I noticed recently that my deep cycle battery that powers the camper lights and stuff was low on electrolyte , so day before yesterday I topped it off with distilled water . Walking past it today I hear it "boiling" so I got the DVM out and checked the voltage . It's sitting right on 12.8 or so ... and when I turn the charger off (built-in) the lights go dim . I knew there was a problem somewhere the other night when we lost power and the battery was flat in less than 2 hours . Sound like battery replacement time ? I'd think if it were the charger the voltage would be higher .
The killer was when I checked the SG , the one cell I checked was under
1.150 , the new battery is now installed ... and charging at 13.23V just a minute ago . OK , now we're ready for that snow storm that's barreling down at us . The tractor battery is inside on the charger , generator is ready to go (whew , thought for a while I was going to have to buy a new one) and there's a goodly supply of firewood right outside the door - covered of course . The only thing I have to go out for is to pick the wife up at work at 10 unless the roads start to get bad , then I'll go earlier . And this year I've got chains for both the SUV and the truck ...
How low? Below the top of the plates is said to be very bad.
"Never allow the electrolyte to drop below the tops of the plates. Exposed plates sulfate and become inactive. When low, add only enough water to cover the exposed plates before charging. Always fill to the correct level after charge."
If a cell has shorted the voltage will fall to around 10-11V instead of 12.5-6 when you disconnect the charger and briefly load the battery to remove the temporary higher voltage of 'surface charge'.
I was a battery technician, not a trained engineer, so I know mainly what was in the manufacturers' data sheets and only generally the subtleties of the underlying chemistry.
One of the tests I did this morning was to turn the charging system off at the breaker . Significant dimming of the two LED fixtures I had on says there was a large voltage drop but I didn't measure it . With the new battery there is no noticeable dimming . There was one cell that had dropped just a hair below the top of the plates , and another that it was just barely above . This battery has had good care , I check the electrolyte levels about every 3 months and keep the terminals clean . As far as I know it's never been drained completely flat until the other night during the snow storm . But it is at least 6-7 years old , and I do think I got my money's worth out of it .
Whew, just in time! I just had to get out my emergency potty. Enough water piled up in the asshole neighbor's arena to swamp my leach field, so I'm not able to flush. I went over and shifted one of her railroad ties which was blocking the water, and a few hundred gallons drained immediately. But I was a day late. And rain is due all week, so...it'll be a long one.
When I was analyzing field-returned medical instrument batteries which record their own electrical and temperature histories I noticed some apparently random early degradation of batteries that hadn't been mistreated. AFAIK topping off their charge every month or three does generally make them last a long time (since 2002 for my truck's battery) but neglecting to harms some more than others.
On that 'other' topic, while you may be secure with your gender it's now possible to alter your chosen species orientation.
"Through the creation of human-chimera comes the question: where does society now draw the line of humanity?"
I may have known someone like that. He had the eyesight of a bear, the nose of a hawk, the breath of a wolf and the ethics of a weasel.
I'm much happier on my 5 gallon bucket with the piece of pipe insulation over the top edge to make it comfy. It's warmer and drier here in my house than it would be outside on enemy territory. Keep your Army training, sir.
BUT, now that you mention it, I already do-do have that knowledge.
Somewhere in this thread I mentioned that this is the onboard battery for times when there is no power available . It powers lighting and the control systems for the gas water heater and the dual-power refrigerator , also the fan and control systems for the gas furnace . The charging/power supply system is built-in , sits right under the load center . It will also charge from the tow vehicle's system when the 7 pin light/brake/etc plug is hooked up . The camper is set up semi-permanently right now , when I get a little farther along in construction of our house it will be disconnected from the house and we'll use it for trips .
In a pinch, you can sometimes "unshort" a cell by pouring out the electrolyte, flushing with distilled water & refilling with new electrolyte. But yes, you're going to be replacing that battery sooner rather than later.
I picked up a new one after I dropped my wife at WM for work last night . The freezing rain/ice storm was a non-event . But sure as she had driven herself there would have been a quarter-inch of solid ice on everything . New battery was cool to the touch when I checked it late last night . Will check the voltage later , but I think we're good now .
If you understand how to hook them up and interpret the readings these meters are very helpful and a lot cheaper than prematurely replacing a deep-discharge battery that wasn't being charged properly.
Splice it in with Anderson connectors so you can reverse or remove it, since they read current only from "Source" to "Load". It reads the current in the negative wire and will be wrong if return current flows through the chassis instead.
This one handles higher current continuously and has a remote readout:
I have an Aode in the long fused charge line and a 100A Bayite in the short inverter cable. Both can show you the actual capacity and condition of the battery. I haven't found one meter that will correctly handle both charging and discharge current for lead-acid batteries although that's standard practice for Lithium batteries which don't waste charge current by gassing.
As batteries age they become harder to fully charge with the common type of automatic charger. It's a vicious circle because they deteriorate faster if not kept fully charged, however the voltage setting required to force sufficient current into an old battery would soon destroy a new one. I've found that I may need to tweak my homebrew chargers to 15V or more, while watching and limiting the current. Suggestions on that vary so I use the most conservative I've seen, 1% of Amp-Hour capacity.
Designing a charger to do this automatically is simple IF the user would reliably program it for the capacity and type of the battery, assuming they were on the label, which they often aren't.