measure the temperature, calculate the perfect charge voltage, and apply it to a daily charge routine. I'm more likely to just switch my Schumacher 6A/2A charger to each battery for an hour a day and call it good enough. At least it would be better than no charge at all until I need to use the vehicle.
I have thought of using a diy circuit, perhaps similar to what you are thinking of. I was thinking of using an adjustable voltage regulator with a resistor inline to lower the voltage output as the current increased. I played with a circuit simulator and found a resistors that would give good current at 12V and decrease to near zero around 14.4V.
RogerN
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The "2A" range on my 2/10/50A Schumacher starts at 4 - 5A and decreases as the battery comes up; it passed smoothly through 2A but didn't stay there, IIRC at cutoff the current was less than 1A.
An LM317 adjustable regulator IC is enough to make a decent trickle charger. Adjust the pot that sets it to the end voltage, the device limits the current to 1.25A max, then it falls off as the battery nears the set point. You could print the temperature compensation chart and tape it to the box.
This is a commercial version with voltage and current meters: http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/lascar/dataloggers/psu130.htm#00034606?ref=gbase The one-turn voltage adjustment is tricky but good enough for lead- acids, though you'll need a separate voltmeter with more resolution
jsw
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/ /The "2A" range on my 2/10/50A Schumacher starts at 4 - 5A and /decreases as the battery comes up; it passed smoothly through 2A but /didn't stay there, IIRC at cutoff the current was less than 1A. / /An LM317 adjustable regulator IC is enough to make a decent trickle /charger. Adjust the pot that sets it to the end voltage, the device /limits the current to 1.25A max, then it falls off as the battery /nears the set point. You could print the temperature compensation /chart and tape it to the box. / /This is a commercial version with voltage and current meters: /http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/lascar/dataloggers/psu130.htm#00034606?ref=gbase /The one-turn voltage adjustment is tricky but good enough for lead- /acids, though you'll need a separate voltmeter with more resolution / /jsw
That would be interesting, I could send a higher DC voltage to the vehicle and have the voltage regulator on board. It would be neat if I could get temperature compensation close with a PT100 RTD or similar, I guess I'd just have to calculate the temperature coefficient of the platinum versus -0.022V/deg C for the battery. Anyway, if I could get the circuit right, I could power it a couple of hours a day and keep the battery topped off. I would think that would do at least as good as an automotive alternator/regulator does.
RogerN
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