Author Topic: Routine Battery Charging.  (Read 351 times)

Offline awemawson

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Routine Battery Charging.
« on: November 14, 2020, 02:48:02 PM »
Last week I came to start my 2001 Landrover Discovery which due to lockdown and other diversions has sat unused for quite a while. The battery was so flat I couldn’t even unlock the doors with the remote and of course using the normal key brought on the imobiliser.

Battery was so flat even jumping it with a huge tractor battery I couldn’t start it, battery at 8 volts drawing vast current from tractor battery so presumably at least two cells dead shorted. We had a very cold spell last week and I suppose it’s possible that the battery froze.. OK new battery ordered and steps taken to preserve the radio code, and when fitted all was well, radio OK and engine starts just fine but . . .

This has triggered me bringing forwards my regular (usually December) charging of various bits of ‘idle plant’ that sit around waiting to serve when called on, so far :

Benford pedestrian roller

Thwaites dumper truck

Karcher steam cleaner

JCB 803 mini digger

Ford 4000 tractor

Road compressor

And at the moment the Ford 4600 tractor with the hedge flail permanently attached is on charge and I’m on the third day of this program. So much so that it’s prompted me to order another charger to speed up the process next time.

OK I probably have more of this stuff than most but this is getting silly , anyone else have this problem?

(By comparison three CNC machine controllers keeping their parameters safe is a doddle!)
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline kayzed1

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2020, 03:00:47 PM »
Yes. 11 motorcycles :doh:

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2020, 04:54:57 PM »
Yes, two tractors, a pickup truck being stored for winter, a power boat and a standby Listeroid diesel generator which I adapted to electric start with an old Ford auto starter motor.

My 1951 John Deere Model M tractor has never had a functioning charging system, so needs charger attention maybe once a month. I did work on the regulator and generator last summer, but still no charge -- at least when I tested it last. Though, come to think of it, it has been going a couple months now without needing a charge. Hmmm.....maybe it worked...

Anyway I bought a bunch of small inexpensive ($10) 12V 1.3A trickle chargers from Ebay, and that has helped reduce the number of trips needed with the big charger. I also use them to charge a small lead acid batt I use for my fishing depth sounder in my foam boat "Flier".

Haven't had any problem with the chargers other than one that arrived DOA.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
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Offline Muzzerboy

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2020, 05:47:20 PM »
A colleague of mine went to Brazil on business for a month (poor bugger), leaving his BMW530 in the work car park. This was around 2000. On his return, the battery was flat, so he couldn't even open any of the doors or the bonnet. The key had no direct mechanical connection to any of the locks. We were at least able to open the boot and recharge the battery slowly through the boot lamp until finally we were able to open the car the next day. If we'd popped the fuse, things could have got pretty messy.

I was engineering director at a company that specialised in battery chargers, so have a fair bit of knowledge of lead acid batteries. Once they are dead and /or sulphated, there really aren't any miracle cures, despite what people tell you. Equally, keeping them trickle charged doesn't do them a lot of good although more so than being completely flat.

Best thing is to fit a disconnect switch so that there is zero external current draw. Then you can leave them for several months without them going flat. IIRC, you can get relay devices that fit on the battery post to enable the battery via a small control switch if you don't want to fit a motorsport style Big Red Switch. Somewhere I have a Jaguar one that they used to fit to vehicles for export so the batteries could be disconnected while they were on the boat to the USA etc.

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2020, 06:06:15 PM »
I don't continuously trickle charge. These chargers taper charge and stop charging once full and don't restart until it drops below a certain value. They have indicator lights to indicate when charging. I usually disconnect them once the light is green anyway, and wait a month or so before reconnecting.

The big advantage in these chargers for me is that they are in or near the equipment at all times, and don't require me to shift a big charger around. And their gentle charge rate is better than forcing amps into a nearly discharged battery so you can move on to another needy piece of equipment. And you can't overcharge with them.

A battery disconnect switch isn't of any use here keeping battery charge up in Vermont with -20F temps and 6 months of winter, and some equipment stored outside. Vehicles need to start when called upon, as does emergency generator. Besides a '51 John Deere and generator have no draw with the ignition off anyway. These little chargers are a lot better than having to remember constantly what needs what, what is finished charging, and where to bring a charger next. I've had them for a couple years, no problems, and I haven't had a battery goof-up since. I had a few before with the big charger method, both flats and overcharges.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
www.sredmond.com

Offline kayzed1

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2020, 07:59:30 PM »
Between the lad and myself we have around 8 of these modern fit and forget type chargers, screwed to the walls in the shed and garage where ever a bike may stand still long enough :zap:  ( the lad also has a few bikes..)

Offline awemawson

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2020, 02:43:56 AM »
Quite miraculously the battery from my Landrover that started this thread seems to have recovered having been on charge for 48 hours. My ‘cold cranking amps’ measuring device is giving me a reading of over 900 amps and is rated at 860. So it will be retained as a spare.

The battery in my ‘road compressor’ was also dead as a dodo and would take no charge at 12 volts. I put it on my 12/24 volt starter / charger at 24 volts and after a few minutes it started to register a bit of current passing. When it got up to 20 amps I reverted to 12 volts and left it for 24 hours. It has recovered to the extent that it will start the compressor, and is showing 700 cold cranking amps. It is also rated at 860.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline chipenter

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2020, 03:03:45 AM »
I fit a small solar panel on top of the dash , since lock down only going shopping is using more to start the car than charging the battery , plus the car has a high parasitic drain because of the remote start and radio locking , had one battery fail had to go back to Toyota to reprogram every thing .
Jeff

Offline naffsharpe (Nathan)

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2020, 06:11:35 PM »
O/K , This is not automotive related directly but it is my use of vehicle batteries.
I have three 12v car batteries which I would normally use through an inverter to power my (wet system) heating pump when we have the inevitable winter power outages here in North Wales. Last year we had nothing worse than overnight outages for a few hours so the batteries where not used. I now come to charge them for this year and find less than 2Volt/cell so my "intelligent" charger simply does not want to see them.
Should I use starter/jump cables to connect them in turn to my (engine running) car battery to try and bring above 2volts/cell and then onto "intelligent charger) or will this damage my good car battery?
I know that they are not the correct battery to use for my purpose but they are what I have and they are used for such short periods of time that a dedicated deep cycle/leisure battery is too costly.
Nathan.

Offline awemawson

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2020, 02:52:09 AM »
There is a lot to be said for having an old fashioned transformer / rectifier style battery charger tucked away for these occasions.

Personally I’d briefly connect them in parallel with my tractor battery, but your car probably has more modern battery and electrics than my 1970’s tractor !
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline vintageandclassicrepairs

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2020, 06:37:07 PM »
Hi All
In recent times I know of three total loss garage / workshop fires directly linked to battery charging  :bang:
Last Winter I was visiting a friends workshop an he showed me a top brand maintenance charger, it had shorted internally so then the battery current melted the leads until luckily one burned through, Luckily the leads were not lying on anything flammable
Now I will only charge batteries outdoors

John

Offline vtsteam

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2020, 11:04:25 AM »
If a battery has been badly discharged, personally I would try first giving it about a 20 hour rated  capacity charge. In other words about a 5 amp charge on a 100 AH battery. I'd check the voltage (disconnected) in 15 minutes after letting it rest for 5, and if it looked to be accepting a charge, continue charging.

If it wasn't, I'd check the cell voltages by probing through the fill holes. If one was low, it probably has a shorted cell. If all were about the same, I'd probably do what Andrew did, which is up the charge rate to try to stir up the electrolyte in case there was sedimentation. But only for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it. Then return to the 20 hour rate.

Not saying that's based on any good authority, just what I'd do.

Long term trickle charged batteries, I personally believe, benefit from an occasional initial 15 minute long 3 hour rate charge (ie ~30 amps on a 100AH batt) to stir up the electrolyte and prevent sediment compaction. Then return to the normal rate.

I lived on a cruising houseboat for a few years with an Heart Interface (brand) inverter and it did just that periodically to extend the life of the deep cycle lead acid cells aboard.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
www.sredmond.com

Offline awemawson

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2020, 11:23:58 AM »
Jeff,

I have several of those small solar panels that you mention but I gave up with them when the tractors and other plant were all outside. We never got enough sun,  but there was always plenty of wind to dash them to the ground despite the retaining magnets that I fitted. Now of course they are in the tractor shed, so no sun anyway.

To add to Steve's comments above I believe in a fairly hard discharge every now and again to keep them on their toes before they return to float charging. My big generator (2 x 12 volt batteries so 24 volt for starting) has a float charger that tops them out a 27 volts which seems to be an accepted figure, but of course the engine alternator take them higher than this when running - about 28.5 volts iirc)
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline AdeV

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Re: Routine Battery Charging.
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2020, 04:00:39 PM »
I have an 15 month old Halfords car battery that got left for 6 months. It's totally dead, even putting 24v across it with my big old Clarke charger has failed to revive it. Fortunately, alone amongst all of my batteries, I actually have the purchase receipt for it, so I can at least get it replaced for free!
Cheers!
Ade.
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